Daily Dribble: NCAA Tournament Day Four

    
March 18th, 2007

- Amazingly, all of this year's Sweet Sixteen teams came into last week within the Top 22 of the CHN Top 50. The "lowest" ranked team was Tennessee at #22. In the AP and Coaches Poll, they were all within the Top 34.

- A lot of talk this year about how the "mid-majors" got slighted by the committee. Looks like all the talk was right. When BCS teams and the other multi-bid leagues (A10, CAA, Horizon, MVC, MWC, and WAC) meet each other, each has split the 10 affairs. This means that despite the fact the committee favored BCS teams at about a 3 to 1 rate compared to the other leagues, the other leagues have fared just as well.

- The 10 games:

First Round
Pittsburgh over Wright St (BCS)
Texas over New Mexico St (BCS)
Vanderbilt over GW (BCS)
UNLV over Georgia Tech (2nd Tier)
VCU over Duke (2nd Tier)

Second Round
Pitt over VCU (BCS)
Ohio State over Xavier (BCS)
Butler over Maryland (2nd Tier)
UNLV over Wisconsin (2nd Tier)
SIU over Virgina Tech (2nd Tier)

- Not only did the "2nd tier" schools split the 10 games against their BCS opponents, the 2nd tier schools lost two more of their games in OT. In 8 of those 10 games, BCS schools were the higher ranked team.. further proving how the BCS schools were overrated by the committee.

- Give credit to Kentucky for keeping it close against Kansas. Their plan of pounding it down low to Randolph Morris worked well.. but ultimately the Jayhawks have too much firepower. Morris finished with 22 points and 8 boards.. and finished the last 4 games of the season with 4 of his best overall games.

- In the last 2 games, UNLV's Wendell White is 16 of 24 from the floor and he's averaging 20.5 per game. Amazingly he hadn't broke 50% shooting in the 8 games leading into the tournament, nor had he hit 20 in the last 9 games.

- It will be interesting to see how Wisconsin fares next year. In the last couple of weeks, Tucker and Taylor basically carried the team when it mattered. Its hard to find another player on the roster that will be able to have a similar impact next year.

- Even though they never had much of a chance against Memphis (even after Douglas-Roberts hurt his ankle), Nevada's Nick Fazekas finished his career doing something he's done for the past four years: Score 20 points. The senior big man ended up hitting 20 exactly 20 times this year, and had 21 double-doubles.

- Give USC credit for quieting critics who thought they were perhaps the most overseeded team in the tournament. Despite being 20th in our ranking (as low as 34th in the Coaches Poll), the Trojans weren't well liked by the computers. They came into today 40th in the RPI and 39th in the Sagarin. They pretty much owned Texas from the tip, scoring with a well-balanced attack. All 5 starters scored in double-digits which was more than enough to offset Kevin Durant's 30 point effort.

- Winthrop's good run came to an end at the hands of a hot shooting Oregon squad. The Ducks hit 11 of 23 from long-range (48%) compared to just 8 of 31 for Winthrop (26%). Aaron Brooks had 5 of those Oregon threes, the most bombs he's hit in a game since back in January.

- Tennessee deserves credit for advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, but questions will remain about whether the Vols would have advanced had JR Reynolds not twisted his ankle. UVA's scoring guard had 22 points at the half, but just couldn't muster up any offense in the 2nd stanza. Tennessee now faces Ohio State, a rematch of a very competitive January game. Ohio State won 68-66 in Columbus, a game in which Oden dominated with 24 points and 15 boards but in which the Buckeyes didn't play to well otherwise.

- Dribble