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Posts Tagged ‘Gonzaga Bulldogs’

Quick Takes: 4 key Final Four questions

March 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015As North Carolina, Oregon, Gonzaga, and South Carolina complete final workouts in advance of Saturday’s Final Four, four key questions come to mind.  They are …

How healthy are Joel Berry ankles?  Given his game-winning shot against Kentucky, it would be tempting to look at Luke Maye’s bench production (12.5 ppg in NCAAs vs. 4.9 ppg in regular season) and wonder if he can sustain those numbers in Phoenix.  No question, North Carolina would like that to continue.  But the Tar Heels chances of reaching Monday’s title game and avenging last year’s loss hinge more on the health of Berry’s ankles.  How many minutes can he play?  How effective will he be?  Will his ankles be 70 percent? 80? We don’t know.  He may not either until he takes the court.  Standing between Carolina and another NCAA title are three solid defensive teams.  Oregon shut down Kansas, and South Carolina and Gonzaga are elite defensive groups.  As we saw against Duke in the ACC tourney, UNC can struggle when Berry’s off the floor. How healthy are Joel Berry’s ankles? The answer could well map out UNC’s final journey. Read more…

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Categories: Current Updates

Quick Takes: Five tasty weekend matchups

March 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Between Thursday and Friday, three eleven seeds won.  We also had the usual 12 over 5-seed.  And yet, the first two days of the 2017 NCAA tournament feel rather chalky.  Maybe that’s because the twelve seed, Middle Tennessee State, was actually favored to win its matchup with Minnesota.  Also, were we surprised to see Xavier beat Maryland? Or Rhode Island trip up a less-than-healthy Creighton?  If there was a surprise, it’s USC.  The Trojans rallied from double-digit deficits twice, beating Providence in the First Four, and then SMU on Friday.

While the results might leave us a little hungry, the Round of 32 looks might tasty. My Quick Takes on the weekend’s top five matchups …

Gonzaga vs. Northwestern – We could rename this game: Ultimate Underdog vs. New Kids on the Block.  While Gonzaga is respected for its consistent excellence, the Bulldogs have never reached a Final Four and remain many people’s pick as first No. 1 seed to lose.  Thus, the pressure is squarely on the Zags, who struggled to score against South Dakota State (shooting 39 percent overall and 27 percent from 3).  The good news: Gonzaga no longer relies on its offense to carry the day.  Flipping the page, Northwestern might be the feel good story of the year. They survived a late rally by Vanderbilt to win their first-ever NCAA tournament game in their first-ever appearance. And who doesn’t enjoy those sidelines shots of Doug Collins and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, right? Read more…

Categories: Current Updates

Bracketology: Villanova leads march to Madness

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015With the Super Bowl behind us, Selection Sunday awaits, along with the Madness of March.  Between now and then, college basketball is sure to provide us enough plot twists to hold our attention.  Exhibit A is this past Saturday … when eight of the top 16 teams on the Seed List added a loss to their resume.  Meanwhile, teams along the cutline meander like a river without direction, and the bubble club numbers 30-plus members.  In other words, fasten your seat belt and enjoy what should be a wild four-week ride.

Bracketology  |   Seed List

If you’re returning for the first time post-football, reigning NCAA champion Villanova remains entrenched as the overall No. 1 seed.  Regarding the rest of today’s No. 1 seeds, Selection Committee member value a team’s full profile over a single result (or two).  Although in a different order from last Thursday,  Gonzaga, Kansas, and Baylor continue to lead the West, Midwest, and South regions.  That said, the margins for the Jayhawks and Bears are waning.

It would take hours of conversation and pages of words to wrangle through the bubble and the process in making the final decisions for at-large spots this morning.  From eight seeds on down, every resume has holes to fill and issues to solve ahead of Championship Week.

