"The Stack" 3-28-16

Jim Boeheim has silenced the critics as the Syracuse Orange made a miraculous comeback to beat Virginia 68-62 and make an unlikely appearance in the Final Four. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Boeheim has silenced the critics as the Syracuse Orange made a miraculous comeback to beat Virginia 68-62 and make an unlikely appearance in the Final Four.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Brice Johnson had another big game for UNC as they took down fellow ACC foe Note Dame 88-74 to claim the final spot in the Final Four.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend with friends and family.  The Stack is back on this Monday with NCAA Tournament reaction and more so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Monday, March 28th:


Final Four is set


Houston, we know who is coming for the men’s NCAA Tournament Final Four.  From the South, #2 seed Villanova.  From the West, #2 seed Oklahoma.  From the East, #1 seed UNC and from the Midwest, #10 Syracuse.  That’s right, Syracuse.  On Saturday, Buddy Hield put on a clinic and Oregon could not keep up as Oklahoma took down Oregon 80-68.  Hield dropped in 37 points and was deadly from virtually all over the court.  A lot of people had Oklahoma making the Final Four and for good reason.  They picked them because of Hield.  He is a special player who can score all over the court.  Steph Curry-like.  Should be a good test against a Villanova team that despite not having a great shooting day compared to what we have seen from them so far in this tournament, held off Kansas 64-59.  Kansas was out of synch from the get-go on offense and Villanova played a large roll in that.  Kansas had a season low 25 points at halftime and Perry Ellis was held scoreless.  Neither team played well, but that is in part due to the other team playing really good defense.  Close game throughout, but Villanova was able to advance to the Final Four.  Normally they fail in situations like this, at least in recent years.  Not this year.


The winner of Villanova-Oklahoma will take on the winner of UNC-Syracuse.  Syracuse came back from 16 points down with about ten minutes to go in the game against Virginia to beat the Cavaliers 68-62 on Sunday.  Freshman Malachi Richardson was the catalyst for the Orange comeback, scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half.  Virginia’s defense came up short in the last part of the second half and Syracuse attacked them perfectly.  Quite stunning that this #10 seed was able to take down might Virginia.  Tremendous comeback and win for Syracuse.  UNC and Notre Dame played a real entertaining game, especially in the first half.  Both teams shot well over 50 percent from the field and the pace went back and forth.  Excellent first half.  UNC built their lead to eleven in the second half only to see it vanish when Notre Dame went on a 12-0 run to briefly take a one point lead.  UNC went on their own 12-0 run to push the lead to eleven and they would not look back, taking down Notre Dame 88-74.  They are the last piece to the Final Four puzzle. Right now the outside shot is dropping for UNC and with their size and rebounding ability, they look like the clear favorites to cut down the nets in Houston.  Final Four starts Saturday night on TBS.


College basketball head coaching carousel


More head coaching vacancies are being filled in college basketball and that is opening up additional vacancies.  Pittsburgh has their new head coach after Jamie Dixon left for TCU.  They have hired Kevin Stallings from Vanderbilt.  It’s a six-year deal.  Why would Stallings leave Vanderbilt?  This seems like a lateral move.  Well it sounded like it was 50-50 that he would be back next year according to reports so rather than take the wait and see approach, Stallings made a decision and we’ll see just what impact he will have at Pittsburgh.  So now there is an opening in Vanderbilt.


Know who won’t be filling the Vanderbilt position?  Chris Beard.  The Arkansas-Little Rock head coach looks like he will be taking the head coaching position at UNLV.  Beard was impressive in his for year at UALR, going 29-4 and beating #5 seed Purdue in the NCAA Tournament.  Don’t know if he was thinking he would be using the UALR job as a springboard to land at another higher profile program after one season, but Beard is and we’ll see what he can do at UNLV.  He has a lot of passion.  Should do well.  This sort of thing though only further strengthens the points and arguments made on Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPNRadio last week about why coaches can leave programs with no consequences, but athletes have to typically sit out a year if they want to transfer.  Doesn’t seem completely fair.


So the UALR position is open, but Rick Stansbury won’t be taking it.  The Texas A&M assistant head coach and former Mississippi State head coach is taking the job at Western Kentucky.  Western Kentucky’s head coach, Ray Harper, resigned last week.


Winners keep winning


We end our blog post today talking about teams and players that just keep winning.  Golden State remains on pace to break the Chicago Bulls 72-10 record after beating the Philadelphia 76ers 117-105 Sunday night.  Klay Thompson dropped in 40 points and Draymond Green added a triple-double with 13 points, eleven rebounds and eleven assists.


Meanwhile in golf, Jason Day won at the WGC-Dell Match Play over the weekend and reclaimed his number one ranking in the world.  With the Masters coming up in a little under two weeks, it is going to be a tremendous battle between Day, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and maybe even Rickie Fowler to see who will put on the green jacket.  Heck, don’t even count out a guy like Phil Mickelson.  This is going to be a great major tournament. 


Coming up Tuesday: NCAA Women’s Tournament Final Four plus UCONN’s dominance and more.