Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sweet 16 (part 2) and the elite 8

Sweet 16
Mich St. vs. Maryland:
Maryland is rated highly in many nerdy stats categoires.
The pick: Maryland (rematch of 2002 Final 4)

OSU vs. OSU:
Oklahoma and Ohio State. What the heck....
The Pick: Oklahoma State

West Regoin:
Syracuse vs. Gonzaga:
No one is high on the 'Cuse. Including yours truely. But they only lost 4 games all year.
The Pick: Syracuse

Xavier vs. Pitt:
Ick. This is going to be a close, slow, ugly game.
The Pick: Pitt

East Regional:
Temple vs. Wisconsin:
Jacksonville is where this game is played. No advantage there. Ummmm....
The Pick: Wisconsin

Mizzou vs. West Virginia:
I told you Huggy Bear was peeved about not getting a one seed. Mizzou just doesn't have any inside game.
The Pick: WVU

South Regional:
Duke vs. Cal:
Kyle Singler is a matchup nightmare, but Cal has big kids that can match up. In Jacksonville, it has to be Duke.
The Pick: Duke

Texas A&M vs. Purdue:
The Pick: A&M, too good to be true.

The Elite 8:
Kansas vs. Maryland:
ACC = not as good as Big XII
The Pick: Kansas

Okie State vs. Georgetown:
I might as well get really crazy. In St. Louis, Okie State will have a large contingency.
The Pick: Okie State

Butler vs. Syracuse:
Butler hasn't gone this far before. Syracuse has.
The Pick: Syracuse

KState vs. Pitt:
Too many quick good guards.
The Pick: KState

Kentucky vs. Wisconsin:
Nothing exciting from Wisconsin. Plenty on the other side of the ball.
The Pick: Kentucky

WVU vs. New Mexico:
I said earlier that the difference maker was Darrington Hobson for UNM. I think he destroys Huggy Bear's Zone and carries the Lobos on.
The Pick: New Mexico

Duke vs. A&M:
I think that the effieciency of A&M will ruin Coach K's trip to Houston. Plus, the game is in Houston.
The Pick: A&M

Baylor vs. Villanova:
I have to pick Baylor. Again, in Houston and 'Nova is not that good.
The Pick: Baylor

The Finals coming soon!


Friday Madness!

Friday's Games:
This will go quick, I have been trying to hard. Yikes!

Mich St vs. New Mexico State:
Too much talent and, for whatever reason, Tom Izzo always prepares his team for the tourney.
The Pick: Michigan State.

Maryland vs. Houston:
Maryland if from a weak ACC this year, Houston is from the really weak Conference USA.
The Pick: Maryland

Oklahoma State vs. Georgia Tech:
I have gotten to see Georgia Tech in that last few weeks, and I have to say that Derrick Favors is an impressive freshman, but Okie State will make too many 3's.
The Pick: Okie State

Ohio State vs. UC Santa Barbara:
UCSB's mascot is the Gauchos. Enough said.
The Pick: OSU

West Region:
Syracuse vs. Vermont:
The 1 vs. 16 seed that has the most potential for upset. And that potential is 0.001%.
The Pick: Syracuse

Gonzaga vs. Florida State:
I just love the players the 'Zags have. And FSU is in the ACC.
The Pick: Gonzaga

Xavier vs. Minnesota:
The line on this game is basically 0. I dont like either team. At all.
The Pick: Xavier (even though Golden Gophers are way cooler than Musketeers)

Pitt vs. Oakland:
The Summit Conference is terrible (Oakland). Look for a big Pitt win.
The Pick: Pitt

East Regional:
Temple vs. Cornell:
The trendy pick is Cornell. They have talent and played a lot of tough games. But Temple is better.
The Pick: Temple

Wisconsin vs. Wofford:
I'm not even sure I know where Wofford is, but I know their mascot is the Terriers. Ouch.
The Pick: Wisconsin

Clemson vs. Mizzou:
Again, don't like either team. The Big XII is better.
The Pick: Mizzou

West Virginia vs. Morgan State:
West Virginia is on a roll, and Huggy Bear is peeved they didn't get a 1 seed. Look out.
The Pick: WVU

South Regional:
Duke vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff:
The Pick: Duke (no explaination needed)

California vs. Louisville:
I want to pick the coach in Rick Pitino, but Cal is a really good team.
The Pick: Cal

Texas A&M vs. Utah State:
The Aggies will win.

