NCAA Tournament Game Notes 3/16/18

Day 2 of the tournament is here, and I still can’t get over the Arizona loss last night. What happened? I know they have never been a strong defensive team this year and sometimes you just shoot poorly from deep, but to have that happen at the same time is really strange and sad. Is it Sean Miller’s fault? Who knows. Anyway, to the games!

#7 Texas A&M vs #10 Providence (73-69)

  1. Texas A&M just flat out dominated on the glass. 44-26 for the entire game, including Robert Williams‘ 14 boards. Williams has slightly disappointed my this season, but he was terrific on the glass, blocked two shots, and scored 13 points on 6-9 shooting. Big part of A&M’s win today.
  2. A guy who did not help himself was DJ Hogg. While he did have six boards and an impressive three stocks, shooting 1-6 from the floor with five points is not the best look for an NBA prospect.
  3. Providence had two players with over 20 points. Rodney Bullock, the team’s leading scorer at 14 points per game, had 22 on 8-15 shooting. Their second leading scorer at 13 points per game, Alpha Diallo, had 21 on 8-19 shooting. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough for the Friars.

#2 Cincinnati vs #15 Georgia St. (68-53)

  1. Jacob Evans is the biggest prospect in this game, a projected lat-first, early-second round player, and…he was alright. 10-8 on 4-9 shooting in 27 minutes. He didn’t do anything to hurt his stock so far, but he didn’t really help it either.
  2. Here are Jarron Cumberland season averages: 29 minutes, 11-4-3 on 41% shooting. Today? A whole different story. 40 minutes, 27-11-2 on 47% shooting, including 7-8 from the foul line. Impressive game from him.
  3. Georgia St. relies heavily on one player to carry them to wins: D’Marcus Simonds. While he wasn’t enough today, he had a usual Simonds game. 24 points on 20 shots in 29 minutes. He’s really interesting as a late second-round gamble.

#2 North Carolina vs #15 Lipscomb (84-66)

  1. North Carolina was super balanced and efficient. Every starter scored in double figures, and the team as a whole shot 51% from the field, 41% from behind the arc, and 72% from the line.
  2. Theo Pinson had the best game of the bunch, scoring 15 points on eight shots, grabbing ten boards, and dishing out seven assists. Strong game from him.

#2 Purdue vs #15 CS Fullerton (74-48)

  1. A stat that’s too ridiculous not to lead with: Cal State’s offensive rating as a team was 66.7. The average is 100. Cal State was 33.3 points below average on offense yesterday. Yikes.
  2. Vince Edwards led the team in scoring and basically put up his season averages. Averaging 14.5 points on 47% shooting and 7.3 rebounds, Edwards had…15 and 7 on 50% shooting. Talk about consistency.
  3. While Purdue won the game by 26, they suffered a huge loss yesterday. Isaac Haas, their second-leading scorer, suffered a fractured elbow and will miss the remainder of the tournament. How important was he to the Boilermakers? In 15 minutes yesterday, he had nine points and ten rebounds.

#5 West Virginia vs #Murray St. (85-68)

  1. Jevon Carter is one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. He will be sorely under-drafted, but the team that picks him will be getting a defensive beast and an absolute gamer. He put up 21 points on 53% shooting, five rebounds, eight assists and a mind-blowing six steals, while only committing two turnovers and two fouls.
  2. Carter’s game gets two points from me this week thanks to the following. According to ESPN, he’s the fourth player ever to put up 20-5-5-5 in the NCAA tournament since steals became official in 85-86. He’s not just a product of the press. He’s legitimately good.

#4 Wichita St. vs #13 Marshall (75-81)

  1. Another big tournament upset shouldn’t really be a surprise considering how much of a negative Wichita St. is on defense. In this game, every Wichita player except for Darral Willis Jr. had a defensive rating of 109 or higher and Willis’ was only 100. It’s hard to win games if you don’t play defense.
  2. Landry Shamet made his place on our board because of his incredibly efficient offensive production. Let’s just say that yesterday wasn’t that. He had 11 points on 3-13 shooting, including 0-7 from three. He did have eight assists, but when your best player shoots 23%, you’re in trouble.
  3. Jon Elmore led the way for Marshall, playing every minute and putting up a 27-4-4 line with two steals while attempting 15 free throws (he made 11). He was the difference-maker in this upset.

#7 Nevada vs #10 Texas (87-83 in OT)

  1. I would have loved to see how this game (and the rest of their season) had turned out if Andrew Jones was playing for Texas. Maybe nothing would have changed, but you’d think an NBA caliber point guard would make a difference. Get well soon, Andrew.
  2. Mo Bamba put his unique skill set on display, scoring 13 points on 6-11 shooting, grabbing 14 rebounds, and blocking three shots. Unfortunately, his biggest weakness was also very visible: he commits way too many fouls. He fouled out in 31 minutes of a 45-minute game because he brings his arms down over the top of drivers when they jump into him. If he just keeps his arms straight up, the shot will still be hard to make and he stays out of foul trouble.
  3. Kendall Stephens had a solid game as Nevada’s biggest NBA prospect. He led the team in scoring with 22 on 7-13 shooting, including 5-11 from deep and a perfect 3-3 from the line. However, you expect a little more than one rebound from a 6’6″ player.

