Archive for the ‘march madness’ Category

The 2010 NCAA March Madness Archive

In basketball blogging, march madness on February 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

This blog represents my attempt to cover the 2010 NCAA March Madness. It was a great year, made exciting by the phenomenal play of several “Cinderellas” – the most prominent of these being the Butler Bulldogs, finalists in an epic coming out party in their hometown .

I hope you will peruse the entirety of Yesterday’s Hoops for a comprehensive flashback of the 2010 Tournament.

Thanks to all of the thousands of followers for a great experience.

Heartbreak! Butler Hits the Wall, Scheyer, Singler and Smith Deliver for Coach K

In march madness on April 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm

A great final.

Duke 61, Butler 59

Butler did everything they had to do to win this one – kept it close, got Duke’s big man Brian Zoubek in foul trouble, played ferocious D, forced Duke to turn to only their stars for points – and the Bulldogs even got the ball into their own star’s hands, the Horizon Conference POY’s hands, with 13 seconds left.

Gordon Heyward, after his signature behind the back dribble, was pushed outside. He tried then to go baseline and hit the game-winner, but his high-arcing shot rimmed out.

Heyward was going for it all the way, and it looks like even the Duke players knew it – Zoubek drifted to the baseline to double-team leaving Matt Howard open under the basket, with 3 seconds on the clock.

Had Heyward dumped it, would they have had the lead? We were screaming at him to pass it. (sigh).

Instead of course, Duke rebounds Heyward’s miss. Butler fouls. A made FT makes it a 2pt. game. And a missed one left Heyward with the chance only to make a desperation heave – a shot which tantalizingly hit the backboard square and then the front rim hard …

and with a CLANG! Butler’s storybook season came to an end.

YH does feel the zebras favored Duke, and particularly Scheyer, on exactly three calls: Scheyer got continuation at the 7 minute mark on a foul that’s clearly on the floor; the charge called on Hayward when Scheyer was definitely moving (noted by broadcaster Clark Kellog) took away a 3 point play and gave Duke the ball; and Scheyer got away with offensive goaltending on the putback they praised.

But the Blue Devils weren’t lucky in this one, they were good.

Brilliant tactical move by Coach K at the end of the game to switch D’s on the inbound pass, forcing Butler to burn their final timeout, unable to get the ball in bounds. Not only did it defuse Butler’s offense striving for the winning bucket, but without that timeout, Butler had no play after Duke’s made FT at the end of the game. That was a crucial switch up at a critical moment that paid off huge for Coach K – master of endgame and inbound. (By contrast, Scheyer and Singler punked the Butler D twice on inbounds plays for easy twos).

Butler couldn’t get Matt Howard started which was critical because he was getting open looks. The Bulldogs struggled to hold onto the ball in the second half, and too often got jammed up by the 7’1″ Zoubek and Singler in the paint.

The Devils – and particularly Singler – matched the defensive effort of the Bulldogs with blocks and steals aplenty, and they won this scrap by making shots that Butler missed. The Blue Devils kept their cool.

Congratulations to the Duke Blue Devils, NCAA March Madness 2010 Champions.

and to the runner-up Butler Bulldogs – for the last several weeks you were America’s team. We fell in love with you and admired every minute of tough team defense. Thank you so very much for an amazing, valiant, impressive effort to win it all against the odds.

Brad Stevens, YOU ARE THE MAN!

[By the way, Stevens’ substitutions down the stretch were stunning – repeatedly, on a play-by-play basis, bringing Jukes in on offense and Howard back for D resulted in a four point turnaround at one stage – tactically brilliant].

YH thanks all you college hoops fans for joining us –

hey stick around! We are covering the NBA Playoffs next!

so subscribe!

Butler versus Duke in the Final: We said it back in February, Butler’s Better Than Duke

In march madness on April 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Yesterday’s Hoops is so lucky that the first year we exist, the March Madness was filled with great play, upsets, drama and fun times – a great year, thanks for joining us.

And hey, do go back and look at our entries since February 10, when we launched, up to now. It has been a real ball and we’ve been right on point. We really hope you will subscribe based on our quality and join us for coverage of the NBA Playoffs.

That said, in terms of college ball, after a year of amazing play and upsets galore, it comes down to a Butler team that deserves it and a Duke team that doesn’t.

Butler 52, Michigan State 50

Butler continued to play team defense and score by moving the ball inside and out. Perimeter D was again awesome and focused defense on Durrell Summers, who was held to14 points.

