Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Semifinals at the NIT

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - The nation’s oldest post season tournament has had its share of criticism. Make no mistake however, the NIT has history a wonderful tradition and last night four teams put it all on the line at the Garden. The NIT semifinal scores:

TeamScore TeamScore
Dayton68 Mississippi63
North Carolina68 Rhode island67 (OT)

The factors and numbers from a 74 possession game:


As has been the case throughout this tournament, Dayton did a great job on the defensive end. The Flyers haven’t forced teams into turning the ball over but get at you with tough man to man defense, contesting shots or forcing you to take a less advantageous shot.

The Flyers limited Mississippi to 6 of 23 shooting beyond the arc. Chris warren, Mississippi’s three point threat, scored 15 points but was 3 of 10 beyond the arc. Terrico White, another threat from downtown, led Ole Miss with 19 points but was an icy 1 of 7 from three.

Dayton does a good job getting in the lane and conversely getting to the line. The Flyers made the most of those opportunities from the charity stripe as the FT Rate and a 24 of 32 mark from the charity stripe attests. The Flyers hit 3 of 4 the final 11 seconds to punch their ticket to the final. Chris Johnson, Dayton’s 6-6 sophomore forward, led the way with a game high 22 points while adding 9 rebounds.

Competitiveness of the game is shown in these ‘enhanced scoring totals’

Points...DaytonOle Miss
Off TOs1515
in Paint2020
fro. Bench1212

Outside the Garden
The four factors in an 81 possession game.

North Carolina8436104721
Rhode island8440183123

Rhode Island looks to push the pace and even for an overtime game this was a rapid tempo. An area of concern for URI was the offensive glass. The OREB Percentage shows Carolina’s dominance there. In raw numbers UNC had a 27-15 offensive rebounding edge. That led to the Tar Heels getting 15 more shot attempts (83 to 68) than URI.

Free throws were deceptive. URI had the edge in the FT rate and shot 12 of 18 from the line. In the stretch Rhody missed several from the charity stripe that could have iced the game while Carolina, 8 of 16 on the night, hit the key ones late and in OT.

Rhode Island, as expected, forced turnovers but had an unusually high TO Rate on their own. In ‘enhanced scoring’ North Carolina had huge edges in points in the paint (50-30) and bench scoring (23-4).

Deon Thompson struggled from the field shooting 6 of 20 but did lead UNC with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Keith Cothran led URI and all scorers with 23 points. Lsmont Ulmer had a solid night for Jim Baron’s club adding 18 points, 10 boards while shooting 8 of 12 from the floor.

A-10 Allegiance. During the NIT press conference on Monday, Dayton and Rhode island coaches and players in attendance I spoke with, to a person, all said they stayed up a little late last Thursday to watch and root for Xavier in their Sweet 16 OT loss to Kansas State. Even Dayton’s Chris Wright said, “I am a friend of (K-State guard Jacob)Pullen but I was on the edge of my couch pulling for Xavier. It’s good that people see how tough this (Atlantic Ten) league is.”

Some Dayton students I spoke with did not hold the same regard of Xavier. Especially members of the cheer squad who would “never root for Xavier”. It’s the rivalry as on telling them my alma mater, St.Bonaventure, is also in the A-10 they didn’t mind getting a picture.

“We played a tough, physical team and found a way to pull it out. It was mental toughness”- Dayton coach Brian Gregory

“At halftime we emphasized finishing inside and staying on the backboards” - North Carolina coach Roy Williams

Ray Floriani with Dayton Cheering Squad

No comments: