Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3/23: Do You Know Your Sweet 16? Part 3 - SOUTH REGION

The South Region was said by many to be tailor-made for the top seed to advance all the way though Houston and on to the Final Four in Indianapolis. That's because the top seed is one of the teams in college basketball that drives ratings just be their name. It would be foolish to assume they're just gonna waltz through a bracket of teams that have their sights set on them. The real shame in all the complaining about the perceived weakness of this bracket is that it demeans the rest of the field, the other three teams in this bracket include:

- An team led by a coach with the most memorable last name in the history of upsets
- A team written off by most to even beat a 13-seed in the 1st round due to an injury, but still fighting and winning
- A team who only won one other tournament game, in 1959, vs Idaho St


Duke Blue Devils


Pre-tournament: 29-5 (16-3 ACC) ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions
2010 Tournament Wins: 73-44 vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 68-53 vs California
NCAA Tournament History: 34th appearance, 90-30 record, 14 Final Fours, 3 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: National Champions - 1991, 1992, 2001
University History: Originated as Brown's Schoolhouse in 1837
Notable Alumni: journalist Charlie Rose, sportswriter John Feinstein, Hall of Fame NFL QB Sonny Jurgensen
Basketball Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium, opened 1940, capacity 9,314, when opened was largest arena south of the Palestra in Philadelphia

Their Story: Duke has the history, the prestige, the legendary coach, and gets the ratings. The Blue Devils also have a recent history of not performing well the the tournament. The reason is that Duke has not performed is because their recruiting is limited to those who academically qualify under the high standards of Duke University and want to play for the full four years. The result is they are well coached, rely on three pointers, and are out-talented by programs who do can recruit one year players with far lesser academic qualifications. They did have better statistics for offensive rebounding, but it is unclear if that is a product of their improvement or their conference being slightly below average this season.

Up Next: vs Purdue - Friday 9:57 PM

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Baylor Bears


Pre-tournament: 25-7 (12-6 Big XII)
2010 Tournament Wins: 68-59 vs Sam Houston St, 76-68 vs Old Dominion
NCAA Tournament History: 6th appearance, 5-7 record, 2 Final Fours, 0 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: National Runner-up - 1948
University History: Founded in 1845
Notable Alumni: comedian Jeff Dunham, 49ers coach and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, sportscaster Trey Wingo
Basketball Venue: The Ferrell Center, opened 1988, capacity 10,347, gold plated dome roof weighs 175 tons

Their Story: In 2003 Baylor was rocked by the murder of a player at the hands of a former player. Dave Bliss, then head coach, was forced to resign after improper financial allegations and plans to blame it on the slain player. Into the situation stepped Scott Drew, son of Homer and brother of Bryce. You may remember the Drew family from the memorable Valparaiso NCAA tournament upset (see video below). Since then Drew has done an amazing turn-around. Now Baylor will play in the Houston regional, just a short drive from their campus in Waco.
Up Next: vs Saint Mary's - Friday 7:27 PM

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Purdue Boilermakers


Pre-tournament: 27-5 (15-5 Big Ten)
2010 Tournament Wins: 72-64 vs Siena, 63-61 vs Texas A&M
NCAA Tournament History: 24th appearance, 33-23 record, 2 Final Fours, 0 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: National Runner-Up - 1969
University History: Founded in 1869
Notable Alumni: astronaut Neil Armstrong, Hall of Fame NFL QB Bob Griese, NFL QB Drew Brees
Basketball Venue: Mackey Arena, opened 1967, capacity 14,123, Keady Court is only court in the country named after a comb-over

Their Story: Purdue wasn't supposed to be here. They weren't supposed to score 11 points in the first half of the Big Ten semi-final vs Minnesota, but they did. They weren't supposed to get a 4-seed, but they did. They weren't supposed to beat Siena, but they did. Their season was supposed to be over when Robbie Hummel went down, but it wasn't.
Up Next: vs Duke - Friday 9:57 PM

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Saint Mary's Gaels


Pre-tournament: 26-5 (13-3) West Coast Conference Tournament Champions
2010 Tournament Wins: 80-71 vs Richmond, 75-68 vs Villanova
NCAA Tournament History: 6th appearance, 3-5 record, 0 Final Fours, 0 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: Sweet Sixteen - 2010
University History: Founded in 1863
Notable Alumni: MLB 3rd baseman Mark Teahan, Sr VP & GM of CNN.com K.C. Estenson, Poet Laureate of the U.S. Robert Haas (1995-97)
Basketball Venue: McKeon Pavilion, opened 1978, capacity 3,500, only student section with lots of Australian flags waving

Their Story: Saint Mary's has been a good team for a while now, but when they beat Gonzaga this year to win the WCC they earned a spot in the tournament. They are making their deepest run in the tournament, and easily the most lovable Cinderella of the tournament, because they play in such a small gym and have so many players to like. Omar Samhan, seriously, that's all you need.
Up Next: vs 

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