Friday, March 16, 2007

On the Eve of Tech's Madness.............

So it's Thursday night. I've been traveling all week visiting customers in Louisville and Cleveland. I fly back to Greenville in the morning and I finally have a few minutes to breath and offer some thoughts about the tourney and Tech's chances of advancing. Here are some random musings:

  • Have you noticed that Tech is probably the most popular "upset" / "underdog" pick on the bracket? Even Vegas oddsmakers have pegged GT as a 1.5 pt favorite. So how do you feel about that? Even master stat-man Ken Pomeroy has picked GT to go to the Final Four. Read his logic here.
  • Why Tech could make a run - well, Tech has 2 super-freshman who will play in the NBA one day (probably soon). We have a fantastic PG who is a crunch time winner. We have a good mix of wing players, inside talent, overall athleticism, depth, shooters. We rebound VERY well. When we play defense, we are very effective, with one of the best steal ratios in the nation. On the surface there's a lot to like about Tech.
  • Why Tech could bow out quickly - well, Tech is relying on 2 super freshman, one of which plays the most important position on the floor - PG. He's good, but he's not experiencedNCAA tourney's are won by teams dominated by experience. UNLV has a LOT more it, as they start 4 seniors............. NCAA tourney teams are typically won by teams that protect the ball, have great backcourts, play tough and consistent defense. Tech does not have much real playing post-season experience. At times this year Tech has been plagued with turnovers (although they seem to have tightend up). Mario is the experiences one here and is going to have to step up and help mentally prepare these guys. Tech can absolutely NOT be called consistent. While we finished the season strong, we've been all over the board on our offensive and defensive play.
  • So what are the keys to the UNLV game? First - Tech must absolutely defend on the perimeter. If the Rebs get going from outside it's going to be a long day. Remember, Wake Forest hit 16-23 3pt shots. Frankly I am not sure why we were even close in that game. If we can contest 3pt shots, we might just be ok Friday. This is priority #1, and frankly I'm concerned about our ability to defend the perimeter. Good passing teams tend to be able make that extra pass, get our help defenders out of position, and get very good open uncontested shots................. Second, Tech must clean up the glass. Do not let this team get any offensive boards. Put a body on every man and limit them to one shot................. Third, protect the ball. UNLV is not going to turn the ball over very much, and that means we will not get too many extra possessions. As a result, we better not give them many extra ones either......................... Fourth, we need to have a lot of assists. UNLV has one of the best shot-blockers in the nation, and making the extra pass will be important. I doubt we will be successful if the gameplan is to let Javaris dribble up court, never pass the ball, dribble penetrate and create some kind of shot for himself. The dribble-penetrate-and-dish on the other hand just might work. I'm a little out on a limb on the last one, but it seems to make sense to me.
  • So did any of you happen to catch "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central last night. He gave his tips on picking a winning bracket. Tip #1 started by showing the GT Buzz logo, VaTech and Texas Tech logo's and he proceeded to say "Never pick a school with 'Tech' in their name - because Tech means nerds, and nerds don't play good basketball. It's hard to block a shot with a solar powered calculator. See the actual video right here:

Kenny Anderson, recalling the 1990 GT / UNLV match-up, had this to say about players going pro early and missing out on college life:

"It's too bad, because that whole March throughout the NCAA tournament was the highlight of my life," Anderson said. "I wouldn't trade that for anything. That whole March was March madness for me."

Check out this slam on lewis Clinch in a NY Times article about players with the jersey number "0" or "00".

At least 20 tournament teams have had a player in the program this season with jersey No. 0 or No. 00. They include top seeds (Kansas’ Darrell Arthur), bottom seeds (Jackson State’s Marcus Jones) and bad seeds (Georgia Tech’s Lewis Clinch, who was suspended for the season for violating university policy).

I'll leave you with one last match-up comparison from this blog:

The Georgia Institute of Technology
Motto: “Progress and Service”
Mascot: Buzz the Yellow Jacket
Notable Alums: Jimmy Carter, Jason Varitek, Jeff Foxworthy, (the) Bobby Jones, Mark Price, Kevin Brown, Sam Nunn, Ken Whisenhunt, Vern Yip, Stewart Cink, Nomar Garciaparra, Ed Dodd, John Salley, Keith Brooking, Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury, Dennis Scott, Mark Teixeira, David Duval
Interesting Fact: Tech's fight song “I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech” is known worldwide. It was adapted from an old drinking song (“Son of a Gambolier”), and embellished with trumpet flourishes by Frank Roman. In 1959, then VP Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev sang it together when they had their famous cold war confrontation in Moscow, to reduce the tension. Nixon didn't know any Russian songs, but Khrushchev knew that one American one. It was sung on the Ed Sullivan show; it was played in space; Gregory Peck sang it while strumming a ukulele in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; John Wayne whistled it in The High and the Mighty. It is played after every Georgia Tech score in a football game.


University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Established: 1957
Motto: “What happens at UNLV stays at UNLV” (I don’t know; they don’t seem to have one.)
Mascot: Hey Reb the Rebel
Notable Alums: Ickey Woods, Jimmy Kimmel, Larry Johnson, Suge Knight, Randall Cunningham, Todd Stottlemyre, Ashlyn Gere, Adam Scott, J.R. Rider, Reggie Theus, Kenny Mayne, Shawn Marion, Keenan McCardell, Anthony E. Zuiker
Interesting Fact: In 2003, Gladys Knight recorded the majority of her recent Grammy-winning album on the UNLV campus.

Whitney’s Pick: 50 years of history, no motto, a nonsensical mascot name, Suge Knight, and J.R. Rider. Jerry Tarkanian was a friggin’ genius.