Welcome to the WhatIfSports.com tournament simulation to see who is the best Friar team of all-time. All games are simmed only once using default roster depth, the better seed as the home team, and on a neutral court.
Check out each box score…it has a play-by-play of the entire game!
The Smith Hill Region will be played today. Click here for the full bracket.
SMITH HILL REGION
#1. 1972-73 : 87
#16. 1999-00 : 67
“Bad News for Welsh’s Friars”
The #1 seed 1972-73 Friars had no trouble advancing to the next round, backed by double-doubles from their two superstars Marvin Barnes (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Ernie DiGregorio (18 points, 10 assists). The 1999-00 Friars came out strong and kept it close for most of the first half. With 7:55 remaining, two Marcus Jefferson free throws cut the 72-73 Friar’s lead to 3. However, a prelonged coldspell from the 99-00 team, plus 7 of 7 first half shooting from Barnes allowed the 72-73 team to pull ahead by 12 at the half and never look back.
Missed foul shots were the main culprit for the 99-00 team, as they went 12-29 (41%). Freshman point guard Abdul Mills had the worst game of his young career. Although Mills played well on defense with 6 steals, he went a John Starks-ian 1-11 from the field, including a disasterous 1-8 from the foul line. “I was plain awful today. It’s one thing to miss a few shots, but my performance at the line was unacceptable”, a somber Mills said after the game. Erron Maxey was the only 99-00 scorer in double digits, with 14 points.
One controversy that looks to be a non-issue is the three point line. “I didn’t need it in the 70’s, I sure as hell am not going to need it now.”, said Barnes afterwards. Asked what the team would do if they were down by 3 with 5 seconds left, Barnes replied “Don’t worry, it’s not gonna happen”.
Seems like the bad news is going to continue for the rest of the Friar teams that get in the way.
#8. 2006-07 : 78
#9. 1998-99 : 63
“King of the Hill”
If you want to stop the 06-07 Friars, you are going to have to go through Herb Hill. Jamel Thomas found out the hard way, as Hill poured in 32 points on 13/16 shooting to lead the ‘07 Friars to a 78-63 victory. Coach Welsh tried everything from switching from man to zone, but it simply didn’t matter who was covering him, as Hill scored 16 points in each half.
“I had alot of easy looks. [Sharaud] Curry (11 assists) did a great job of feeding me the ball in a position where I could just make a quick move to the basket. Our guys were hitting their shots, so the defense had to respect them too.”, Hill said after the game.
The 98-99 Friars were keeping pace with Hill and the 06-07 Friars until early in the 2nd half. With 16:34 minutes to go in the game, Sean Connolly converted a nice layup on a great pass from John Linehan to cut the deficit to 39-40. However, they just couldn’t overcome their poor shooting (23-61 37%). Excellent free throw shooting was what really kept them in the game, as they hit 11 of 12 attempts.
Dealing with Hill on the defensive side clearly affected Thomas, who couldn’t get it going offensively. He led the team with 14 points, but did it on 5-18 shooting while turning over the ball a game high 5 times.
The 06-07 Friars continue to have success when Weyinmi Efejuku scores over 10 points. He had a solid all-around game with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
#5. 2000-01 : 76
#12. 2005-06 : 67
“Laksa Sparks Friars Off The Bench”
The 00-01 Friars continued the tournament trend of lower seeded dominance, as they knocked off the pesky 05-06 Friars by a final score of 76-67. It was truly a team effort, as 5 players scored in double digits — the highest being 14 points by Rome Augustin. “That’s the thing about this team”, said point guard John Linehan. “We don’t rely on one player. Someone has an off night, we know someone else will step up”.
The turning point of the game came at the start of the 2nd half. Clinging to a 5 point lead, Maris Laksa came off the bench for the 00-01 Friars and scored 8 of their next 10 poinits, including a 3 point bomb from straight away. After Laksa banked in a shot with 15 minutes remaining, the Friars led by 9 for pretty much rest of the way.
Senior point guard Donnie McGrath led the 05-06 team on offense with 22 points.
Geoff McDermott and Weyinmi Efejuku, two freshman who see a lot of playing time, had poor shooting nights as they combined to go 4 of 18 from the field. The much praised zone defense of the 00-01 Friars probably had something to do with that.
Coach Welsh felt that the defense made it almost impossible to attack the basket, forcing them to settle for a lot of long range shots. When the long ball doesn’t fall for this team (5-22 22.7%), its not going to end well. “I’ve never seen anything like that with Linehan and Shabazz. They don’t give you an inch. We simply got pushed us around”, Welsh said.
#4. 1993-94 : 74
#13. 1983-84 : 76
“O(tis) What A Game!”
The best game was saved for last at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. In front of a sold out crowd, the #13 seed 1983-84 Friar team pulled off a dramatic upset against the Big East Tournament Champion 1993-94 Friars. Otis Thorpe hit a 12 foot floater as time expired to send the 83-84 Friars to the 2nd round.
In the last 5 minutes alone, there were 11 lead changes as both teams frantically traded baskets. Franklin Western hit a bank shot from the fouline with two defenders draped over him to give the 93-94 Friars a 74-72 lead with 27 seconds remaining. On the next possesion, Otis Thorpe sank two pressure packed foul shots with 18 seconds left after Michael Smith fouled him on a drive to the hoop. Seemingly holding the ball for the last shot, Eric Williams missed a jumper from the right wing — only to have Keith Lomax get the rebound with 2 seconds on the clock with just enough time to call a timeout. After inbounding the ball at half court, Thorpe was able to break free and catch the pass with enough time to hit the winning shot.
“Nobody gave us a shot going into this game”, said Thorpe, who had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. “We didn’t have the greatest season, but I always thought we had the talent to be a good basketball team”.
Michael Smith also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
So that concludes the first day of Round 1. What did everyone think?
Here is a look at the matchups for the first half of next week’s Round 2.
ROUND 2 (November 3rd, 2008)
Another Tim Welsh team takes a crack at the 73 Final Four squad. Can Hill take on Barnes?
Can the zone stop Otis Thorpe and the 84 Friars from becoming Cinderella?
Check back Friday for the rest of Round 1 action!