Stats & Info: Gorgui Dieng

A recap of Thursday's action in the Men's Basketball Championship.

(4) Louisville 57, (1) Michigan St 44
Rick Pitino improves to 10-0 as a coach in the Sweet 16 -- the best mark of any coach in the history of the tournament -- and Tom Izzo loses to a Big East team in the Men's Basketball Championship for the first time in his career (5-1).

Michigan State's 44 points and 28.6 field goal percentage are both its worst in a Men's Basketball Championship game.

Gorgui Dieng blocked seven shots, tying both his career high and the school record for blocks in a Men's Basketball Championship game (Pervis Ellison, 1989), to help Louisville advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009 and the 12th time in school history.

Draymond Green leads the Spartans with 13 points and 16 rebounds in his final collegiate game.

(1) Syracuse 64, (4) Wisconsin 63
With their victory over Wisconsin, the Orange return to the Elite Eight for the first time since winning the national championship in 2003.

With his 48th tournament victory, Jim Boeheim passes John Wooden for fifth place all-time in tournament wins.

Wisconsin shot 14-for-27 from behind the arc but just 7-for-22 from inside. The 14 3-pointers are the second-most in a tournament game for the Badgers.

The last time Syracuse won a game by one point in the NCAA tournament was the Sweet 16 in 2003, when the Orange beat Auburn 79-78 and went on to win the national championship.

It’s just the fifth time a 1 seed won by just a single point in the Sweet 16.

Wisconsin tried to impose its will in this game, limiting Syracuse to just 52 possessions. That’s the fewest possessions for Syracuse in any game in the past 15 seasons. The previous low was 54, done twice (1999 versus Princeton and 2006 versus West Virginia, both wins).

(7) Florida 68, (3) Marquette 58
Florida reaches the Elite Eight for the fourth time in seven seasons behind one of the best defensive efforts in the shot-clock era.

The Gators have allowed just 153 points through three games in the tournament; only two teams since 1986 have allowed fewer in their first three tournament wins.

The Golden Eagles made 20 field goals, just one more than their season low, but are the first team to top 50 points against Florida in this year’s tournament.

(2) Ohio State 81, (6) Cincinnati 66
Aaron Craft led the defensive effort with six steals, an Ohio State record in a Men's Basketball Championship game. The loss matches Cincinnati's worst in the Sweet 16.

Deshaun Thomas leads all scorers with 26 points (20 in the first half) and adds seven rebounds as Ohio State beats Cincinnati in the Men's Basketball Championship for the first time in school history.

Thomas joins a great list of players in the past five seasons to average at least 25.0 points per game and reach the Elite Eight. The bad news for the Buckeyes is that none of the other three players reached the Final Four.
Fab Melo's absence from the Men’s Basketball Championship will no doubt hurt Syracuse’s chances to win its first title since 2003.

Statistically how will Syracuse be impacted by the loss of Melo?

He missed three games during the season, including the Orange’s first loss of the season at Notre Dame. In those three games, Syracuse averaged 60.3 PPG (76.0 with him) and had a -11.0 rebound differential (-0.4 in the 29 games he played).

In the three games the 7-footer missed this season, Syracuse – understandably – saw a significant decline in specific areas of its offense. With Melo, the Orange averaged 35.4 points per game in the paint, but just 28.7 without him. Their second-chance PPG also dropped from 13.5 with Melo to 6.3 without.

Melo’s 7.8 PPG ranked sixth on the team this season, but the void he’ll leave on the defensive end might be where Syracuse sees the biggest impact.

In the three games Syracuse played without Melo, opponents averaged nearly 10 more points per 100 possessions, had a slightly higher field goal percentage and their offensive rebound percentage went from 39.1 to 42.2.

Melo’s 2.93 blocks per game ranks fifth among players in this year’s Men’s Basketball Championship. Melo had 37.6 percent of Syracuse’s blocked shots this season (88 of 234). With Melo out, Syracuse’s leading shot blockers are James Southerland and Baye Keita, both of whom averaged 0.9 BPG.

