Hoops with House 10

Hey Sky Fans!...

WOW! I can’t believe it! I TOTALLY spaced out Tuesday on writing to you.

My sincere apologies.

I can only plead total basketball overload! 268 Men’s and Women’s Division I basketball teams are getting ready to compete for championships… cutting down the nets! I’m preparing all my viewing schedules. The games have already started… TV, Internet video streaming… I won’t leave my basement until April 5th! Bring in the food and fresh towels!

The Women’s NCAA Tournament, Men’s NCAA tournament, Women’s NIT, Men’s NIT, Men’s CBI, Men’s CIT… Did I miss any? Oh yeah, there are still NBA games going on each night as well. My DVR might explode!

You may be one of those people that won’t watch “the other” tournaments. Not me! Complete basketball-junkie. I don’t have to prepare for a team right now so I can just watch and enjoy and sneak a peek at a player or two ;-)

I could never figure out why some schools reject the opportunity to practice, prepare and compete no matter what the tournament. To be able to get your team in a gym, practice, prepare and then go play? Gotta do it… Any time, any gym.

Often the BCS schools decline offers to play in “the other” tournaments. I think that’s unfortunate. That decision is usually based on recruiting and perception. BIG BCS University can definitely “afford” the costs to go and participate in more games, what they can’t “afford” to do is go to “the other tournaments” and lose. Then they have to go out on the recruiting trail, get on the phone with high school and AAU coaches and spin it.

That’s OK… There are 268 teams getting ready to play and I’m watching every game I can! AND… I don’t have to travel… yet… very far!

Here are my brackets….

WNIT

Women’s NCAA

I have all my other brackets too, but I am sure you don’t want to see those. Funny thing… in over 25 years of coaching and looking at brackets, I’ve never gotten the majority of the games right. I don’t enter “pools”, but if I did I am sure I would never win. Instead we have a family pool and everyone in our family fills out a bracket. The winner gets to pick desert for a whole month after the tournament is over!

Let me give you one game from each region, in the first round that you MUST SEE…

PHILADELPHIA REGION

#11 Dayton vs. #6 Penn State

This is THE must see game in the tournament for me! Both teams are exceptionally well coached. Both teams play extremely hard, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Penn State is very good at home, 7-1 vs. Non-Big Ten teams this season, allowing only 67 ppg on 34% FG shooting.

But, Dayton is a very good team as well and an exceptional road team. Largely because they consistently get to the line and make free throws down the stretch. They have great leadership and exceptional offensive and defensive execution. This is my upset game of the Philadelphia Region. Dayton by a deuce!

DAYTON REGION

#12 Bowling Green vs. #5 Georgia Tech

This is a fantastic matchup for so many reasons, but the following are why it is a MUST WATCH game:

1.) Bowling Green is a very unique offensive team. Their offense is extremely efficient and hard to guard. BG is a great “team,” they share the ball and limit their turnovers. As an entire team they had 446 assists to 447 turnovers on the season. With just their starters: 387 assists – 298 turnovers. That’s exceptional! 2.) BG lost their season opener, then won 15 in a row, then lost 3 of 5 and finished the season winning 11 in a row including the MAC Tournament Championship. Lauren Prochaska is tremendous - nearly 18 ppg and 91% from the line, I can’t wait to watch her play again. 3.) Georgia Tech got hot in February, with their only losses coming vs. all top three seeds in the NCAA Tournament: Duke, Miami and Florida State. Year in and year out, they are one of the physically and mentally toughest teams I have seen. You have to come ready to play vs. GT, no matter who you are, or they will embarrass you with their defensive intensity.

This is going to be an incredible battle of contrasting styles and coaching strategy. I’m going with BG because of their ability to execute and score, but GT might just totally lock them up.

SPOKANE REGION

#9 St. John’s vs. #8 Texas Tech

This game could be played 10 times and I bet it would be fives wins apiece for each team. I can’t wait to watch this game because it will be a one possession game, with under 10 sec to go, and probably whichever team is on defense will win!

St. John’s and Texas Tech both guard their opponents exceptionally well. Both teams consistently hold opponents under 60 points and both teams play possession basketball. Texas Tech holds opponents to 57 ppg, St. John’s 58 ppg. Texas Tech holds opponents to 37.9% FG%, St. John’s 38.1%.

DVR – Check. Notebook – Check. I’m Ready!

DALLAS REGION

#10 Louisiana Tech vs. #7 Rutgers

This region might very well be the tournament’s toughest region overall. Baylor, Texas A&M, Florida State, Green Bay and my two must see teams - Rutgers and Louisiana Tech. Top to bottom, this region is loaded. There will be more upsets in this region than any other.

As far as RPI goes, this game is pretty close: Rutgers a 23 and La. Tech a 27. Tough-minded defensive teams, both have it – just like both of their coaches, C. Vivian Stringer and Teresa Weatherspoon, what a great matchup. I’m sure Coach Stringer recruited Spoon back in the day - hmm, nice twist. Many have mumbled that Rutgers doesn’t belong in the tournament this year and that La. Tech is over rated and was not tested. I think both are wrong. Rutgers is 19-12 coming out of the toughest conference in the country, but only 4-10 on the road. La. Tech at 74 ppg and 24-7 has found a way to score and win all season.

The contrast in conferences is huge, the Big East is just a dog-fight every single night and La. Tech was just too much for nearly everyone in the WAC all season. In the end, I think the Shreveport crowd will help the girl from Pineland, TX get the W in this one.

There you have it Sky Fans!

Let’s get back together next week and see what craziness has transpired in the tournament! If I forget to write again, call me… I’ll still be in the basement.

For previous editions of Sky Hoops with House, click here.