Friday, March 18, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/18/2011

The NCAA Tournament Diff: Round of 64 Day 1--The Mid-Majority

[9] Old Dominion vs. [8] Butler - 12:40 pm
Southeast Region - Washington, DC
Athletic: ODU: $25,520,288 BUTL: $11,215,593
Men's Basketball: ODU: $2,458,897 BUTL: $1,729,754

Loss and Delay--The Mid-Majority

A look at tournament field region by region--Sports Illustrated


• Everywhere I've turned the last 24 hours, I've heard or read some expert describe the Southeast as the easiest of the four regions and an obvious cakewalk for Pittsburgh. Yet I made my case on the CBS Selection Show that I saw a number of teams in this region that were well-positioned to pull upsets. It pained me to see Butler paired against Old Dominion in the second round because they were both schools I planned to jump on to predict a few upsets. I picked ODU to win the game because I think the Monarchs can match Butler's physicality but are better able to score some easy points. And I went with ODU to pull off the upset over Pitt because this is one of the few teams in the tournament, mid-major or not, that can bang with the Panthers on the boards. Old Dominion and Pitt are ranked 1-2 in the nation in rebound margin -- in that order. The Monarchs played in the last two NCAA tournaments, and last year they beat Notre Dame. If they played 10 times I'm guessing Pitt would win seven of them, but in the NCAA tournament it only takes one time. It says here this will be that one for Old Dominion.

The Other 26: Bracket Analysis Part II--Rush The Court

Can win a game
(8, Southeast) Butler—We can all admit that the expectations and preseason rankings for Brad Stevens’ club were far too high, but the leadership qualities of Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard cannot be discounted in an NCAA Tournament setting. Mack and Howard, among many others on the team, have been here before and understand what it takes to win. Until this Tournament is over, Butler is still the National Runner-Up—remember that.

NCAA Second Round Game Analysis – Thursday--Rush The Court

#8 Butler vs. #9 Old Dominion – Southeast Region Second Round (at Washington, D.C.) – 12:40 pm ET on truTV.

Both teams have won their past nine games en route to conference tournament championships. Defense has been the key for each club during their winning streaks with Butler giving up 58 PPG and ODU at 57.7 PPG against over their last nine games. Old Dominion is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation and that is where they have to take advantage of the Bulldogs. This game will be played almost exclusively in the half court with both teams preferring a slower pace. Butler ranks #11 in defensive rebounding percentage but the Monarchs are the best offensive rebounding team in the land. Blaine Taylor’s team must win this battle and protect the basketball in order to advance. They struggle at times with turnovers and lots of giveaways will negate their expected edge on the glass. Look for the Monarchs to work inside utilizing star big man Frank Hassell as well as Keyon Carter and Kent Bazemore. Butler allows 48.7% FG inside the arc and that could hurt them against the frontcourt-oriented Monarchs. Butler shoots almost 21 threes per game behind Shelvin Mack, Zach Hahn and even Matt Howard (44%). Add in the recent play of Shawn Vanzant and you have a team playing as well as they have all year. ODU is very poor against the three, their biggest vulnerability. Bazemore is a terrific defender and needs to come up big on that end against the Bulldog guards. Both teams are experienced and obviously did well in last year’s tournament so they won’t be intimidated by the big stage. While the focus will be on Howard vs. Hassell in the post, this game could be determined by guard play.

The RTC Certified Pick: Butler.

RTC Live: NCAA Tournament Thursday Afternoon Games--Rush The Court
Matt Howard Beats The Buzzer To Start The Madness--Rush The Court
Thursday's Pregame Beat: The six games you have to watch--Ballin' is a Habit

12:40 pm, truTV, Washington DC: No. 8 Butler vs. No. 9 Old Dominion

If you like physical, slug-it-out, defensive-minded hoops, this is the game for you. Butler is coming off of a run to the national title game, but the Bulldogs are not the same team as last season. You see, with Gordon Hayward and Willie Veasley both gone, Butler is no where near as good as they were last season on the defensive end of the floor. The versatility is gone, as they are quite often forced to play with two slow-footed big men and three small guards. The Bulldogs rank 75th nationally in defensive efficiency this season, which will be less of a big deal against Old Dominion, as the Monarchs don't exactly run the prettiest offensive sets. ODU is a blue collar team that tries to out-physical their opponents, both defensively and on the offensive glass. At times, their best offense is a missed shot.

