Matthew Dellavedova

Pregame Shootaround 3.19.13: NCAA tournament tips off with First Four in Dayton

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Game of the Day: Saint Mary’s vs. Middle Tennessee (9:10 p.m. ET, truTV)

The night cap of the First Four in Dayton features two bubble teams who were both able to fall on the right side of that bubble and into the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday. For Saint Mary’s, everything starts with guard Matthew Dellavedova, who averaged 15.8 points and 6.4 assists per game this season. He is the engine behind an offense that is Top 25 in the country in scoring and field goal percentage, running through the WCC and if Gonzaga had not been there, likely would have won the conference.

Middle Tennessee was ready to be the mid-major snub, but now rightfully finds itself in the First Four. The Blue Raiders had high-major wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt in the non-conference this season, as well as keeping it close to Akron in an overtime loss. There is a good deal of balance to Middle Tennessee’s offense, but it is led by Marcos Knight with 13.5 points per game.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: North Carolina A&T vs. Liberty (6:40 p.m. ET, truTV)

Liberty was able to catch lightning in a bottle in the Big South tournament and turn a bad start to the season into one worthy of an NCAA tournament automatic berth. They meet a North Carolina A&T team that emerged from the dust in the MEAC tournament after No. 1 and No. 2 seeds Norfolk State and North Carolina Central fell in earlier rounds.

This will be a game of contrasting tempos, with Liberty looking to score the basketball more and North Carolina A&T wanting a more defensive game. A&T will have to shoot well from the field if it wants to advance, though, 317th in Division I.

NCAA Tournament First Four

North Carolina A&T vs. Liberty (6:40 p.m. ET, truTV)

Saint Mary’s vs. Middle Tennessee State (9:10 p.m. ET, truTV)

Other Notable Games (NIT)

Maryland vs. Niagara (7:00 p.m, ESPN2)

St. John’s vs. Saint Joseph’s (7:00 PM, ESPNU)

Louisiana Tech vs. Florida State (7:15 PM, ESPN3)

Robert Morris vs. Kentucky (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Norfolk State vs. Virginia (9:00 PM, ESPNU)

Northeastern vs. Alabama (9:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Ohio vs. Denver (9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Washington vs. Brigham Young (9:30 p.m., ESPN)

Stephen F. Austin vs Stanford (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.