Domed to failure?
Notebook: Poor dome shooting performances overblown
Posted: Monday April 03, 2000 01:44 AM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Maybe, just maybe, it's nothing more than bad shooting.
Whenever the NCAA visits a domed arena for the Final Four, which is just about every year nowadays, poor shooting is blamed on the wide-open spaces, poor depth perception, even gusts of wind inside the pressurized enclosures.
But since 1982, when the Superdome in New Orleans was the first domed Final Four site, the combined shooting percentages in championship games are almost identical: .471 in the seven non-dome finals and .469 in the 11 games in domes.
The 36 percent shooting in Saturday's two semifinal games had nothing to do with the RCA Dome, players from both winning teams said Sunday.
"You have to give credit to the defense," Michigan State's Morris Peterson said. "But sometimes when you get in the big games you get excited. Your adrenaline starts pumping. I think it's just a matter of feeling comfortable."
Peterson, who had 4 points at halftime, found his comfort zone in the second half, when he shot 6-for-10 and finished with 20 points in the Spartans' 53-41 victory over Wisconsin.
"I don't think it has anything to do with playing in the dome or anything," teammate A.J. Granger said. "It was just a matter of a little bit of nerves there at the beginning. And teams are playing better defense. It's just harder to shoot the ball."
The last time the two finalists shot better than 50 percent in a championship game was in 1988, when Kansas and Oklahoma combined for 52 percent in Kansas City at the Kemper Arena, which is not a dome. The last time the finalists shot at least 50 percent in a dome was in 1984, when Georgetown and Houston combined for 56 percent in the Kingdome in Seattle.
Florida's Mike Miller had 10 points but shot only 3-for-13 against the Tar Heels on Saturday night.
"We've had experience in a domed setting, so we had no excuses," Miller said. "I don't think for any of the four teams it can be a real excuse. Tomorrow night's game, hopefully, the shooting will pick up for our team, but there's no excuses."
Keady takes office
Purdue coach Gene Keady became president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Sunday and was named the organization's Division I coach of the year.
The Boilermakers, who beat NCAA finalists Michigan State and Florida during the regular season, finished 24-10 after a 64-60 loss to Wisconsin in the West Regional finals. Keady earlier was named Big Ten coach of the year.
"I cherish this because it's from the coaches, the people that you respect and work with," Keady said of the NABC honor, his second. "That makes it special."
Keady, the coach at Purdue for 20 years, also was the NABC coach of the year in 1994, when Glenn Robinson led the Boilermakers to a No. 1 seed. Purdue also fell one game short of the Final Four that year, losing to Duke in the regional finals.
Keady has taken Purdue to 16 NCAA tournaments.
Flintstones, meet The Flintstones: They're Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell and Morris Peterson.
The three Michigan State starters all come from Flint, Mich., a tough automaking town of 90,000 about an hour north of Detroit.
"I talk about my city a lot," Cleaves said Sunday. "It's a very unique situation in Flint. It's a small community. Everybody gets along, everybody supports each other. Anytime I get a free weekend, I go home and just walk through the neighborhood."
The teammates went to different high schools but knew each other growing up. A fourth player from Flint, Antonio Smith, was on Michigan State's Final Four team last year but graduated.
"We definitely brought some glory back to Flint," Peterson said. "We've given the young people something to shoot for. When I go back there in the summer, I always hear kids saying they want to get better so they can be like us."
The Florida Gators, Michigan State's opponent in the championship game Monday night, also have a player from Flint. But he doesn't seem to care much about it.
"They make a big deal out of those guys from Flint," Florida's Teddy DuPay said. "I lived in Flint for six years, up until the third grade. ... It doesn't matter where you come from or how old you are. The game is played between the lines."
Basketball talent runs in the family for Morris Peterson. The Michigan State forward's second cousin is Jonathan Bender, who bypassed college and is a rookie this season for the Indiana Pacers.
The family rivalry is very strong, said Peterson's mother, Valarie Peterson.
"He still plays games against the family, just different ones," she said of her son.
For example, Peterson competes with his brother-in-law to see which one can eat the most. With Bender, it's who can score the most.
"Since Jon is on the bench mostly, Morris is winning," Valarie Peterson said. "But Jon was drafted No. 5, and to win, Morris has to go under that."
Peterson's parents were basketball coaches in Flint, Mich., and both his sisters played in college.