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 Federal Hill Region will be played today. Click here for the full bracket.
FEDERAL HILL REGION
#6. 2003-04: 86
#11. 2007-08 : 83
“Xavier Pushes Sixth-Seeded Friars to Double-OT; Upset Falls Short”
For a team that seemed to fall apart in every game down the stretch of their season, the 2003-04 Friars showed a lot of heart in their 86-83 double-overtime victory over the 2007-08 Friars. All-American Junior Ryan Gomes turned in one of the most impressive performances so far in the tournament, finishing with an incredible double-double of 30 points and 20 rebounds.
The ‘08 Friars jumped ahead early in the game thanks to excellent passing and shot selection. A scoring draught for each team had the score at 18-10 favoring the ‘08 Friars with only 5 minutes to go in the half. Two Shieku Kabba foul shots tied the game at 26 all with 2 seconds remaining. It appeared the two teams would go into the lockerroom tied at the half, but Geoff McDermott hit a fade-away at the buzzer to take the lead.
The teams played close to start the 2nd, but the ‘08 Friars started to grab a hold of the game midway through. Jeff Xavier hit a deep 3, and Randall Hanke converted on one of two free throws to give the ‘08 Friars a nice 53-46 lead with 7:14 to go.
“Once we were down 7 with 7 to go we weren’t thinking ‘Oh no here we go again’. We stuck to our game plan and let Ryan go at it”, Coach Welsh said. Whatever was said at the timeout at 7:14 seemed to resonate with the All-American. After a Rob Sanders jumper, Gomes scored 9 straight points, including a deep pull up jumper as Ray Hall bumped into him. Hall fouled out, and Gomes converted the free throw to tie the game at 57 all.
Xaiver (25 points, 11 rebounds) put the ‘08 Friars ahead by 2 with 46 seconds left on a long jump shot. Holding for the last shot, many expected Gomes to be the go-to-guy. However after the play broke down, Gerald Brown (who had hit a three earlier in the game) tried to win it, but missed on an open look from downtown. Gomes grabbed the offensive rebound but missed an uncontested layup. Douthit won the battle after a mad scramble for the ball and was able to put up short jumper as time expired to force an OT.
Rob Sanders (15 points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists) had a chance to win it in the first overtime, but was off on a long jumper at the buzzer.
In the decisive 2nd OT, Donnie McGrath and Kabba each hit a 3 pointer and the ‘04 Friars didn’t look back, as it seemed the ‘08 team simply ran out of gas.
#3. 1996-97: 69
#14. 2001-02 : 59
“‘02 Friars Die by the Three”
The ‘97 Friars continued their tournament success with a hard fought 69-59 win over the #14 seed 2001-02 squad. Derek Brown and Austin Croshere each registered 17 points, with God Shammgod and Ruben Garces also reaching double figures.
The ‘02 Friars shot extremely poorly, especially from behind the arc (3-27, for a putrid 11.1%). Coach Welsh on the other hand, questioned the foul call disparity rather than his team’s decisions to hoist up threes. “I’m sorry, but when the other team is sent to the line 34 times on ticky tack calls, it’s going to make a difference. If they are going to call Marcus (Douthit) for a foul every time down low, why does Garces get to push everyone around on the other end?”
The ‘97 Friars were able to capatilize on foul shot opportunities by hitting 25 of 34 shots (73.5%). Austin Croshere was especially deadly from the line hitting 8 of 9.
John Linehan was the leading scorer for the ‘02 Friars with 15 points.
#7. 1990-91: 68
#10. 2002-03 : 77
“Strong Team Effort Gears ‘03 Friars in Upset Win”
At certain points in last night’s game, it appeared Eric Murdock was taking on the #10 seed ‘03 Friars by himself. His efforts fell short in the end as his 25 point performance wasn’t enough to prevent a late second half surge by Ryan Gomes and the rest of the ‘03 team. All five ‘03 starters scored in double digits, including a strong double-double from Gomes (14 points and 16 rebounds).
The ‘91 Friars held a small lead with 8 minutes to go in the game. Murdock hit a jumper to give them a 54-51 advantage. Everything changed within a blink of the eye — Rob Sanders hit two foul shots, Shieku Kabba nailed a long three, and Tukka Kotti hit a nice turnaround jumper. Suddenly the ‘03 Friars were leading by a score of 58-54 — a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Marques Bragg and Marvin Sadler were the 2nd leading scorers for the ‘91 team after Murdock’s 25 — each had 9 points. Murdock shot 10 for 21 from the field, while the rest of the team went 15 for 44 (34%).
“I thought we were in control for most of the second half — we really shot ourselves in the foot with some bad defense in key situations. We wanted to focus on Gomes underneath but their other guys really stepped it up”, Coach Rick Barnes said.
The ‘03 Friars join the #13 seed 1983-84 team as the only first round upsets in the tournament.
#2. 1986-87: 83
#15. 1982-83 : 54
“Pitino’s Friars Double Up ‘83 Team in Second Half”
The two seeded ‘87 Friars coasted to an easy victory in the first round by blowing out the ‘83 team by a score of 83-54. Despite having only a 3 point lead at halftime, the ‘87 team used their up-tempo style to double up their opponent by a score of 52-26 in the second half.
Billy Donovan led the charge for the ‘87 team with a game high 19 points, thanks to excellent shooting behind the arc (4 for 9). “We didn’t take our opponent lightly in the first half at all — they did a great job of controlling the flow of the game. We were just able to make all the right adjustments at the half to put them away”, said Donovan after the game.
Poor shooting by the ‘83 team (20-52 38.5%) was not the only factor in the loss. Pitino’s Friars dominated the boards by a margin of 40-23.
Otis Thorpe was the leading scorer the 1982-83 team with 14 points to go along with 6 rebounds. “They out ran us, they out-muscled us.”, said Thorpe.
So that concludes the first round! Let’s take a look at the 2nd round matchups that will be played on November 3rd
Who does everyone think will win this round?