March Madness Morning After: Villanova Can't Miss, Maryland Couldn't Gel, Coach K Keeps It K-lassy
Villanova's efficiency makes them a dangerous team right now. What now for Maryland? More reasons to either love or hate Coach K. And the rest of the night in the NCAA tournament.
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This feature is part of VICE Sports' March Madness coverage.
Half of the Sweet Sixteen is over. Let's get caught up.
Villanova just had one of the best offensive performances ever
During a rout of Iowa last week, Villanova scored 87 points—54 of those in the first half!—and probably could have put up 100 points. Against Miami in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday night, Villanova was even better, exploding for 92 points.
The truly impressive part? The Wildcats did it on an incredibly low 59 possessions. That's 1.56 points per possession— an almost impossible level of efficiency, especially against a quality opponent like the No. 3 seed Hurricanes.
By comparison, last year's Wisconsin team averaged 1.28 points per possession, and never came close to 1.56 points per possession. And those Badgers were only the most efficient offense of all-time.
Villanova's near-perfect offense could be what propels the Wildcats to the Final Four for the first time since 2009. One key to not going cold in a single-game elimination tournament is having so many weapons that it's almost impossible for all of them struggle at the same time, and Villanova has more weapons than anyone else left in the NCAA Tournament.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Jalen Brunson are all threats to go off from beyond the arc, but the Wildcats are even better at hitting two-point shots. They rank No. 3 in the country in two-point percentage, thanks to their guards' cutting ability and the post-up games of Daniel Ochefu and Darryl Reynolds. For opposing coaches, there's really no way to stop this team, because it has players who can do everything, and players who each have multiple skill sets.
If Villanova scores 1.56 points per possession again, it won't lose. And if the Wildcats even get close, they'll be a very tough out.
What could have been for Maryland
Maryland's Sweet Sixteen loss to Kansas resembled the Terrapins' entire season: They took an early lead and hung with the Jayhawks, showing off their incredible talent, then faded.
The Terps looked like they were national championship contenders heading into the season, with a loaded roster full of proven players and former top recruits. The starting lineup included top-ranked class of 2015 big man Diamond Stone, star sophomore point guard Melo Trimble, Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon, Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter, Jr., and versatile forward Jake Layman.
But instead of dominating, the Terps were inconsistent all season. They beat Wisconsin on the road and Iowa and Purdue at home, but more often than not, they struggled against good teams. That was particularly true down the stretch, as they finished 5-6 in their last 11 games.
The common refrain from Maryland Truthers entering the NCAA Tournament was that the Terrapins could make a run if Good Maryland showed up. But we hardly ever saw Good Maryland this season, and it was wishful thinking to assume they'd suddenly appear for very long.
The Terps lose Sulaimon and Layman next season. They could also lose Trimble and Stone to the NBA. This looked like Maryland's best chance for glory in a long time, but it just never materialized. Now what?
Coach K is mad about #class
Scenario: The shot clock is winding down before the game clock, with your team leading by 11. You can either dribble into a shot clock violation and give the ball back to the other team, or you can take a 35-foot heave because that sounds like a lot of fun. What do you do?
If you're Oregon's Dillon Brooks and you're playing Duke, you take the shot ... and make it. Then you salute the crowd.
Brooks' shot with eight seconds left didn't make Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski very happy, and he confronted Brooks about it in the postgame interview line.
This is the kind of thinking that excites old people who are deeply worried about hotdogging and entitlement and The Kids These Days, but it's also a pretty dumb criticism. It's not disrespectful to Duke to take a shot when there is, you know, time left on the shot clock. That's basketball! To get sanctimonious over that is ridiculous, especially when you have a player on your team who has repeatedly done things that are actually unsportsmanlike. Maybe someone needs a quick, remedial lesson on leadership and ethics. We know just the place for it!
Hanging on the rim is an awful technical foul
The worst technical foul in basketball is the technical for hanging on the rim. There is absolutely no reason a player shouldn't be able to hang on the rim after a big dunk. That's especially true when the player is only on the rim for an extra second.
Such was the case when Maryland's Layman got T'd up for dunking too well.
The only people who get mad about that dunk are refs and (probably) Coach K. Let's get rid of that call.
Tweet of the day
It seems like the last gasp of a tired meme, but look a little closer. I laughed for a good five minutes.
VICE Sports Tom Crean Memorial Coach Photo of the Day
As always: you're welcome, America.
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