Sunday, March 31, 2024

Iowa v. Louisiana St.

I'm already excited about this game for tomorrow night.  Last year, LSU beat Iowa for the National Championship:  102 to 85.  This year, for reasons I don't understand, they were placed in the same region, so only one of these teams can reach the Final Four.


  1. Here were the ages of Duke's starters:

    Tyrese Proctor: 19 (Sophomore)
    Jeremy Roach: 22 (Senior)
    Mark Mitchell: 20 (Sophomore)
    Jared McCain: 20 (Freshman)
    Kyle Filipowski: 20 (Sophomore)

  2. Here were the ages of NCSU's starters:

    Mohamed Diarra: 23 (Junior)
    Michael O'Connell: (Senior)
    D.J. Burns: 23 (Senior)
    Jayden Taylor: 20 (Junior)
    Casey Morsell: 23 (Senior)

    I couldn't find Michael O'Connell's birthday, but this was his fourth full season in college basketball, after playing three years at Stanford.

  3. See, it's not just Kentucky -- no matter who you are, it is extremely difficult to win college basketball games when you have a gap of two-three years in age.

    1. I think it's been a big factor in Kentucky's difficulty in close games.

  4. Here's UConn's starting lineup:

    Cam Spencer, G (6' 4", 205 lbs.) (Fifth-Year Senior) (23 years old)
    Tristen Newton, G (6' 5", 195 lbs.) (Fifth-Year Senior) (22 years old)
    Alex Karaban, F (6' 8", 220 lbs.) (Sophomore) (21 years old)
    Stephon Castle, F (6' 6", 215 lbs.) (Freshman) (19 years old)
    Donovan Clingan, C (7' 2", 280 lbs.) (Sophomore) (20 years old)

    See, that's a much more viable lineup -- only one freshman and two fifth-year seniors at guard.

  5. Here's Purdue:

    Zach Edey, C (7' 4", 300 lbs.) (Senior) (21 years old)
    Braden Smith, G (6' 0", 175 lbs.) (Sophomore) (20 years old)
    Fletcher Loyer, G (6' 4", 180 lbs.) (Sophomore) (20 years old)
    Lance Jones, G (6' 1", 200 lbs.) (Fifth-Year Senior) (23 years old)
    Trey Kaufman-Renn, F (6' 9", 230 lbs.) (Sophomore)

    Do you see any freshmen there? Neither do I.

  6. OK, for tonight's game, here are the likely starters for Iowa:

    Hannah Stuelke, F (6' 2") (Sophomore) (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
    Sydney Affolter, G (5' 11") (Junior) (Chicago)
    Caitlin Clark, G (6' 0") (Senior) (West Des Moines, Iowa)
    Gabbie Marshall, G (5' 9") (Fifth Year) (Cincinnati)
    Kate Martin, G (6' 0") (Grad Student) (Edwardsville, Ill.)

    1. These players around Clark had some really great moments in this tournament. I thought for a second that Martin's saving a ball at midcourt and then driving for a bucket and foul was going to turn things toward Iowa's favor in the championship, for example.

  7. And here are the likely starters for L.S.U.:

    Angel Reese, F (6' 3") (Junior) (Baltimore)
    Aneesah Morrow, G (6' 1") (Junior) (Chicago)
    Mikaylah Williams, G (6' 0") (Freshman) (Bossier City, La.)
    Flau'jae Johnson, G (5' 10") (Sophomore) (Savannah, Ga.)
    Hailey Van Lith, G (5' 7") (Grad Student) (Wenatchee, Wash.)

  8. Steve Lutz, who took Western Kentucky to the Men's Tournament for the first time since 2013 in his only year in Bowling Green, has left the Hilltoppers to become the new head basketball coach at Oklahoma State.

  9. The University of Tennessee has fired Kellie Harper after five years as the coach of the women's basketball team. She had a record of 108-52 with two trips to the Sweet 16.

  10. Whoa! Now they're reporting that Western is going to join the Mid-American Conference in 2025.

  11. ESPN Analytics gives Iowa a 50.1 percent chance of victory, and gives LSU a 49.9 percent chance. To me, that doesn't look like a situation where LSU should have been a number-3 seed.

  12. Two Regional Finals Tonight:

    ALBANY 2: (2) Iowa (32-4) v. (8) Louisiana St. (31-5)
    PORTLAND 3: (3) U.S.C. (29-5) v. (10) Connecticut (32-5)

  13. Basically, we have a big game tonight, then we have the Final Fours next weekend, and then we have the Masters the week after that. And then we (mostly) wait for the Olympics.

  14. From 1974 to 1993, men's college basketball was the best sport in the world, and games like this one between Iowa and LSU were a big part of why it was such a great sport.

  15. Iowa 17 - 9 Louisiana St. (6:03 left in 1st quarter)

    The Hawkeyes get off to a dream start -- 3 of 4 from three's, and 4-5 from two's. LSU's Coach Mulkey calls time.

  16. Iowa 25 - 21 Louisiana St. (3:29 left in 1st quarter)

    This is amazing stuff. Iowa is 5-7 on three's, while LSU is 3-7. Both teams are on pace to score close to 30 points in the first quarter. So far neither team is backing off. Clark has 10 points. Reese has 4 points and 5 rebounds.

