Under The Radar Postseason News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Tuesday, March 28

There were a couple more coaching hires that were announced yesterday. The first one comes as a little bit of a surprise – Akron’s Keith Dambrot will become the new head coach at Duquesne (sorry, @CoachMarkTitus). He spent 13 seasons as Akron’s head coach that included 5 regular season championships in the MAC (in the East Division) and 3 MAC Tournament championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The only thing missing here was an NCAA Tournament victory.

Elsewhere, Quinnipiac also has a new head coach in place. That would be former Villanova assistant coach Baker Dunleavy. He is the son of Tulane head coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. and the brother to current NBA player and former Duke player Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Last night, the CBI Best-of-3 tipped off with Coastal Carolina beating Wyoming 90-81 in Game 1. Jaylen Shaw, Michel Enanga and Demario Beck each had 15 points for the Chanticleers. Jason McManamen led the Cowboys with 19 points. Games 2 (and 3, if necessary) will be played at Wyoming later on this week. Wednesday’s game is set for a 9 PM tip (Eastern time).

NIT

(8) CAL STATE-BAKERSFIELD vs. (6) GEORGIA TECH (7:00 PM, ESPN). The Cinderella Lite run continues for Bakersfield – they advanced to Madison Square Garden with 3 consecutive road wins against California, Colorado State and Texas-Arlington (which was the only game the Mavs lost at home all year). Georgia Tech actually got a pair of home wins due to Indiana’s unwillingness to play at home and a matchup with lower-seeded Belmont in the 2nd round, but proved themselves worthy of a trip to New York with their win at Ole Miss in the quarterfinals last week. Still, the Yellow Jackets have far exceeded what little was expected of them this season.

(4) CENTRAL FLORIDA vs. (4) TCU (app. 9:30 PM, ESPN). Both the Knights and the Horned Frogs knocked out the #1 seeds in the 2nd round (UCF won at Illinois State and TCU won at Iowa) and both teams won at home in the quarterfinals (UCF against Illinois and TCU against Richmond). While UCF’s Tacko Fall literally towers over everyone left in the field, don’t sleep on TCU’s Kenrich Williams, either. He is half a rebound away from averaging a double-double.

 

Elite Eight Recap and other Under The Radar Games – Monday, March 27

***NOTE***  We will be recording this week’s Hoops HD Report on Thursday night instead of the normal Monday night.

After yesterday’s games in the NCAA Tournament, our Final Four is now set for next weekend. In the first game, South Carolina was able to call on their defense one more time and were able to come up with a 77-70 victory over Florida. A year of firsts continues to roll on for the Gamecocks and are now assured of their first trip to the Final Four. They will play Gonzaga in the first game on Saturday.

The other game was even more of a nailbiter. North Carolina had a 7-point lead in the final minute and managed to give up back-to-back 3s sandwiched around a 5-second call where they failed to inbound the ball against Kentucky’s pressure defense. After a Carolina layup, Kentucky hit a game-tying 3-point shot with 7 seconds to play, but Carolina’s Luke Maye hit a game-winning shot just inside the arc to give the Tar Heels the final ticket to the Final Four. They will play Oregon in the second game on Saturday night.

As for the CIT, the final 2 quarterfinal games were played yesterday. Fort Wayne was unable to take advantage of their 2nd-round bye; they looked a little rusty on the road in their 78-62 loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. UMBC’s magic carpet ride also continued with their 80-68 win at home over Liberty. This now sets up both semifinal matchups for Wednesday night – Corpus Christi will travel to UMBC for the first semifinal game at 7 PM. The other game will feature Furman hitting the road to Saint Peter’s for a  9 PM tipoff. Both games will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Last and not least, ESPN is reporting that GW officially named Maurice Joseph their permanent head coach with a 5-year deal. He was the interim head coach after Mike Lonergan was dismissed last fall just prior to the beginning of the season.

CBI (Game 1)

WYOMING at COASTAL CAROLINA (7:30 PM, ESPNU). At last, the under-the-radar tournaments are beginning to wrap up. The CBI championship will be determined in a best-of-3 series with each team assured of at least one home game. The first game will be played at Coastal Carolina – the Chanticleers defeated Illinois-Chicago 89-78 to advance to the championship series. Wyoming gets to host the second and final games (if necessary), but must first hit the road for the first and only time during the CBI. They beat Utah Valley 74-68 to advance to the championship series.

