The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

NIT Update

I’ve got your update on the other tournament: Bradley is out of the tournament.

Bradley had a good team this year and was probably a win against Illinois away from making the big dance. They have a good junior class coming in next year, so they should make the postseason again. Yes, junior class. Bradley’s given up on trying to get high school seniors to come and has focused on getting junior college players, with good results. Maybe this is a model more schools who can’t get the top-quality high school recruits should follow. …

Bradley vs. Providence

This game was amazing. Carver Arena was nowhere near sold out but was still louder than I’ve ever heard it before, while the crowd was standing, that is. Is it any coincidence that when the crowd is sitting, Bradley plays even with Providence; but when they’re standing, Bradley jumps out to a big lead early and makes up a big deficit late? Maybe if the crowd was anything other than old people, we’d have an even bigger home-court advantage. Wednesday night, the crowd lifted Bradley to a three-point lead with ten seconds to go, everyone was going crazy, and then … silence. When Efejuku hit a contested three to tie the game, the crowd was hushed, but not stunned. You could tell that everyone believed Bradley would pull it out in the end.

And they did pull it out. Will Franklin ran a play several times in the second half where he got a wide-open twelve-footer in the lane that Providence never adjusted to. He hit a couple of those in overtime to help Bradley pull away, ending the game with 23 points after only 2 at the half.

Bradley was not the more talented team in this game. In fact, they’re not the more talented team in many games. Bradley wins by pure effort and teamwork. Example: 6’3″ J.J. Tauai’s 17 points and 17 rebounds. Bradley had 17 steals and outrebounded Providence by 9 despite being smaller at every position.

By the way, Bradley has now won six straight games against the Big East (3-0 this year)

Bradley vs. Mississippi State

A common misconception about Bradley you could have if you just look at the stats and never see them play: Their game is shooting threes, and they’ll struggle if they can’t hit threes. Yeah, they like to shoot threes because they’re guard-oriented, but when they’re playing well is when they’re getting defensive stops and run-outs. Whether they shoot threes or layups off those run-outs doesn’t matter as long as they’re running.

That’s what they were doing when they were beating Providence, and that’s what they were doing when they were outplaying Mississippi State. If they can get Zach Andrews 5 dunks in a game, they’re not going to lose. That’s what didn’t happen when they got swept by Missouri State and Creighton. They shot well but didn’t get enough steals or defensive rebounds. That’s why they got destroyed by Michigan State, and that’s ultimately why they lost to Mississippi State.

Oh, and can we get some color guys who are a little less pro-power conference next time? Maybe someone who doesn’t laugh when MSU makes a shot and get suddenly somber when Bradley hits one.

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March 17, 2007 - Posted by | Big East, Big Ten, MVC, NCAA, SEC | , , , , , , , ,

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