Sunday, March 04, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Conference Tournament Week Edition

UConn has now gone three years in a row without a winning record in the Big East.

Florida State averages 16.5 turnovers per game…only one team (Long Island University-Brooklyn) commits more and has a winning record. Even with their stingy defense, that could haunt them in March.

Teams that live by the three-point shot have a treacherous road in March. If that’s your core offense and you shoot 27.3% you are Florida and lose to Kentucky by 15 or you are Duke and get blown out by 18 by UNC after shooting 28.6% from beyond the arc. Both Duke and Florida lost those games at home on Senior Day.

Florida and Duke fans must hope their team faces a team with a zone defense. I thing either team could have success against Syracuse.

The rule that says players cannot dunk during warm-ups when the officials are on the floor is about as stupid as it gets.

Maine missed all 17 of its 3-point attempts in an America East quarterfinal loss, becoming the first team to attempt that many threes without a make in a conference tournament game since 2005.

Utah’s Jason Washburn lead all scorers with 26 points, even though his team lost to Oregon by 46-points. In fact, Utah scored just 14 points in the first half.

Amazingly, Air Force had 22 assists on 23 made baskets in a ten-point loss to Colorado State.

One more thing: In November I said that Duke was a Sweet Sixteen team at best. In the past four months they have done nothing to change my mind.

They are a good team. However, they are a team composed of complementary players in search of a leader to complement.

I think Duke’s big men have held their own this year (all though Ryan Kelly has disappeared a couple of times)---but the perimeter players almost always have a height disadvantage (and they are not projected to grow in the next ten days).

The Duke won/loss record is remarkable considering how many times they have been on the wrong side of the all-important match-up situation…especially the guards.

Now, I do think that Duke has a huge “X-Factor” in Andre Dawkins. When he is hot, he can carry the team. He has been the most inconsistent Blue Devil this season, so I do not figure to see him go on a six game 20+ points streak in the next month.

You don’t go far in March with a freshman leader unless you are Kentucky. Austin Rivers has some nice moves, but he’s still a skinny kid who will be bullied in March---nationally ranked at #610 in Effective Shooting Percentage.

You advance in March with point guard excellence, power forward/center supremacy and senior leadership (again Kentucky gets a bye in the senior leadership category)…three characteristics not found in Durham this season.

What we all do know is that they will be well prepared, well coached and give a maximum effort---and have the fewest tattoos on the floor.

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