Day One Wrap-Up

Day One of the tournament proved uneventful for the most part.  One exciting game was the first of the day when Cal State Northridge gave Memphis a good run.  Another good one was watching American University (not to be confused with National American University, who I’m sure has an outstanding Online athletics program) lead much of their game against Villanova.  Neither, however, made game-of-the-day status.

 

A few notable points from Day One: Roburt Sallie

 

1.   Domination of the dayUConn manhandled Chatanooga with head coach Jim Calhoun in the hospital.  Their margin of victory (56) was the 3rd largest in the history of the tournament.

 

2.  Best name of the day:  Quincy Pondexter of Washington.  Runner-Up:  A.J. Slaughter of Western Kentucky.

 

3.  Performance of the dayMemphis’ Roburt Sallie.  The guy averaged 13 ppg this year, but exploded for 35 today, including 10 3-pointers!  He more or less won the game for Memphis.   

 

4.  Best game of the day:  UCLA vs. VCU.  VCU’s superstar Eric Maynor was short on a shot as the buzzer sounded that would’ve won them a trip to round two. 

 

5.  Upset of the day:  12-seed Western Kentucky over 5-seed Illinois.  This is the upset of the day simply because it was the only one.  I also picked this one. 

 

6.  My picks for day one:  a respectable 13/16.A.J. Abrams

 

7.  Gopher Review:   A.J. Abrams singlehandedly blew the game open against my beloved Gophers by hitting four of his eight 3-pointers in a 2:11 stretch.  As a result I will cease showing any respect to people named A.J.  Minnesota actually played a good game with the exception of those 131 seconds.  I said yesterday that A.J. Abrams would be the reason the Gophers could lose…unfortunately I was very right. 

Bison Breakdown

In his first post, the new guy broke down the school whose football team lost to the North Dakota State Bison two years ago, the Minnesota Golden Gophers – I will breakdown the darlings of the NCAA’s from Fargo in like fashion.Ben Woodside

1. Key to a Bison Win: Be aggressive but under control. Saul Phillip’s team looked extremely passive in the first half of the Summit League Championship game.  I don’t know if that was nerves or a team that was over confident and waiting for the game to balance out and “come to them”. Either way, they need to play their game with aggression from the opening tip.

2. Key Player for the BisonBen Woodside. Predictable, you might say.  Sure, it’s predictable, he is NDSU’s leading scorer.  Why is he so valuable??  He is the best player in the Summit League and is the 10th leading scorer in the country.  Typically, as Woodside goes, so go the Bison.

3.  X-Factors for Bison: Everyone not named Ben Woodside.  The Bison have capable scorers and I have a feeling Kansas will have a guy hounding Woodside from the moment the ball is in play.  The Bison have double-digit scorers in Mike Nelson (11.9), Brent Winkelman (18.7), and Michale Tviet (9.7)  has picked up his game of late and shoots 46% from deep.  Plus, all the Bison fans will make the Dome feel like a Bison home game (my goal was to say Bison as many times as possible in this paragraph – I got 6). Cole Aldrich

4.  Why the Bison Could Lose: It’s Kansas.  They have Cole Aldrich.  He is a monster in the post.  The Bison were beat-up by Oakland’s 6’11” center, Keith Benson .  Aldrich goes for 15 and 11 a game, and his shot is nearly unblockable – he has the KG behind the head release.

5.  How Far will the Bison Get?: It depends on who wins the West Virginia and Dayton match-up.  I think it will be a tough match-up against WV, NDSU is more efficient on the offense end, but could struggle guarding WV’s length and athletic ability.  Dayton is more balanced, has no player averaging more than 13 points, and shoots only 33% from distance.

Additional Note- The Bison are the 3rd best in the country in FG% at 48.9% and 5th in 3PT% at 41.2%, compared to KU who is 21st in FG% at 47.9% and 34th in 3PT% at 37%.  The Bison starting line-up is taller than KU- expect at center – so the Bison should be able to get their shots off , and if the percentages hold true, NDSU will be in the game.

I do not expect them to win on Friday, but I think is the game is close, the Bison are lead by experienced players who are confident and battle tested.

Fear the Herd!

Howdy from Tubby Town

Before I begin the riveting content, let me introduce myself.  A few points that may increase my legitimacy in your minds:

1.  I am Daniel’s brother.

2.  I played high school basketball with the current NDSU Bison QB.

3.  I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.Tubby Smith

4.  I once dunked a women’s basketball.     

5.  I have met Tubby Smith and I know Flip Saunders’ son. 

Enough of that.  The important matter is that complete madness is at hand.  Being a Gopher graduate, I’m excited they’re in it.  They face a Texas squad that was at one time ranked #5 in the country, but had a similarly embarrassing 2nd half of the season to that of the Gophers.   A look at that match-up:

Besides the fact that they represent two of the largest universities in the country, they are pretty much statistical siblings.  However, the statistic I found most interesting is one in which the teams are quite different.  In games decided by <6 points the Gophers are 5-2, while the Hook ‘Em Up Horns are a sheepish 4-5.  

