Friday, March 13, 2009

Hoops Head

That's what I am.

So, no poker today.

All March Madness. Two topics, nobody wants it and Sleepers...

1. NWI: Three potential number 1 seeds have already lost. The UCONN-Syracuse game was epic. I figured I'd catch the end of it, and ended up watching half of it. Last 5 minutes of regulation + 6 overtimes = 35 minutes of the total 70 played. UConn had a shot at the overall number 1 seed. Didn't want it bad enough. Couldn't help but be blown over by the amount of talent on that roster. They have a person at every position. Something seems off. They remind me a bit of the UCONN team that lost to George Mason. On paper it should be them and Carolina but like Carolina they just lack... something.

2. Sleeper: I've liked Syracuse as a sleeper all year for the NCAA tournament. They got 3 guys that can score, plus two other guys that can get hot--one an outside deadeye and the other a beefy interior presence. They played to their potential vs. UCONN last night.

3. NWI: The bubble teams are playing like they don't want a dance card. Providence, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Miami, Davidson, Rhode Island, VA Tech, can't win for losing.

4. Sleeper: LSU. Despite dropping their final two, one to an Auburn team getting hot at just the right time of year, I like LSU with a favorable bracket to win a couple of games in the tournament. Trent Johnson is light years ahead of John Brady as a coach in my opinion and I like the players he has at his disposal.

5. NWI: Pitt had a chance to get the overall number 1 seed and mailed it in. I think they are Pittsburgh's best ever shot at winning a national title. They have a tradition of stubbing their toe in the tournament but this could be the year. They'll be well rested and should have no excuse for cruising through their first two games. I'll pick Pitt in at least one of my brackets this year. I only do 10 or so.

6. Sleeper: FSU. It's risky to pick this team when right now, Georgia Tech is giving them a game. That said they have one of the top guards in the country. They have the talent to go a couple of rounds in the NCAAs.

7. NWI: Oklahoma the third squad with a chance at the overall number 1 seed tanked vs. Ok State. You gotta love Blake Griffin but unless he channels Danny Manning I don't know if they are a legitmate final four team.

8. Sleeper: Gonzaga. They are coming in under the radar. Josh Hyvelt turned into a pussy-cat and their early season hype went quietly away. Since then they went Memphis on their conference and are starting to jell. The Zags are at their best, see their Elite Eight guest spot 8 years ago, when nobody is giving them any credit. This year expectations are relatively low. Don't be surprised if they win a couple of games.

9. NWI: St. Marys. Paddy Mills is supposed to be one of the best point guards in the country. Their team was supposed to be legit. Like Davidson they had a bit of a problem recapturing past glory. I think they are headed to the N.I.T. They looked average against Gonzaga in their title game.

10. Sleeper: Wake Forest. Another flavor of the month team earlier in the year, they have as many pros as any team in the country. They are young but with Jeff Teague capable of shooting them out of trouble don't count them out.

Other notes:
Louisville: Won the big east, more so because of the unbalanced scheduling than being better than Pitt or UCONN, but like Villanova they are a complete team. Pitino is a good tournament coach, despite recent history. They win the Big East title they have a shot at a 1 seed. Maybe they are a team that Wants It.

Duke: I feel their squad lacks a floor-leader and that's the only difference between them and the other teams in the top 5. They have balance shooting, a big guy that can play inside and out, good team defense, but no point guard. With Lawson not playing for UNC, Duke like Louisville could back into a one seed by winning their conference tournament. Should they want it bad enough they might be able to get an easier path to the promised land.

VCU: Eric Maynor can take over games and is not shy about the moment. This team could compete in any conference in the country and only because the bulk of their schedule is against the CAA nobody knows them. Looking for a Davidson this year? Don't be bashful about picking VCU against a big 10 team in the first two rounds.

Big 10: 8 possible bids? Doesn't the committee know we have to watch these games. That thought is so scary it's embarrassing. I like MSU, another team with a chance at a one seed, but I have to wonder how good they really are, and how much of it is playing the slew of average teams in the Midwest. Though, I know one team that doesn't want to face them and that's UNC. After getting embarrassing at home earlier in the year, MSU will give their best effort of the season in the rematch. Potential to mirror UNLV-Duke in the early 90s. The first year Duke lost by 25 or something. Next go round and undefeated UNLV falls to Duke in the semis (ignoring for a moment UNLV were trying not to cover but win) revenge is a big motivator for college kids.

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