Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NCAA Basketball 1

It is close enough to Selection Sunday that I some thoughts and queries to toss out.

Much has been said about the demise of Duke this season. It is well documented that they are too young, have no obvious floor leader at crunch time and no superstar.

They are a superior defensive team (opponents average 59.1 ppg), they are 4th in the ACC in rebounding margin (+5.4) and third in 3-point accuracy (37.8%).

This team is way below the Duke standard in free throw shooting (68.8%)----that is especially costly in close games.

Youth is everywhere---UNC starts 3 freshmen and they should be an NCAA #1 seed. Texas is freshman heavy and improving every game---they will be a major player in the tournament. U-Conn shows the other side of freshmen loaded teams. Youth is this age of early NBA defection is not an excuse.

I think Duke’s biggest problem is lack of depth. The first six players are worn out.

It would surprise me if they get past the Sweet Sixteen.

UNC has talent, depth and an outstanding coach.

There, I feel, as goes Rayshwn Terry, goes UNC. He is their senior leader, but far from the most naturally talented player. When he has been off a/o in foul trouble, UNC has problems beating good teams.

Tyler Hansboro is a monster player with great numbers. His only weakness is his inability to find an open man when he is double or triple teamed. Often he can get a basket on sheer power, but all too frequently, he loses the ball. In the tighter games that the tournament produces, the margin for error is narrowed---and every point is precious.

USA Today gave their projected top seeds by region this week and I have some questions.

Memphis as a #3. They are the team in Conference USA that matters. Their three losses were to Georgia Tech, at Tennessee and at Arizona. That is not a stellar bunch to lose to---Georgia Tech probably the best of the bunch. Out of conference wins: Oklahoma and Kentucky---not the cream of this year’s crop.
The Gonzaga victory was one point and the Zags had by then lost their best player.

I still fail to grasp the fascination with the Missouri Valley Conference, and am dumbfounded to see Southern Illinois as a three seed. They have lost to Arkansas (not a powerhouse), @ Indiana, @ N. Iowa, @ Bradley, @ Evansville---out of conference, the only notable win is Virginia Tech. Their other pre-conference wins were over teams from the Little Sisters of the Poor Conference.

BYU as a four seed baffles me.

They have beaten Air Force, Seton Hall and split with UNLV. Some losses to quality programs @ UCLA and @ Michigan State. Also managed to get beaten @ Lamar and @ Boise State.

I believe in Air Force and have started to believe UNLV could be thorn in the side of a few teams.

The Pac Ten is over rated---Big Twelve under rated---ACC does not get respect it deserves---SEC having a down season---Big East is too big and unwieldy for my taste---Big Ten is top heavy.

Comments are welcome.

Go Duke!

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