Here are some other key points to the game:

1.  Key to a Gopher Win:  Control the Tempo.  The Big 10 is a very different brand of basketball than…well…everybody else.  If this turns into a track meet, the Gophers will lose.  They rely on defensive pressure, which is why they have an 11-man rotation.    Westbrook

2. Key Player for the Gophers:  Lawrence Westbrook.  Predictable, you might say.  Sure, it’s predictable, he is Minnesota’s leading scorer.  Why is he so valuable??  Because when he scores more than 13 points, the Gophs are 15-2.  

3.  X-Factors for GophsDamian Johnson and Blake Hoffarber.  Damian could be huge because he’s been hot lately and wreaks some serious havoc on defense.  Blake…well that’s easy.  Just watch this and this

4.  Why the Gophs Could Lose:  A.J. Abrams.  The kid is a player.  If he finds a way to break the pressure and get loose, he could do a lot of damage.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Tubby throws up to 4 different guys at him.

5.  How Far will the Gophers Get?:  2nd round.  I say that only because I haven’t let myself think this far ahead, because it could be a meeting of Duke and Minnesota, my two favorite teams.  If that happens I’ll know how it feels for Papa Manning to watch Peyton vs. Eli.     

Prediction:  Minnesota 67, Texas 61.

It’s Tubby Time!!

Eight Thoughts of Madness – plus another point of the highest importance

I am not going to breakdown the brackets, there are enough people to do that.  But I do want to highlight a couple of details, players and match-ups that should be interesting.

1.  I am pretty sure every bubble team got into the tourney.  Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, etc.

The seeding for said bubble teams is very high.  I think MN is a 10 seed.  I understand that “if” they were to get in, the Gophers are better than many automatic bids and some at large bids.  But a 10 seed is like giving Tubby’s team the “you will make up for your late season disaster” pass, which I am not sure they deserved.

And Penn State and St. Mary’s out, not sure why.

2.  NDSU gets as much of a home court advantage as possible in Minneapolis.

The Bison only have to drive 3 hours or to face No. 3 seeded, and defending champs, Kansas.  Which is great because NDSU travels very well.  Two points:

a.  In the midst of a huge blizzard that dumped 8-12 inches of snow on the region, the Bison nation was in full effect at the Summit League tourney supporting their team in Sioux Falls, South Dakota – I also find the name of the city a little ironic. 

b.  Two years ago,when the Bison football beat the Gophers at the Dome, I was told the Dome was at least 50% Bison fans, and probably more.  So I would expect a “home game” feel to the first round mach-up with Kansas.

There are some very interesting facts surrounding this game with the Jayhawks.Jeff Boschee

  • North Dakota State is the state’s first school to make the NCAA tourney.
  • NDSU is playing Kansas Jayhawks, who recruited Jeff Boschee from Valley City, ND – the first McDonald’s All-American from ND.  Jeff went on to be a four year starter, played in the 2002 Final Four, and finished his career as the Big-12 leader in three pointers made.  Texas’ A.J. Abrams broke that record this year.
  • Kansas center Cole Aldrich was a McDonald’s All-American out of Bloomington, MN who had a coming out party against UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough on the Jayhawk’s way to the national championship.
  • During Boschee’s senior year, Kansas came to Grand Forks, ND and played the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the first ever event at the infamous Engelstad Area.
  • Pointless side-note -On that UND team was NBA draft pick Jerome Beasley.

3. Does it bother anyone else that three out of the four No. 1 seeds lost the last game they played?  It bothers me.

4.  I think UConn is not the weakest No. 1 seed, but they are the most likely to lose before the Final Four.  They have a potential match-up against with Purdue or Missouri/Memphis.

5.  Which the toughest region?  The South Region.  UNC, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Gonzaga make-up the best top four seeds in any bracket and after that is a crap shoot to determine who get out of that mess.

6.  No. 12 seed most likely to beat a No. 5 seed?  I have two.Jordan Hill

  • This may have more to with who the 5 seed is, than who the 12 seed, but  Western Kentucky has a great draw against a bipolar Illinois team that struggles offensively.
  • No. 12 Arizona match’s up with No. 5 Utah in the Midwest Region.  Arizona has at least two NBA players and you might she a “last hurray” type effort with Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill - just imagine if Jared Bayless and Brandon Jennings decided to play for the Wildcats, I bet Lute would have stuck around.

7.  MnM’s. In my brackets I have seven schools that start with the letter “M” playing in the second round.  Five of the in the West Region – Memphis, Missouri, Maryland, Marquette and Mississippi State.

8.  My Final Four – In one bracket I have all four No. 1 seeds.  In the other, three No. 1 seeds and Memphis, but trust me, it gets all crazy before the final four.

9.  On Wednesday evening or so, we are going to have a special guest to help me breakdown some of our favorite teams.  He has a close connection to a couple teams and opinons on the others – which is what we need here, more opinions. 

Now, I have stated that did not play varsity sports in high school, but the new guy did – if you are nice and say king things, he might stick around and post on a regular basis .

So over the next couple days clear your schedule and get ready for the greatest sport event in the world.