Posts Tagged ‘ncaa basketball’

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 –

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Rivalry Weekend Upsets Reflect Parity in March

In march madness on February 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

That was a great weekend of basketball with huge games for Louisville, U Conn and Pitt. It’s obvious to everyone now that the Big East is a monster conference! Just stacked with talent and great coaching. And it’s also clear that this year’s Tourney is going to be tough to call.

The idea that the Huskies, last year’s runner-up to the National Championship, are a bubble team is hard to get over – presumably to be attributed to Calhoun’s illness. Thing is, if he is better it may not be a factor. And if they let the Huskies in? Calhoun with something to prove is a scary idea.

That said, they may not make the tournament and Louisville, despite their big win over ‘Cuse is most likely out.

What’s crazy is WVU is now likely in and they are totally suspect. Their triple overtime loss to Pitt was very telling: the Mountaineers FT% in that game and really all season long has been atrocious. I think teams like WVU and TX are overrated this year as Tourney entrants. I like both to get to the Sweet 16, at best, but certainly not further.

Kansas is rolling along and the defeat of A&M to keep them perfect in the Big 12 reveals a little about the conference and about some of the other teams that A&M has beaten. The coaches of the Big 12 are the most guilty of stacking their schedules against weaker opponents!

That may not be purposeful – who knew the SEC would be this bad? But Baylor, Tech and A&M couldn’t possibly hang with Purdue or Michigan State or Duke or West Virginia. I think the Big 12 teams who do get in are in for a rude shock. Kansas and K-state are legit, but the rest? How is it that up to last night’s loss against Kansas, A&M was ranked higher in conference play than this vaunted TX team? and that Baylor at 19-5 is just one win away from a tie with TX? Says something about over-rating the Big 12.

ACC teams are too small. Duke looks great because of Coach K’s system. But they can’t hang with the big beasts of the East. UNC is done.

Pac-10 this year is worse than last year which is the big shock. Surveying reasons, I like Moll’s discussion of why.

I like the Big Ten teams a lot. I am convinced Ohio State goes far and could beat say, Georgetown or WVU or TX.  Ohio State in the Final Four is something I can visualize now.

Michigan State is thrilled to have Lucas back and they will make a strong play because Tom Izzo is great – trouble is the post game. Purdue and Wisconsin both also look good and should not be dismissed easily. If Wisco’s trip through is anything like the Mock Draft (see previous entry), I feel they have a slim shot at the Final Four, a strong shot at the Elite Eight.

Still, Kansas is the team to beat and Bill Self and his boys are NOT going to lose the game for you. You have to beat them. I doubt Kentucky can do that at crunch time – too young. Cole is big. and strong. and ready.

Could Syracuse beat Kansas? That’s starting to look like my NC game. and Ohio State is creeping into that other FF matchup in my book:

‘Nova, Kansas, ‘Cuse and Ohio State. hmmmm.

Yesterday’s Hoops is ON!

In basketball blogging on February 10, 2010 at 4:01 am

Yesterday’s Hoops – a new site on men’s basketball – officially launches next Tuesday and we’re on the air February to June for the second half of the NBA, the NCAA Men’s Conference Tournaments, March Madness. In short, YH is all men’s hoops when it matters most.

We like Ice

and Elgin

cause we saw them play, live.

and we watched everybody from then through the ABA-NBA merger, the Spurs moving from east to west, Bird/McHale/Parish, Dr.J’s ring, the rookie Magic at center ftw, Showtime, Phi Slamma Jamma, Isaiah, Dumars and the Microwave, Ferry at the buzzer, Air Jordan, Hakeem the Dream, Fab Five Timeout at the Superdome, His Airness’ Return, Stockton to Malone, Tark’s Runnin Reb’s and on through Shaq, Timmy, the Black Mamba, Dwyane, CP3, Nowitzki, LeBron and on up to Brandon Jennings and Steph Curry today, because we love the game in its purest form.

We’ve listened to Jones, Riley, Daly, Jackson, Poppovitch, Sloan, Bickerstaff and Brown, to Wooden, Dean, Coach K, Knight, Calhoun, Boeheim, Massimino, Tarkanian, Thompson, Self and countless other tacticians.


bookmark us and stay tuned for scintillating analysis of Yesterday’s Hoops.