Elite Eight Rundown – Sunday, March 26th

For other coaching updates and CIT postseason games – CLICK HERE

As we had teased yesterday, we were guaranteed a new entrant into the 2017 Final Four to be played in Glendale, Arizona next weekend. It will be the Gonzaga Bulldogs – they smashed Xavier 83-59 yesterday. While Gonzaga hadn’t shot well on a consistent basis all tournament long, they found their shots yesterday, especially from outside the arc. Xavier stuck with their gameplan for most of the tournament essentially daring teams to beat them from the outside and pack in the lane. Gonzaga will now await the winner of the East Regional between Florida and South Carolina this afternoon.

For the second year in a row, both Oregon and Kansas advanced to the Elite 8, but this time the Ducks were able to hit an extra gear and they will advance to the Final Four for the first time since the inaugural NCAA Tournament was played in 1939. Much to the horror of the quasi-hometown crowd, Oregon beat Kansas rather handily by a 74-60 final score. The Ducks now await the winner of the Kentucky-North Carolina game in the South Region.

East Region (New York, NY)) (all times Eastern)

(7) SOUTH CAROLINA vs. (4) FLORIDA (CBS, 2:20 PM). Today’s matchup represents the 3rd time this season that the Gamecocks and Gators will face each other this season (with each team winning on their home court). South Carolina’s defense suffocated Baylor in their win on Friday night and had an easier night than Florida did – they survived a meltdown in the end of regulation and needed a clutch block from Canyon Barry and a game-winning 3-pointer in overtime to knock out Wisconsin. South Carolina continues to break barriers in their program’s history, whereas Florida has an opportunity to reach the Final Four under their 3rd different coach (Lon Kruger and Billy Donovan were the first two).

South Region (Memphis, TN) (all times Eastern)

(2) KENTUCKY vs. (1) NORTH CAROLINA (CBS, 5:05 PM). This is also a regular-season rematch of a game played back in December in Las Vegas. Kentucky won the first matchup, although North Carolina wasn’t completely healthy at the time. While the Tar Heels struggled to beat Arkansas last week, they had little trouble knocking out Butler on Friday. Kentucky wore down UCLA in their Sweet 16 matchup and had an easier time than their close call against Wichita State the week before.

Under The Radar Postseason News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Sunday, March 26

It finally happened for Indiana. They announced yesterday that Archie Miller will become their next head coach to replace the departed Tom Crean. Miller had a run to the Elite 8 in 2014 with Dayton and other multiple NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit (along with the outright A-10 regular season title this year). This now leaves Dayton in a more precarious position since they now have a head coaching vacancy and a roster that’s losing a boatload of experienced seniors.

As for yesterday’s results in the CIT, both Furman and Saint Peter’s advanced to the CIT semifinals with road wins against Campbell and Texas State, respectively. Both Furman and Saint Peter’s were runners-up in their respective conferences during the regular season and had early exits in their conference tournaments. We will learn the semifinal matchups tonight after the final two quarterfinal games are played today.

CIT

LIBERTY at UMBC (2:00 PM, Facebook Live). This is the only quarterfinal matchup where neither team got a bye into this round. Liberty made it this far with wins over Norfolk State and Samford and UMBC’s continued turnaround season includes wins over Fairfield and St. Francis Univerity in the CIT.

FORT WAYNE at TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI (3:00 PM, Facebook Live). The last quarterfinal matchup first involves the Fort Wayne Mastodons – they were the final team to get a bye into the quarterfinal round after their opening win against Ball State. They will hit the road to play the Islanders of Corpus Christi – they beat Georgia State and Weber State at home to advance to this checkpoint in the CIT. Both this game and the aforementioned game will be streamed on Facebook Live.

Under The Radar Postseason News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Saturday, March 25

With UCLA’s loss to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen last night, it cleared a roadblock for Indiana fans who are waiting on bended knee for Steve Alford to return home to Indiana to become their next head coach. As of this morning, however, all indications are that he will remain at UCLA for the foreseeable future.

There were 2 other notable vacancies filled yesterday – both were in-house hires. Oklahoma State announced that former assistant coach Mike Boynton Jr. will take over as head coach for the Cowboys following Brad Underwood’s surprise departure for Illinois. Boynton played for South Carolina and also spent 4 years as an assistant for the Gamecocks, but recently he was an assistant for Underwood both at Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State.

Wyking Jones will also be promoted at California and takes over as head coach for the Golden Bears after Cuonzo Martin resigned to become the new head coach at Missouri. Not only was he an assistant for Martin, but had also spent time as an assistant to Rick Pitino at Louisville.

As for other postseason tournaments, the CIT resumes this weekend with 2 quarterfinal games today and 2 quarterfinal games tomorrow. All 4 games can be streamed on Facebook Live. (And if you really want to go below the radar, Fairmont State (WV) and Northwest Missouri State will play for the Division II title today at 3 PM at the Samford Pentagon on CBS.)

