Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Friday Night Lights Brooklyn Style – anatomy of an upset

March 20, 2016 Columns No Comments

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Friday evening saw a team from Texas victorious over a Big 12 opponent and two traditional football powers go at it. It wasn’t off tackle and screen passes. Rather, the ball screens and pressure defense was the order of the evening. The later doubleheader in the NCAA first round at Barclays Center saw Stephen F. Austin dominate West Virginia. In the final game of the night, Notre Dame used a strong second half to end michigan’s season.

Stephen F. Austin’s win brought to mind why a number of brackets have been shredded before the first weekend ended. Did you say Michigan State Final Four? Upsets have become the norm for several reasons.

  • Unfamiliarity. If a team plays a completely different style than the one you are accustomed to, it’s a problem. You may reside in a moderate-paced tempo league and face someone pushing the ball and trapping on defense. Four days or less preparation may not be enough.
  • Maturity. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins noted after his club was eliminated that a number of mid-majors have players staying for four years. Stephen F. Austin was a predominantly senior group. “On our level we get a lot of kids staying a year or two,” Huggins said. “There is a lot to be said for teams that keep their kids together four years.” It was also noted that a blue-chip 18 year old freshman may not have it as easy against a less-talented-but-seasoned 21-year-old Senior. Those years especially from a playing standpoint, make a difference.
  • Getting ready mentally. The mid-majors residing in lower seeds are hungry and playing with “house money.” Villanova’s Jay Wright saw his club face UNC Asheville in the opener. The Wildcats won by 30, but Wright noted, “that (Asheville) is a good team. This time of year if you do not bring your ‘A’ game you are going home.” Several West Virginia players admitted to taking Stephen F. Austin lightly. One wonders if the same situation happened with Baylor and Michigan State to name a few.

Stephen F. Austin’s 70-56 elimination of West Virginia saw a role reversal. The Mountaineers are well known for their pressure defense. SFA handled it, committing only seven turnovers for an outstanding 10 percent TO rate. On the other end they pressured the Big 12 representatives, forcing West Virginia into 22 turnovers and an astronomically high 31 percent TO rate.

Individually, 6-4 Senior Thomas Walkup, “the best player on the floor,” per SFA coach Brad Underwood, scored a game-high 33 points. Walkup’s versatility was displayed with team highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (four). To top it off he was 19 of 20 from the charity stripe.

Notre Dame was down a dozen to Michigan at the half of the final game. The Wolverines appeared to be in the driver’s seat and headed to the next round. The final twenty minutes saw the Irish, sparked by 6-8 V. J. Beachem, rally to advance. Beachem scored a game-high 18 points, adding six rebounds, leading the Irish to the 70-63 triumph. Notre Dame outscored Michigan 41-22 during that second half.

Given their affinity for the perimeter game, John Beilein’s club had more turnovers (seven) than free throw attempts (five). Actually the TO rate was a favorable 12 percent. The difference, as noted, the second half with offensive efficiency numbers to illustrate.

Michigan: Offensive efficiency
1st half: 128
2nd Half: 76
Game: 103

Notre Dame Offensive efficiency
1st half: 94
2nd half: 137
Game: 115

What it boiled down to was defense, especially from long range. After shooting 7 of 14 (50 percent) from downtown the first half, the Wolverines were 3 for 13 (23 percent) after intermission. Inside the arc was not much better as Mike Brey’s group limited Michigan to 15 of 36 (42 percent).

The Irish moved on with a second half that saw their scoring increase, but more important, the defense become more effective.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 26, 2017

March 27, 2017 by

In the latest edition of College Basketball Tonight, we break down the regional finals as the Final Four is all set. A pair of special guests join us to help break the games down.

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.