Stats & Info: Tom Izzo

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.

Pitino picture perfect in Sweet 16 games

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
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In the West Region on Thursday, two legendary head coaches square off as Louisville’s Rick Pitino faces Michigan State’s Tom Izzo for a spot in the Elite Eight.

Both rank in the top 10 among active coaches in NCAA tournament appearances and winning percentage. They also rank in the top 10 all-time in Final Four appearances. In fact, Izzo and Pitino have combined for 11 Final Fours (six for Izzo, five for Pitino).

This will be the second meeting between the two coaches in the tournament. In 2009, No. 2 seed Michigan State beat No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the Elite Eight, 64-52.

When the game tips off Thursday, something has to give.

Izzo is 5-0 in the NCAA tournament against Big East opponents. His teams were the lower seed in four of the five games, and won each by at least nine points.

As for Pitino, he does not lose in this round. His teams are a combined 9-0 in Sweet 16 games, and all nine wins have been by double digits. His most recent win in this round also was the most lopsided: a 39-point rout of No. 12 seed Arizona in 2009.

Pitino is 3-0 at Louisville, 5-0 at Kentucky and 1-0 at Providence in the Sweet 16. Three of those wins have been when his team was the lower seed, like it will be on Thursday against the top-seeded Spartans.

Top NCAA tournament tidbits

March, 11, 2012
3/11/12
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The NCAA field of 68 is out and there are plenty of storylines. Let’s take a snapshot look at some of the most interesting nuggets that we compiled today.

On the seedings

  • This is the fourth time Tom Izzo has had a team that is a No. 1 seed. The three previous times, he reached the Final Four (1999-2001). In all, Michigan State has been a No. 1 seed five times (also in 1990)
  • This is the sixth time that Texas has been a double-digit seed in the men's basketball championship. Each of the previous five times, the Longhorns won at least one game in the NCAA tournament.


  • This is the 1st time since 1992 that Connecticut has been seeded ninth or worse in the tournament (No. 9 seed in 1992). The Huskies had played in 14 tournaments since then seeded eighth or better.
Next Level

  • Six of the top 12 teams in tempo (possessions per game) in the NCAA tournament are in the West Region. Brigham Young and Iona play in the first round. Seven teams that led their conference in transition points per game are in that region (Michigan State, Missouri, Marquette, Murray State, Memphis, and Iona).
  • Creighton's matchup with Alabama in the Midwest Region will be a contrast between offensive and defensive efficiency. Creighton averages 117.8 points per 100 possessions, which is second in the nation, while Alabama allows 91.4 points per 100 possessions, which is second in the SEC and 16th in the nation.
  • Virginia Commonwealth forces a turnover on 27.4 percent of its possessions and forces 17.9 turnovers per game this season, both of which are first in the nation. The Rams average 20.4 points per game off turnovers, which is identical to the number of points per game off turnovers that Syracuse scores this season. Syracuse is first among power six conference teams in points per game off turnovers.


  • Florida averages 1.16 points per possession this season (tied for-fourth-highest in nation); Virginia allows 0.88 points per possession (second-lowest in nation).
Obscurity

Snubs

  • Washington became the first regular-season conference champion from a Power Six conference to not be selected to the NCAA tournament field. The Huskies 14 conference wins are the most of any Power Six team to miss the tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
  • Drexel and Oral Roberts each won 27 games, tied for the second-most by a team that didn’t make the tournament field, since it expanded to 64 teams, one behind Coastal Carolina (28 wins in 2010-11).
  • Marshall had the best RPI for a team that didn’t make the NCAA tournament-- 43.


Tar Heels, Spartans ready to take flight

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
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Ed Jones/Getty ImagesMichigan State and North Carolina meet in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier


The North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans are two of the most storied basketball programs in the nation. Friday they will etch their names in the history books yet again, playing in the first-ever college basketball game aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

Michigan State W2W4
The Spartans return just one player this season who averaged over seven points per game and face a possible rebuilding year.

A staple of the Michigan State program under coach Tom Izzo has been offensive rebounding and frontcourt scoring. Last year, however, the team struggled in both of areas.

They grabbed 35.3 percent of their missed shots, their worst offensive rebounding rate since 2004. They shot 46.9 percent inside the arc, their worst two-point shooting percentage in the last 15 seasons.

Draymond Green is expected to shoulder much of the scoring and rebounding load this season. Green was strong on the defensive glass last year (6.2 per game, third in Big Ten), but needs to improve his offensive game in the post. He averaged 0.73 points per post-up play, third-worst among Big Ten players (min. 30 plays).

However, Green was effective passing out of the post and finding the open man. His 28 passes from the post resulted in 38 points (1.36 points per play) and he turned the ball over just four of the 32 times the defense committed to him in the post.

North Carolina W2W4
North Carolina relied heavily on its transition game to score last year. Only two teams attempted more field goals on the break than the Tar Heels and only three teams scored more in transition.

While the Tar Heels were comfortable playing at the fastest pace in the league, they were inefficient in transition, ranking ninth in the ACC in transition points per play.

Preseason All-American Harrison Barnes averaged 15.7 points per game last season, but initially had trouble adjusting to the college game. But once Kendall Marshall took over as the starting point guard on January 18, Barnes found his groove and averaged more than 19 points the rest of the way.

Barnes’ chemistry with Marshall was highlighted by his much-improved shooting in both spot-up situations and coming off screens. Barnes shot 27 percent and averaged 0.75 points per spot-up play in the 17 games with Larry Drew II as the primary point guard. With Marshall, those numbers jumped to 40.4 percent and 1.08.

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