“A lot of people want to shoot the last shot in the big game,” Butler G Ronald Nored said. “We want to guard the last shot.”

sick. And again, we believe Butler is better than Duke and said it weeks ago.

Yesterday’s Hoops, February 21, 2010

When YH said it, back on February 21st, everybody made fun of us – not laughing so much now, are ya?

Duke 78, WVU 57

A lot of people believe that half the Final was decided on  selection day.  And everybody who knows March Madness knows it. It’s funny to read and watch the rationalizers and TV hosts – yeah, like Krzyzewski needs sympathy – ha!

The haters leaned on Duke so hard today – primarily for the primrose path they had to get to the Final – that finally even Coach K had to acknowledge the din: “If we’re going to be despised or hated by anybody because we go to school and we want to win, you know what, that’s your problem.”

But then, in a typical move of cover-my-ass that is why so many hate Duke’s Head Man, Coach K also said today, “If Butler wins, it would be a huge exclamation point on parity.”

Hey, Coach K?

YH hopes Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs beat you hollow.

And that the NCAA Tourney expands to 96 teams so we don’t have to keep seeing you at this time of year.

Coach Krzyzewski Does It Again And Is Immediately Favored

In march madness on March 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Duke 78, Baylor 71

The Blue Devils needed help from the refs to close this one out, but Coach K remains a formidable March Master.

Duke’s much maligned big men have grown enormously in heart. They exhibit markedly increased effort in the tournament.

What’s scary is the Blue Devils are winning despite a tourney-long shooting slump by Jon Scheyer, who was 5 for 12 in this one, including a late 3 which Dookies are calling clutch, but which could also arguably be called “in garbage time” since it followed the advantage of the 2-shot personal tech …

and he was 5 of 5 from the line.

Just tuning his slumping shooting arm with those FTs, was Scheyer. Will he go off against the Mountaineers? All signs say yes.

Duke looks better than they have looked all year. Huggie Bear has his work cut out for him.

And finally, six weeks ago we wrote:

Butler is Better Than Duke

– Yesterday’s Hoops, February 21, 2010

YH published it and then floated it on comment pages and by chatting on numerous chatboards, starting back on February 21st -and everybody made fun of us.

Now that our bracket is totally shot, one bright spot for YH fans is that the two teams could meet in Indianapolis – on Butler’s home turf – to prove it!

March Madness 2010 has to be one of the Top Five in NCAA Tournament History, not for Fantastic Finishes, but for great fundamental basketball and excellent defense.

Izzo’ed! Bruce Pearl Finally Meets His Match – the refs?

In march madness on March 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Bruce Pearl became the latest NCAA head coach to be tactically deconstructed by Tom Izzo in the closing minutes.

But the ending of this one was marred by a questionable penalty – called on the Vols’ defensive star J.P. Prince – that decided the outcome of the game.

Michigan State 70, Tennessee 69

Tom Izzo led his Spartans against a well-coached Tennessee team that emphasized defense. Led by J.P. Prince against Ohio State in the S16, the Vols played enthusiastic, inspired ball to shut down the Buckeyes. Prince stuffed ET. It was awesome.

The Volunteers came out equally strong on D against the Spartans and looked good on offense late in the second half.  Tennessee was on their way to taking the lead using ball movement and round scoring – with five guys in double figures.

But right in the middle of their 11-2 run to briefly take the lead, five minutes from the end of the game, with the Vols up 1, Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo ran a full court play off a made jumper – spread court, designed to send F Draymond Green rumbling into the paint alone – where he took a hammering on the way up and managed to bank a hard layup off the glass.

And 1.

Stopped the bleeding. Killed the pace.

The game was trending toward Tennessee – this was between the right-handed banker by Hopson and the dribble penetration down the left by Prince for the layup that tied it at 66.

Forced to the bench for most of the half with 3 fouls, Izzo had just put Green in – at  the TV timeout two minutes before, the 7 minute mark – and, with the first controllable ball, he had cleared room to use Green’s size on offense and he scored 3 points the hard way and brought the pace to a screeching halt.

That’s Tom Izzo using a key player forced to the bench effectively. He immediately pulled Green out after the free throw.

With the game back and forth from there out, Izzo’s final three timeouts, at 2 minutes, 12 seconds and :01.8 – were all equally effective and precise.

The finish was a taut wire, back and forth, including, not ironically, Green’s 4th – that sent Scotty Hopson – 58.8% FTs, so preferred – to the line.

