Monday, March 20, 2023

Update on the NCAA as Regions

Now that we're down to the Sweet 16, the Regions are really taking shape.  The big story over the weekend, of course, was Princeton's run through Region Three.  Now the regions look like this:

First Round (teams that have advanced to the quarter-finals are in Bold):
Duke v. UConn
Alabama or Miami (Fla.) or Fla. Atlantic v. Tennessee
Maryland v. Creighton or Kansas St.
Princeton v. UCLA or San Diego St.
Marquette v. Gonzaga
Arkansas v. Arizona
Iona v. Xavier
Michigan St. v. Houston or Texas

Arkansas is very formidable when you do things by regions.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Tree Today


Final Thoughts on Kentucky

I really don't think this team underperformed.  If anything, given the talent on the team, I think they slightly overperformed.  They were able to stop the bleeding after the loss to South Carolina, and scrape their way to an NCAA Tournament victory.  They won a lot of games I didn't think they could win.  But they were never beating a real team like Kansas State that knows how to execute down the stretch.  They just aren't good enough.  Antonio Reeves went 1-10 from three-point range, and 0-5 from two-point range.  Jacob Toppin went 0-2 from three-point range, and 1-5 from two-point range.  As a whole, the team went 4-20 from 3-point range.  That's not good enough.

The problem at Kentucky isn't in-game coaching.  Calipari took a team of transfers from places like West Virginia and Illinois State and and won 22 games, including an NCAA Tournament game.  The problem isn't effort -- they outrebounded K-State by 20 rebounds, and fought all the way to the end.  The problem is that we need better players.  And we need those players to stay healthy.

If you saw Alabama last night, or at any time this year, you've seen the level of talent you need if you're serious about reaching the Final Four.  Until we get players like that, we won't be a serious threat.

Since 2017, Kentucky has been eliminated by the following teams:

2018:  Kansas St. (round of 16)
2019:  Auburn (round of 8)
2020:  No tournament
2021:  Missed the tournament
2022:  St. Peter's (round of 64)
2023:  Kansas St. (round of 32)

It's not exactly Murderer's Row.  But that's the type of program we are now.  Here are our rankings on Ken Pom:

2018:  17
2019:  8
2020:  29
2021:  49
2022:  6
2023:  26

That works out to an average of 22.5.  Ken Pom tells us that from 1997 to 2022, the 22d-ranked program in the country is Indiana.  The 23d-ranked program is Maryland.  And those two programs represent almost exactly what UK has become.  We have a lot of history, we have passionate fans, we play hard and smart, and we just don't have the talent to play on the Big Stage.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

State Tournament: Day Four

OK, so here's what has happened since yesterday:

(8) Lex. Frederick Douglass beat Lou. Male, 58 to 54
(4) Geo. Rogers Clark beat (9) Lyon Co., 60 to 56

In the first semi-final today:

(1) Warren Central beat Woodford Co., 56 to 48

Right now, GRC leads Douglass 34-33 with 4:26 left in the game.

Friday, March 17, 2023