Lessons learned from the second round

469cbb91dfdfaa32eaaa5d255ff8791b

Day 2 of the Big East tournament was more notable for referees mistakes than players’ performances. Still, there’s plenty to take away from it both on and off the court. Here’s what we learned in the second round:

  • Rutgers will be a fan favorite in 2011-12. After an incredible meltdown by the referees stole a win from the Scarlet Knights, first-year coach Mike Rice remarkably took the high road. Of course, maybe if Rice had seen the last-second travel/walk out of bounds/ball chucked into the stands in real time instead of on YouTube moments after the Johnnies’ 65-63 win, he might have had a different response.

    While Rice will be back with a promising corps of offensively-gifted recruits, you can’t help but feel terrible for senior Jonathan Mitchell. A member of the Florida national championship team in 2007, the 6-foot-7 Mount Vernon-native had all the makings of a March magician. He scored 25, including eight free throws in overtime in the first-round upset of Seton Hall, but pressed way too hard early against the Johnnies. He missed 10 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble and scored just eight points the entire game. That tells you just how hard the rest of the team worked, keeping it close without its best player at the top of his game. Yet, he even followed the lead of his coach.

    “It sucks not to get a shot off, that’s what hurts the most,” Mitchell said.

    The loss will sting the rest of this month, but Rutgers actually came out a winner in a draining defeat.

  • Georgetown is this year’s Syracuse. Just as the Orange’s national title dreams went up in flames when big man Arinze Onuaku crashed down on the Garden floor last March with a knee injury, the Hoyas’ hopes for a deep March run were dashed when Chris Wright broke his hand Feb. 23 against Cincinnati. Georgetown has lost all four games without him, including a blowout loss to UConn in the second round of the conference tournament.

    “We miss Chris, absolutely, 100 percent, both ends of the court in every way,” coach John Thompson III said about his second-leading scorer and offensive catalyst. “The group that’s playing now … has to be better.”

    It’s unlikely. The DC3 is down to the DC2 and much less efficient. One time national Player of the Year candidate Austin Freeman is still getting his points, only they’re coming on way too many attempts. The senior has 41 points in his last two games but they came on 14-of-43 shooting. Jason Clark woke up for 23 points against UConn, but he had scored just 23 total points in the previous three games. Meanwhile, forward Julian Vaughn continues to be a no-show down on the blocks. He was relegated to picking up garbage points when the DC3 took all the shots, but now that his role has risen, his game simply has not.

    “We’re still a confident team,” Freeman said. “We will be all right.”

    Not buying it. Just like we aren’t buying Thompson’s talk that Wright, who had surgery last week, will be back in form for the NCAA tournament. These are the same exact lines Jim Boeheim fed us about Onuaku last season.

  • West Virginia will have an early exit next week, too. Leadership isn’t the only problem for this veteran team. Add shooting to that list after a 69-61 loss to Marquette Wednesday night.

    “I’ve said it and said it and said it, we just don’t make open shots,” coach Bob Huggins said. “We made some shots in the first and then the second half, we didn’t."

    West Virginia keeps repeating the same mistakes away from home. They blew a seven-point halftime lead to Marquette, that mirrored a regular-season game at Louisville, where they blew an eight-point lead at the break.  Its best rebounder, John Flowers, was in foul trouble all night allowing the Golden Eagles several second-chance opportunities, while Joe Mazzulla, Mr. Do-it-all-myself at times, had six turnovers against a pressure defense. What’s even more concerning than that, though, is this team’s drive.

    "They just wanted it more in the second half,” guard TrucK Bryant said.

    You would have never heard those words a year ago when WVU cut down the nets at the Garden and advanced to the Final Four.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

NFL

Source: Drafting Geno Smith was '100 percent' John…

It might have been a “Jets decision” as general manager John Idzik likes to say, but it wasn't a unanimous decision to draft Geno Smith last year.

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Chloé: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Chloe Spring 2015 show from Pairs Fashion Week.

Parenting

What to eat if you're trying to get…

The guru who helped Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and other celebrities get pregnant shares her tips.