Thanks to the Big East tournament adding an opening day and allowing teams 13-16 to participate this year, DePaul will not end the year winless against Big East teams. Despite an 0-18 record in regular season play, the Blue Demons used an early second half run to build a comfortable lead on Cincinnati and they held on for victory.
1) DePaul's Matija Poscic is really annoying. On defense he just walks around and keeps running into the other teams guards from behind. I guess that's how some people act when they don't have anything to play for.
2) Dar Tucker may be the lead scorer on the year for DePaul, but Will Walker is absolutely on fire. Starting with the 2/21 game against Pittburgh he's scored 17, 23, 15, 31, and 20 points. He scored 17 points again today in the win.
3) Cincinnati was already out of the NCAA tournament, and there's no doubt now. The real question is how this impacts Providence. I think it is probably good. Another win against Cincinnati wouldn't have done much for the Friars, and maybe if Providence can coast to victory tommorrow against DePaul, the Friars can be rested for the game against Louisville on Thursday.
Red Storm Survive
St. John's has played Georgetown twice this year, and they haven't shot over 36% in either game. But, just like in the first meeting, St. John's picked up the victory today in the Big East first round. When the teams met last week, it was the rebounding edge that made up for the poor shooting by St. John's. This week John Thompson made a concerted effort to go big, using Henry Sims quite a bit in the first half when Summers and Mescheriakov got in foul trouble, in an effort to combat that rebounding problem. It worked, as Georgetown did not have a pronounced rebounding disadvantage in this one. But St. John's won anyway thanks to a few more clutch free throws down the stretch.
This was a very whistle-happy game with both teams combining to shoot over 50 free throws. More suprisingly, for only the second time this season, Greg Monroe fouled out of a game. One of the big indicators of Greg Monroe's strange freshman maturity is his ability to avoid fouls, but that was not the case today. He fouled out and the Hoyas late season collapse finally came to a resounding end.
The Favored Seed Wins
I said it last week, but it remains true. How can Notre Dame be this poor at their two point shooting? In today’s game against Rutgers, the Fighting Irish were just 12 of 38 or 31.6% inside the arc, while they were 8 of 18 or 44.4% outside the arc. The BigEast.tv announcers were complimenting Mike Brey for resting Luke Harangody so much, but it might not have been such a dynamic strategy. Harangody was just 3 of 17 from the floor in the game. Perhaps he was sitting on the bench because he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn tonight. Well, here’s hoping he shoots better tomorrow so we get an entertaining game. Tomorrow is the classic bubble match-up with bubble “in” team West Virginia taking on a bubble “out” team Notre Dame.
Side note: One feature of BigEast.tv as compared to actual television is that they don't have cut-aways to a studio. There are plusses and minuses to this. On the minus side, all you get is a "Please Wait" screen during halftime and between sessions. But on the plus side, they also go to the stadium earlier than the normal coverage. As a result, we get to see the introductions of the starting lineups for the games. I'm not saying I want to see this all the time, but given that this is the final game for a lot of these teams, it is kind of fun to see the players introduced.