March 30, 2008

Biggest Disappointments of the NCAA Tournament

Every year, some teams (like Davidson) impress and others flounder. Here's my take on the teams and people who really sucked this year.

Performance in a Leading Role:
Luke Harangody (Notre Dame) - Voted the Big East Player of the Year, Harangody averaged 21.0 pts/game and 10.3 rebs/game for the year. In the second round against Washington St., Harangody shot a staggering 3-17, leading his team to 24.5% shooting for the game and a whopping 41 points. Washington St. plays good defense, but they're not known for having a dominating post presence who was expected to compete with the Big East Player of the Year. He also only had 2 assists, so he wasn't successfully passing the ball either. Though, when your team only has 13 made FG's, there are only so many assists possible. The part that really blows my mind is that he had 22 rebounds, 7 of which were offensive, so he was clearly dominant inside. How did those not translate into points? And he only took 4 FT's, so they're weren't playing Hack-a-Shaq.

Performance by a Conference:
The Atlantic Coast Conference - Clemson was doubling up Villanova in the first half (36-18), and then fell apart (as they've done before). For future reference, it's not recommended to shoot 33 treys when you're only making 27%. More than half of Clemson's shots were 3's. The Tigers lost in spite of taking 16 more shots. Clemson certainly had the talent and experience to go deep in the tournament, as they showed twice against UNC. Duke almost became the first #2 seed to lose since Iowa St. Belmont thoroughly outplayed the Blue Devils and were really only a good inbounds play away from a victory. Duke exited quietly in the next round. Miami beat St. Mary's, but trailed Texas by double digits almost the entire game. UNC, obviously, has done ok so far.

Performance by a Sweet 16 Team:
Tie between two Big Ten teams:
Michigan State - The Spartans laid an egg against Memphis, down 50-20 at halftime. I have never seen a Tom Izzo team get destroyed like that, especially in rebounding. Was that really the same team that beat Pitt?

Wisconsin - So you saw the tape of Davidson vs. G'Town, right? You saw how Davidson attacked a team that plays exactly your style. And yet, Davidson pounds you in the second half, 37-20. The Polar Bear and company only outrebounded Davidson by 3, and only managed 9 assists for the game. It's one thing for G'Town to be caught off-guard when they only had a day to prepare. The Big Ten champs should be ashamed. Obviously, credit Curry and Davidson as well.

Performance by a Head Coach:
Bruce Pearl - For the NCAA tournament second round and Sweet 16 games, Pearl decided to start JP Prince, who wasn't the starting PG all year. He had a few good games, but why do you switch your starting PG midway through the NCAA Tourney? He doesn't have a great assist to TO ratio, and he's 6'7", so he's prone to foul trouble when guarding smaller, quicker players. His line against Butler: 31 min, 9 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast, 6 TO's, 3 fouls. That looks ok, except that those TO's almost all came in the last two minutes, when Butler turned the pressure up. Pearl had to pull him because he was playing so poorly. His line against L'ville: 27 min, 2 pts on 1-3, 1 reb, 2 ast, 4 TO's, 4 fouls. Granted the Vols have struggled at PG all year, but why do you make a change like that at this point in the season when you've been so successful all year?

Performance by a Head Coach being Ejected:
Trent Johnson - Is it just me, or was that the most boring ejection you've ever seen? Can't we get some fireworks? If you're getting tossed during the NCAA Tournament, you damn well better get your money's worth. I want some Lou Piniella action or something.

1 Responses:

Dean said...

Russell, Because of work, I did not get to see nearly as much hoops as I would've liked. Thanks for the nice wrap-up.

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