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The Triangle and Two: A Quick Look At The Ups and Downs of College Basketball.

January 6, 2010 under College Basketball, The Triangle and Two

By Terrence Mayrose

Tar Heel Basketball Lacking Math Skills?

College of Charleston shocked #9 North Carolina Monday night in an 82-79 overtime thriller. Hats off to roy williamsthe Charleston basketball program for a miraculous win but we here at the T&Two can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Roy Williams (right) chose to follow our “foul up 3” motto.

In case you didn’t watch the game, here’s the setup. C of C’s Andrew Goudelock came off a screen and got the ball with less than ten seconds on the clock. He dribbled to the right wing against Carolina’s Ed Davis and fired up the game-tying three from twenty eight feet with just two seconds left on the clock. The Charleston crowd went bonkers and the game headed to OT, where UNC would eventually lose.

While everyone loves the story of “the underdog”, it’s hard not to think about the “what if ?”.  What if Roy Williams had decided to foul up 3 ? Would the game have even gone into overtime?  Probably not.

It boggles my mind to watch coaches allow teams to shoot a three to tie, when a foul would limit the opposition to just two free throws.  A foul requires the shooting team to: a)hit the first shot, b)miss the second, c)get the rebound and, most dificultly, d)score than it is to just hit a three. Without a foul, the offense needs to accomplish but one thing; hit the three.  Isn’t it a simple matter of mathematics that it’s harder to accomplish four tasks, (two of which are being contested), than one?

Monday’s decision by Roy Williams is even more of a head-scratcher when you consider the following.  Charleston shot 13-32 (40.6 %) from behind the arc on the night, led by Andrew Goudelock, who had already hit four of eight threes and would end up scoring the last eight points in regulation for Charleston. UNC had every right to believe they’d grab the carom of any missed foul shot; having outrebounded Charleston 52-32 in the game and, finally, Charleston was only 3-6 from the charity stripe with Goudelock missing his only attempt.  Can’t see any reason why Carolina would have opted to allow a trey instead of a free throw.

Hey, Roy, didn’t you expect Goudelock to shoot it, given how hot he was?  Wouldn’t your team have a huge advantage when it came to rebounding a missed foul shot? I guess we’ll never know what may have happened if UNC chose to foul, but we do know that the theory of fouling up three continues to be eschewed by coaches despite both its logic and record of success.

Big East Basketball Continues to Dominate

Any doubt the Big East is still the most dangerous conference in America ? Even after losing a number of stars from the most competitive league in NCAA history in 2008-2009, the Big East finds itself well represented in this week’s AP Top 25. Villanova (12-1) is 6th,  Syracuse(13-1) 7th,  West Virginia (11-1) holds down the 8th spot while Georgetown (11-1) checks in at #12.

Kansas Jayhawks Flying High; But For How Long?

Espn.com’s Dana O’Neil wrote a nice piece about how well Kansas’s team has meshed and how being ranked #1 wasn’t much pressure for the squad. Hats off to Kansas basketball coach Bill Self for showing why he’s one of the best around, especially given all the off-court trouble his team dealt with this summer.  One question, though.  Will Jayhawks be able to stay level-headed once they suffer a loss or two?  Stay tuned.

The View from the Cheap Seats by Eddie Mayrose

March 21, 2008 under Cheap Seats

“Where’s my hat?”  It was the only question on the mind of University of Pittsburgh point guard, Levance Fields, as his teammates celebrated their Big East basketball title all around him.  Fields was referring to the “Conference Champs” caps that had been handed to each member of the Pitt contingent after they had avenged their loss to Georgetown in last year’s conference finals.  The Brooklyn born Fields missed the distribution of the championship apparel, as he had a little business to attend to behind the Panthers’ basket where his family and friends had sat all week cheering for their hometown hero.  Another city kid, Ronald Ramon of the Bronx, led the boys from steel town in the scoring column against the Hoyas and seemed to make every important play for Pitt all week long.  They had both achieved All-City status as High School players, Fields at Xaverian and Ramon at All Hallows, and now, they had come home to lead their school to a title in their own backyard.