Down 69-68, Tennessee would be capable of tying the game at 69 with the first FT and of taking the lead with the second.

Note that Izzo called timeout only after the first – swish – that tied the game.

His timeout not only served to ice but allowed Izzo to design a play off the rebound based on Pearl’s substitutions. Izzo knew he had a size advantage from the outset. They had just used it effectively with  Green.

Hoping for the same on the break on the miss they went – fast into the spread court. Hopson misses and Korie Lucious grabs the board.

Turning, he sees the same spread floor, full court play, Green screaming for the ball,  but Morgan getting to the painted area in quick strides.

Had the team been in the backcourt for a trap d set and the Volunteers been able to foul immediately, the Spartans would have been at the line with something like seven seconds left, but they made fouling in the backcourt impossible – seconds dripped off the clock as two passes put the ball in Morgan’s hands in the box, ready to go up strong.

Tennessee’s defensive star J.P. Prince, who had anticipated the play from the weakside, leapt into the air to prevent Morgan from going up uncontested.

Morgan shudder-pumped before going up and, on the way down, Prince’s elbow caught the ball, freeing it, before both  players hands got to the ball – and Morgan was bumped by Brian Williams.

The refs whistled Prince.  Slow-mo shows a questionable call.

[update: reader’s complaining the foul is on Williams should note it was charged to Prince. The worst of it is, if you look at the last five minutes of this game, the refs were letting ’em play, until those two calls on Green and Prince].

So, with the score tied, J.P. Prince was called for a foul in the paint that sent Morgan to the line with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.

Morgan made the first and after Tennessee’s timeout, purposefully missed the second – forcing the Vols to rebound and call time –

leaving the Volunteers having to in-bound 90 feet away from the basket  after their final timeout with 1.6 on the clock.

That’s how Tom Izzo gets it done.

Durrell Summers again led all scorers with 21. Morgan and Green added 13 a piece, but this was a defensive battle all the way, with  matchups and tough calls making the difference.

Great game Spartans!

And congratulations to the Tennessee Volunteers in defeat for a well-fought effort to the Elite Eight in March Madness 2010.

Butler Gets Home Final Four and Morgantown’s Hometown Huggins Makes Good

In march madness on March 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm

“Told Ya!”

Butler 63, Kansas State 56

The Bulldogs soundly beat a very good K-State club with incredible hustle and intense defense in the closing minutes, after dominating the game with a hermetic seal Butler has made its trademark of the tournament.

Of particular quality was guard-play defense.

You can’t drive on the Bulldogs … and tonight, they proved just as hard to score on from the outside – forcing K-State’s Jacob Pullen into contested, outrageous 35-footers.

And again, they ably prevented The Beard or his teammate PG Denis Clemente from getting inside, in the same way they stalked the ‘Cuse. Butler is for real. Playing great fundamental basketball.

Now, in a twist of scheduling, the Bulldogs find their program peaking in the NCAA Tourney in a year that March Madness ends in Indianapolis, their home – where they will play the remainder of their Final Four in front of a very partisan crowd seeking a storybook ending to an incredible season.

Hats off to the Butler Bulldogs on the occasion of their first Final Four! You earned every bit of it with hard work, sound basketball I.Q. and near-perfect execution.

and in the other Regional ….

W. Virginia University 73, Kentucky 66

The Wildcats never found their rhythm in this game, opening o/6 from 2pt. range and struggling horrifically from the field in general. The WVU defense played well.

Wall and Cousins never established the inside-outside game and the Mountaineer D collapsed lanes, faced-up perimeter shooters and hounded the ‘Cats throughout. It was theirs to win, up 7 – 10 pts. most of the game.

On offense, Da Sean Butler was joined in the consistent scoring by G Joe Mazzula and strong inside play and double figures from Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks with 12 and 10 each.

The Mountaineer offense was operating on all cylinders, rotating the ball, finding the open man, making transition baskets and outscoring Kentucky. The Wildcats were outscored despite holding the rebounding edge 44 – 32, a stat padded by the ‘Cats having to follow up their own misses.

Eventually, the Mountaineers wore out the ‘Cats and late in the game, John Wall fouled out.

Kentucky pulled within 4 during the last minute of trap-d-breaking/free-throw-shooting contest. And at last, after struggling all season to put teams away, the Mountaineers managed to win without sending it into overtime, which occurred numerous times at the end of the regular season and in the Big East conference tournament.

