A look at some interesting things as we head into Saturday, the first day of the second round of the NCAA Tournament:
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
There will be plenty of parent shots during two games Saturday.
No. 12 seed Xavier and assistant coach Luke Murray, son of actor-comedian Bill Murray, faces third-seeded Florida State in Orlando, Florida.
Meanwhile, Charlie Hall, son of former SNLers Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall, plays for eighth-seeded Northwestern, which faces top-seeded Gonzaga in Salt Lake City.
TURNING IT OVER
How’s this for a matchup? Fifth-seeded Notre Dame, tied for fifth in Division I in fewest turnovers, faces fourth-seeded West Virginia, which is No. 1 in forcing turnovers.
“They don’t let us pick (who we play),” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “I mean, if you’re asking me, would we have picked them? Absolutely not. … I guess that’s why you play.”
Notre Dame point guard Matt Farrell will be the focus of West Virginia’s defense, one game after facing Florida State.
“Being in the passing lanes, contesting full-court pressure. I think there’s a little more difference, a little more havoc, I would say, or reckless, you got guys everywhere,” he said. “So, we just need to stay poised with the ball. We need guys to be receivers.”
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Seems the Irish holiday means something to college coaches as well.
“There’s always a little buzz around our university and our place on St. Patrick’s Day. There’s no question about it,” Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey said. “St. Patrick’s Day is great when you’re still alive in the NCAA Tournament. It sucks when you’re not.”
Overall No. 1 seed Villanova continues its defense of its national championship by facing No. 8 seed Wisconsin in the second round on Saturday. The Badgers have won more tournament games than any other team in the last four years (11 entering this tournament). Wildcats coach Jay Wright couldn’t have answered the question enough about whether the Badgers were under-seeded.
“I agree with you exactly. I agree with you 100 percent,” Wright said. “They are a great 8 seed. … We just look at it like next game. We love playing great teams, we really do, and we look forward to it.”
Iowa State‘s tallest starter is 6-foot-8 and Purdue will counter with its impressive front line featuring 6-9, 250-pound double-double machine Caleb Swanigan and 7-2 reserve Isaac Haas. One of the Cyclones was able to steal some information via cable TV.
“With their size and their height and their ability, no one person can do that,” Iowa State forward Naz Mitrou-Long said of stopping the Boilermakers. “They’ve been a force down there all year long. We’ve been watching them, especially with the Big Ten Network, we were able the see a bunch of their games.”
Xavier players and coaches were giving their video coordinator plenty of praise – and coach Chris Mack even confessed about his own abilities.
“Our video coordinator, Ty Sampson, he’s incredible at what he does,” Mack said. “Not only is he good at getting instant film, he’s that type of guy, when your computer goes out and you’re offline, he can get it back. He hits Control X, Z, F1 and it’s back up and running. He’s special. He does a great job.
“I’m not that bad, though, with technology. I’m not going to sit up here like a dinosaur and act like I don’t know technology, but when things go offline, I usually get frazzled.”
NERVES & JITTERS
Virginia‘s London Perrantes, who has advanced to the round of 32 each of the last four years with the Cavaliers, explained the difference of how players feel from the first-round game to the second round.
“First game, obviously, nerves come into play,” he said. “… It’s always those first-game jitters of a big tournament like this. We got those out of the way now.”
North Carolina and Kansas are the kings of the 100-plus teams. The Tar Heels’ 103-64 win over Texas Southern on Friday was their fifth game scoring more than 100 points. Kansas got its fifth with a 100-62 victory over UC Davis on Friday night.
Kentucky is next with three.
The record for points is 117 by Arkansas in a 41-point win over Georgia State in 1991.
Northwestern won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game and the Wildcats’ second-round reward is top-seeded Gonzaga. One of the Wildcats used an old tale to explain their feelings.
“They’re one of the best teams in the country, so you kind of understand that narrative that people are trying to give off. I would be OK with being the David in this situation, just from my upbringing, I understand the backstory of that one. That would mean a lot to everybody in the program and I think it would be a great story for the country,” Bryant McIntosh said.
“It’s going to be tough. It’s not going to just be one stone that we have to throw in order to beat them. We’re going to have to play a really great 40 minutes and try and keep them out of transition, try and limit their paint touches and keep them off the boards. So it’s going to be really a tough task.”
Team meetings are a little different at Saint Mary’s. Seems the natives of Australia outnumber the Americans.
“It’s the best,” Australia Joe Rahon said. “We outnumber them eight to seven. So we’ll hold court.”
Aussie Calvin Hermanson jokingly agrees with Rahon.
“It’s important that we hold down the majority in the locker room,” he said. “We keep them in their place.”
Republished with permission from the Associated Press.