NEW YORK – The first semifinal in the East Regional saw Baylor and South Carolina meeting in the Madison Square Garden opener. The night cap would feature Wisconsin and Florida.
First, notes and observations from the opener.
NEW YORK – Frank Martin’s teams have always defended well. It is a priority and ingrained in his coaching genes. This SEC season, the Gamecocks led the conference with a 93 defensive efficiency. The offensive end saw a pedestrian 100 efficiency, 11th-best in the 14-team conference. In the NCAA Tournament to date, it has been the offense coming alive.
A 93-73 first round win saw Martin’s team ring up a superlative 129 offensive efficiency. Marquette showed a 101 on their end. The number was above average on the defensive end for South Carolina, but not a serious point of contention given their work on offense. In that 88-81 victory over Duke that punched their ticket to New York, the Gamecocks rang up another impressive number on the offensive end, a 119 efficiency. Once again they allowed an above-average 109 to the Blue Devils. That win saw the credit go to the defense.
16 teams now remain in the NCAA Tournament, and chances are, there is at least one or two among them that you did not expect. And likewise, there is probably a team or two that you expected to be alive that is not.
It was that kind of weekend. The first round might not have had much in the way of drama or upsets, but the second round made up for that, including on Sunday where two No. 2 seeds went down. One of them was a team many felt had a case for a No. 1 seed. Ted Sarandis and I talk about all of this and much more on College Basketball Tonight.
Welcome to the latest edition of Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis. In this part one of two, we look at some of the action on the hardwood during Championship Week, as well as coaching news.
We start with the Big East Tournament, where Ted covered an evening doubleheader that saw Xavier pick up a crucial win and Creighton also move on. Earlier in the day, Ted saw North Carolina and Duke win in the ACC Tournament across town, which sets up a big rivalry game in the semifinals on Friday night.
March Madness is here, and it’s only February.
The first NCAA Division I conference tournament opened Monday night, as the Atlantic Sun-always near the top of the alphabetical D-I conference standings listings-also tipped off the tournament season. One of the few conferences that still gets it right-if unintentionally-with a manageable number of teams, the A-Sun’s eight-team league makes for an event with perfect symmetry starting with four quarterfinal games.
All Atlantic Sun tourney games are played at the site of the higher-seeded team, and indeed the home teams were mainly successful Monday night. Top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast made sure No. 8 Stetson wouldn’t be making another surprise run in the tourney again this year with an 87-57 whupping, No. 2 Lipscomb hammered 7 seed New Jersey Tech 97-66 and third-seeded North Florida edged city rival No. 6 Jacksonville 77-74. The only mild upset came in the 4/5 game as the lower seed Kennesaw State edged fourth-seeded South Carolina Upstate 80-78 for the Owls’ second-ever D-I postseason tourney win. … Continue Reading
The Tigers’ repeated close calls in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year have almost become a cruel joke. Even when it looks like they can’t lose, they still do.
Clemson led Virginia Tech by two points in the final 20 seconds, denied two Hokies chances at the rim and just needed another stop or, at worst, to limit them to no more than two on their final possession. Sure enough, Seth Allen hit a three-pointer with 3.8 seconds left. Tech won 71-70.
The ACC has unquestionably supplanted the Big 12 as the toughest league in college basketball this season, but while the two conferences continue to share billing on ESPN’s Big Monday package, the former continues to serve as a warm-up to the latter considering the regularly memorable games the Big 12 provides on this night.
While Louisville and Syracuse played a not-always-pretty overtime game that nonetheless went down to the wire in regulation before the Cardinals finally prevailed, Kansas and West Virginia rendered that as an undercard with another classic Monday night finish. And, as it seems to so often, the Jayhawks came out with the upper hand. … Continue Reading
Seton Hall started off Wednesday making news for reasons any school would rather not, and just over midway through the first half of its game against Providence on Wednesday, the news wasn’t looking very good, either.
The Pirates were down 15 points to the Friars after just 11 minutes of play, but the Hall’s day got better soon after. Seton Hall pulled within two points by halftime, withstood a nip-and-tuck second half to get to overtime, and then received a game-winning jumper by Myles Powell with eight seconds left in the extra period for a key 72-70 win. … Continue Reading
The Big 12 displayed once again on Saturday how its depth from top to bottom the past few years has been peerless. Unfortunately, Saturday also showed how the league might be destined for yet another year of predominantly early exits from the NCAA Tournament.
On a Saturday where top 10 teams and favorites in general were getting knocked down left and right, the Big 12 was the biggest winner when it came to slaying giants. Three of its teams that appeared to be sitting on the NCAA Tournament fence now possessing big-time road wins with Kansas State stinging second-ranked Baylor 56-54, Iowa State winning at No. 3 Kansas 92-89 in overtime and Oklahoma State winning 82-75 at No. 7 West Virginia.
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The road to the Big 12 regular season title goes through Kansas. Still. Again.
If there was any doubt about that this season, it was eliminated Wednesday night, when the Jayhawks held off Baylor 73-68 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. The game was a battle for first place in the Big 12 standings, and so much more with two of the top three ranked teams in the country.
It wasn’t a matchup of 1-vs.-2, but a game pairing the second- and third-ranked teams in the country was a more than reasonable facsimile. The game included 11 ties and 10 lead changes, and neither team led by more than eight points.
… Continue Reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.
We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.
Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout
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.