(Syracuse is one of the nation's best teams at converting defense into offense. The Orange average 1.23 points for every forced turnover, which is the second highest rate among schools in the Big Six conferences.)

Syracuse’s BPI this season was 89.7, but in the three games he missed, the Orange’s BPI was 73.1. (That number was brought down significantly by the 11-point loss to Notre Dame.) If you believe that Syracuse without Melo is a 73.1 BPI team, then that would drop the Orange from second to 41st in the season-long rankings, just ahead of West Virginia.

Behind the box scores: Monday's games

February, 14, 2012
A scan of the college basketball box scores each night guarantees all kinds of statistical oddities and standout performances. Here are some we found from Monday:

Kansas 59, Kansas State 53
Kansas’ Jeff Withey had nine blocks and Kansas State’s Jordan Henriquez had six blocks Monday night. They are the second pair of opposing players each with at least six blocks in the same game this season. On Dec. 31, Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis each had six blocks.

Belmont 106, Stetson 93
Belmont shot 12-for-20 (60 percent) on 3-pointers and 20-for-21 on free throws (95.2 percent) en route to scoring 106 points in Monday’s win. The Bruins are the first team this season to shoot at least 60 percent from three and 90 percent from the foul line, taking at least 20 attempts from each. The last team to accomplish that against a Division I opponent was Arizona on Feb. 12, 2009, against USC.

Utah Valley 70, Montana Tech 60
Utah Valley committed just five fouls in the win, matching the fewest number of fouls committed by a team this season. Boston College (Dec. 11) and Portland State (Dec. 3) are the others.
Rivalry Week comes to an end with two Big Monday matchups on ESPN. At 7 Eastern, No. 2 Syracuse travels to No. 18 Louisville. The nightcap at 9 Eastern is a Sunflower State showdown between No. 5 Kansas and Kansas State.

(2) Syracuse at (18) Louisville, 7 ET on ESPN
The Orange have won three straight road games against ranked opponents, tied for their longest streak since the start of the 1996-97 season. However, Syracuse has failed to win in four road trips to Louisville since the Cardinals joined the Big East. The Cardinals have won seven straight meetings between the schools, with the Orange last winning on Feb. 18, 2006.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Syracuse’s seven-game losing streak to Louisville is the longest that Jim Boeheim has suffered against a Big East opponent. The Cardinals are also perfect in four games against Syracuse when the Orange are ranked in the Top 5.

The key for both teams so far this season has been defense. Both rank in the Top 15 in the nation in steals per game and field-goal percentage defense.

But while Syracuse is also among the top teams in taking care of the ball (fourth-lowest turnover percentage at 16 percent), their pressure could impact Louisville. The Orange average 22 points per game off of turnovers, the most of any Power Six school. Louisville turns the ball over nearly 15 times per game, the second-highest rate in the Big East.

Even with the return of Fab Melo, Syracuse’s zone defense hurts on the defensive glass. The Orange have the ninth-worst defensive rebound percent in the nation and have been outrebounded by double digits in four of their last seven games, including the loss to Notre Dame. Louisville could press this advantage on the glass, as Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng each rank in the Top 100 in the nation in offensive rebound percent.

(5) Kansas at Kansas State, 9 ET on ESPN
Kansas has 182 wins all-time against Kansas State, the most wins for the Jayhawks against any opponent. The Wildcats won their last home game against their in-state rival, but haven’t had much success in the series recently. Since the formation of the Big 12 prior to the 1996-97 season, the Wildcats are just 3-35 against the Jayhawks.

Kansas State’s home win last season gives the Wildcats a rare chance to win back-to-back home games against Kansas. They last won consecutive home games against the Jayhawks during a four-game streak that concluded in 1983.

After starting the season at 17-3, Kansas has lost two of its last five games with losses at Iowa State and Missouri. The last time the Jayhawks lost more than two road games in a season was 2008-09, when they dropped two non-conference games before finishing 6-2 in Big 12 action.