No issues this time, as they got it done in regulation under the man they call Huggie Bear – a Morgantown, West Virginia, native son.

Congratulations to Mountaineer Head Coach Bob Huggins  who outcoached his opponents and critics, withstood the loss of his starting point guard and overcame the favored Kentucky Wildcats to lead West Virginia University to the Final Four for the first time in half a century.

Prince Smothers ET and Thus Bruce Pearl, Giant-Killer, Strikes Thrice and Joins the Spartans, Bears and Devils in the Elites

In march madness on March 27, 2010 at 8:41 am

Tennessee 76, Ohio State 73

After an epic battle between teams that met three years ago in the same game – J.P. Prince stuffed Evan Turner’s last second, desperation 3-pt. attempt and Ohio State’s run at a title using only five guys came to a screeching halt.

Credit goes first to Vols Head Coach Bruce Pearl, the Giant-Killer, who has now taken down Bill Self and Kansas, John Calipari and Kentucky and Evan Turner and Ohio State using a tactical approach – methodological, executed to perfection and designed in specific to fit each context.

Against Ohio State, Pearl pushed his defense to force the tempo and physicality of the game, saddling David Lighty with two fouls early and forcing Ohio State head Coach Thad Matta to turn to a bench he has famously failed to work. It was a perfect plan.

Despite the lack of minutes, the Ohio State bench produced – when back-up guard Jeremie Simmens went 3-4 from 3pt. range in substitution for Lighty –

but with epic myopia Matta went straight back to the starting five in the second half and rode his horses to the bitter end.

Out of rhythm, nobody could hit but Turner, who scored 21 of his 31 in the second half, but couldn’t come up with the late-game heroics for which he has become known.

The weight was borne by J.P. Prince to defend Evan Turner in the end, and the job he did was beautiful to watch.

Prince remarked after the game:  “I said on offense, ‘They’ll take care of it; I’ll save it all for defense, that’s all I did. I knew that last two minutes I was going to make them work no matter what. I know nobody wanted it more than I did.”

Congrats to Prince, Goins, Maze, Coach Pearl and the rest of the Tennessee Vols defense for their execution of Ohio State and the idea that a starting five running 40 minutes all year can possibly win the tournament.

Duke 70, Purdue 57

Coach K rambles on with Smith, Scheyer and Singler leading the way.

Baylor 72, St. Mary’s 49

Tweety Carter and the Bears roll on, crushing the dreams of the small time Gaels by controlling Samhan the Big Man from San Ramon.

Baylor is round and has a big man of their own – which by YH’s estimation means they have what it takes to beat Duke, but … are they out of steam?

[but, our estimation also has us

bracket flat busted – what a year!]

Congrats in defeat to the St. Mary’s Gaels, though, on a great tourney!

We loved the attitude on Omar, and the team was fun to watch. Well done.

Michigan State 59, University of Northern Iowa 52

Tom Izzo. Tom Izzo. Tom Izzo. Tom Izzo. Tom Izzo. [Judd Heathcote]

end of story.

Butler Busts Thru the ‘Cuse Frontline, K-State and Xavier Double OT Classic, Mountaineers Don’t Need the Truck

In march madness on March 26, 2010 at 9:19 am

Are you scared of Butler yet?

Butler 63, Syracuse 59

Head Coach Brad Stevens’ Butler Bulldogs were well prepared for Boeheim’s Orangemen. Butler cracked the 2-3 zone and held the ‘Cuse to under 60 points with suffocating defense.

Leading most of the way, Butler succumbed to a heavy push by Rautin, Johnson and the Orange in the 2nd in which ‘Cuse took over and held a four point edge. But in the closing minutes, the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run to keep Syracuse at bay and head toward their first ever Elite Eight matchup.

Critical made 3’s – one an insane shooter’s roll that back-rimmed, front-rimmed and bounced high before caroming off the backboard and through, by Veansley – and another dead-swish by Nored were the keys to the end of the game. Horizon Conference Player of the Year Gordon Hayward did heavy damage in the second half, balancing sophomore guard Shelvin Mack’s 14 in the first.

Victory against their next opponent means the Bulldogs play in the Final Four Back HOME Again in Indiana – are you scared yet?

Kansas St. 101, Xavier 96 in Double OT

The Jordan Crawford Coming Out Party was finally brought to a halt by Frank Martin’s Kansas State squad led by Jacob “Fear the Beard” Pullen, who was deadly from long range and at the line.

