by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Unfortunately I am in a time crunch this week and unable to do much of a detailed investigation into the games in San Antonio. So a few scattershot thoughts on the upcoming finale to the season...
Duke vs. UConn - Emeka Okafor is clearly the most dominant defensive player in college basketball. But Shelden Williams of Duke isn't that far behind. He averaged 3 blocks a game this year - good for 9th in the nation, and the Xavier game demonstrated that he can be disruptive inside.
These teams are close to being mirror images of each other. Duke seems to be more prone to jump shots, with Dan Ewing, JJ Redick, and Chris Duhon (especially now) less able to score close to the hoop than the Huskies' Taliek Brown, Ben Gordon, and Rashad Anderson. As supporting evidence, 27% of Duke's points come from 3 point range compared to 24%…
by Ken Pomeroy on Saturday, March 27, 2004
Since 1974, every tournament has featured at least 2 overtime games. Thus far in the '04 edition there has only been one. It was Dayton/DePaul in the first round - and as OT games go, it wasn't very entertaining.
Oklahoma State/St. Joe's, Kansas/Georgia Tech, and Duke/UConn in the Final Four all present possibilities for bonus basketball.
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, March 24, 2004
I recently heard this from a sportswriter at a major newspaper (on a show featuring "competitive sports banter") with regards to St. Joe’s chances of making it to San Antonio…
They could only beat the 5th place team in the Big 12 [Texas Tech] by 5 points.
Most folks believe that the winner of the Oklahoma State/Pitt game – which should be the Cowboys – will beat the Hawks if SJU gets that far. With that in mind, let’s review the statement above. What was Texas Tech’s last loss before the NCAA Tournament? It was in the Big 12 Tournament. On a neutral court. By 5 points. To Oklahoma State.
In order to see why St. Joe’s should beat Wake Forest, let’s look at some numbers. I am going to present some data which shows points per possession – both allowed defensively and scored offensively averaged over the course of…
by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Check this space on Thursday for stuff on the St. Joe's/Wake Forest game with some tidbits you won't find anywhere else.
by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, March 21, 2004
After 4 days of wall-to-wall basketball, the field has been whittled to 16. The first round was as dull as it has ever been. There weren't any memorable moments. But the second round made it up for with upsets galore and a few games that came down to the final possession. The 1981 and 2000 tournaments were the only others where two #1 seeds failed to make it to the Sweet 16.
Below are some fairly random comments on each of the 16 teams that survived. To spice it up I have added the odds you could have got in Vegas before the season started on each team winning it all. 58 teams were listed then, and you got 12 to 1 odds on the field - all of the other 268 teams combined.
West Regional (Phoenix)
Connecticut (4 to 1)...UConn was the preseason favorite, and they may be the…
by Ken Pomeroy on Saturday, March 20, 2004
Sunday's game of the day is Mississippi State/Xavier. This is a rematch of a December 13th game in Starkville. MSU won that one 82-70, and Xavier guard Romain Sato, who leads the Muskies in scoring and rebounding, had one of his worst games of the year - 7 points & 7 boards.
December 13th is ancient history for Xavier. They were coming off consecutive losses to Ball State and Indiana. Now they are riding a 14-1 stretch.
Saint Joe's beats Texas Tech, and wins the battle of the boards to boot. Next up is Billy Packer's alma mater, Wake Forest. Now how sweet would that win be?
Wake provides a more athletic frontline than Texas Tech, but overall is a guard-dominated team. They have been struggling of late also. Should the Hawks win, a possible match-up against Oklahoma State awaits. The Cowboys are yet another smallish, guard-dominated team.
The game I am most looking forward to today is St. Joe's/Texas Tech. This game is a battle between overacheivers and underacheivers, the little guys vs. the big guys. The unheralded coach vs. the pompous jerk. The kids that aren't on TV vs. the kids that are. You get the idea.
It's no secret I am less than objective in this one. I adopted the Hawks early in the year (along with Georgia Tech and Air Force) and have followed them closely. It really bugs me that they are perceived as the underdog in this one, and moreover perceived as a long shot to make the Final 4, or even the Elite 8. It bugs me that Billy Packer decided to trash them on national TV in their finest moment as a basketball program. And he was just the first. Lately everybody with a microphone has piled on - although…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, March 19, 2004
The evening slate of games have produced much more intrigue than the daytime games. But this is how CBS sets it up, don't they?
Devin Harris has been held scoreless in the first half, where perennial Cinderella Richmond has a 32-25 halftime lead on Wisconsin.
Pacific is proving they were the best of the Big West in leading Providence 37-33 at the half.
But the most shocking development is that FAMU has posted 52 points on Kentucky in the first half.
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, March 18, 2004
Its a final, Syracuse 80, BYU 75. Mark Bigelow missed a good look at a 3 that would have given the Cougars a lead. McNamara finishes with 43, good for 21st on the single game tournament record list. BYU coach Steve Cleveland got caught sleeping when he failed to remove Araujo after his 3rd foul early in the 2nd half. Cleveland had a similar lapse in the MWC semi-final loss to Utah when he was unaware of his own team's foul total in the final minute of that game, and Utah was able to run out the clock for a victory.
Update...BYU rebounds a McNamara miss. They take a timeout with 32 seconds to go, and can pretty much take the last shot if they desire. Still 77-75 Syracuse.
Final minute...Araujo inexplicably attempts a three-pointer and draws air. Syracuse ball with 47 seconds to go, up 2.
Update...1:36 to go.…