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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: Are higher seeds good or bad bet Friday night?2010-03-20
In the final sector of first round games, five teams with seeds five or higher are in action. Just five years ago or slightly more, the higher seeds were strictly play against, as oddsmakers loaded the points on the chalk, trying to bait the public into paying dearly for heavy favorites. Yet in the last several seasons, people got wise and took the points with over-stuffed dogs and cashed a number of winners along the way. This has forced Sportsbook.com oddsmakers to produce a truer number on the higher seeds, which in turn has made picking winners that much more challenging. What will tonight bring?
(1)Duke vs (16) Arkansas Pine Bluff
The Blue Devils are being talked about in some circles as a viable option as a championship game participant. That is not exactly ďman bites dog materialĒ given Duke is the top seed in the South, but they are far and away the quietest No. 1 squad coach Mike Krzyzewski has ever had. Sports bettors have paid attention and have been betting the Blue Devils up significantly to 23-point favs at Sportsbook.com.
Duke has kept getting better as the season trudged on. Coach K knew what to expect from Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and for the most part Lance Thomas. As the season continued, the Hall of Fame coach found ways to place Thomas in more productive offensive situations, the Plumlee brothers became ripe as a plum, playing with increased confidence and making Duke a force on the glass. If senior Brian Zoubek continues to march forward (averaging 10.1 boards in last 10 games), no reason the Dukies canít improve to 6-2 ATS when favored by 13 or more since Dec. 15.
By now, most are familiar with the fact that Arkansas Pine-Bluff lost its first 11 games of the season, all on the road against mostly formidable competition. To their credit the Gold Lions showed heart and have won 18 of last 22. AR-PB isnít going to knock off Duke, but they could cover the spot if they can continue to maintain +6 rebound margin.
(1)Syracuse vs (16) Vermont
The Orangemen are a 17-point choice and need to start fast to regain their swagger after losing their last two trips to the hardwood. Syracuse needs an infusion of confidence getting Wesley Johnson started and pounding the ball inside to whomever is on the court to open up shooting lanes. Dating back 13 years, the Orange are 7-0 ATS off two or more consecutive losses as a favorite.
Vermont wonít be a pushover, as they hold teams to only 39.7 percent shooting. The Catamounts have had time to breakdown workings of Syracuseís 2-3 zone and must have top notch efforts from Marqus Blakely (two-time America East Player of the Year), Maurice Joseph and Evan Fjeld. Itís interesting to note despite Vermont not having many games showing up on big boards for bettors, they are 8-0 ATS after playing a game as favorite.
(2)Ohio State vs (15) UC-Santa Barbara
Sports talk personality Jim Rome called UCSB ďthe most dangerous 15th seed everĒ, of course that was a whimsical quote having attended the university several years ago. The Gauchos will find out just how good they are against one of the best starting fiveís in the tournament in Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have Evan Turner, as good a place to start as there is the country. Review these numbers. Ohio State is 21-4 and 17-10-1 ATS with Turner (0-6 ATS without him). His presence helps the other players get better shots and the Buckeyes are 26-2 and 17-11-1 ATS when they connect on a higher shooting percentage than opposing club. The magic number for the Buckeyes is 70, as they are 20-1 and 15-5-1 ATS when they reach that barrier and being a 17.5-point favorite with total of 132.5, suggests a 71-52 final score.
UC-Santa Barbara is presumed to put up a good fight; however they are 10-25 ATS versus solid shooting teams making 48 percent or more of their shots.
(4)Maryland vs. (13) Houston
The Terps will have a gi-nourmous edge in facing Houston. Maryland has played 20 minutes of full effort basketball since March 6, the second half in their loss in the ACC quarterfinals against Georgia Tech. The Terrapins played like turtles, moving in slow motion against the Yellow Jackets in the first half and were deservedly beaten.
Houston on the other hand played four games in four days, which is what was needed to make a first NCAA entrance in 18 years. The Cougars have to stay hotter than an August afternoon in Houston to win their fifth consecutive game. Houston heated up UTEP in the C-USA championship game with 12 treys, the 13th time this season they have drilled 10 or more deep tosses. Coach Tom Pendersí teams usually take care of the ball and are 20-6 ATS away from home after a game committing eight or less turnovers.
Marylandís Gary Williams club is a 9.5-point favorite and they need to shake off last game as bad effort, figuring they were due, after knocking off seven straight opponents and posting an 8-3 ATS record in previous 11. The Terps defense can swallow up the best of offenses, holding teams to 38.8 percent and they are also 7-1 ATS versus good ball handling teams committing 14 or fewer turnovers in the second half of this season.
(5)Michigan State vs (12) New Mexico State
The Spartans are favored by 13.5 points over New Mexico State and will cover this handily if they listen to their coach and start putting in the kind of effort that took them to the national championship game a season ago. While itís true Michigan State lacks a true center, that is not a requirement for the Aggies. New Mexico likes to motor up and down the floor, but defense is not in fashion in Las Cruces, as they concede 77.8 points per game (while scoring 78.6 PPG) and allow foes to ring up 46.7 percent shooting away from southern New Mexico. The Spartans are 21-8 ATS away from East Lansing when they score 75 to 80 points.
If Michigan State continues to be sloppy with the ball (14 turnovers a game), it could have a game on its hands. The Aggies are not a so-called mid-major that holds the ball and tries to limit possessions to slow down superior opponent; these guys are athletes and like to run. Guard Jahmar Young is a creator and an All-WAC performer at 20.5 points per game. His running mate is Jonathan Gibson and the duo combines for an average of 38 points per contest. New Mexico State wants to play fast and is 8-1 ATS after two or more Underís. Tthe Spartans are 0-7 ATS as a neutral court favorite of 12.5 to 15 points.