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Just The Sports: NCAA Tournament Recap

Just The Sports

Saturday, March 25, 2006

NCAA Tournament Recap

LSU 70, Texas 60 (OT)

Points in the paint: LSU 38, Texas 10. Looking at this stat alone one would think LSU also dominated the scoreboard and that Texas never had a shot to win this game. Nothing could be further from the truth as LSU made sure Texas was able to stay close with their questionable shooting decisions. Despite the fact that both Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas for LSU were able to score at will from the low post, the Tigers went through infuriating stretches of the game where they insisted on shooting 3 pointers and jumpshots, even though they are not a good shooting team outside of the paint.

Case in point: With 10.5 seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied at 52, LSU had possession of the ball. Did they try to get the ball to Tyrus Thomas on the block? Of course not. Did they get the ball to Glen Davis while he posted up LaMarcus Aldridge? Oh God no. They did what any other team would do who had scored the vast majority of their points inside the paint. Davis heaved up an off-balance desperation 3 pointer that never came close to going on. To LSU's credit, they did have another attempt to win the game as Garrett Temple missed badly on a wide open 3.

In contrast, Texas tried harder to lose than LSU did not to win. Texas only scored ten points in the paint not because of LSU's suffocating interior defense, but because the Texas players did not even try to challenge LSU's premier shotblocker, Tyrus Thomas. Instead of seeing if he could live up to his reputation, Texas settled for jumpers and 3-pointers, lower percentage shots. It was as if they were scared of having their shot blocked. I assure you there are worse things than having your shot blocked in a game. Losing is one example.

Anyone who saw LSU play against Duke knew that if Tyrus Thomas and Glen Davis were challenged head-on, they would get into foul trouble. Yet, LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas's best big man, turned in an embarrassing performance full of turnaround jumpers and hook shots. He ended up shooting 2 of 14 from the field, but hey, at least his shot wasn't blocked that much.


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