Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, Population 9, Version 2.1

With the mix of the Sweet Sixteen teams getting ready to play Thursday and Friday, it is fair to say that the NCAA Basketball Tournament is this nation’s most egalitarian sporting event.

Women's Tourney: Brittney Griner -- who, should have been suspended for the rest of the season -- set a new record with 14 blocks in a Baylor win over Georgetown. (Astoundingly, 13 came in the second half.)

Every player for Purdue shoots below 35% from the arc.

Purdue is the only 4-Seed to make the Tournament’s second weekend.

Syracuse is shooting 51.9% from the floor.

Cornell vs. Kentucky---future MBAs vs. future NBAs.

Kentucky’s average home attendance: 24,110. Cornel’s: 3,658.

Despite being a Top 25 team, Baylor sold out exactly one home game this season…the home finale vs. Texas.

Duke had just five turnovers in the win over California. Baylor was dead last in the Big 12 in turnover margin. predicts 59 possessions in the Northern Iowa-Michigan State game. That’s a glacial paced. No need for a fancy high tech clock…an hourglass will suffice.

Baylor’s biggest weakness is taking care of the ball. They are #270 in the nation in turnover margin. Lucky for them, St. Mary’s ranks #310 in steals per game.

Quote: “There were more people at the game with Villanova, than we have students at Saint Mary’s.” ---Omar Samhan, Center for St. Mary’s.

Seven of the Sweet Sixteen teams feature centers who are true 7-footers, or at least in that neighborhood, including Cornell, Saint Mary’s and Northern Iowa.

In the Women’s NCAA Tournament, UConn won their second round game 90-36 (55-12 at the half). Coach Auriemma did all he could not to big-time Temple, sitting Maya Moore after just 16 minutes and Tine Charles got only 17 minutes. One thing Geno’s players (starters and bench) cannot do, is go thru the motions.

The Kansas State/Xavier, Michigan State/Northern Iowa and Syracuse/Butler games are matchups of former assistant coaches who were promoted to head coach when their bosses left or retired.

Clearly, Arinze Onuaku’s injury is not devastating Syracuse. If there is any cause for concern for Syracuse without Onuaku, it would be Gonzaga’s 41 points in the paint on Sunday.

40.0% of Butler’s floor shots are from beyond the 3-point line…highest of any team left in the Tournament.

Vegas Numbers: Favorites and point spreads---Michigan State by 1, Ohio State by 4 ½, Syracuse by 6, Kansas State by 4 ½, Kentucky by 8 ½, West Virginia by 4, Duke by 8 ½ and Baylor by 4. To cut down the nets: Kentucky is the favorite at 2-1, followed by Syracuse at 4-1 and Duke at 9-2.

Thus far, favorites are 31-17; underdogs are 25-22-1 against the spread (eight favorites did not cover). For the season, Syracuse has the best record against the spread at 21-9

Las Vegas odds-makers say the points over or under for Michigan State-Northern Iowa is 121; for Kentucky and Cornell, it’s 147; the 153 for the Kansas State/Xavier game is the largest total on the board.

Nine of the Sweet Sixteen participants won their conference tournaments…and the Ivy League has no tournament. Other than Tennessee and Washington, no team finished the regular season worse than second.

Since their last Final Four appearance, Duke has won four ACC tournament championships and has a 170-39 record.

Of the 16 teams still playing, Duke scores the most points per possession (1.21) and allows the fewest (0.85). Duke turns the ball over on just 16% of its possessions, fewest of any of the 16.

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