Tuesday, March 16

March Madness

March Madness is back baby!!! Diaper Dandies galore!!! OK it’s out of my system. Everyone loves this time of year. We all love watching four games at once the opening weekend and rooting for all the crazy games and upsets. This year should prove to be no different. People are expecting a crazy tournament and we should be amazed. We have a bunch of powerhouses in the tournament. Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and Syracuse are the four #1 seeds. We also have great 2 seeds in West Virginia and Ohio State. We have young teams that are anchored by freshman, and seasoned teams that boast a lineup full of seniors.
Everyone it seems is choosing Kansas to cut down the nets on April 5th, but I am not so sure about that. We will get to that in a minute. What I have come to notice over the past few seasons, dating back to when Carmelo Anthony was a frosh at Syracuse, is a dominate player can carry his team into the Sweet 16 and beyond. We have a few teams that fit the bill. Kansas with Sherron Collins, Kentucky with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Ohio State with Evan Turner, Syracuse with Wesley Johnson, and Cornell with Ryan Wittman. Yeah I just mentioned Cornell in the same sentence as Ohio State, Kentucky, Syracuse and Kansas. Another March Madness regularity is a double-digit seed surprising everyone and making it into the Sweet 16 or even the Elite 8. I think this year’s teams are Cornell and UTEP.
Cornell, as mentioned earlier has a kid named Ryan Wittman who can score from anywhere on the court, and has a bit of his dad in him, former NBA player Randy Wittman. They also have a 7-footer in Jeff Foote, who likes to bang inside and has a great nose for the ball. Cornell is the Ivy League champions and will sneak up on the higher seeds so single-digit seeds, you have been warned.
UTEP is one of the best defensive basketball teams in the nation. They have Derrick Caracter, an unheralded transfer from Louisville, and guard Randy Culpepper to give UTEP a great inside-outside dominance. UTEP can also run when they need to, as they have put up 80+ points in 12 games.
OK, onto the games. I am going to skip the first two rounds of the tournament and give you a breakdown of the Sweet 16 matchups all the way until the finals.

Midwest Bracket: (seed in bracket)

Kansas (1) vs. Michigan State (5): Kansas should be able to pull out this game. Kansas is loaded with NBA talent and is fully seasoned with countless seniors on this team. Michigan State normally reaches the Sweet 16 and this year should be no different. However, they struggled late in the season and Tom Izzo won’t be able to coach this team to the Final Four.

Georgetown (3) vs. Ohio State (2): Ohio State boasts one of the best players in the country and the possible #1 pick in the NBA draft. Evan Turner has the ability to put this team on his back and take them to the Final Four. I think they should be able to handle Georgetown, who struggled down the stretch.

Kansas vs. Ohio State: This game should shape up to be one of the best Elite 8 games in the tournament. You have Turner vs. the Kansas team. And like I mentioned earlier Turner has the ability to carry OSU into the Final Four, but I don’t see him pulling off the upset of Kansas. Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins are two first round picks in the NBA draft and they have the experience that is key to winning in March.

West Bracket:

Syracuse (1) vs. UTEP (12): Syracuse has a good defensive team and even though they struggled in their final games of the season, they were ranked #1 in the country just a few weeks ago. Syracuse is stacked at key positions with Wesley Johnson leading the way offensively. UTEP, as mentioned earlier, boasts one of the best defensive teams in the tournament and I think they can slow the game up and give Syracuse a very good game in this matchup. However, at the end of the day Syracuse will prevail based on their experience.

Xavier (6) vs. BYU (7): Don’t sleep on the Mormons. They are talented and experienced, as this is their thirds straight year in the tournament. They have Jimmer Fredette, who is talented enough to bring them to the Elite 8. Xavier has the guy that dunked on LeBron this summer, Jordan Crawford. He, coupled with Jason Love, give Xavier the ingredients to pull off some upsets in the tournament. This game is a toss up and could go either way, but in the end I think BYU pulls it off.

