Syracuse’s wretched rebounding, contrasted with previous Final Four teams

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source: AP

Everything one needs to know about college basketball can be found at CBT. But sometimes, even we need a little help. Hey, there are only so many hours in the day that allow us to read, write and analyze. (Gotta find time to eat, too.)

That’s why we never miss the Power Rankings by Luke Winn over at SI.com. There are always at least three statistical nuggets worth chewing on in his rankings.

Take this breakdown of Syracuse’s defensive rebounding. We’ve covered this very topic before, but this stat is telling for just how badly the Orange are at keeping people off the glass:

These are the worst defensive-rebounding teams to reach the Final Four in each year of the efficiency era:

Year   Team              DOR%    Rank
2011   VCU               36.5    321
2010   Duke              32.1    149
2009   North Carolina    31.7    121
2008   Memphis           29.2    36
2007   Georgetown        33.9    191
2006   Florida           33.1    126
2005   North Carolina    31.5    64
2004   Duke              36.8    282
2003   Syracuse          36.6    274

(That 2008 Memphis team tried to defy a different statistical hurdle — by nearly becoming the worst free-throw shooting team to ever win a title. But you know what happened: Derrick Rose missed a free throw.) Only four teams have made the NCAA tournament with a worse DOR% than Syracuse’s current 38.3, and none has won a game:

Year   Team (Seed)       DOR%    Rank
2004   L-Lafayette (14)  39.2     316
2006   UAB (9)           40.7     331
2008   Coppin St. (16)   38.6     333
2010   Houston (13)      38.5     338

A savvy college hoops fan knows that Syracuse’s defense is still elite because it creates so many steals, blocks so many shots and is tough to score against. Also, ‘Cuse is rarely very good at defensive rebounding and that the 2003 team wasn’t much better than this year’s version. But that group had Carmelo Anthony when it won it all back in 2003 (not to mention Gerry McNamara hitting six 3s in the first half of the title game).

If the Orange don’t make the Final Four or win it all, defensive rebounding will almost surely be one of the reasons why. Giving a team second-chance points is never a good idea in the Big Dance.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.