THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT 2021
#1 Golden Eagles vs #9 Playing For Jimmy V
By the end, Sunday evening’s 94-66 victory for Golden Eagles was a blowout. It took about 15 minutes for the Marquette alumni team to get going, and they even trailed at the end of the first quarter. It was all MU guys in the second half, though, as they tamped down on the shooting of #16 seed B1 Ballers and forced seven more turnovers on top of the 10 from the first half to cruise to the 28 point win punctuated by Dwight Buycks’ Elam Ending layup.
Golden Eagles posted some nifty shooting numbers yesterday on their way to the win. They hit 38% of their three-pointers, which is pretty solid-to-strong. They also hit a whopping 76% of their two-point attempts in the game led by 7-for-7 from Elgin Cook and 5-for-5 from Luke Fischer. It seems unlikely that they’ll do that again, just because shooting over 60% is hard, and 76% is just silly. The Marquette alums are going to have to find other ways to succeed if they want to keep their title defense going.
They’re also not likely to benefit from help from the other team as much. B1 Ballers coughed it up on 24.6% of possessions yesterday, which is really good news for Golden Eagles. It’s also really good that 13 of B1’s 17 turnovers were scored as steals for Marquette.... but coming up with 13 steals in two straight games seems pretty unlikely.
Monday afternoon’s opposition will come from the #9 seeded Playing for Jimmy V. This is their second appearance in TBT, and they picked up a 78-46 victory over Team Brotherly Love in the first round. That game actually took place after the Golden Eagles game, so Jimmy V’s guys are coming in on even less rest than the Marquette guys.
As you would expect, this team is playing with The V Foundation in mind. If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably aware of Jim Valvano’s legendary speech at the ESPYs back in the day, and The V Foundation has been a favorite sports-related charity ever since. If they were to win TBT, part of their winnings would get donated to the foundation.... so it’s kind of a bummer that the MU guys are actively trying to stop that from happening.
PJV was up seven in their first round game at the end of the first quarter and then up 14 at halftime. It looked like they were about to really run away with it for a split second in the third, but Brotherly Love bounced back to still only be down 14 heading to the fourth quarter. And then the wheels fell off, and the Jimmy V guys won the fourth quarter and Elam Ending by a margin of 21-4. It was 11 straight to open the fourth, and then “only” 10-4 the rest of the way.
I wouldn’t expressly say that Playing For Jimmy V played extremely well. Their stats are of a team that had a nice game across the board.... on offense. I didn’t get a chance to watch the game partly because of eating dinner and partly because by the time I checked in they were up big already and partly because I was writing the MU recap, so I can’t specifically say how much of PJV’s defense was responsible for how poorly Brotherly Love played. PJV held their opponents to a 33% effective field goal percentage and forced them into a 24% turnover rate. That’s going to help you win a lot of basketball games, no matter what level you’re working on. Only six of the 17 Brotherly Love turnovers went as steals for Playing for Jimmy V, so that potentially sounds a lot like unforced errors.
Three guys scored in double figures for Playing for Jimmy V yesterday. Tyler Stone and Jordan Swing both had 16 points, while Tommy Rutherford added 10 points. Rutherford and Stone led the way in the rebounding department with nine and eight each, while Corey Sanders came off the bench to lead the team with seven assists. Dee Bost had six assists to go with his nine points in the game, but he shot 3-for-14 from the field. If Golden Eagles can encourage him to keep that up and in fact do more of that, that would probably be helpful in getting to the next round.
Elsewhere In The Illinois Regional Today
1pm: #4 Always Us vs #5 Autism Army, ESPN3
6pm: #3 Boeheim’s Army vs #11 Heartfire, ESPN2
8pm: #7 Always A Brave vs #15 Jackson TN Underdawgs, ESPN2