Davidson College Basketball … Let the Madness Begin … The Ides of March ain’t so bad … Here is my recap, for what it’s worth …
For the first time in school history, Davidson has received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the Wildcats will be the South Region’s 10th seed and take on seventh-seeded Iowa Friday in Seattle, Wash.
Game times for the second round will be announced later this evening.
Ok, those of you who are both Duke and Davidson fans … Are you truly a Wildcat? … LET’S DANCE …
3.14.15 A10 Round 2 (Semifinal) … Not so pretty … So, it’s still a great day to be a wildcat … let’s see what happens when the 36 at-large bids are named tomorrow on Selection Sunday (and this is the first time this Wildcat fan has ever wondered, dreamed, when we had lost our automatic bid …
A10 Round 2: Saturday, March 14, 1:30 PM, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
VCU Rams (25-9) v. Davidson Wildcats (25-6)
93 – 73
But the response was magical …
Thanks to Davidson men’s basketball and Coach McKillop for a wild ride — we’re proud of you! #CatsAreWild
And Chuck Culpeper with the Washington Post posted on FaceBook …
Davidson men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop, closing his remarks after a loss today in Brooklyn, as a fantastic 24-7 season figures to continue in the NCAA Tournament: “I always have this expectation: We will have the beautiful team that plays the beautiful game and has a beautiful season. We have fallen short from that. But Browning said it best: ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for.’ We are always reaching for heaven.” Not to say I loved a college coach quoting Browning or closing with such a statement or anything, but I just hope Davidson wins every single game for the remainder of all time.
And then on Saturday, 3.14.15, in the NYT …
But when Tim Chartier, a professor in Davidson’s mathematics and computer science department, approached the coaching staff with an idea, there was uncertainty that the unorthodox partnership would pan out.
Chartier and his students presented a way to show the efficiency of every five-man lineup that Davidson used in games. As Chartier explained, a player may not produce individual statistics that indicate he is making an important contribution on the court, but by looking at the players in a group, their role becomes clearer.
“It kind of blew us away,” Matt McKillop said, “and when they explained the way we could look at lineups and see how we were most efficient offensively and defensively, it really opened our eyes up to the possibility.”
Today, Bob McKillop considers Chartier and his group an integral part of the staff.
“I think it’s a great statement about our college community, everyone feels they’re on the team,” he said. “There’s a sense, when Davidson does well, everyone in Davidson does well.”
Chartier’s group also provided the coaches with “heat maps” that show a player’s shooting efficiency from certain areas on the floor. Without high-tech cameras, Davidson math students watch games on television or from the sidelines and estimate the locations.
Students also provide the coaching staff with scouting reports on the next opponent, which are ready almost immediately after each game.
The math department’s work with the basketball team has gained recognition outside of Davidson. Miles Abbett and Ford Higgins, two managers for last season’s basketball team who were influential in introducing analytics to the Wildcats, now work for N.B.A. teams: Abbett for the Chicago Bulls and Higgins for the Philadelphia 76ers.
3.13.15 A10 Round 1:
Round 1 : Friday, March 13, 12:00 PM, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Davidson Wildcats (24-6) v. La Salle Explorers (17-16)
67- 66 Final
I walked in right after the game ended. I missed a very tough game. But again … It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!! And I see this from KCK:
Commentator- “at no point in time did McKillop seem disheveled.” Today or ever.
OH OH OHHHHHH
GOOD TIMES NEVER FELT SO GOOOOOOOOOOD
And I loved finding this …
Watch a courtside Vine of Davidson’s buzzer-beater in the Atlantic-10 Tournament – SBNation.com
Davidson had won nine games in a row entering their Atlantic-10 Tournament matchup with La Salle, but the Wildcats came out flat and found themselves down as much as 18 points in the first half. Jack Gibbs (22 points) and Tyler Kalinowski (18 points) powered Davidson’s second half comeback. In the final 20 minutes, the Wildcats only made two field goals that weren’t from three-point range.