This game will be won on the back boards. Kent Bazemore will make it tough for Shelvin Mack to score, but Matt Howard should be able to be effective against Frank Hassell when he faces up. When ODU goes zone, Butler has enough shooters and smart enough players to be able to attack it. If the Bulldogs, who rank 11th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, are able to keep ODU, who is first in the country in offensive rebounding percentage, from getting second chance points, they'll be in a good position to win.

Dream and nightmare scenarios--ESPN

Butler (8)

Best Case: A Bulldogs team that has rediscovered its tournament mojo wins its 10th straight game against Old Dominion, its 11th straight in a stunning takedown of Pitt, its 12th straight in a Sweet 16 triumph over Kansas State and its 13th straight over Florida on a Matt Howard half-court shot that banks in -- and reaches a second consecutive Final Four. Along the way, Butler shoots 83 percent from the line and turns the ball over five times a game. The Bulldogs lose in Houston to Kansas but make their point: They're here to stay as the most unlikely of national powers. To reinforce that point, coach Brad Stevens signs yet another reworked long-term contract after turning down half a dozen major job offers. Blue the Bulldog signs an endorsement deal with Alpo.

Worst Case: Butler realizes how much easier it was to have tournament mojo with Gordon Hayward and falls in the first round to Old Dominion. Howard picks up two fouls on the opening tip and plays a total of 11 minutes before fouling out. Stevens comes to appreciate the rewards of coaching future lottery picks and leaves for a job in a big-six conference. Blue the Bulldog follows the lead of UGA's VII and VIII and goes paws-up after the loss. Hinkle Fieldhouse is condemned.

VIDEO: Matt Howard gives us our first buzzer beater of the Big Dance--Ballin' is a Habit
2011 NCAA Tournament: Day 1 recap--Ballin' is a Habit

Game of the Day: Butler 60, Old Dominion 58

This game was just as good as we all hoped it would be. Neither team led by more than six points. The lead changed hands 21 times. Its only fitting that a game between two grind-it-out, blue collar teams was decided when a 50-50 ball ended up in Matt Howard's hands, who layed it in only tenths of a second before the buzzer went off.

The Monarchs came in with the reputation as one of the best rebounding teams in the country, but it was the play of Butler's front court that made the difference. Matt Howard and Andrew Smith combined for 26 points, while Khyle Marshall and Garrett Butcher had 12 boards, eight of which came on the offensive end. Butler advanced to play Pitt in the second round.

Slow basketball highlights the Southeast Regional--College Hoops Journal
2011 NCAA tournament day one full of buzzer beaters, upsets--College Hoops Journal
2011′s March Madness Academic Champion Is Butler--The Big Lead
Mid-Major Morning Mashups: Buzzer Beaters Highlight NCAA Tournament Day 3--Mid-Major Madness
Utah Jazz: Injury-decimated Jazz 'need bodies'--Deseret News

Devin Harris (strained right hamstring), Gordon Hayward (sprained left forefoot) and Ronnie Price (sprained right big toe) each went through Tuesday's practice and could play.
Hayward's quick return was a relief, considering it was feared that he might have suffered a stress fracture Saturday in Chicago. He said his foot started hurting after he followed Kyle Korver around the court on a particular play, and it really bothered him Sunday.

X-rays and an additional bone scan came back negative, meaning his foot bone is not broken.

Utah Jazz: C.J. Miles, Derrick Favors to start again tonight--Deseret News

Officially, Harris, Raja Bell (toe) and Gordon Hayward (foot) will be game-time decisions, but they each went through this morning's shootaround and should be good to go.

Tourney on minds of Utah Jazz players--Deseret News Lake Tribune

Rookie Gordon Hayward assisted on two baskets by Jefferson, and Evans dunked a lob from Earl Watson to make it 42-32.

Jazz heal, Marcus Cousin becomes expendable--Salt Lake Tribune

Study time

Favors has started teaming up with fellow rookies Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans and Cousin after full-team workouts at the Jazz practice facility. Running the court under the guidance of Corbin and assistant coach Jeff Hornacek, the 19-year-old power forward has received additional instruction as everything from new plays to missed opportunities during just-completed practices have been addressed.

NCAA Tournament: second round picks from the Rumble--Rumble In The Garden

Southeast Region

RK: (8) Butler vs. (9) Old Dominion - Butler Two mid-majors who aren't your typical mid-majors. Butler has found its confidence after winning the Horizon League tournament, but they will have their hands full against Monarchs' guard Kent Bazemore. Bazemore can steal it sufficiently on defense and is a very good shooter. For Butler, they have to keep Matt Howard on the floor considering he is their only post presence. Both teams have a ton of senior leadership, and I'll ride the team with Shelvin Mack who was a miracle shot from a title last year.

