Thanks to all who participated in yesterday’s contest. Answers were submitted for Adam Morrison, Keydren Clark, and Brion Rush. But most people had the correct answer – Eastern Washington’s Rodney Stuckey had the highest point total in a regulation game with 45 against Northern Arizona on January 5. Erik Kreutner submitted his e-mail first, so he gets the game, which is a small consolation for his Blue Devils being eliminated from the tournament.
Now here are a few disjointed tidbits about last night’s games.
LSU 62, Duke 54 [71 possessions] – We got a look at a great offense at its worst here. Credit Tyrus Thomas for shutting down the middle and Garrett Temple for shutting down J.J. Redick. Luke Winn did a nice statistical preview before the game. LSU is much like Florida State offensively, a team that doesn’t much care for the 3, and thus is not as punishable by what Duke’s D does best. Sure enough, LSU only made two 3s, but it didn’t matter. Of course, the story wasn’t LSU’s offense nearly as much as it was their defense.
Memphis 80, Bradley 64  – If I didn’t have any knowledge of what teams did before the tournament, I’d say the best teams are Florida and Memphis. Memphis has only played seeds 9, 13 and 16, but none of those games have been in doubt after halftime. Bradley was held to 37.5% eFG. Thanks to the CBS research department, we can add another statistical extreme to Joey Dorsey – he has been T’d up more than any other player in the nation this season, garnering his 7th technical in this game courtesy of Ted Valentine.
Texas 74, West Virginia 71  – The two games in this round that I most wanted to see happened to be played in the same time slot. I Possessographed this game (below), and it didn’t disappoint. WVU scored on just five of its first 23 possessions. But all of those scores were 3-balls and the Mountaineers found itself down by only 8. They would make only one 2-pointer in the first half.
In the end, Texas had an offensive rebound advantage of 56.6% to 9.7%. But the Mountaineers went 15 of 33 from 3 and only committed 8 turnovers to stay competitive. Give Rick Barnes a bunch of credit for letting his team play out the last frantic possession without a timeout, but somehow I doubt he would have done that if his team was behind instead of tied. Give John Beilein credit for getting more out of his team than any other coach in the country.
UCLA 73, Gonzaga 71  – It only took 33 games, but the Zags finally earned my respect. They were the better team for 38 minutes, getting the best of one of the better defenses in the land and playing some legitimate D themselves. If Erroll Knight was on the floor in the last two minutes, Gonzaga would have moved on to meet Memphis.