Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweet 16 Predictions

With 2 (or 3, depending on who you ask) rounds complete, it is time to make some predictions on who will make the Final Four.


1 Ohio St over 4 Kentucky

The Wildcats are just as talented as the Buckeyes, but there is no making up for the experience difference. When toughness is needed, I trust guys like William Buford, David Lighty, and Jon Diebler more than I trust anyone on Kentucky.

2 North Carolina over 11 Marquette
I think UNC caught a bit of a break when Marquette knocked off Syracuse, because UNC would have struggled with the Orange zone. Buzz Williams is one heck of a coach, so expect this to be a tight game, tighter than the talent difference would indicate. But in the end, Marquette doesn't have anyone as good as Harrison Barnes.

1 Ohio St. over 2 North Carolina
Much like the Buckeyes previous game against Kentucky, the Heels have the talent to stick with Ohio St., but not the experience. Buckeyes will not be denied, as nobody has looked better so far in the Tourney.


1 Duke over 5 Arizona

Arizona is very fortunate to have gotten this far. They needed a last second block by Derrick Williams to get past Memphis (when there arguably could have been a foul called on the rebound), and they needed a 5 second call on Texas (which arguably should have been a timeout granted for the Horns) before their winning basket. Derrick Williams is the X Factor, because he is playing as well as anyone in the country, but Duke just has too many horses for Arizona to stick around.

2 San Diego St over 3 UConn
The Aztecs won perhaps the worst March Madness double OT game in history, but don't hold it against them, they simply win. They got a bad game from their star and still beat a good Temple team. Against SDSU's big and athletic front line, Kemba Walker could find those holes to the basket closing more quickly than he is used to.

2 San Diego St over 1 Duke
If there is anyone that Duke is susceptible to, it would be an athletic team with a talented front line. The Aztecs fit that bill. While Duke will have a decided edge in the backcourt, look for SDSU's frontcourt to take command. Also, this game will be in Anaheim, making it a virtual home game for the winner of the Mountain West.


1 Kansas over 12 Richmond
Richmond is a great story, but they simply don't have the horses to compete against KU. The Jayhawks will be able to throw plenty of athletes at Kevin Anderson, and the Spiders need big things from him to advance. Not going to happen.

11 VCU over 10 Florida St.
The Seminoles were extremely impressive in their win over Notre Dame, but they had perhaps their best offensive game of the year, something we have not seen consistently from them. I don't think we will see it again this week. VCU is playing as well as anyone.

1 Kansas over 11 VCU
Don't feel bad for Shaka Smart though, he appears ready to cash in on a big payday.


4 Wisconsin over 8 Butler

Everyone (including myself) underrated the Badgers for their miserable Big 10 performance, but this is a very quality team. They don't turn the ball over, are efficient on offense, and have two studs in Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer. This will be a slow game and won't be one to tell the grandkids about, but I like Wisconsin. First to 50 wins.

3 BYU over 2 Florida
Don't underestimate Jimmer. Not sure how BYU will be able to slow down Florida inside, but I like them to get up and down, and for Jimmer to score just enough. Hopefully we get another game like their first round battle last season.

4 Wisconsin over 3 BYU

The Badgers become the second Big Ten team in the Final Four, as Bo Ryan shows his genius by controlling tempo and frustrating Jimmer.

What are your picks?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Early Conference Tournaments

On Saturday, three conference tournaments played their championship game, meaning 3 teams clinched their spot in The Big Dance. A quick look at all of them.

Big South - UNC-Asheville
They took care of top seeded Coastal Carolina, who was decimated by injuries and suspensions (they had 8 active players). UNC-Asheville was the 3 seed out of the Big South, and they took out 6th seed Charleston Southern and 7th seed High Point before taking down Coastal Carolina. Despite being a 19 win team, look for them to potentially be in the play-in game. They could win that, but their chances of winning a Tourney game are minimal.

Atlantic-Sun - Belmont
The Bruins are about to become very popular in America. That is because they are a 30 win team that has lost to Tennessee twice, Vanderbilt, and one fluky conference loss to Lipscomb. Other than that, they are unblemished on the season, and won their conference championship by 41 points over North Florida (who was the 6 seed in the conference). Look for Belmont to a be about a 13 seed and a popular upset choice in the first round.

Ohio Valley - Morehead St.
The Eagles are led by Kenneth Faried, one of the best big men in college basketball and one of the best rebounders in recent college basketball history. Though the much anticipated rematch with Murray St. did not happen, it was still an entertaining game in their win over Tennessee Tech. While I am not sure if they have the guard play to spring an upset (Demonte Harper notwithstanding), I don't think any team is going to be eager to take on Kenneth Faried in the first round of the Tournament. It is fitting for the OVC Player of the Year to end his career playing in the Tourney.

Do any of these teams have a chance to win a game in The Big Dance?