PD: Old Dominion Butler is well coached. They're pretty good about handling the ball.But their defense hasn't excelled, even in conference play against the Horizon League, where they couldn't gain separation from the pack. The Monarchs of Old Dominion - despite their regal complex - play a down and dirty, physical style, crashing the glass with relentlessness. They pass the ball well and won't mind a slowdown game. I like ODU in this matchup.

BRACKET BLOG: Southeast Region--Bring On The Cats

UPSET ALERT: No. 8 Butler (23-9) vs. No. 9 Old Dominion (27-6)
March 17 | 11:40 a.m. CST | Washington | truTV
Tim Brando | Mike Gminski

I hate it when the committee does this. Avid basketball watchers want to watch these upset-proven teams take on major-conference teams, not each other. Just more power-conference crap from the powers that be.

Anyhow, we all know what Butler can do. But without Gordon Hayward, the Bulldogs have proven to be merely good, not elite, this year. They pulled it together midway through conference play after some ugly losses and are riding a nine-game winning streak.

But Old Dominion is no stranger to upsets, either. The Monarchs won their conference tournament as a No. 2 seed and knocked off sixth-seeded Notre Dame (basically composed of all the same players on this year's top-10 team, plus Luke Harangody) in the first round of last year's Big Dance.

I've heard local experts describe ODU as a "light" version of a Big East team. Although not as deep, they're just as physical and attack the paint well. Maybe that's why they're 3-0 versus Big East teams in the NCAAs.

I think I know who Pitt will be rooting for. So, too, will a host of ODU fans from adjacent Virginia, who should provide a home feel.

GAMER: ODU 63, Butler 62
Pomeroy: Butler 62, ODU 61
Sagarin: Butler 62, ODU 61

Upsets, tight games aplenty in day one action--Block U

Speaking of coaches with abysmal tournament records - Blaine Taylor, another candidate for the Utah job, fell to 1-7 all-time as a head coach in the Big Dance after his Old Dominion Monarchs lost to the Butler Bulldogs on a buzzer beating put back.

I still like Taylor as a coach, but his lack of tournament success does concern me.

Butler faces team some are calling this year's Cinderella--The Indy Star
Butler practices, prepares to face Old Dominion--The Indy Star
ODU can play defense--The Indy Star
Shelvin Mack's season at Butler has been a bit disappointing, but he can change all that with a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament--The Indy Star
Dawgs not snubbed, but not endorsed--The Indy Star
Matt Howard's buzzer-beater gives Butler win over Old Dominion--The Indy Star
Garrett Butcher gives Butler a lift--The Indy Star
Butler off to dramatic start with last-second win over Old Dominion--The Indy Star
First one is the hardest--Indy Star Butler Insider
Sightseeing on the run--Indy Star Butler Insider
Q&A with ODU beat reporter Ed Miller--Victory Firelight
Mutual respect oozes from Monarchs, Bulldogs--Victory Firelight
Cutting Down the ‘Net: Butler-ODU tidbits and #FreeButlerBlue2 update--Victory Firelight
Butler vs. ODU: Countdown to tipoff--Victory Firelight
Final pregame thoughts on Butler vs. Old Dominion--Victory Firelight
Butler does it again! Howard buzzer beater takes down ODU--Victory Firelight
Butler’s heroes discuss victory over Old Dominion--Victory Firelight
Top-seeded Pitt: Strong and efficient--Victory Firelight
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner weighs in on Butler vs. Pittsburgh--Victory Firelight
Butler’s second verse, same as the first?--Victory Firelight
Howard’s layup extends tournament play--Butler Collegian
Howard Lifts Butler Over Old
Bulldogs Face Top-Seeded

Bulldogs Fall At Wisconsin In

Norris Cole just won't let Cleveland State go quietly: Terry Pluto--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland State awaits finalized date for second-round NIT home game against College of Charleston--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Norris Cole's 27 points lead Cleveland State past Vermont, 63-60, in NIT opener--Cleveland Plain Dealer
NIT FIRST ROUND: Cleveland State 63, Vermont 60--Let's Go Vikes!
PRESS RELEASE: Norris Cole Named Finalist for John R. Wooden Award--Let's Go Vikes!
Vikings Win NIT Opener, 63-60, Over
Cleveland State Will Host NIT Second Round