CIT

FURMAN at CAMPBELL (2:00 PM, Facebook Live). The Camels’ improbable success in March continues after a pair of home wins against Houston Baptist and UT-Martin. Furman was one of 3 teams to get a bye into the quarterfinals, but that also means they must hit the road for today. They did look impressive in beating nearby USC-Upstate in their only game in the CIT so far.

SAINT PETER’S at TEXAS STATE (5:00 PM, Facebook Live). Like the aforementioned Paladins, one of the trade-offs of getting a 2nd-round bye for Saint Peter’s will be a road game this round. The Peacocks won their opener against Albany last week. Texas State is coming off of a pair of home wins against Lamar and Idaho.

Elite Eight Rundown: Saturday, March 25th

For today’s Under The Radar postseason games along with coaching carousel updates – CLICK HERE

WEST REGIONAL (San Jose, CA) (all times Eastern)

#11 XAVIER VS #1 GONZAGA (TBS, 6:09 PM).  These two do not play regularly, but they have played on occasion and the two programs seem to have an awareness of one another.  Neither has been to a Final Four, and although many expected Gonzaga to be here, almost no one expected Xavier to make it this far.  Xavier is not the same team they were fifteen days ago.  In the last two weeks, they’ve beaten three protected seeds away from home, including a full strength Arizona team (well, almost) in their last game.  It ranks up there with some of the most improbable tournament runs ever.  We’ve seen #11 seeds make it this far (and even farther), but we’ve never seen one who only managed to beat one team (albeit two different times) in the last five weeks of the regular season.  As for Gonzaga, I can’t help but get the feeling they haven’t played a really good game in the tournament yet, but yet here they are.  If they do manage to put it together today and play like they did during much of the regular season, it could be a long day for Xavier.

 

MIDWEST REGIONAL (Kansas City, MO) (all times Eastern)

#3 OREGON VS #1 KANSAS (TBS, 8:49 PM).  Kansas blew past a pretty good Purdue team in the second half, whereas Oregon won in a thriller against Michigan.  Both teams were in the Elite Eight a year ago, and both failed to advance to the Final Four.  Kansas is obviously a storied program and this year’s edition of it has looked as good as anyone else in the country despite their off the court issues.  Oregon has had a great two year run with back to back Elite Eights and first place finishes in the Pac Twelve.  If it ends today, then all I can say is that I hate it had to end with them not being at full strength.  To be fair to Kansas, I think I’d pick them to win this even if Oregon was at full strength, but I just hate to see a team that’s been so good (be it Oregon or anyone else) lose when they’re not able to be at their best.

 

PUPPET NOTES AND RAMBLINGS

-The games last night weren’t nearly as good as Thursday night.  I thought Butler would really squeeze North Carolina and that just didn’t happen.  The Tar Heels blew it open early, Butler couldn’t knock down the open looks that they did get and it was never really in doubt.

-South Carolina sprinted ahead of Baylor in a game that was also blown open early on, but this was much more of a surprise.  South Carolina has played magnificently in this tournament and Frank Martin deserves a ton of credit not just for what he’s done this year, but for how much that program has progressed since he took it over.  They had almost no tournament history or history of success to speak of and now their games are sold out, people are excited, and last night they blew out a Baylor team that had been having a spectacular season.  Now they’re one win away from the Final Four against a familiar foe in Florida.

-UCLA vs. Kentucky was expected to be the game of the night, and while it wasn’t a bad game, it wasn’t exactly down to the wire either.  Kentucky played one of their better games of the entire season in that they were able to score against UCLA (I know a lot of teams have done that, but UCLA was pretty solid on defense against Cincinnati), but they were also able to limit UCLA’s high powered offense.  Kentucky moves on to face North Carolina on Sunday in a game that should give us a rather large volume of viewers.

-The game of the night was between Florida and Wisconsin.  Coming into last night, there had been no overtime games, nor were there any games won on a buzzer beater.  Well, this game gave us both of those things.  The two teams seesawed back and forth, and after Wisconsin appeared to be completely dead at the end of regulation, they forced turnovers and hit a game tying three to force overtime.  Wisky got a lead early in overtime, and it was then Florida who had to come back.  Canyon Barry ran the length of the court to block a breakaway Badger layup prior to a game-tying shot by Florida. After one final defensive stop, they went the length of the court in four seconds and hit a game winning three pointer to knock out the Badgers.  This is the second year in a row that Wisconsin has lost in the Sweet Sixteen in rather dramatic fashion.

-If Xavier wins tonight, everyone in the greater Cincinnati area needs to be on the lookout for John Stalica!!  He may lose control!!  He may not be able to handle himself!!