Que Sarah, Sarah

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Sports Bank’s NCAA picks

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Of course I’ve got more than one bracket, so this is just ONE set of picks. : )

http://www.thesportsbank.net/2008/03/19/tsbnet-ncaa-tourney-predictions-part-1

TSB.net NCAA Tourney Predictions Part 1
By the TSB Staff




Paul M. Banks

East Regional

Winner: UNC
Sleeper: Butler
Early Exit: Indiana.

Poor Dan Dakich…ok, I didn’t really mean that. I have no sympathy for the Devil. (Or, in Dakich’s case, protégé of the Devil) Anyone else sick of Satan, a.k.a. former IU Coach Bob Knight, as an ESPN analyst yet? They asked him to predict who would win the Minnesota-Illinois Big Ten tournament game, and he just refused to answer. What a complete prick! Later he denounced the three-point line and conference tournaments. Has there ever been a person more afraid of change in the history of humankind? Has there ever been an uglier sweater worn on television than his? (Although Bill Cosby and Mateen Cleaves have come close). The overall 1 seeded Tar Heels are peeking at just the right time and they will own this bracket.

Midwest Regional

Winner: Georgetown
Sleeper: USC
Early Exit: Wisconsin

The Badgers usually make deep tourney runs when they have a lower seed. When they have a good seed (which hasn’t happened a whole lot in the school’s history) they usually tank and get eliminated early. Georgetown has one of the best inside-outside combinations of any team in the field and I just love that Princeton Offense (more on that later). Bo Ryan’s swing offense…yawn!



South Regional

Winner: Texas
Sleeper: Mississippi St.
Early Exit: Stanford

I think Marquette is dangerous right now and might knock the Cardinal out in the second round. Memphis is complete garbage at the foul line and this is the time of year where that weakness will crawl up and bite them in the ass. Like their mascot, Stanford has a couple prominent trees up front, but I fully expect MU to chop them down in round 2.

West Regional

Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: Western Kentucky
Early Exit: Drake

To paraphrase Seinfeld, "I don’t like the Drake" and we all know that at least one 12 beats a 5 every year. This could be the region with the most upsets as this bracket’s low seeded teams are by far the strongest around. Georgia is on everyone’s mind right now, but this is not the time for the South to rise again. UCLA will be tested once or twice, but the Sons of Westwood will pass with flying yellow and powder blue colors.

National Championship Game
UCLA over Georgetown… And in "one shining moment" we’ll have a "Hollywood Love Story." Kevin Love leads the most complete and balanced team in the nation as they cut down the nets. Then in June, an NBA lottery team will show us that you can buy Love. This will not go over well in the state of Oregon, where Love is very much unloved…unless the Trail Blazers are the ones to find true love. And we’ll all get even sicker of sports media people making love puns than we are now.
Let us not speak of Illinois’ postseason plans.



MICHIGAN STATE My team’s chances (optimistically)

The warriors of ancient Sparta dedicated their entire lives to the ultimate goal of a glorious death suffered in battle. Spartan mothers told their sons "either come home with your shields, or on them." (American Civil War mothers did likewise). In East Lansing, these Spartans similarly spend all season preparing for the do-or-die tournament in March. At a school with four Final Fours in nine seasons, the rest of the year is merely a prelude to the brackets. Tom Izzo’s teams know how to take down higher seeds, advancing to the Elite Eight as a 7 seed in 2003 and to the Final Four as a 5 seed in ’05. They’ve been placed into a bracket conducive for this, as 1 Memphis is always overrated and never ever makes it to the big stage and 2 Texas was already beaten by Sparty in Detroit this season. And what about potentially meeting UCLA down the line? Back in November, State led that game for 59 minutes and 30 seconds before ultimately losing to the Bruins by one point.



MICHIGAN STATE My team’s chances (realistically)

This team isn’t just hot and cold; they’re utterly bipolar. They scored 42 points against Wisconsin in February and then 103 against Indiana in the very next game. Raymar Morgan and Goran Suton have been anything but dependable lately, so they’ll go as far as the three guards: Drew Neitzel, Travis Walton and Kalin Lucas will carry them. All three finished in the top 5 in conference in assists. Walton was 2nd (4.4), Neitzel 4th (4.2), Kalin Lucas 5th (3.9) Unfortunately, the team’s assist to turnover ratio is nothing to text message home about. MSU is also very turnover prone, and often at the most inopportune times. The Jekyll & Hyde-like persona of the ’08 Spartans is due to their inconsistent ball-handling. When all three guards are on the court at the same time, you’ll often see the entire troika touch the ball (sometimes even multiple times) before the ball even crosses the half-court line—even at times when their opponents are not pressing. Not sure what that’s all about, but who am I to question H to tha Izzo’s strategy?