Vikings Defeat IPFW, 73-62, in Opening Round of
Vikings Host Chicago State in WBI Second

The NC-Double-Eh Stats - Vol. 3--Raptors HQ

3-Point Field Goal Percentage (minimum three attempts per game)

Nemanja Mitrovic, Portland – 46.7%

Bryson Johnson, Bucknell – 45.9%

Jamie Vanderbeken, Iowa State – 42.5%

Tyler Murray, Wagner – 41.5%

Kyle Johnson, Long Island – 40.8%

Cory Joseph, Texas – 40.7%

Laurent Rivard, Harvard – 40.1%

Jason Calliste, Detroit – 39.3%

Memorial Service Info for Virginia

The Howard Moore Podcast: Episode

Whitesell’s termination stems from four straight disappointing seasons--Loyola Phoenix
Lurz Blurbz--Loyola Phoenix

NCAA women's basketball: What defines success for UW-Green Bay now?--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Tetschlag excited about guarding Arkansas-Little Rock's Reed--Green Bay Press Gazette
Julie Wojta rewards UW-Green Bay's patience with stellar season--Green Bay Press Gazette
Phoenix women will break out new Nike shoes for NCAAs--UWGB Basketball
Green Bay in the Big Dance: A Look at the
Defense is Pride and Joy of Green Bay Women's
hoenix Heads Down Yellow Brick Road to
hoenix Carries Inspiration to NCAA
Tournament Talk Set for Saturday Evening in

Flying with the Phoenix: Top-10 Plays of

NIT Preview: Northwestern Looks to Make a Run--BT Powerhouse
Northwestern vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee Recap: TAKE THAT ED McCANTS--Sippin' On Purple
Postseason Preview: NIT First
Rapid Recaps - Northwestern vs.
Northwestern finally wins a postseason
Northwestern victorious in NIT opener--The Southtown Star
NU wins NIT opener over Milwaukee--Daily Herald
Northwestern ousts UWM from NIT--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
NIT Round One: Game 33 vs. Northwestern--PantherU
One and Done? More Like Tons of Fun, but Out of Guns--Milwaukee Panther Tracks
NIT Live Blog - Milwaukee at Northwestern--Panther Blog Zone
Postgame Extra – Milwaukee at Northwestern--Panther Blog Zone
Panthers Battle Back But Fall Short At

Past Imperfect: The Tournament We Forgot--Rush The Court
Lazerus: Disappointed VU looks back, looks ahead--The Post-Tribune
Slow start, quick exit--The Post-Tribune
Iona at Valparaiso, CIT First Round, March 16, Live Blog--Off The Mark
Crusaders eliminated in first round of CIT--The NWI Times
Valpo's Johnson, Little and Rogers have aspirations for pro careers--The NWI Times
Live from the ARC: Valparaiso vs. Iona (CIT 1st Round)--Region Sports Extra
Gaels Bring Valpo Season to an End--Confessions of a Sports Junkie
Valpo Season Ends With Loss in CIT to

Wright State women go for wins record--Dayton Daily News
WSU women set school record for season wins, defeats Buffalo--Dayton Daily News
WSU women set D-I program record for wins with WBI victory--Wright State University Sports
Wright State women ready to host first ever NCAA tournament appearance--Fairborn Daily Herald
Raiders win first ever NCAA postseason tournament game--Fairborn Daily Herald
Women make History and Advance in
Women’s basketball makes history in tournament win--The Guardian
Commentary: Bradbury found way to win with Williams’ players--The Guardian
Women's Basketball Defeats Buffalo in First-Ever Division I Postseason
Women's Basketball to Host Manhattan Sunday in WBI

Commentary: Brownell’s win in Dayton more than special--The Guardian

Tournament Tracker: March 16--Horizon League Network
Tournament Tracker: March 16 - Live from Washington, D.C.--Horizon League Network
Tournament Tracker: March 17--Horizon League Network
Howard's Buzzer-Beater Gives Butler 60-58 Win in NCAA Second Round--Horizon League Network
Tournament Tracker: March 18 - A Butler-Pitt Preview--Horizon League Network

Cleveland State, Wright State pick up WBI wins, Butler concludes season with WNIT loss--Horizon League Network
#13/11 Green Bay heads to Wichita for NCAA first round--Horizon League Network

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