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2010 Sweet 16: A Retrospective

Looking back from now at a game we've spent a week breaking down.

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This concludes our coverage of the 2010 Sweet 16 game. All told it encompassed six parts, all of which can be found here. Doing the research and actually writing about the game made it all the more clear how incredible a contest it really was. There were also just a few thoughts and questions that came along with five years of separation from the game itself.

- What happened to Kenny Frease?

As Joel mentioned in the Boxscore Breakdown, the other bigs combined for 13 fouls between them but Kenny only played for five minutes. Jamel McLean and Andrew Taylor combined to score exactly zero points from the floor. Frease averaged 16 minutes per game that year, so it's not as if not playing was the norm. He rebounded at roughly the same rates as he did during his junior season and blocked 3.6% of opponent's shots when he was on the floor. In other words, Xavier was used to having Kenny play far more and more effectively in 40 minutes than he did in 50 that night. I'm not sure if Coach Mack felt something, if he didn't want to play Frease and Love together, or what, but the big man from Massillon spent a lot more time sitting than he normally did.

- What if Mark Lyons doesn't do Mark Lyons things?

Lyons came into the game, committed a foul fighting threw a screen, threw an elbow that got him a tech, and then committed another foul. After three minutes of play, he'd essentially ceded the backup guard reigns over to Brad Redford. Redford went 2-4 from deep, but that was about all he did. Lyons as a freshman played nearly 50% of available minutes, had a steal rate of 2.6%, shot 34% from deep, and managed a very respectable 10.6% defensive rebounding rate. Having Lyons on the court to spell Holloway and Crawford would undoubtedly have made a big difference. Instead, he played only 11 foul filled minutes.

- Did Jacob Pullen have one of the all time great games?

9-20 from the floor, 6-12 from deep, 4-4 from the line, 40 minutes played, 28/4/3 and only one turnover. He has been somewhat relegated to a footnote to Crawford's heroics, but Pullen was almost otherworldly in this game. It was his shot, and not the one that everyone remembers, that won the game.

- This was a college player's game.

Excepting Jordan Crawford, none of the players who featured here went on to make a mark on the NBA. Tu Holloway was a little bit too small, Pullen was not quite quick enough, Mark Lyons was too small and an unrepentant gunner (God bless him), Denis Clemente didn't ever develop a great shot, Jason Love was a warrior, but not athletic enough, and Jamel McLean was a freak athlete who couldn't shoot. They all fit well in the schemes that Chris Mack and Frank Martin conjured up for them, and they combined to put on an amazing show in a college game.

- The game was more open.

In this game 53 fouls were called. In Xavier's not at all an instant classic 74-73 win over Creighton this year, 52 fouls were called in 10 less minutes of game time. That's not the only reason the Sweet 16 game was far better, but players actually getting to play the game is never a bad thing.