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Golden State not satisfied with undefeated start
The last perfect record left in the league, the first time since 1960, when the team was still located a continent away in Philadelphia.
Draymond Green says the Warriors aren't thinking that they're the best thing since sliced bread.
Good thing. Because there are plenty of times when new coach Steve Kerr feels like he's only got half a loaf.
"There are times when I don't know what we're doing," Kerr said.
Truth be told, the players probably feel the same way.
That's a bad thing when the ball is being tossed around on a fast break like it's a radioactive greased pig. It's also the reason to sit back and rub your hands in anticipation of what it could be like if the Warriors put it all together.
The numbers say a lot.
Through five games Golden State is averaging 21.6 turnovers per night, including 26 against the Rockets in what was supposed to be a summit meeting of West powers.
Dwight Howard was stricken with flu-like symptoms and didn't play for Houston. But the missing All-Star center had little to do with the way the Warriors treated the ball so cavalierly, because they've been doing it since the season opener.
"We're coming down and making plays that would make a sixth grader blush," Kerr said. "It's shocking to me. We have so much talent and these guys are such good players that if they would just make the easy play, then the game would be simpler and we'd be in great shape.
"But we're making some of the dumbest passes I've ever seen in my life. We're still winning and that's good. But if we want to get where we want to be, then we have to value the ball and make the easy play. If we do that, the sky's the limit.
"I think part of the problem is we have guys that are very, very gifted and skilled and so they believe they can do anything."
It's the burden of genius to have to live up to reputation, to clear the bar you've set so high for yourself.
A lineup that starts with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut and goes deeper than the Pacific has all the raw talent and such an abundance of individual skills to simply rely too much on them or to try to lift them up to a level that just isn't necessary.
The Warriors can turn 24 seconds on the shot clock into a five- or six- or seven-pass possession that at times seems more intent on showing how slick they can be with the ball rather than someone just dropping it into the basket. The Warriors can also run a 3-on-2 fast break that is only dangerous to themselves.
Nobody is foolishly suggesting that there is any cause for alarm in a perfect 5-0 start. It's like pointing out a misplaced hair on Kate Upton's head. The folks in Cleveland, Oklahoma City and even San Antonio would take it in a heartbeat.
"We're not there yet, far from it," said Bogut.
"We're pretty talented and pretty deep at basically 1 through 15," said Curry. "Guys are trying to figure out what's going on ... because we want to be great."
But greatness comes when you learn to instinctively make the easy plays rather than overthinking the hard ones.
"I never had the problem as a player," Kerr said. "I couldn't do anything, so I had to make the right play. These guys are capable of doing so much, they try to do way too much."
The numbers say a lot.
That if the Warriors can ever learn to embrace doing the simple things, this could be only be the start of something special.
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CBB: Midwest flavor in Midwest Regional2010-03-26
Three of the four teams in St. Louis for the NCAA Tournament are from manageable travel distances, being from the Big Ten or Missouri Valley conferences. Tennessee is the only outsider, however is closer to the city with The Arch by just over 30 miles compared to those from Columbus, Oh. By the end of Friday night, at least one team from the heartland will have a chance to make a trip to the Final Four in Indianapolis and quite possibly two. Read on for a preview of the two Friday night games, then click over to the LIVE ODDS and GAME MATCHUPS pages on Sportsbook.com for more key information.
To say Northern Iowa and Michigan State facing off against one another is peculiar, that would be like President Obama inviting Republicans over to the White House for a barbeque to celebrate the signing of health care bill. Since the NCAA Tournament was expand to field of 64 (65) teams, only once has a five seed squared off against a nine-seed in the Sweet 16 and that was Boston College against Indiana 16 years ago, when a certain “general” was still patrolling the sidelines at IU.
Northern Iowa (30-4, 23-10 ATS) pulled the biggest surprise of the tournament, knocking off top-ranked Kansas in impressive manner. The Panthers didn’t corral the Jayhawks in fluky fashion, after trailing 3-2, UNI was never again on the wrong side of the scoreboard and shot below their season average of 43 percent (40%) in engineering the upset.
Northern Iowa is fearless, with players like Adam Koch and Ali Farokhmanesh willing to take big shots and making them. The Panthers have won six straight and are 10-3 ATS after five or more consecutive wins with some of their strengths largely unnoticed. They hold opponents to 40.6 percent shooting and coach Ben Jacobson has taught them to hand off players on the move, yet seldom are caught in bad matchups. Quietly, UNI goes about their business and has 10 players that are productive in one form or another without a drop-off in output.
Michigan State (26-8, 13-20 ATS) will have to overcome the loss of floor leader Kalin Lucas. Coach Tom Izzo has spent the week preaching to Raymar Morgan, Draymond Green and Durrell Summers about their responsibility to their teammates and about elevating their level of play with their leading scorer out. The Spartans rose to the challenge against Maryland and are not in shock, since Lucas missed five games earlier in the season.
The Spartans are a one-point favorite with total of 122.5 at Sportsbook.com and are 6-15 ATS playing against a team with a winning record this season. Northern Iowa has thrived in this situation, sporting an 8-1 ATS record when the line is +3 to -3 this season. Though the total is up two points from opening figure, the Panthers are 16-4 UNDER when playing only their second game in a week and Michigan State is 6-2-1 UNDER off a cover.
Buckeyes look to avoid Orange Crush
Last weekend after Kansas and Georgetown were dismissed from the tournament, Ohio State (29-7, 18-16 ATS) was given a free pass to the Final Four by many television types. One aspect overlooked was the quality of the Buckeyes next opponent, Tennessee (27-8, 14-17 ATS).
The Volunteers turn of the calendar issues have been well documented, however that strife might well have made them a better team, having to lean on each other, rather than particular players. Center Brian Williams has become more of a force, giving Wayne Chism more help on the glass. Guards J.P. Prince and Scotty Hopson were presented with more shot opportunities and Bruce Pearl’s club has knocked off highly ranked teams like Kentucky and Kansas, proving they belong in the Sweet 16.
Coach Pearl also has his squad playing defense, holding teams to 39.3 percent and they are 25-14 ATS versus teams making 37 or more percent from beyond the arc. Tennessee is a 4.5-point underdog and is 11-21 ATS after being favored in back-to-back contests, plus is 8-0 UNDER after making 55 percent or better of their shot attempts.
Sixth seeds like the Vols are 2-6 ATS after a double digit triumph in this round of action.
The StatFox Power Lines for the Midwest Regional Sweet 16 games show Michigan State by 2, Ohio State by 5