During the never-ending analysis of the NCAA Tournament field, ESPN’s Jay Williams blurted out to show host Rece Davis Sunday night, “Why do we love Iowa State, Rece? They score the basketball.”Yes, the Cyclones do score the basketball. And their ability to do so draws more fans every time it’s showcased. Early on Selection Sunday during the ACC Championship game between North Carolina and Miami (which was tied at 42 entering halftime), play-by-play man Dan Shulman threw it to commercial saying “Wouldn’t it be great if more games were played at this pace? This is the way the game is supposed to be played.” When Davis, the ESPN anchor came back from that commercial, he said “A really entertaining first half. Let’s hope the second 20 is as good as the first 20.” There has been a lack of scoring at the marquee level of college basketball too often this season. — Comparing only the tourney teams from the ACC, Atlantic Ten, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Mountain West and Pac-12, several themes emerge. The Big 12 and ACC have the highest scoring marquee teams and the Big East and Big Ten play grinding styles. In this review, scoring more than 80 was high scoring and failing to score 60 was considered grinding. Consider these bulleted lists:
· Number of times a tourney team from the league scored 59 points or fewer in a conference game: Big East (43 times), Big Ten (42), Pac-12 (19), MWC (17), Atlantic Ten (13), Big 12 (10), ACC (9)
· Number of times a tourney team from the league scored 80 points or more in a conference game: Big 12 (30 times), ACC (25), Atlantic Ten (22), Big Ten (17), Big East (13), Pac-12 (10) and MWC (9)
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but the ESPN pundits (above) seem to enjoy seeing scoring. That makes Friday’s second-round game between Iowa State and Notre Dame an intriguing match-up. Which style will prevail?
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