Our Bracket Breakdown gets a little close to home…
The South Region is of some interest to us since that is Ohio State’s “Region”. It also has a few other top-rated teams such as Florida, Kansas, UCLA and Syracuse. Whoever emerges from this Region has a legitimate chance to be in the Finals and possibly win it all.
Rather than go through game-by-game in the Region, I’ll focus on five (5) topics; 1) the team likely to win region, 2) the region’s Cinderella team, 3) team most likely to be upset, 4) who is region’s unheralded player and 5) my Elite 8 picks. Envelopes, please…
Regional Favorite: Florida is my choice to win this Region. The Gators haven’t lost a game since December 2nd, and it’s unlikely they lose this week, until possibly the Finals. They are a well-balanced team, play decently on offense, but are a top notch defensive team. In their last 14 games, dating back to February 1st, they have allowed less than 60 points in 7 of them. A capable offense and a tough defense will carry this team to the Final Four.
Cinderella: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks could be wearing the Glass Slipper, at least until midnight. They aren’t rated well (RPI 55, SOS 315) but they come in as the #12 seed against VCU and the Rams are only a 6 point favorite. They have a decent defense and are efficient of on offense (1.16 PPP). And, a #11/#12 seed moving on is not unheard of; just ask VCU. Read More
For most of the second half they were dead in the water. Fans were already looking forward to Sunday’s game against Iowa.
But somehow, the Ohio State Buckeyes almost found a way.
Overcoming a 17-point deficit with seven minutes left, the Buckeyes forced overtime and nearly pulled off a stunning win over Michigan State on Tuesday, losing 72-68, at the Breslin Center.
Trailing 55-38 Ohio State turned up the pressure defensively and went on a 20-3 run, forcing turnover after turnover while finally getting hot offensively. One of the key plays was when Craft through an inbound pass off Payne’s backside and made an easy layup to cut the lead to one.
Ohio State actually had a chance to win at the end of regulation but a Shannon Scott layup rimmed out at the buzzer.
In the overtime Ohio State took it’s first lead since late in the first half when Sam “Slam” Thompson made two of three from the free-throw line, but Michigan State built a lead on 3-pointers from Kenny Kaminski and Payne. That lead quickly disappeared when Thompson hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1:13 left.
But Keith Appling hit a 3-pointer a s the shot clock wound down with 34 seconds left and OSU could not complete an overtime comeback.
Amazingly enough, OSU made the furious finish with Lenzelle Smith Jr., on the bench and Coach Thad Matta riding the hot hands of Thompson and Marc Loving.
Thompson finished with a team-high 18 points while Loving added 13. Aaron Craft and Scott each scored 9 for OSU. Appling led the Spartans (14-1, 3-0) with 20 points while Payne added 18 and Gary Harris 13. Read More
To say junior Trey McDonald is a key to Ohio State’s basketball success may sound like a major overstatement.
But considering the Buckeyes have only one other post (5 role) player, McDonald could and probably will be a top sub for Coach Thad Matta. With the departure of Evan Ravenel, OSU’s post game consists of McDonald, and the inconsistent Amir Williams.
But experience will be a major issue with McDonald as he appeared in just 19 games last season and scored 25 points. He appeared in 13 games as a freshman and scored two points.
Hometown: Battle Creek, Michigan
High School: Battle Creek Central
Position: Center (5)
High School Awards:
- 2011 All-Conference selection (Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference).
- 2011 All-City selection (Battle Creek).
- 2011 Battle Creek Central MVP.
McDonald is a three star athlete from Battle Creek Michigan, ranked the #18 player at his position in the 2011 recruiting class by scout.com. He averaged 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game during his Junior year – both were team leading. He was also a letterman in cross country for three years, and track for one season.
