Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday's early observations ...

Observations from Saturday's early NCAA tournament games:

Don’t let Xavier’s near upset of Ohio State fool you into thinking the Buckeyes will be easily eliminated soon. Xavier was a difficult matchup for 7-foot center Greg Oden because it pulled him away from the basket with Justin Cage’s 3-point shooting. The opponents the Buckeyes will meet from now on probably will match Oden big-on-big, and that always will be an advantage for Ohio State.

Boston College forward Jared Dudley set the best screen of the season Saturday, obliterating Patrick Ewing Jr. on the wing to set up a 3-pointer by Tyrese Rice. If somebody had done that against Ewing’s daddy and the Hoyas of yesteryear, payback would have been painful.

Perhaps the ACC coaches were right. Perhaps theirs was the best conference in the nation this season. But North Carolina coach Roy Williams said teams had to prove it in the NCAA tournament, where the conference has struggled against mid-major competition. Maryland’s loss to Butler makes the score Mid-majors 3, ACC 2 so far. Virginia Commonwealth (Duke) and UNLV (Georgia Tech) also have eliminated ACC teams.

Great win for Texas A&M. Louisville was hot and playing in front of an overwhelmingly friendly crowd in Lexington, Ky.

The ability of Boston College to succeed with almost no production outside of its top three players has been amazing. The Eagles led No. 2 seed Georgetown 30-26 on Saturday at halftime. Tyrese Rice, Sean Marshall and Jared Dudley combined for 29 of those 30 points. The bad news for the Eagles is that Marshall and Dudley won’t be back next season. – Ken Tysiac


JAT said...


I really think the ACC flameout had a lot to do with some weak coaches.

K had a talent drop off and Gary got a lot out of a dysfunctional bunch that was young at the PG and met the anti-Maryland in controlled Butler. K is great, Gary is good. Roy is, of course, Roy.

Aside from that, you'd have to say that the rest of the ACC coaching ranks really did not show much in the way of prep or FOCUSED motivation OR bench coaching.

All thing being equal -- and they almost never are -- coaching will win you a game or two in the NCAAs.

That is why no one should be shocked by USC's win over Texas. Floyd is a good coach, Barnes only fair. And that is why the Heels should have a clear path to the Final Four now. Tom Izzo was by far the toughest, brightest coach in their bracket.

With a week to prepare look for coaching to really have an impact next weekend.