StatJunkie's Hoop Blog | thoughts on ncaa hoops from http://statjunkie.org

Mar/11

14

1st round games to keep an eye on

Ok, now we can start looking at some match-ups, finally. Watching the Fab Five on ESPN hopefully wont distract me too much and tell you that Vandy will go to the final four.

Things can be controversial

I’m more upset by the seeding more than I am about who got in and who didn’t (although Colorado took it in the tailpipe). Why is Florida a two seed? Why is Texas a #4? Georgia is not a better team than Marquette and didn’t they just lose twice in their last three to Alabama a team not in the tournament? USC finished fourth in the mediocre Pac 10, got swept by Oregon, and lost to the likes of Rider, by 20, at home, but they should be in over Virginia Tech. Ok maybe a little upset about who got in and who didn’t. The NIT should switch its name to the Seth Greenberg Invitational.


Favorite 1st round games for watching not picking

Thursday night is pretty loaded so I’ll try to keep it to a minimum

#8 Butler versus #9 Old Dominion: This is a good one, last years mid major darling going up against a sheik mid major pick this year. ODU is physical and remember they won a game last year over Notre Dame (a team similar in structure to this year’s Butler team) in the first round.

#5 Vanderbilt versus #12 Richmond: UPSET!

#3 BYU versus Wofford: Jimmer.

#4 Wisconsin versus #13 Belmont: Another sheik upset pick, the Belmont Bears have eleven guys who average more than 10 minutes per game and they also average 80 points per game as a team on offense. Obviously completely opposite tempo of play is the story of this game and the health of Badger’s forward Mike Bruesewitz’s knee will also be a key factor.

#6 St. John’s versus #11 Gonzaga: DJ Kennedy’s injury changes this game, I think the Zags would’ve been in it if he were playing now they might be favored. After a tough loss to Memphis, Gonzaga rattled off 9 straight in workman like fashion including two over conference rival and arguable snub St. Mary’s. We know about St. John’s. They’re in New York, they have a coach who used to be an analyst for ESPN, and they’ve really turned it around this year.

#7 UCLA versus #10 Michigan St: Can never doubt Tom Izzo. If he gets one against the over-rated Bruins it could be the start of something again because of the weakness on that side of the bracket. If he doesn’t it will put an end to a very painful season in East Lansing.

#5 Kansas St. versus #12 Utah St: The Wildcats seemed to have turned things around after the rough start and you know Pullen will want to and can show up in a big way. Utah St. could make a case as the best team from Utah in the tournament since the Davies nookie dismissal. The Aggies have got to feel pretty disrespected with the twelve seed the way they dominated the WAC (15-1, 5 games ahead of second place, won the conference tournament) and had only one loss that could even be close to considered bad (at Idaho). They are also a very veteran team that wont beat itself.

#6 Cincinnati versus #11 Missouri: Late night is stacked! Looking forward to seeing if Missouri will be able to turn it around with the press and Bowers presence in the middle against Gates. Both teams are coming off of embarrassing losses in their conference tournament so it’s time for some face saving for the fan bases. It will also be interesting to see if the Mike Anderson rumors to Arkansas will have any effect on the Tigers.

Friday doesn’t seem as stacked, but it’s March, anything can happen.

#8 Michigan versus #9 Tennessee: Which Vols team will show up? When they play well the Orange are capable of beating anyone in the country, but recently they haven’t shown that side of themselves. Michigan is a young team on the rise and have played really well down the stretch.

#8 George Mason versus #9 Villanova: Another example of a Dr Jekyll situation in the Wildcats. They have maybe been playing the worst basketball down the stretch as any team in the tournament, but have the talent to topple anyone. George Mason doesn’t turn the ball over and enters the tournament on the exact opposite slope as Nova going 16-1 in the final 17.

#6 Xavier versus #11 Marquette: Great guard play in this one plus the return of Curly to the NCAA tournament. Tu Holloway can absolutely fill up a score sheet averaging over 20 a game while getting 5 boards and 5 dimes a game. The Golden Eagles will stay in it as long Jimmy Butler is the one taking the majority of the shots, not Johnson-Odom.

#7 Washington versus #10 Georgia: I like the way the Huskies play, up-tempo and Isaiah Thomas is absolutely fearless. They are absolutely the only team from the PAC 10 that I think can make a run in this tournament. I’m not convinced that Georgia even deserves to be in the tournament and don’t think they have a chance in hell against the Huskies, which means it will go right down to the wire.

I’ll be backed with some upset specials for your bracket soon.


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