Lucas embarrassed himself twice in the final minute of the Big Ten semifinal game against Wisconsin, pretty much giving them the game in two of the last three offensive possessions. And of course, every year the MSU student body riots on the night that State is eliminated, so I would guess that on the first night of the tourney’s second weekend, you can apply this quote from Scorcese’s "Gangs of New York:" "get ready, this town’s gonna burn."

On Monday, a quote from Paul M. Banks lead off the fan article in the MyFox National 2008 March Madness Preview.

(Name links to The Sports Bank.net)



David K.

East Regional

Winner: UNC
Sleeper: Washington State
Early Exit: Oklahoma

When Wazzu forces teams to play their style of half-court ball, they can hang with most teams in the country. It’s just too bad they get matched up with North Carolina in a potential Sweet 16 game. Still, Tony Bennett’s boys can reach the Final Four if they knock off the Tar Heels. Louisville will likely come out of the bottom of the bracket. A lot of people seem to be sleeping on Tennessee.

Midwest Regional

Winner: Georgetown
Sleeper: Clemson
Early Exit: Vanderbilt

In my opinion, this is the toughest regional. A great opening round game between USC and Kansas State, featuring two of the best freshmen in the nation, should be fun to watch. Georgetown is very tough all-around, and they have proven that they can win even when Roy Hibbert is ineffective. Plus, this group has been there before—they made it to the Final Four last year.

South Regional

Winner: Stanford
Sleeper: Oregon
Early Exit: Miami (FL)

Yes, I have the Cardinal beating my beloved Golden Eagles (see yesterday’s article.) I love what the Lopez twins do inside, causing havoc for opposing teams in the paint. Beating Texas in Houston will be a chore in the Elite Eight. Watch out for the Ducks. They nearly pulled off a Final Four run with the same core (minus Aaron Brooks), and could send Memphis home early.

West Regional

Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: West Virginia
Early Exit: Duke

I’m really intrigued by the West Virginia/Arizona first round match-up and think the winner of that one can and will knock off Duke. Joe Alexander was deadly in the Big East Tournament and when the Mountaineers are hitting their outside shots, they are nearly unbeatable. I would not be surprised to see them in the Elite Eight. UCLA was my pre-season pick to win it all and I’m sticking with them to go to the Final Four.

National Championship Game

UCLA over Georgetown… I had this Final Four before even seeing Paul’s, I promise. I think Georgetown has the size and toughness to knock off North Carolina, while UCLA beats Stanford for a fourth time this season. Like I said, I picked the Bruins at the beginning of the season, and I’m sticking to my guns.



Andy Weise


East Regional

Winner: UNC
Sleeper: Winthrop
Early Exit: Indiana

Remember when Indiana was one of the best teams in the country? Now they are a seven-seed! If they can somehow pull it together and get by Arkansas, they’ll get blown out by UNC in the second round. Watch out for Winthrop again – yes I picked them to the sweet 16 last year and I am not afraid to do the same again this year.


Midwest Regional

Winner: Kansas
Sleeper: Davidson
Early Exit: Georgetown and Wisconsin

Remember this now – you heard it here first (how many times do we hear that one this week) USC versus Davidson in the sweet 16. Ok, not very likely to happen but I just see Wisconsin and Georgetown as teams that definitely will stumble. Plus, Dell Curry’s son Stephen Curry is a stud for the Wildcats. Oh and Kansas is too powerful to lose. That’s two No. 1’s for me so far.

South Regional

Winner: Memphis
Sleeper: St. Mary’s
Early Exit: Kentucky

Memphis is a powerhouse with the backcourt of Rose and CDR. I feel like Rose is just starting to dominate too (Oden was doing the same thing last year). St. Mary’s is my sleeper – I have a feeling they could catch Texas off guard and upset the Longhorns in the second round. Why was Kentucky actually invited to the tournament? To put it simply – it’s B.S.


