NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/26/17: The Final Four is Set

92-69 in 1972. What does that represent?  The score of the North Carolina-South Carolina NCAA Tournament game back in 1972, won by North Carolina.  Why is that important?  It represents the only game this group of Final Four teams has EVER played in the tournament.  (OK, correction:  North Carolina beat Gonzaga in a 2-vs-10 game in the 2009 tournament.  My bad!)   You would think that Oregon and Gonzaga would have…

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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/25/17: West Coast Basketball Rules the Night

Let me start with this:  Gonzaga has finally proven all their doubters wrong.  In an impressive display of team defense, the Zags were able to grab a big lead early and rarely looked back today.    The only time they were threatened was when Xavier hit a three-quarter court heave at the end of the first half…a shot that was just after the buzzer.    It didn’t matter, as Xavier…

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Indiana Makes Smart Move In Hiring Archie Miller

The lists of potential names to replace Tom Crean at Indiana was impressive – from NBA coaches Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan down to college mainstays like Chris Mack (Xavier), Steve Alford (UCLA – former Indiana player), and Gregg Marshall (the Wichita State coach who, to date, has simply refused to budge from his post of the mid-major giant). In the end, I think they made the right choice in…

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NCAA Tournament: Elite Eight Thoughts

Bracket A:   51 Final Fours, 17 national championships Bracket B:  5 Final Fours, 2 championships (All by Florida) The illustration above is what makes this tournament the best event in the world of sports.    You just never know where you are going to end up once the whole spectacle begins. Obviously, the above illustration is an outline of the Midwest-South vs. the East-West brackets.  The Midwest-South is loaded….

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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/24/17

1.  Carolina Reigns Supreme Friday Night The early games certainly didn’t capture much drama tonight.  While Butler and Baylor each had a small run in them (because every team has at least a small run in them!), neither game was in doubt in the early session Friday night.   This was quite a different set of outcomes than we got last night, when both early games (and one of the…

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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/23/17: The End of the Road for Arizona

1.  Michigan and Oregon Play a Thriller As a Michigan fan, I am used to nail-biting NCAA Tournament games.  John Beilein’s teams really blow anybody out.  They really on being more fundamentally sound down the stretch in close games.  Tonight, those fundamentals failed them.  The biggest play of the game was when they couldn’t grab a defensive rebound on a missed free throw late in the game, when they were…

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Georgetown Axes John Thompson III

Many names come to mind when you think of the Georgetown basketball program, but given how college basketball works, no group of players becomes more synonymous with a school than the head coach.       In the case of the Hoyas, the name Thompson has essentially be associated with the program going all the way back to 1972, when John Thompson, Jr. first took the reigns as head coach….

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NCAA Tournament: A Look at the Sweet 16

One of the things I have always loved about the NCAA Tournament is that every year, new stories emerge.   It is impossible to compare the 2017 Tournament to tournaments in the past, because every March presents something unique. This year is no different.  Sure, we don’t have a Florida-Gulf Coast invading the Sweet 16 party.  We don’t have a George Mason or a VCU looking to go on a…

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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/19/17: ACC Down to One as We Hit the Sweet 16

1.  Michigan’s Magic Carpet Ride Continues The entertainment factor of the tournament has gone up the past few days, and few games had the high drama of Michigan-Louisville.    Down by nine in the second half, the Wolverines decided to go “all in” on exploiting a mismatch underneath with Morris Wagner.   The forward responded with the best game of his career, allowing seventh-seeded Michigan to move on to the…

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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/18/17: Wisconsin Knocks Out the Champs

1.  Badgers Gnaw Wildcats Out The drama of the tournament hasn’t been quite as high as we are accustomed to, but that changed a bit today when Wisconsin knocked out defending champion Villanova in a classic 1-vs-8 game.    Jay Wright will escape criticism as he now has a ring on his finger, but Villanova’s knack for getting knocked out in the second round is a bit eye-opening.   Last…

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