Puerto Rican Sensation Denis Clemente also played a brilliant game.

The young point guard from Bayaramon’s poorest district was cool under pressure, scoring 21 of 25 in the second half and extra periods.

Clemente also nailed late free throws to seal it after an exhausting 45 minutes plus in which Xavier’s Jordan Crawford and Terrell Holloway refused to say die.

The 2010 NCAA Tournament will rightfully be remembered as Crawford’s coming out party for the amazing, hanging, scoop shot finger-roll – that he seems to have invented – which he used twice.

see it here

But no one will soon forget Crawford’s long range three to tie this game at the end of the first OT – it had to have been a 35-footer and nothing but net.

YH extends congrats in defeat to Xavier’s Jordan Crawford, Terrell Holloway and new head coach Chris Mack who called this double-OT classic, “As good a game as I’ve ever coached or been a part of.”

West Virginia University 69, Washington Huskies 56

Despite the loss of PG “Truck” Bryant, the Mountaineers manhandled the lowly Huskies, exposing at last the much predicted weakness of the Pac-10 this year.

Kentucky 62, Cornell 45

Nice run Big Red, now go back to your books and leave the running to the thoroughbreds from Kentucky!

N. Iowa Upsets the Apple Cart, Izzo Stabs Grievis In the Heart and the Big Red Swarms into the Sweet 16, a Third Cinderella!

In march madness on March 22, 2010 at 6:22 am


Northern Iowa 69, Kansas 67
says it all.

Congrats to Northern Iowa for shattering our bracket – along with the brackets of literally millions of others and all the pundits at ESPN. We were all sent scrambling.

YH has Baylor coming out of the South, so we still have a shot at 7 of 8 in the Elites! But now we need a new champion!

Thrilling cinderella Northern Iowa pulled off the win through defensive execution and strong, physical play. This is what March is all about. Well done.

and … can you believe it? this year Cinderella is a triplet with two amazing sisters:

Cornell 87, Wisconsin 69
Incredible job by Cornell, the Ivy League’s representative to the Tournament, which took the normally tough Badger defense out of its rhythm early and poured in points in transition.

And like everyone else this weekend, we really like the Big Red’s Senior PG Louis Dale, brought to our attention by their success. Dale is cool under pressure.

and the third Cinderella:

St. Mary’s 75, Villanova 68
The game wasn’t a surprise, but confirmed the remarkable play of senior C Omar Samhan, a great, big man. Which means, the Gaels can beat Duke.

Amazing to think about … the Gaels can beat Duke … question is: can they beat Baylor? Because we’re not sure Baylor can beat Duke.

Will Coach K catch a break from letting these two play each other while the Blue Devils roll Purdue?

Finally, Tom Izzo cements his place in history as a Tournament Coach of the Highest Order.

Michigan State 85, Maryland 83

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo and his mentor, former head coach Judd Heathcote are unstoppable in the early rounds of the NCAA Tourney. It’s impossible to bet against them, no matter the odds.

This time they kept an injury-depleted team ahead of Maryland all-game – despite hyper-attenuated effort by ACC POY Greivis Vasquez to come back and win it.

Izzo kept the Spartans in it just enough to allow a jumper by Lucious to stab General Greivis in the heart.

The ups and downs of March Madness is a symptom of the illness – anhedonia.

Incredible Play at both ends by all the teams entering the Sweet 16 means that for the first time in many years, no single game looks like a lock.

Parity has returned to the NCAA Tournament and Yesterday’s Hoops welcomes it back with open arms.

What a game.

Zigga-zigga-Zoot-Zoot Spinback: Why We Picked the Racers

In march madness on March 20, 2010 at 7:07 am

The Murray State Racers have been on an emotional roller coaster ride this year, with heart-stopping play leading to their best record ever.

Recently however, the roller-coaster took a horrific turn and suddenly came to include the death of their PGs mother – in a car accident the day after selection day. Heartbreaking.

The team regrouped quickly after the funeral and all agreed they were meant to travel and meant to play.

Once they were committed, they became YH’s choice for a first round upset because, taking it back to February 6th of this year against Austin-Peay, you could see the Racers have a lot of heart.

The Racers won our hearts this year with grittiness.

We were also enamored with the solid play off the bench by Canaan whose amazing long distance shots thrill on youtube.

Many congratulations to the Murray State Racers for their composure and fine play in the face of adversity and grief. Best wishes against Butler – YH salutes you.