Quirky Numbers from the Tournament’s First Weekend
23 Mar, 2015
Although things slowed down substantially following Thursday’s incredible early season of the NCAA Tournament, we still saw two sensational days of college basketball. The 32 games of the Second Round (Note: The NCAA is finally changing the Second Round back to the First Round in 2016, thus forever avoiding the unnecessary confusion stemming from the First Four) produced wild finishes, fantastic individual performances and a heap of interesting and quirky numbers. As we rumble toward the Final Four, let’s step back from the hardwood and look at some of those numbers from the Second Round.
Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter, the unofficial poster boy for March Madness thus far, has two children: Panthers guard R.J. and daughter Jasmine. After the elder Hunter watched his son nail the game-winning three-pointer in their upset win over Baylor on Thursday, he joked that he and his wife (Amy) should have had more children. Luckily for Georgia State opponents, past, present and future, there are no more Hunter boys ready to launch big-time game-winners.
The basketball rim measures exactly 18 inches in diameter, a number that few players consciously consider when attempting a field goal and a number that definitely did not cross the mind of UCLA guard Bryce Alford when attempting his highly controversial three-pointer in the closing seconds of their over SMU. The referees ruled that SMU big man Yanick Moreira touched the ball, one that was considered close enough to those 18 inches to have a chance of going in.
Cincinnati and Butler have used a combined four head coaches during the 2014-15 season, with both teams forced into changes as a result of health concerns. Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin took a temporary leave of absence in December after being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and Butler’s Brandon Miller left the team in early October (therefore not technically during the season) with an unspecified medical condition. Both coaches did not return and their assistants, Larry Davis (Cincinnati) and Chris Holtmann (Butler) guided their teams to Second Round victories over Purdue and Texas, respectively.
There is exactly one senator in the state of Kansas that really wanted to force the state’s three Division-I basketball teams to play every season. Kansas and Wichita State might have the most heated “rivalry” of any teams that have not played in 22 years but that streak is guaranteed to end after the Jayhawks and Shockers disposed of their Second Round opponents on Friday. Michael O’Donnell, a Republican senator proposed a bill in 2013 that would require Kansas and Kansas State to play Wichita State every season. Unsurprisingly, the bill gained little traction and ultimately failed.