College Basketball Nation: Bob Thomason
March, 22, 2013
By Carter Strickland | ESPN.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- Miami had little trouble with No. 15 seed Pacific, winning 78-49. Here are a few thoughts from the game:
Overview: Bob Thomason decided a little less than a year ago it was time to say goodbye to coaching after 25 years at Pacific. But despite the long goodbye, the ending was rather sudden thanks to Miami in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Friday.
The No. 2 Hurricanes, clearly not ones for sentimentalities, burst out to a 24-point first half lead against the No. 15 Tigers and only rarely glanced over their shoulders. Instead Miami was too busy making sure the chip it heaved onto its shoulders after Selection Sunday was not just firmly in place but growing.
Miami played with the attitude one might expect from an ACC team that won its conference title but not the respect of the selection committee. Shane Larkin led the charge, first exploiting holes in the Pacific defense and then exploiting them. The sophomore finished with 10 points and nine assists. Miami's Durand Scott led all scorers with 21 points, hitting 18 of those in the second half. Travis Fulton led Pacific with 18 points.
Turning Point: Um, let's see ... Sunday night. Yep, that's when the brackets came out and it was immediately evident that this would be a lopsided game. Miami, which won the ACC, had the pedigree of a top-seeded team but was moved to a No. 2. (Even Thomason joked this was the first time in NCAA history a No. 15 was playing a No. 1 seed.) That slight clearly provided some motivation as the Hurricanes wasted little time in building that 24-point lead. Pacific didn't have the size to stop the Hurricanes on the inside or the quickness to keep up on the outside.
Key Player: Go ahead and make that plural and say key players. Miami had nine guys who scored in the first half alone. The Hurricanes' depth allowed them to rotate players in and out of the game and keep undermanned Pacific on its heels. Additionally, Miami, because it used its bench, should have plenty of rest before its next game Sunday.
Key Stat: The Hurricanes hit five of their first 11 threes, including the first two they took, forcing the Pacific zone to stretch and eventually snap as the Hurricanes moved the ball anywhere they wanted on the floor. Miami was even prolific with the threes in the second half as Scott got hot and hit four of six over an eight-minute stretch to start the half. Miami shot 54.5 percent for the game from behind the arc.
Next: Miami will take on the winner of the No. 7 Illinois versus No. 10 Colorado matchup at the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.
May, 22, 2012
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
The Afternoon Links are (intermittently) back, and they are exactly what they say they are. Some days will bring more than others. This is the offseason, after all. If you have a link you'd like included, your best bet is to hit me on Twitter. You can also e-mail your link to collegebasketballnation at gmail.com, or use the submission form here.
- If I had my druthers, I would dig a hole in the ground and put my rather large head in it each and every time the words "conference realignment" flickered past MacBook Air. Since that route is professionally untenable -- plus, I'd have to go buy a large shovel to accomodate this dome -- I suppose we're better off facing up to the cold, harsh realities of realignment. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn does exactly that Tuesday. Winn crunched Ken Pomeroy's Pythagorean expectations formula numbers in order to, as he writes, "compare what actually happened over the past 10 seasons against what the stats say would have happened, had the past 10 seasons played out under the new alignments." Winn adds and subtracts various schools from various leagues, and presents a chart-heavy picture that will look downright sad to fans of the Big East, Mountain West, all three of which would have been significantly worse leagues under their current alignments. No surprise there, of course, but Luke's work puts a much finer statistical point on the unfortunate realities of football-driven money grabs. Maybe that head-hole isn't such a bad idea after all.
- On Monday, Pacific coach Bob Thomason announced that the 2012-13 season -- his 25th year at the school -- would be his last. Among a long list of accomplishments, Thomason posted nine 20-win seasons, won five Big West coach of the year trophies and led Pacific to four NCAA tournament appearances, two of which included first-round upset wins over Providence and Pittsburgh in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
- Stony Brook is putting $21.1 million into a new basketball arena. You can see an artist's rendering here.
- Draft Express's Jonathan Givony reports back from the New Jersey Nets NBA draft combine (complete with a sortable results chart) and some of the athletic test results were fascinating. Among them? Penn's Zack Rosen tested out as the fastest player in the three-quarters-court sprint, only a fraction of a second slower than Derrick Rose; Stanford's Josh Owens posted the highest vertical jumps and the best bench press numbers; and Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney (wait for it) was the heaviest player in the combine (there it is) by 40 pounds, with a body fat percentage of 22.4 percent, the highest of the combine and the second-highest in Givony's entire database. (Only the legend that is Oliver Miller ranked higher.) The kicker: "Sidney quit pretty early on in the workout after being seen grasping an inhaler on the sidelines." Never change, Renardo. Never change.
- Speaking of the draft, on Friday ESPN Insider Chad Ford released his list of players for whom draft workouts could most affect their stock. Candidates include Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Terrence Ross, Andrew Nicholson and a host of others.
- Our own Jason King checked in with new Illinois coach John Groce, who is unfazed by the notion that he wasn't Illinois's first choice, and excited by the prospect of a long-term rebuild of the proud Illini program. Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Myron and I debated whether the program Groce inherited is indeed as overrated as we all now seem to think.
- Mental health break No. 1: "The Yankee Commandante" is no doubt one of the longer magazine stories you will read all year. It is no doubt also one of the best.
- Mental health break No. 2: I would by lying if I said I hadn't been listening to 8-bit "Kid A" all day.