What?!? Both teams are the Aggies?!?!?

Then let's go with A&M even though Utah State is like a 1000 miles closer to Spokane than College Station.
The Pick: A&M

Purdue vs. Siena:
Trendy pick: Siena. Purdue with out Robbie Hummel = not as good, but not that bad.
The Pick: Purdue

Round one = blogged. Today's games = Awesome


Saturday Second Round

Picks to advance to the Sweet 16:

For my picks from the Thrusday First Round action, see here, here and here.

Kansas vs. Northern Iowa:

Northern Iowa vs. any other seed lower than a 1 would be a good game. Too bad they are playing Kansas in the second round. In Oklahoma City.

The Pick: Kansas

BYU vs. KState:

BYU has been very good this year. They have a legitimate star in Jimmer Fredette. They don't have much fear, and they have some crazy brazilian guy. KState, has some latin power and craziness with Frank "The Stare" Martin (My brother Mark's nickname), Denis Clemente and Luis "I throw ball at basket" Colon. And they have a consistent scorer in Jacob Pullen.

The Pick:KState

Notre Dame (Ooops) vs. Baylor:

You can believe me or not, but I picked Baylor. They are good. And I love the big XII.

The Pick: Baylor

Villanova vs. Richmond:

I still have Villanova. They have struggled late in the season, but I like the experience of the team and the star power from Scottie Reynolds. Richmond will make this a close game, but it won't be enough to want it more than the Wildcats.

The Pick: 'Nova

Vanderbilt vs. Butler:

I like Butler. Again, look for experience and want to. I think in the battle of stars, you will see Gordon Hayward take the cake over Ogilvy.

The Pick: Butler..... (Does this count as having a Mid Major in the Sweet Sixteen? Is this a surprise at all?)

Kentucky vs. Texas:

Kentucky. At this point it is a risk benefit issue. If I pick Texas, and they dont win and Kentucky goes far, Yikes!

The Pick: Kentucky

New Mexico vs. Washington:

Both teams have somewhat of a home court advantage being in San Jose. I still think the Pac 10 is weak and New Mexico is really good. Plus, they have an experienced coach in Steve Alford, and a star in Hobson.

The Pick: New Mexico

Georgetown vs. SDSU:

There is a thought process in the NFL that teams from the west coast that travel to the east coast for games, and vice versa, do extremely poorly. There are stats (they may be related to spreads more than actual records) that support this. SDSU will be in G'Town territory and just don't have the height to compete with Greg Monroe.

The Pick: G'Town

I will get to Friday's games soon.


The Thursday Evening Madness

First on Thursday Evening:
Northern Iowa vs. UNLV:
Again the Mid Major thing. Let's just say we were to take the two teams from this game and split them with the 8 vs. 9 game in the East which is Texas and Wake Forest. Wouldn't you rather watch a UNLV vs. Wake Forest and Northern Iowa vs. Texas? I know I would.

That said, UNLV is a pretty good team from the Mountain West Conference. But, they are good team at home. Northern Iowa finished in the Top 25 at the end of the conference season. They come from the always dangerous Missouri Valley Conference (see: Creighton, Bradley, Drake), and are a very experienced team. They will win this game and I would have them going further this year, except they got a terrible seed.
The Pick: Nothern Iowa

Kentucky vs. East Tennessee State:
If you don't pick all number 1 seeds in your bracket, you really have problems. Number 1 seeds have never lost (and they want to expand the field of 65...).
The Pick: Kentucky

Washington vs. Marquette:
The Big East is overrated. The Pac 10 is terrible. This game is a crap shoot. I'm taking Washington because they won the Pac 10 tourney, and they have Isaiah Thomas on their team.
The Pick: UDub

Georgetown vs. Ohio:
Ohio snuck into the tourney by winning the MAC tourney. The MAC doesn't really have a history of winning at all in the big dance, but Georgetown has been maddeningly (I think that's a word) inconsistent. Still, Greg Monroe, G'Town's center, may be the best player in the tourney.
The Pick: G'Town