After forcing a late La Salle miss, Davidson got one last chance down a point. Kalinowski drove the ball and finished at the basket as the final buzzer sounded. Our own Rodger Sherman was courtside and captured the shot …
And this went up on Sports Illustrated’s website before the Round 1 Game:
When Bob McKillop took over at Davidson in 1989, he kept a copy of Sports Illustrated in his office to show recruits. Former Davidson star Mike Maloy landed on the Sports Illustrated cover in 1968 with two other players under the headline: “Challenge to UCLA.” To McKillop, the SI cover represented Davidson’s past under Lefty Driesell—reaching the Elite Eight twice—and potential for the future. His willful naiveté to college basketball’s hierarchy allowed his cover-story ideals to overshadow his school’s small-school budget. “He’s a dreamer,” said Matt Doherty, who coached with him the first three years at Davidson. “He was talking in our first year to alumni about being ranked in the Top 20 and playing games in Madison Square Garden that mattered. He’s not afraid to dream and face his dreams.”
McKillop’s inaugural Atlantic 10 season at Davidson outpaced the expectations of even the most wide-eyed dreamer. Despite being chosen No. 12 of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 media poll and last place by The Sporting News, the Wildcats won the regular season league title. Davidson arrived in the Atlantic 10 from the Southern Conference, which had a conference RPI of 30 last season and rivalries with Western Carolina and Wofford. It upgraded to a No. 7 conference RPI, added VCU and Dayton as foils and still managed to win the league. “I think it’s the most compelling story in all of college basketball,” said recruiting analyst Tom Konchalski, who has known McKillop for decades. “They were picked dead last and ended up in living first.”
Before the A10 Tournament in Brooklyn ..
But even if they lose early in the tournament, most college basketball experts believe the Wildcats (23-6) have already had a good enough season to make the 68-team NCAA field when it is announced Sunday. They do not have a Stephen Curry this time around. But they do have three guards who can score and a coach considered by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and many others in the field to be one of the best in the game – even though McKillop never left tiny Davidson for greener pastures.
Davidson guards who combine to average 46 points per game and co-captain the team. “That’s what we do, because that makes it a lot harder to guard.”
So Davidson players – especially Gibbs, Brian Sullivan and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Tyler Kalinoski – make decisions based on what they see. They freelance inside McKillop’s system. McKillop establishes the principles and then lets the players decide how best to play with them. It has worked just as well in the A-10 this season as it did against smaller, less athletic Southern Conference players for decades.
Confidence and humility
McKillop knows that this isn’t Davidson’s first run at major basketball success. Lefty Driesell had a top 10 team at Davidson in the late 1960s. McKillop has kept a copy of a 1968 Sports Illustrated in his office for the last 20 years that featured former Davidson star Mike Maloy on the cover.
“Davidson was in the national rankings, OK?” said McKillop, thumbing through the magazine. His own team is ranked No. 24 this week by the Associated Press – its first ranking since the 2008-09 season when Curry was still playing. “This is a reminder to me that Davidson accomplished excellence well before I got here.”
It is happening again, with McKillop’s masterpiece about to take the stage in New York. He has tried to prepare his players all season for this moment, including with a speech he gave them in January.
“In January, we met in our film room,” McKillop said. “There’s a big floor lamp, and I picked it up and stuck it near a guy’s face and said, ‘That’s a spotlight.’ I left it there for a minute and said, ‘How’s it feel?’ He said, ‘Pretty hot.’
“Then I said, ‘Well, let’s move the spotlight around.’ I waved it around the room. Now it’s not so hot. Everyone’s in the spotlight, for a little bit. I told them that’s what basketball is. And that’s what life is. You need the confidence to hold the spotlight. But you need the humility to spread the spotlight around.”
So where did he get that idea?
“Oh, I stole it from somebody, I’m sure,” McKillop said. “I’m dumb as dirt.”
We all know that’s not true. McKillop was smart enough to find his “Camelot” at Davidson and then to keep his castle there. Now he is about to bring his small-town show back on the road to his big hometown.
“I always likened us to being an off-Broadway production when we were in the Southern Conference,” McKillop said. “And now, finally, we are on Broadway.”
On Thursday, 3.12.15, I mentioned that my hairdresser who grew up in Cornelius in the 60shad a neighbor with a dog named FredBarryDickDonTerry. Well, after this season, and if I get a new dog (and I’m not planning on it), I’m naming him TylerJackBrianJordanPeyton.
And I don’t know if you realize this but Davidson is a mid-major … Maybe it’s good I transferred from UNC to Davidson. I just can’t hate a rival team the way UNC fans hate Duke. My personality is definitely suited to the fan realm of the mid-majors.
12. And no one ever confused your gymnasium with an arena.
13.. It could be mistaken for a large high school’s
20. You love the first week of March Madness. (Not a feeling exclusive to mid-major fans.)