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The Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden remains one of the biggest events on the New York sports calendar.  Since 1983, all of the big names and big teams have congregated at The World’s Most Famous Arena to give us a glimpse as to why this conference is the best and most competitive in the country.  Which is why it is so frustrating for New York college hoop fans that, even though the tourney takes place on its home court, the Red Storm of St. John’s has spent three of the last four years on the outside looking in.  Adding to the fans’ angst is the fact that so many teams come to the Big Apple led by players who grew up here.  In looking at the history of the basketball program at St. John’s you would be hard pressed to find one of their all time great players who wasn’t from the five boroughs.  Longtime coach, Lou Carnesecca, used to joke that his recruiting budget consisted of a roll of subway tokens.  So, what happened?   Former coach, Mike Jarvis, completely shunned the two city High School leagues and guided the program into its most embarrassing era off the court, leaving current mentor, Norm Roberts, a huge mess to clean up as he started his career in Queens.  But, it’s been four year with Roberts at the helm and the prep players keep leaving the city.  This year alone, two McDonald’s All Americans, Kemba Walker of Rice and Sylvan Landesberg of Holy Cross fled to UConn and Virginia, respectively.  If the Johnnies can’t start to convince some of these kids to play in Carnesecca Arena, Roberts fifth year could be his last.

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Lost in all the talk of March Madness is the incredible run of Tiger Woods.  In the last seven months he has played in ten tournaments, winning nine and finishing in a second place tie in the tenth.
In 2008, he has won all five of his starts.  Last Sunday, with Bart Bryant sitting in the scorer’s tent hoping for a playoff that would never come, Woods snaked a winding 25 foot birdie putt into the cup on the 18th hole for a one stroke win.  Bryant, upon hearing the roar, just turned his head and laughed, as if to say,
“This isn’t a fair fight.”  At 32, Tiger has recorded 64 Tour victories, just 18 shy of the all time record.  Good luck to the rest of the field at Augusta next month.

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Today at noon, the NCAA basketball tournament tips off, sending even the most casual fans into a frenzy of bracket watching and office pools.  Thankfully, it also signifies the end of the annual four day whining festival carried on by the coaches and fans of those teams who felt they should have been invited to the dance but weren’t.  They make absurd points about quality losses, (is there such a thing?), strength of schedule and who might be hot going into March.  Here’s an idea.  Win!  Don’t give us excuses as to why

your squad is 17-11 in a tough conference.  Spare us the details of how tough your out of conference opponents were if you couldn’t beat them.  Look, instead, at the Georgia Bulldogs who came into the SEC tourney as the lowest seed, having won only one conference game in the last month.  Throw in a doubleheader they were forced to win because of a tornado that damaged the Georgia Dome and the deck was certainly stacked against them.  Yet, they ran the table and got a bid.  You want in?  Win your games.

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I guess Bobby Knight is finding out that this media gig is a little tougher than he always thought.  On ESPN’s Selection Special, Knight, when asked his opinion of those bubble teams who may have been unjustly left out of the tourney, went on a two minute rant about how the field should be expanded to 128 teams.  Huh?  It is interesting, however, to see the contrast of the sweater-clad General seated next to Digger Phelps, a man so dapper that he switches his highlighter pen to match the color of his tie.  Memo to Knight:  Wearing the sweater instead of a suit does not in any way diminish your hypocrisy.  You have spent your career railing at the media but now, when a network is willing to throw some cash in your direction, it’s all of a sudden not such a bad deal?  While on the subject of ESPN analysts, is it possible that Len Elmore knows more about the Notre Dame basketball program than the fact that Kyle McAlarney was suspended last year because of marijuana possession?  We get the point, Len. You don’t have to make it during every game.  Or, if you do, maybe you could compare his situation to that of your colleague, Doug Gottlieb, who fled South Bend after his freshman year amidst allegations of credit card fraud and seemingly didn’t have the guts McAlarney had to return and face the music.

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Finally, for those of you filling out your brackets and looking to eliminate teams who won’t make the Final Four, here are my picks.  North Carolina, Georgetown, Stanford and UCLA with UCLA besting UNC for the title.

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