At the start of the week the NCAA announced a set of rules changes for men’s and women’s basketball that will take effect immediately for the 2013-2014 season. Rules changes happen every year and are often met with mixed reactions however this year’s rules changes will likely be met with enthusiasm by most fans who have been calling for these things for years. As someone who officiated high school basketball before I moved to Australia, I have often found myself with differing views on rules and officiating than the average fan. In today’s article I take a look at the rules changes from both the perspective of a fan and that of an official.
The first set of rules changes concern the use of replay in a game. In a move that should please lots of fans, officials will now for the first time be able to use the replay monitor to confirm a shot-clock violation or determine who caused the ball to go out of bounds on a deflection involving multiple players, however this rule only applies in the final two minutes or regulation or overtime. Fans have been calling for an increased use of replay for years and the deflected ball going out of bounds is probably one of the situations where fans have most wanted replay to be used; well it seems the NCAA actually listened to fans for a change and responded. In general I think this new expansion of the replay rules seems like it will be a good thing, both the shot clock violation and deflected ball plays are bang-bang plays that are tough to call in real time and which replay can greatly improve the accuracy of the call. The thing I do not like about this rule is that it only applies in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime. While I understand the need to keep replays from happening too often, this new rule just furthers the mistaken idea that the final minutes of the game are special and should be called differently than other parts of the game. Yes, an incorrect call made in the closing minutes gives the teams less time to respond and overcome that mistake but imagine the following situation: team A is in the middle of a big run early in the second half and has all the momentum and the crowd behind them when team B hits a big three pointer as the shot clock expires only to have the shot waived off due to a shot clock violation that turns out to be in error and which could have been fixed had the officials been able to go replay. Instead of quieting the crowd and disrupting team A’s momentum, team B is still on the wrong side of a scoring run and team A and its fans are probably even more fired up now and have even more momentum on their side; do you think team B would still say that the missed called was less important than one that might occur in the final two minutes?
The Bucks are coming home after an emotionally difficult loss to the Michigan State Spartans. Up next is a tougher-than-expected Iowa squad that may be looking to steal one in Columbus. Let’s take a glance.
School: University of Iowa
Location: Iowa City, IA
Student Population: 31,498 total, 20,574 undergrad
School Type: Public
Stadium: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Head Coach: Fran McCaffrey
Experience: 3rd year
Ok…..so they weren’t the only ones to lose this week but it’s always fun to say the number one team lost unless it’s the Buckeyes! This past week featured no newcomers to the dance but did feature some games that will surely mix things up in the Top 25 and probably make some room for one or two new teams. Looking ahead to this upcoming week two feature matchups put (9) Kansas traveling to meet our 7th ranked Buckeyes and (10) Illinois visiting (12) Missouri. There are some other interesting games as well so let’s dive in!
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (9-1) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 12/15 Butler, L 86-88 OT
Upcoming: 12/19 Mount Saint Mary’s & 12/21 Florida Atlantic
Indiana brought their home cooking to the road this week but couldn’t overcome Butler as they lost to the Bulldogs in OT! No worries though they face no one that can challenge them this week though.
College basketball hasn’t been friendly to Indiana Hoosier fans over the last few seasons. When it comes to hoops in Bloomington, there is no room for head coaches to breathe.
So when Tom Crean takes to the bench for the 4th year as the head Hoosier man, Indiana fans might be hoping that the Michigan native is on a short leash.
But with the top recruit of 2011 now on campus, and a very impressive 2012 class on it’s way, it looks like Crean is here to stay– for better or worse.
This afternoon we continue our preparation for the upcoming B1G season by previewing the one of the nations most beloved basketball schools. Ladies and Gentleman, The Indiana Hoosiers.
Welcome to the last liveblog of the 2010-2011 Basketball Season! Today’s game pits the 8 seed Butler Bulldogs and the 3 seed Connecticut Huskies who finished the season ranked 9th in the Big East.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the National Championship is a Pillowfight!
Come join all of your favorite bloggers as we watch these teams struggle for the highest honor in College Basketball. It should be quite the party!
The game starts at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, the LiveBlog will go at 8:30 PM (despite what the CoveritLive box says). Hope to see you all here!