Hey everybody. Greetings again from EnergySolutions Arena, home to the best day for UA hoops in two years last night. Not only did the WIldcats breeze past Belmont, they watched as Harvard topped No. 3 New Mexico in the nightcap. I saw UA folks after the Harvard win. They were all smiles.
Fire away with your questions. We'll be here for about an hour, and I'll try to get to all of them.
3:10 p.m. Tucson time. On TNT. Same announcers as last night
Everybody knows San Diego State is the true Harvard of the West. (Just ask Mark Grace). To answer your question: big-picture, yes, it's similar. Arizona will have maybe the 8 best athletes in uniform tomorrow. But Harvard can shoot — and, as we saw last night, they could actually bang down low with UNM relatively well. Little-picture, the Crimson is different. They're a bit more conventional than Belmont, which played 4 1/2 guards.
He's great. He's doing some administrator-type things in our office for now. It's funny — I've had people, not knowing what was going on, ask me if he was sick or something. He is great.
Clapping and probably saying a magic word after hitting his first 3 — although Hill didn't want to get into details last night.
Ohio State in the Sweet 16, assuming the Buckeyes advance, would be a hard game for them. But it's pretty amazing that, should the chips fall a certain way, the UA could get to the Final Four by beating an Ohio Valley team, an Ivy League team, Ohio State and either Gonzaga or K-State. A pretty fortuitous path.
A good amount. The UA will meet the media at 2:15 or so Tucson time here at EnergySolutions Arena, and then hold a closed practice. They'll eat after that. The team's been spending A LOT of time at the Huntsman Center on the Utah campus — they even went there yesterday to shoot around. I'm not sure if they'll do it today, but it sounds like they will tomorrow.
As for scouting, I'm sure the Wildcats will spend most of their evening going over the game plan. And I'm sure they've done some of that already.
To answer both your questions: New Mexico had a better (and often bigger) athlete at every spot, and still lost to Harvard. So anything can happen. But I can't imagine there's a team in America more happy about their Round of 32 opponent than the UA. No disrespect to the Crimson. But they could be the team that's just thrilled to win one game — and they should be. They'd never done that before
Not looking good, Andre. I thought Sconnie could do good things. I like Florida over Ohio State in the final, FWIW.
That's a good question. SLC isn't the same case, though, because the Wildcats are trying to produce as similar an experience to a conference road trip to play Utah as humanly possible. They've shot around in the same gyms, stayed at the same hotels, etc. Sean Miller is totally a creature of habit — he thinks that gives a sense of calm to his players. That's what will be interesting about the Sweet 16 in LA, if they advance — again, it'd be the exact same as a conference road trip, should the Wildcats wanna make it that.
A good question. Ken Pomeroy has listed Harvard as eighth in the nation in effective field-goal percentage, which gives extra weight to made three-pointers. Belmont was second. The Crimson actually shoots threes at a better clip than Belmont — its 40.3 percent is seventh in the nation. Like the Bruins, they don't rebound. Unlike the Bruins, they get to the free-throw line A LOT. And unlike the Bruins, they're not steals machines.
Add Pomeroy: Harvard gets 28 percent of its points from 3, 47 percent from 2 and 25 percent from the free-throw line. Only 11 teams get a higher percentage of points from free throws than the Crimson.
Folks are surprised. I was too, honestly — Cal had only played 2 games in 2 weeks, and I thought that would make its shooters rusty. And I though Okie State was a pretty good team before it played Oregon. The general consensus, after Day 1, was that the Pac-12 is better than we thought, and the Mountain West is far worse.
We covered this below. But 3:10. TNT
Great question. NCAA participants do not eat the same meals as each other. The food — from the location to the type to the time of dinner — is at the discretion of each coach. When in SLC, the Wildcats typically have their downtown hotel cater dinner. It's mostly comfort food-type stuff. They eat breakfast there, too. Every coach is different. Lute Olson used to like taking his players out to dinner and making a night of it. Sean Miller keeps it closer to the hotel.
Today or in general? I like to watch my alma mater, Missouri, in football and basketball. (Rough last night). I probably see at least part of 125 San Diego Padres games every year. If you were asking about today, I like Cincy-Creighton, Oklahoma-San Diego State and Florida Gulf Coast-Georgetown. I used to live near the FGCU campus, and played pickup basketball in their gym. In less than 10 years, they've jumped to Div. I-A, joined a league and made the tournament. They're a really good story, and I hope they do well.
To quote my dad, two — Slim and None. And None just walked outta the building. Ohio State's really good, and so's Notre Dame or Iowa State. It was funny — the other day Solomon Hill said, half-seriously, that he considered MoMo the enemy because they were in the same bracket.
Everybody wants to go to Atlanta. The sheer want-to of a coach isn't enough to win games. But Miller's a very good NCAA tournament coach — he's never, ever lost to a team seeded lower than his.
The Buckeyes defend. Guard Aaron Craft might be the nation's best on-ball defender, and has the ability to turn Mark Lyons into a turnover machine. (OK, more of a turnover machine). That's a huge mismatch in OSU's favor. FWIW, he's guarding MoMo today.
I'll ask that to the Wildcats later today. To me, they look like Washington State, in terms of the number of threes they shoot from four of five positions.
Let's see. Since I got to Tucson, I've been to Philly, New Orleans, Washington DC, Miami, Indy, Tulsa, Anaheim, Phoenix and now SLC. DC mighta been my favorite: Greg Hansen and I spent our mornings walking over to museums. The worst was probably Tulsa — the most exciting thing to do in their downtown was watch people smoke indoors. Another sneaky bad one: Miami. Because nobody really cared. Also, hey there, Cindy :)
Are we defining Tolbert as Arizona's best-ever big man? Because I wouldn't say that. Zeus has the size and the skill to be a dominant force. But he's gotta stay a few years. That's why it's tricky to compare players of today vs 20 years ago — those guys had a full four years to improve.