Monday, March 04, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---13 Days Until Selection Sunday Edition

The theoretical odds of filling out a perfect bracket are in excess of nine quintillion to one. That’s nine, followed by 18 zeros. But who’s counting?
On Friday night, VCU coach Shaka Smart and his staff delivered pizzas to students camping out for tickets to the Butler game. Just one more reason college basketball is vastly superior to the NBA.
Saturday VCU throttled Butler.
VCU turned Butler over 23 times and had 17 steals…VCU had a 34-2 points-off-turnovers edge. Butler won the battle of the boards 38-26.
It had been 27 years since Butler lost by 30-points in conference play.
La Salle has won six of seven.
Louisville’s Russ Smith was terrifically efficient, scoring 18 points on just 11 shots in the victory at Syracuse. Louisville shot just 14-of-24 from the free-throw line and still won on the road…pretty amazing…however, they do play stifling defense.
In Mark Few’s initial season at Gonzaga, the Zags won four Division I games. Today, he has the highest winning percentage among active coaches with at least five years' experience at 80%.
Gonzaga is 120-8 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.
Wisconsin scores 34.2% of their points on threes----remember that when filling out your bracket.
Michigan and Michigan State met as top-10 teams on Sunday for just the second time in history. Michigan’s one-point victory came without benefit of a made three-point shout…a rarity indeed.
MSU outrebounded Michigan solidly by a 44-29 count. Sparty’s 18 turnovers gave the missed defensive boards back to Michigan. And so it goes!
I thought Ben McLemore’s highly efficient 36 points (12 for 15) in the Kansas victory over West Virginia was pretty spectacular. Just a couple of hours later Duke’s Ryan Kelly put up 36 {10 for 14} as well against Miami {a real team}. Let’s be honest, playing West Virginia at Phogg Allen is like going up against the junior varsity. No matter---both players were poetry in motion on Saturday. Creighton’s McDermott trumped them both with 41 [15 of 18] in a remarkable display against Wichita State. McDermott had 73 points for the week, if you’re scoring at home.
Bad loss: Tennessee losing at Georgia…giving the Bulldog a season sweep of UT.
Arizona is 3-4 over the past seven games.
Good win: Purdue decided to spoil Senior Day at the Kohl Center by knocking off Wisconsin by 13…after being down by 13 in the first half. Great comeback for the Boilermakers.
Very good win: Creighton looked like the Creighton of earlier this season [shooting 70.2%] in the victory over Wichita State. This is Creighton’s first standalone MVC title in 12 years. The Blue Jays are 8-5 vs. the Top-100. By the way, Creighton averages more than 16,000 fans a game.
Bad loss II: Baylor lost at home to Kansas State by three.
Bad loss III: Arizona State is most likely on the way to the NIT after losing to USC by one-point
Awful loss: Ole Miss losing by six to Mississippi State. A 20-win team should handle a 20-loss team even if the game is played on the moon. No excuse!
Good win for Boise State in their 13-point upset of Top-20 RPI Colorado State.
St. Louis has won 11 in a row.
Cal has victories in their last seven games.
The Miami/Duke game had good action, tempo, and energy, everything for the entire forty minutes. It was the real deal.
As incredible as the 36 points Ryan Kelly put up vs. Miami, the fact that the kid played 32 minutes was all the more astonishing.
Kelly’s 19 first half points equaled Duke’s first half production in the January beat down on Ponce Deleon Boulevard. His seven rebounds led Duke.
The last time a Duke player scored that many in an ACC game, he was wearing the since-retired jersey #4.
Duke left ten points on the foul line, Miami just three…that’s not good. Neither is the fact that Duke produced just two bench-points to Miami’s ten.
By the way, that was as loud as I have heard Cameron…louder than the UNC game.
Now, just how good is Miami? In the inhospitable environs of Cameron Indoor they were inches away from going to overtime.
The Canes got zero points and four fouls from Reggie Johnson in 16 minutes…the same Reggie Johnson who scored 17 in January and 27 at Cameron last year.
Miami won the rebound battle by a dozen and had 20 second chance points on 11 offensive rebounds {to Duke’s four}.
The game had six ties in the first nine minutes of the second half.
Duke had a ten-point lead with 1:56 to go and Miami cut it to two with 21 seconds on the clock. Miami played those final two minutes as well as a team could.
There will be no team in the field of 68 that should scare the Canes. They are really, really good.
These two could meet twice more this season.
Nothing could be finer than beating Carolina!
In a brutally sloppy game [50 combined turnovers] the Duke women swept UNC with their Senior Day seven-point victory…their 17th ACC victory.
Duke has won 39 ACC games in a row at Cameron.
This makes the fourth-straight ACC regular season title for the Lady Blue Devils.
Freshman point guard, Alexis Jones stole the show with 22-points {11 of 12 from the line}, four assists and four rebounds in 34 minutes. She made more foul shots than the entire UNC team. She is fearless and will be a big star.
During one stretch, Carolina missed 19 consecutive shots from the floor. Utterly amazing!
UNC went 9 for 21 from the line…that’s pathetic!
Kansas center, Jeff Withey nearly had his second triple double of the season. He missed it by one block. Imagine---nine blocks…great Caesar’s ghost!!!
Towson completed an 18 game turn around from last season. That’s the largest in college hoops history.
Keith Rendleman of UNC-Wilmington picked up his 20th double-double of the season in a loss to Drexel. That’s the most in Division I.
Florida looked pretty average in defeating Alabama…in fact they’ve been looking average a lot lately.
The good news is the walking wounded Gators had some floor time: Casey Prather got 24 minutes (10-points and nine boards); Will Yeguete played 11 minutes; six minutes for Michael Frazier.
Get them healthy and Florida should be above average.
UCLA and Oregon are tied for the Pac-12 lead.
Kansas and Kansas State are tied atop the Big 12.
UCLA’s Larry Drew has an assist/turnover ratio of 7.8-to-2.3. Most impressive!
Undefeated in conference play: Gonzaga, Memphis, Norfolk State and Louisiana Tech.
Still winless in conference play: Grambling…0-27 overall.
Not so fast: Ben McLemore has attempted double-digit shots in only about half of KU’s games. Hard to believe!
One more thing: Oklahoma sank 34 of 34 free-throw attempts, tying an NCAA mark for most made at the foul line without a miss. Wow! 
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

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