Dookies' Dancing Doomed: Mercer Shines in the Atlantic Sun
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Call them underdogs, but don't call them underclassmen.
If there's a trend in the upsets to date in this year's Big Dance, it's that uptempo teamwork is trumping star power.
Last night in Spokane, it was the controlled but harried pace of North Dakota State that did in the Oklahoma Sooners, and today in Raleigh -- the heart of ACC country -- Mercer's Bears deployed the same sort of pace to de-horn the Duke Blue Devils.
One-and-done has been part of the college hoop scene for some time now, but its downside is making another appearance in the tournament this year.
This is not necessarily news. Mid-majors with fewer pro prospects on their rosters were expected to close the gap with the so-called power conference teams because of the NBA's policy of only drafting players 19 yeara old and up. Their teams were expected to benefit from matured chemistry. But they were still expected to only compete with the power schools by using clock-chomping Princeton-style tactics that had their day when shorts were short and bikini lines were nervous.
Then came Florida Gulf Coast and its Dunk City blitzkrieg, which Georgetown and the basketball world saw up close and personal last year:
Do note that Mercer finally got past FGCU in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament by handing Dunk City a dose of its own medicine.
This is more than back-cuts. This is crisp passing, minimal dribbling offense that might even put a tear in Bobby Knight's eye. This, ironically, is not stuff that hot prospects preparing themselves for the pros are accustomed to doing or seeing; they go to schools where they can be featured rather than the system.
Every so often, it catches up to them. And to those who play big names when they populate their brackets.
Of course, Mercer's Bears care about none of that. They're just glad to put dance back into the Dance.
the game in our book.