Syracuse vs. BYU: In this Elite 8 matchup BYU will try to slow down the proficient scoring abilities of Syracuse. It will be a tough task, as BYU doesn’t have anyone who can guard Wesley Johnson. Johnson is a lock for a top 5 pick in this year’s NBA draft. BYU will give a valiant effort but in the end they will come up short.

East Bracket

Kentucky (1) vs. Cornell (12): I love Kentucky. John Calipari’s teams always go far in the tournament and he always wins with point guards like John Wall. Wall is a superb athlete and when you pair him with Cousins they can be unstoppable at times. Cornell will ride Ryan Wittman all the way to the Sweet 16 and they will be America’s sweethearts, but this is where their Cinderella run will end. Kentucky will bring too much to the table and Cornell won’t be able to stop them.

New Mexico (3) West Virginia (2): West Virginia won the Big East tournament and the Big East is the best conference this season. They are very stacked with Da’Sean Butler, who can fill up the bucket and defend well. New Mexico is a little bit underrated, as they are not seen on TV very often. They won their conference and have the ability to pull off the upset of WVU, but I think ultimately, WVU hangs on for a victory to reach the Elite 8.

Kentucky vs. WVU: This will be the second best matchup in the Elite 8. Kentucky has the size and the athletic ability to handle everything WVU brings to the table, and WVU has the scorers to keep up with Kentucky. These teams matchup well together and they have similar defensive and offensive numbers. In the end John Wall will be too much to handle and he will carry Kentucky to the Final Four.

South Bracket

Duke (1) vs. Texas A&M (5): Duke is normally a team that scores, and scores, and then scores some more. They normally lose games when they go cold because they don’t have the players to stop other teams from scoring too. However, this year is different. Coach K has compiled a great defensive team and it has allowed Duke to win some games this year when in years past they would have lost. Normally in the tournament Duke gets bounced early because of their lack of defense, but this year it shouldn’t be the case. Texas A&M on the other hand is not as great on defense. They also struggle form the free throw line, shooting only 66% as a team. Duke will win this game easily.

Baylor (3) vs. Villanova (2): Baylor has one of the best backcourts in the nation as well as a shot blocking defensive powerhouse on the inside. They average close to 80 PPG and can score at will sometimes. ‘Nova on the other hand does not have the defensive presence to stop many teams. They struggled down the stretch and it will be difficult for them to compete with Baylor.

Duke vs. Baylor: This will be a great defensive matchup. Duke will try to hold the Bears down offensively, but it might be difficult. Baylor has the defensive abilities to disrupt Duke and force them to play catch-up. Duke doesn’t seem as strong as they do in recent years. Baylor will be the unlike presence in the Final 4 with the upset over Duke.

Final Four:

Kansas vs. Syracuse: Kansas is big and talented. They have players who can defend Wesley Johnson. He is a super athlete, but Xavier Henry will be able to counteract his talents and he will have a big game to carry Kansas the Finals.

Kentucky vs. Baylor: Kentucky is great. John Wall will be able to penetrate the lane and kick to Eric Bledsoe and Cousins. Wall will be named MVP of this game and he will lead Kentucky to the Finals.

Championship Game:

Kansas vs. Kentucky:
In what looks like on paper to be an amazing championship game. Wall vs. Collins, Aldrich vs. Cousins, Bledsoe vs. Henry, there are crazy matchups all over the floor. You also have the experience of Kansas vs. the youth of Kentucky. This will be a back and forth matchup that will come down to the wire, and in the end the Youth of Kentucky will pull off the upset and be crowned champions of college basketball this year. John Wall will be named the tournament MOP and solidify himself as the number 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Starting Thursday I will break down each MLB division daily and handout my awards and playoff spots and crown the champions.

3 comments:

Bill said...

Looking forward to the MLB breakdown, although I'm afraid the Tribe might finish behind the Royals. The fall from '07 has been tragic.

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