Quick Takes: Important stretch for Duke

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015For Duke, this season hasn’t followed the designated script.  With a handful of top-flight recruits and a host of returning talent, the Blue Devils were a preseason favorite to dominate college hoops and cut down the nets in April.  Then came the injuries, a one-game suspension for Grayson Allen, and the loss of Coach K to back surgery.  And then came Monday night, when the Blue Devils lost at home to NC State for the first time since 1995.  Moreover, it was Duke’s third loss in five games, dropping the Blue Devils to 3-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).  Up next?  A two-game road swing through improved Wake Forest and Notre Dame.  For what it’s worth, Duke is a surprising 0-3 in true road games this season.  Without a win in Winston-Salem or South Bend, the Blue Devils will return home with a 3-6 record in conference play and a date with rival North Carolina on the docket soon after.

It’s way too early (even in late January) to write off the Blue Devils; they could four in a row and make us forget about this unDuke-like stretch.  But these next two weeks are an important stretch for the crew from Durham.  Duke has just three wins against current at-large teams (Florida, Michigan State, Rhode Island), and the Rams are currently among the Last 4 IN.  Time to see how the Blue Devils respond. Read more…

Categories: Current Updates

Bracketology: The race for No. 1 seeds

December 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s New Year’s weekend.  Conference play has started.  The race toward March is upon us, and with it, the race for No. 1 Seeds.  Today, those slots belong to Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, and UCLA.  Villanova’s survival against DePaul, and UCLA’s last-second loss at Oregon do not change those team’s positions.  Opinions vary, of course, but the next four spots on the Seed List look like this: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.  If you have a different order, that’s fine.  For me, UCLA’s win at Kentucky still trumps a one-loss Duke team, whose best win is Florida on a neutral court.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

Indiana and Texas AM take the biggest slides.  When the Hoosiers are good, they’re really good – as noted by wins over Kansas and Carolina.  But IU has also been inconsistent and played a rather ugly non-conference schedule for a team with its roster and pedigree.  The result?  IU has an RPI of 122 (as of this posting), with the loss at Fort Wayne and then at home to Nebraska.  The Hoosiers are too talented to be concerned, but a protected seed has to be earned.  With that in mind, Louisville awaits on Saturday. Read more…

Bracket Update: Zags go Dancing again

March 9, 2016 Leave a comment

Dave2015Sleep well, Spokane, Gonzaga is Dancing again.

Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s joins a growing list of at-large teams hoping there’s a ticket left when they reach the front of the line.  That list includes teams like Monmouth, Wichita State, and Valparaiso.  Their resumes are complete.  All they can do is wait and watch what unfolds around them.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

It could be an important day for Syracuse and Pittsburgh at the ACC tournament.  Florida State needs to win a few there as well.  USC and Oregon State will try to hold their positions via the Pac-12.  All-in-all, a busy day to hold serve or build momentum.  And it’s only Wednesday.

Enjoy the Madness.

Bracket Bits: Coaching Power, History, highlight Elite 8

March 28, 2015 Leave a comment

dave1And then there were eight.  Some quick thoughts about this weekend’s Elite 8 games:

Coaching Power – Sean Miller at Arizona is the young gun among a group of high-profile coaches in the Elite 8.  Think about this list … Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, John Calipari, Mark Few, Mike Brey, and Miller.  If you remove Few, Brey, and Miller, you have a who’s-who list of “elite” coaches – and that’s not to disparage Few’s dominant tenure at Gonzaga or the work that either Brey and Miller has done at Notre Dame or Arizona.  Consider these accomplishments:

  • Mike Krzyzewski – Four National Championships, 11 Final Four appearances, 31 NCAA tournament bids
  • Rick Pitino – Two National Championships, 7 Final Four appearances, 20 NCAA tournament bids
  • Tom Izzo – One National Championship, 6 Final Four appearances, 18 NCAA tournament bids (consecutive)
  • John Calipari – One National Championship, 5 Final Four appearances, 17 NCAA tournament bids
  • Bo Ryan – 1 Final Four appearance, 14 NCAA tournament bids … Note: Won 4 National Championships at Division III Wisconsin-Platteville

However you slice it, those are impressive resumes. We could see four of the five at the Final Four in Indianapolis; and Pitino and Izzo square off for the East Regional final. Read more…

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