Wake Forest vs. Texas:
The ACC was looking like they were only going to get 3 or 4 schools into the dance after non-conference play, and then conference play suddenly made these teams better? Texas was number 1 earlier this year and dropped out of the rankings. Damion James won't let Texas lose. He didn't skip going to the NBA so he could lose in the first round of the NCAA's.
The Pick: Texas

New Mexico vs. Montana:
Montana, from the Big Sky Conference, stands about as much chance of winning this game as I do of winning the Powerball. New Mexico's Darrington Hobson is a big guard that can do it all. The reason that the Lobos won at BYU and broke one of the longest home court winning streaks in the nation is because he blocked a layup straight on from one of BYU's big men. It was one of the better plays I have seen all year.
The Pick: New Mexico

Tennessee vs. San Diego State:
Tennessee beat #1 and #2 this year. And loss to multiple teams ranked in the 100's. SDSU got snubbed last year and probably should have been seeded higher. The 6 vs. 11 matchups are more intriguing this year to me than the 5 vs. 12. This is one reason why. I have no idea who is going to win this game. That said, why not pick the upset.
The Pick: SDSU

Kansas vs. Lehigh:
My pick to win it all. Kansas. They won't lose to this Patriot team league team and KState fans won't be making TShirts about Bucknell.
The Pick: Kansas

The Madness continues!

Set of games for block 2 on Thursday:

KState vs. North Texas:
If I pick anything other than KState, I might be beaten. And, the 'Cats are going to win anyway. There is not much else I can say about that.
The Pick: KState

Vanderbilt vs. Murray State:
Vandy is also from the overrated SEC, but they are actually a decent team. They will win. I don't really know that much else about either of these teams, other than the player to watch for Vandy, Jeff Ogilvy. He's really good.
The Pick: Vandy

Baylor vs. Sam Houston State:
Baylor is a very good team. They are 25-7 and 3 of those losses have been to teams from the amazing state of Kansas. Baylor has one of the best offenses in the nation and have a likely NBA lottery pick in Ekpe Udoh. He led the Big XII in blocks and has been the biggest reason for Baylor's lofty record. Sam Houston State is in the tournament. That's about all I can say.
The Pick: Baylor

St. Mary's College vs. Richmond:
Much has been said this year about Richmond. They took care of business (mostly) in a very deep Atlantic 10 conference. The Spiders had a short column in Sports Illustrated talking about their turnaround and their amazing attitude. St. Mary's, on the other hand, has had little publicity (as is the case with many west coast teams). They won the West Coast Conference tournament to get in the field of 65, beating a very talented Gonzaga team. This might be the game of the day. It also reminds me that the selection committee hates Mid major teams. Matching up two fine teams against each other is common and it adds no excitement to the dance. But probably makes money, which is all the committee cares about. I digress...
The Pick: Richmond, too much talent. SMC's roster is full of foreign players, which does not translate well to the American college game.

The extra Game:

UTEP vs. Butler:
The only late afternoon game on the schedule. This is again Mid Major vs. Mid Major. And it's one of the dangerous 5 vs. 12 matchups. I think that Butler, having been in the Top 25 for the last couple of years, has too much talent and (now) bid game experience to lose. UTEP is a very good team and should challenge the Bulldogs, but can't match up with a team that finished 11 in the AP Top 25 and 8 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. The player you should know (if you don't) is Gordon Hayward. 6'9" guard/forward, who learned how to be a guard and then had a huge growth spurt. He has great ball handling skills and is a matchup nightmare.
The Pick: Butler

Notes from the first half this morning.
- Villanova looks like crap. I having them winning in the next round, so you don't say I cheated. But they look awufl. Robert Morris is up by 6 at half?!?!?!?!?
- ODU is haning tough with Notre Dame, after falling behind by double digits early.
- Florida/BYU is a really good game. Both are shooting well, and they should make for a good game against KState.



Lets start with the morning games. I am a little behind this year on picks, so I will do it time slot by time slot. Thursday morning is where it begins!