West Regional

Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: Xavier
Early Exit: Drake

Ok, one would ask, "how is Xavier a sleeper – they are a three seed!?" Who is picking Xavier over UCLA or Duke? Probably not too many people, but that’s why they’re my sleeper. If Duke or UCLA happen to slip up, Xavier could jump into a nice position and make a run for the Final Four. This bracket is wide open after the top two seeds. Drake loses to UConn in the second round – once they see Hasheem Thabeet, they will run!

National Championship Game

Memphis over UNC – in the last few years, I’ve predicted UNC over Illinois and Florida over Ohio State. My point? Nothing wrong with picking 1 seeds into the finals. I’ve heard the knocks on the free-throw shooting (58.7%) but like I said earlier, Rose is blooming (no pun intended) at the right time and can control the outcome of the game. Dorsey is a beast underneath and Chris Douglas-Roberts is a deadly scorer.

DUKE (The team I generally cheer for… after the Gophers of course) My team’s chances:
After the Minnesota Gophers, I’ve always had a soft spot for Duke. I generally stay quiet when people complain about Duke constantly, but I fell in love with Coach K and the Dukies back in ’92 when Laettner hit the buzzer beater against Kentucky (I was 8 and still remember watching the shot live in my basement). I think the Blue Devils can definitely reach the elite 8 but I don’t think they get to the Final Four unless UCLA gets knocked off by someone else. Duke has lost four times in the past nine games so they are vulnerable right now. I think a fair number of people have them going out in the second round to Bob Huggins and his West Virginia Mountaineers. If the Blue Devils get to the sweet 16, Purdue or Xavier would both be very tough opponents. We’ll see how it goes.
Minnesota will be in the NCAA tournament next year! Mark my words!!


..

Sarah Spain

East Regional

Winner: UNC
Sleeper: Butler
Early Exit: Oklahoma
Gotta go with my future husband Michael Jordan’s alma mater. Tyler Hansbrough will play like a beast and the team will thrive in front of what’s sure to be a fiery home crowd at Bobcats Arena. Oklahoma got worked by Texas in the Big 12 tourney—they’ll fall to a St. Joseph’s squad that’s shooting lights out.

Midwest Regional

Winner: Kansas
Sleeper: Davidson
Early Exit: USC
The Jayhawks might be the most athletic team in the tourney and they’ll run the rest of the region right out off the court. Expect high scoring and a balanced attack. Davidson played outstanding ball against tough nonconference teams this season and they’ll step it up when it counts. Michael Beasley and K State (incorrectly ranked 11, in my opinion) are gonna shock USC.

South Regional

Winner: Texas
Sleeper: Michigan St
Early Exit: Stanford

Yeah I’m a homer. Ivy League athletes gotta stick together. Since being edged out by Duke, the Big Red have won 16 straight—the second longest streak in the country. They’ll take that confidence and momentum right past the Lopez twins. Texas will benefit from a Houston crowd and surge past a strong Memphis team.

West Regional

Winner: UCLA
Sleeper: Drake
Early Exit: Xavier

You gotta love the "walk-ons turned stars" story line at Drake. They’ll surprise a lot of people with their patience and mistake-free ball. UCLA has the easiest road to the Final Four of any top seed, they’ll coast to the top. Georgia’s improbable run will continue.

National Championship Game
UCLA over UNC.

CORNELL My team’s chances (optimistically)

The battle of the brains (and lame mascots) pits the Stanford Cardinal against the Cornell Big Red. The Lopez twins are big bodies and definitely give Stanford a size advantage over Cornell. However, a recent Sports Illustrated article detailed the twins’ shared obsession with Disney movies and Michael Jackson. Something tells me two guys inspired by cartoon mice and an effeminate freak show won’t have the onions to bring their "A" game to the tourney. Cornell’s point guard Louis Dale has sick handles and the Big Red has a squadron of three point shooters who can drop three-bombs all day. Sophomore stud Randy Wittman, son of T’Wolves head coach Ryan Wittman, has a basketball mind and outstanding accuracy. If the Stanford team walks in expecting an easy win, they’ll have the (hardwood) rug pulled right out from under them.

CORNELL My team’s chances (realistically)

Besides their 7 foot transfer, Jeff Foote, the Big Red are, well, not so big. If Stanford works an inside-out game they’ll dominate. Foote can’t get into foul trouble or Cornell’s smaller guys will be no match for the Lopez’s. If Cornell’s shooting game isn’t there, they haven’t got a chance. Realistically, too many things need to go right in order for the Big Red to advance to Saturday.

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