  17. Iowa 26 - 31 Louisiana St. (end of 1st quarter)

    Tigers end the first quarter on a 10-0 run as Angel Reese scores 8 points in a row at one point. Now she has 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Clark has 11 points and 3 assists. It looked like Iowa got tired down the stretch of that quarter.

  18. Iowa 45 - 45 Louisiana St. (halftime)

    The pace slowed in the second quarter, as was inevitable. But Clark and Flau'jae Johnson both make spectacular plays in the last minute to leave us tied at 45.

    Clark: 19 points, 5 assists
    Reece: 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks

    1. With about 8 minutes left in the quarter, Clark drove to the basket and crashed into Reece, who left with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Reece returned after a few minutes, but we will have to see if she can continue to play at a high pace.

      15-30 from 2-point range (50.0 percent)
      4-11 from 3-point range (36.4 percent)
      3-4 from the line (75.0 percent)
      45 points, 23 rebounds, 5 turnovers

      10-18 from 2-point range (55.6 percent)
      7-16 from 3-point range (43.8 percent)
      4-5 from the line (80.0 percent)
      45 points, 16 rebounds, 6 turnovers

  19. Iowa 55 - 49 Louisiana St. (8:02 left in the 3d quarter)

    Clark opens with a long three, and then later hits another long three to cap off a 10-4 run to open the half. Coach Mulkey calls time. Iowa now 9-18 from 3, compared to 4-13 for LSU. Given Iowa's zone, there are real opportunities for LSU's outside shooters, but they have not taken advantage so far.


  20. Clark now has 25 points, and I do not think that Hailey Van Lith can guard her. In fact, Van Lith is on the bench as we come out of the timeout.

  21. Iowa 61 - 52 Louisiana St. (4:23 left in 3d quarter)

    Now the Tigers look tired, and Clark has gone to another level. She is 7-14 from 3-point range, and she has 31 points and 6 assists. Reese has 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Johnson has 14 points, but LSU is now only 4-14 from 3-point range and only 17-42 from 2-point range.

  22. Iowa 65 - 52 Louisiana St. (2:45 left in 3d quarter)

    LSU has made only 2-17 shots in this quarter, and the game is getting away from them. ESPN points out that Reese has now missed 8 shots in a row, so it seems clear that the ankle is bothering her.

  23. Iowa 69 - 58 Louisiana St. (end of 3d quarter)

    LSU scored only 13 points in that quarter. They'll probably need at least 30 points in the last quarter to have a chance.

    Clark: 31 points and 8 assists
    Reese: 16 points and 17 rebounds
    Johnson: 16 points
    LSU 4-16 on 3-point shots and 20-51 on 2-point shots.

  24. The LSU fans are angry with Hailey Van Lith, who does appear to be struggling. She had two bad turnovers in that quarter. But LSU just has a one-person bench, and Last-Tear Poa -- their only real sub -- isn't doing much better.

  25. Iowa 80 - 69 Louisiana St. (4:59 left)

    Iowa is going to win, and they deserve to win. Clark has 37 points on 9-18 shooting from three-point range. Reese has 16 points, but is 1-12 from the field since hurting her ankle. Also, LSU lost all confidence in its three-point shooting (the Tigers are 5-18 from three-point range). That has allowed Iowa to pack everyone in the middle around Reese, and has really slowed the LSU attack.

  26. LSU needed to score at least 90 points in this game. To get there, they were going to need baskets in transition and three-point shooting. Reese's injury killed their transition game, and their three-point shooting just hasn't been good enough.

    But give credit to Iowa. They've been playing with enormous pressure through the early rounds, but tonight they have really shown what they can do.

  27. LSU played hard -- they have out-rebounded Iowa 46-33 so far -- but their three-point shooting (which killed Iowa last year) did not come through this year.

  28. There are comments about how Van Lith can't guard Clark, but of course no one can guard her. For me, the problem was that when LSU had the ball, Clark conceded the open three-point shot at the top of the key to Van Lith, and she couldn't make it, or even take it (she is 1-4 from three). That allowed Clark to cheat back on defense, which wrecked all of LSU's passing lanes and efforts to drive to the basket.

    1. This is a typical Caitlin Clark/Lisa Bluder move for the last two years, and, when it has worked, it has been devastating.

  29. Anyway, it was a very entertaining game and it's a shame these teams had to meet in the Regional Final.

  30. Iowa 94 - 87 Louisiana St. (FINAL)

    Clark had 41 points on 9-20 three-point shooting Reese finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds, but her loss of mobility due to her ankle problems slowed LSU's running game and made it impossible for them to keep pace with Iowa, especially since the Tigers made only 8-24 three-point shots.

  31. Now that the season is wrapping up, I've decided to move South Carolina into the Classic ACC, and relabel Georgia Tech as a Classic Independent.

    1. I did this because the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense that the South Carolina/NCSU game in the Final Four feels like a Classic ACC matchup.

  32. Eric Musselman leaves Arkansas for Southern Cal. That's a big deal in the SEC.

  33. Justin Edwards declares for the NBA Draft. Here are his stats from last season:

    75-133 from 2-point range (56.4 percent)
    31-85 from 3-point range (36.5 percent)
    38-49 from the line (77.6 percent)
    8.8 points per game
    3.4 rebounds per game

    To put these figures in perspective, as a sophomore in 1981 Derrick Hord averaged 8.9 points per game and 3.25 rebounds per game.

  34. I so wanted Derrick Hord to be Bob Dandridge.