First up:
Florida vs. BYU:
I got an opportunity to watch the BYU vs. New Mexico game late in conference play this year. When the game was over I had one thing to say. Both of those teams were really good. Florida squeaked into the tournament, played (averagely) in an average conference and won two games because of last second shots.
The Pick: BYU

Old Dominion vs. Notre Dame:
ND played its way into the tourney with a good run to end the season. I think they are overrated, by a lot. Old Dominion is one of my favorite teams to pick, and from the every dangerous Colonial Athletic Association. Notre Dame has Luke Harangody, who was a player of the year candidate before his team was awful in the middle of the season and he got hurt.

Every ounce of me wants to pick ODU, but I can't
The Pick: Notre Dame

Villanova vs. Robert Morris
'Nova somehow managed a 2 seed and gets a good draw against Robert Morris. I dont think there is any question is who is going to win this game. The only news is that the starting guards for Villanova are suspended from the start of the game. How will this affect the rest of the tourney for 'Nova?
The Pick: Villanova

More to come,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Part 3

Here it is. The third edition.

Kansas vs. Kansas State

In my head right, dramatic music is playing. A montage of players flexing their muscles, screaming, dunking, and flying through the air is playing on the jumbotron. It starts out slow, with the stars, Sherron Collins, Jacob Pullen, Cole Aldrich, Denis Clemente. Then speeds up catching all the starters and role players on both teams. It ends with a stare down, with whoever you want. Brady and Denis (let's hope Denis keeps his cool), a Morris and Samuels, Sherron and Pullen. (Now if I were a State fan, it would end with Frank "The Hitman" Martin giving everyone the stare of death, but I'm not, so it doesn't.)

What I want to hit on is what we should expect from both sides.

Lots of bench play.

The Wildcats play tough. They cause a lot of fouls, evidenced by the fact they lead the nation in free throws attempted per game. Both teams are playing the third game in three days. Can you say stamina?

Also, Kansas has relied heavily upon their starters in the first 2 games. They have gotten great contributions from Markieff Morris, and timely shooting from both Morningstar and Reed. Look for that to continue. I would also expect to see 5 minutes from either Thomas Robinson or Jeff Withey. Robinson made an appearance against A&M, and came away with a good defensive play, exactly the thing that Bill Self rewards with more playing time.

I would also expect to see the stars in full force. Marcus Morris had one of his worst games against A&M due to foul trouble. Aldrich did not play well against A&M either, after snagging 18 rebounds against Tech. Sherron has been the consistent force for the last 2 games. As long as he maintains control (and he has done a magnificent job so far), I think he will continue to produce. However, Collins seems to lose his legs frequently when he tries to do too much. If KU gets down and Collins tries to take over, he is going to miss a lot of shots, KU fans will lose faith, and defense will be at a premium.

Kansas State
The thing that you can always see from a Frank "Crazy Eyes" Martin coached team is hustle and intensity. But so far, we have yet to see if the team can sustain the desired intensity for 3 straight days. I think that KState will play with unabdoned desire, bordering on desperation. This is a Top 10 (legitimately too) team that could lose to the same opponent for a third time. Has that every happened?

Frank "still working on a solid nickname, suggetions welcome" Martin, has instilled a sense of pride in his team that they work to display every game. The way the team shows the pride most often is through rebounding. The 'Cats have outrebounded the 'Hawks in each of their previous two meetings depsite a slight size disadvantage. That will continue today, it just remains to be seen if the big men for KState can finish their second chance opportunities. Overall, I think KState's big men will have a pretty good day.

As far as the stars for KState, I think there is no stopping Jacob Pullen. He is a consistent force of offensive prowess that almost never has an off day. Denis Clemente, on the other hand, is somewhat inconsistent. KU will get into his head and make him have an off day. Also, don't expect the same output from Dominique Sutton. 14 points and 14 rebounds against a good Baylor team was quite impressive, but don't expect that against the number 1 overall seed in the NCAA tourney.

Kansas 81, Kansas State 73

Regardless of the outcome, this has become a rivalry. And I hope the fact that Frank "Mob Boss" Martin now has a contract extension, will keep the rivalry going for a long time.

Hoping for Part 4,