Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Big East Tournament, Day 2

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - The action, recap and assorted numbers of importance from day two.

the Garden is packed!

The scores...

St. John's6563Rutgers
Cincinnati8761South Florida
Marquette6761West Virginia

Coverage in person was limited to the evening session. No need to remind anyone but the burning issue of the day was centered around the conclusion of the Rutgers-St.John's contest. Also, to little surprise, officiating was very much in the conversation.

Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom
meets the media

Game of the Day -- Marquette & West Virginia
The pace and efficiency:

West Virginia61100

The Four Factors:

West Virginia49222821

Outstanding care of the ball by Marquette. Overall they had 10 turnovers. West Virginia had 13 but many were the variety of which you pay. Not just throwing the ball out of bounds but leading to an opposition score. Marquette had a 16-7 edge in points off turnovers. Not a huge difference but significant in a two possession game as this.

Defense was a big part, as noted, of Marquette's second half surge. West Virginia led 36-29 at the break but was held to a 78 offensive efficiency. The last eight minutes the Mountaineers managed two field goals. Both by John Flowers and one on an offensive rebound.

Offensively Junior Cadougan broke down the WVU defense by dribble penetration. The Marquette sophomore guard finished (15 points) and was able to find teammates, distributing 5 assists.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins did a good job mixing defenses. Thought going to a late game 1-3-1 was a good move as it showed Marquette a different look. The 'look' appealed to Darius Johnson-Odom who buried two key three pointers that gave Buzz Williams' club 'separation'. Suffice to say Huggins was back in a man following that second three pointer.

The three was a big weapon for West Virginia. They shot better from beyond the arc than for the game overall.

3 FGs10-2246%

Kevin Jones paced the Mountaineers with 15 points. The 6-8 junior enjoyed the perimeter hitting 3 of 4. Jones shot 5 of 9 in total. Interestingly his two point percentage (2 of 5 for 40%) significantly trailed the 755 (3 of 4) he hit from downtown.

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin

All right, here's the take on game two. Saw the replays but as a long time official (23 years) will only say the crew had a lot to discuss in their post game evaluation.

UConn enjoyed a healthy 115-94 efficiency advantage in the win over Georgetown. Kemba Walker of UConn had a game high 28 points and an impressive Manley efficiency of 28. Walker contributed more rebounds (6) than assists (3). UConn, a solid 17% TO rate. Georgetown, a 24% rate (having point guard Chris Wright out of the lineup is a significant setback) that did not help matters.

Rutgers had a notable 45% OReb percentage. The Scarlet Knights had a better TO rate (22%) than St. John's (24%). Damage was done as the Red Storm (still can't stand that name) had a 19-8 lead in points off turnovers.

Dwight Hardy paced St. John's with 17 points. Hardy was only 5 of 17 from the floor (0-3 from three) but did go 7-9 from the line.

Cincinnati shot 64% from two point range, holding South Florida to a 37% mark from the same area. Bulls lost point guard Anthony Crater (a familiar name to Villanova faithful) late in the first half due to an injury. South Florida trailed by 8 at the half but was routed the final 20 minutes. Coach Stan Heath did not blame the final half meltdown to Crater's absence. But it didn't help.

Both clubs did show good care of the ball. Cincinnati's TO rate was 18%, South Florida checked in at 17%. Bearcats dominated inside with a 40% OREB percentage (South Florida was 28%) and a 36-22 edge in points in the paint.

Yancy Gates of Cincy scored a game high 25 points an 10n of 11 shooting from the floor. The 6-9 junior did not attempt a three, no need to and had an excellent Manley efficiency of 28 (1.22 per minute eff.), in 23 minutes.

Augusts Gilchrist WAS South Florida's inside presence with 16 points 5 rebounds. Sophomore guard Shaun Noriega scored 12 points. Noriega has a nice touch and loves the trey. He was 4 of 7 beyond the arc and 0 for 2 from two point range.

Tomorrow, the quarterfinals. This should be 'feast week', at any rate the Madness truly continues.

Cincinnati cheerleaders

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