13) This is the state of college basketball these days:
In February, North Carolina needed couple of games to update their resume; they added mid-week non-conference home games with Northeastern, Marquette, Won one, lost one. Didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.
When Carolina beat Northeastern 82-62 February 17, Huskies’ sophomore PG Tyson Walker scored 27 points, and showed up on the radar of the big $$$ schools who like to poach players from low and mid-major schools. Happens all the time now.
Makes college basketball a lot more like baseball, but I’m an Oakland A’s fan, and it drives me batty when players bolt for greener pa$ture$. Loyalty is in scarce supply these days.
Walker averaged 18.8 ppg and 4.8 assists/game as a sophomore at Northeastern, was named the CAA’s Defensive Player of the Year; he committed to Michigan State this weekend.
Not sure what Northeastern is going to do for a point guard next year, none of the national media seemed too interested in that.
12) UCLA 88, Alabama 78 OT:
— Crimson Tide went 11-25 on foul line, in an overtime loss.
— UCLA scored 23 points in the 5:00 overtime.
— This is Mick Cronin’s 12th NCAA tourney, his first regional final.
11) Baylor 62, Villanova 51:
— Villanova led 30-23 at halftime.
— Baylor was +10 in turnover margin (16-6)
— Teams combined to make 6-36 on the arc.
10) Arkansas 72, Oral Roberts 70:
— ORU led 46-34 with 15:24 left in the game.
— Eric Musselman is 5-3 in NCAA tourney games; his team trailed by 10+ points in all five of the wins.
— Oral Roberts were almost first-ever #15-seed to make a regional final.
9) Gonzaga 83, Creighton 65:
— Gonzaga is 29-0, has one win by fewer than 10 points.
— Zags took 33 shots inside arc, made 25 of them (75.8%)
— Gonzaga had 23 assists on 32 made field goals.
8) Oregon State 65, Loyola Chi 58:
— Beavers are 2nd-ever #12-seed (Missouri ’02) to make a regional final.
— OSU held Ramblers to 33.3% from the floor.
— On February 20, Oregon State was 11-11; they’ve gone 9-1 since then.
7) Michigan 76, Florida State 58:
— Surprisingly easy win for the Wolverines.
— FSU shot only 40%, looked lost on offense.
— Michigan scored 81.3 ppg in first three tourney wins.
6) USC 82, Oregon 68:
— Trojans made 10-17 shots on arc, scored 1.22 ppp.
— In two games vs Oregon this year, Trojans led by 19-21 at the half.
— Pac-12 is 12-2 in NCAA Tournament, including this game.
5) Houston 62, Syracuse 46:
— Cougars won their last ten games.
— Syracuse shot 28% from floor, 5-23 on arc.
— Average total in the four Saturday games: 126.5.
4) Memphis 77, Mississippi State 64:
— Tigers win the NIT; in their last two games, they made 24-49 3-pointers.
— This game was 33-33 at halftime.
— Memphis didn’t play any seniors; they should be good next year.
3) If Houston beats Oregon State tonight, they’ll have made the Final Four by winning four games in their region, against the #15-10-11-12 seeds. That doesn’t happen often.
2) Indiana Hoosiers hired alum Mike Woodson as their basketball coach; Woodson coached the Atlanta Hawks for six years, the Knicks for three more; he scored 14 ppg in his 11-year NBA career. His last head coaching gig was 2014; he’s been an assistant coach since.
Utah poached coach Craig Smith from in-state rival Utah State to be its next head man. Few days ago, Smith told his Utah State players not to have any concerns about him leaving- he was staying right where he was, sure as sure could be.
Money does strange things to people.
1) I like the idea they enacted this year; the 2nd weekend of the tournament being Saturday-Tuesday instead of Thursday-Sunday. Not sure what next year’s schedule will be like, maybe no one does; when you change the schedule once every 35 years, people get used to the way it was.