#7 Arkansas vs Butler (62-79)

  1. Kelan Martin has been lighting it up this season, averaging 21 points, six rebounds, and two assists per game. Yesterday, he had 27 on 9-16 from the field (5-11 from three and 4-4 from the line) and nine rebounds. Could we see another Big East player take charge and lead his team to a championship?
  2. Not to be outdone, Butler’s second-leading scorer Kamar Baldwin had 24 points on 9-17 with nine boards and five assists. That kind of production from two players will be incredibly difficult to beat if they can keep it up.
  3. Daniel Gafford didn’t have his best scoring day, only scoring seven points on 22% shooting. But, he did block three shots in 21 minutes. I like him as a prospect, but it’s really hard to project guys when they don’t play a lot of minutes.

#8 Creighton vs #9 Kansas St. (59-69)

  1. Khyri Thomas didn’t have his best scoring day (only nine points on nine shots), but the other facets of his game were all on. He had seven rebounds and four assists and used that ridiculously long wingspan to get three steals. He should be a mid-late first-round pick.
  2. Barry Brown, who led Kansas St. in scoring with 18, only shot 36% from the field but made up for it by going 7-10 from the line and recording four stocks with only one foul.
  3. Creighton shot 27% from three for the game. Kansas St. shot 47%. I wonder what the difference in the game was.

#3 Michigan St. vs #14 Bucknell (82-78)

  1. Miles Bridges got after it and had one of the best scoring nights of his college career. He put up 29 points on 55% shooting, shot 43% from three, grabbed nine rebounds and had four assists. While I would have liked a bigger performance from the foul line (only 2-4), he was the best player on the floor.
  2. By far the most confusing thing I’ve seen in the tournament is Jaren Jackson Jr. only playing 18 minutes. It wasn’t like he was playing poorly (six points, four rebounds, two blocks) or in extensive foul trouble (three fouls). Why hold out a potential top three pick in a game you won by four? Strange.
  3. Josh Langford scoring 22 points on 70% shooting is the epitome of what makes Michigan St. so dangerous. Every starter averages over 11 points, including two who are doing it in 22 minutes or less. When you have that many scoring threats, you’re almost impossible to stop.

#4 Auburn vs #13 Charleston (62-58)

  1. A game that was dominated on the defensive end, Auburn won despite shooting 35% from the field and 46% from the line and losing the rebounding battle. How? Their defensive rating as a team was 78.4.

#1 Xavier vs #16 Texas Southern (102-83)

  1. Anytime you see a team score 102 points in a tournament game, you know they’re hot. Xavier shot 46% from three as a team and had a collective offensive rating of 122.9.
  2. JP Macura had a ridiculous day, posting 29 points on 11-16 shooting (5-6 from three) six rebounds, and five steals. Oh, and he had an offensive rating of 148. 48 points higher than average. I’ll just leave you with that.

#1 Virginia vs #16 UMBC (54-74)

  1. And now we come to the NCAA Tournament’s biggest upset. The first ever #16 seed to beat a #1 seed. How did it happen? A combination of 3pt shooting and an ineffective Virginia offense.
  2. UMBC shot 50% from three on 24 shots and 54% from the field on 48 shots. Virginia owned one of, if not the best, defenses in the country and a #16 seed came in and lit them up.
  3. On the flip side, Virginia isn’t used to playing catch up because their defense is so good, so when they needed to score, they couldn’t. Jack Salt, their 6’10” center, literally had an offensive rating of zero. Yes. You read that right. ZERO.

#6 TCU vs #11 Syracuse (52-57)

  1. Can we take a moment to marvel at Tyus Battle‘s minutes for a second? In 18 conference games this year, Battle averages 40.1 minutes per game. There are 40 minutes in a college basketball game. He played 40 minutes again yesterday. If he doesn’t get 99 stamina in NBA 2k when he enters the draft, someone needs to go talk those developers.
  2. TCU’s two best players were solid. Kenrich Williams had 14 points on 15 shots with eight rebounds, while Vladimir Brodziansky had 13 points on 5-7 shooting with four rebounds. The weirdest thing was Brodziansky’s offensive rating of…wait for it…152! In a game where both teams scored under 60! Basketball is weird.
  3. For two teams that make their bones on the defensive end, it should come as no surprise that both teams had below average offensive ratings and the game was super tight.

#8 Missouri vs #9 Florida St. (54-67)

  1. Michael Porter Jr. will probably be a Carmelo Anthony-style inefficient scorer. He had 16 points yesterday, but he only shot 4-12 from the field and 1-4 from three. However, he contributed in other ways, getting to the line nine times, grabbing ten rebounds, and collecting three steals.
  2. Jontay Porter picked a really bad time to struggle. He only shot 1-7 from the field for two points. The six boards, five assists, and three stocks are an encouraging sign for him as a prospect, but Missou needed more scoring and Jontay couldn’t provide it.

#5 Clemson vs #12 New Mexico St. (79-68)

  1. Clemson had two players score over 20 yesterday. Gabe Devoe had 22 points on 10-15 shooting, while Shelton Mitchell had 23 points on 8-13 shooting and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line.
  2. However, neither led the game in scoring. That honor belongs to New Mexico St.’s Zach Lofton, who had 29 points on 9-18 shooting and 7-8 from the line.


(feature image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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