Thursday, March 22, 2007

How Sweet It Is

60% of the time, I'm right 63% of the time. I'm not very pleased about how my predictions turned out. The lack of upsets really did me in. How could ODU not advance to the Sweet Sixteen? How could Davidson not beat Maryland? I'm not even going to talk about that team from the LBC.

On the flip side, all of my Elite Eight picks are still alive. That leaves me with an interesting choice: Bail on my picks and start over from here, or keep on rolling until the wheels fall off. The best thing to do, of course, is check the new matchups.

Replacing my disasterous picks of ODU, VCU, Texas (I'm glad I didn't pick them to win it all), Washington St., UVA, and Nevada are Butler, Pitt, USC, Vanderbilt, Tennesse, and Memphis. That said, I'm sticking with my picks.

Florida v. Butler could be an exciting game or a blowout. Florida is way too talented for the Bulldogs, so pencil this one in the 10-20 point victory range.

Oregon v. UNLV will be a very exciting game. Oregon is playing better defense, but this game will be one with scores in the high 70s. Look for the Ducks to pull away in the late stages of the game, thanks to superior talent.

Kansas v. S. Illinois is the same story as Florida v. Butler. A very good mid-major team taking on a loaded BCS-conference squad steamrolling towards the championship. Then again, the same could've been said about last year's Elite Eight matchup between George Mason and UConn. Florida has been lethargic at times, and Kansas has lost to Oral Roberts this season. Nothing is impossible (in both games), but I expect Kansas to take this game by double digits as well.

UCLA v. Pitt will probably be the ugliest game of the tournament, besides ODU/Butler. Look for Aaron Afflalo to lead the Bruins past Pitt and the very overrated Aaron Gray.

UNC v. USC is a game many people think could end up in an upset. I still like the boys from Carolina, who go ten deep and have the better coach.

Georgetown v. Vanderbilt is a game I can't say too much about. Vanderbilt is a team I don't know much about, and I didn't expect them to be here. Georgetown is a team some picked to win it all, but they've been suspect at times. They've also been great at times, and should take the W.

Ohio State v. Tennessee is the one game I thought about switching the most. If I had guts, I'd have picked OSU to lose to Xavier. The Buckeyes are good, but they are a little bit overrated. Tennesee will give them all they got, before losing a close one.

Texas A&M v. Memphis might become another ugly game. It won't be as bad as Memphis v. UCLA from last year, but it won't be pretty either. Acie Law is the man, however, and the Aggies will use their defense to knock off Memphis.

Lets see how wrong I'll be this time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

NCAA Tournament Preview Pt. 2 (My Bracket)

Here's my actual bracket, for those who don't think I practice what I preach.

First Round

Midwest Region
#1 Florida d. #16 Jackson St.; #8 Arizona d. #9 Purdue; #12 ODU d. #5 Butler; #13 Davidson d. #4 Maryland; #11 Winthrop d. #6 Notre Dame; #3 Oregon d. #14 Miami (OH); #7 UNLV d. #10 Georgia Tech; #2 Wisconsin d. #15 Texas A&M CC

West Region
#1 Kansas d. #16 Niagara; #9 Villanova d. #8 Kentucky; #5 VA Tech d. #12 Illinois; #4 S. Illinois d. #13 Holy Cross; #11 VCU d. #6 Duke; #3 Pitt d. #14 Wright St.; #7 Indiana d. #10 Gonzaga; #2 UCLA d. #15 Weber St.

East Region
#1 North Carolina d. #16 E. Kentucky; #9 Michigan St. d. #8 Marquette; #12 Arkansas d. #5 USC; #4 Texas d. #13 New Mexico St.; #11 GW d. #6 Vanderbilt; #3 Washington St. d. #14 Oral Roberts; #7 Boston College d. #10 Texas Tech; #2 Georgetown d. #15 Belmont

South Region
#1 Ohio St. d. #16 Central Conn; #8 BYU d. #9 Xavier; #12 Long Beach St. d. #5 Tennessee; #4 Virginia d. #13 Albany; #6 Louisville d. #11 Stanford; #3 Texas A&M d. #14 Penn; #7 Nevada d. #10 Creighton; #2 Memphis d. #15 N. Texas

Second Round

Midwest Region
#1 Florida d. #8 Arizona; #12 ODU d. #13 Davidson; #3 Oregon d. #11 Winthrop; #7 UNLV d. #2 Wisconsin

West Region
#1 Kansas d. #9 Villanova; #4 S. Illinois d. #5 VA Tech; #11 VCU d. #3 Pitt; #2 UCLA d. #7 Indiana

East Region
#1 UNC d. #9 MSU; #4 Texas d. #12 Arkansas; #3 WSU d. #11 GW; #2 Georgetown d. #7 B.C.

South Region
#1 OSU d. #8 BYU; #4 UVA d. #12 LB State; #3 Texas A&M d. #6 Louisville; #7 Nevada d. #2 Memphis

Sweet 16

Midwest Region
#1 Florida d. #12 ODU; #3 Oregon d. #7 UNLV

West Region
#1 Kansas d. #4 S. Illinois; #2 UCLA d. #11 VCU

East Region
#1 UNC d. #4 Texas; #2 Georgetown d. #3 Washington St.

South Region
#1 Ohio State d. #4 UVA; #3 Texas A&M d. #7 Nevada

Elite 8

Midwest Region
#1 Florida d. #3 Oregon

West Region
#1 Kansas d. #2 UCLA

East Region
#1 UNC d. #2 Georgetown

South Region
#3 Texas A&M d. #1 Ohio State

Final Four
#1 Florida d. #1 Kansas; #3 Texas A&M d. #1 UNC

Championship Game
#1 Florida d. #3 Texas A&M

NCAA Tournament Preview

Here you go, the moment we've all been waiting for. March Madness starts tommorow and I think I know who's going to win. Since I'm a nice guy, I'll tell you what I know (or think I know. I'm an idiot by the way.) . As always 60% of the time, I'm right every time.

Midwest Region

Teams that could go deep
Florida – The Gators cruised this season to a 29-5 record. There isn’t much that I can say that hasn’t been said about them. This is the same team that won last year and they can turn it on at will. They will get a rematch against Kansas, who defeated them 82-80 early in the season, the National Semifinals. The winner of that game will win it all.
Oregon – The Ducks are one of the most exciting teams in college basketball. Aaron Brooks was somebody who was in the running for P.O.Y. early, and he’s regained his swagger. They are a deep team on the perimeter and are too athletic for everyone in this region. Except Florida.
Teams that should fall early
Wisconsin – The Badgers have been struggling lately. This isn’t the same team without Brian Butch. There has been too much pressure on Alando Tucker and Kamron Taylor, who have looked tired lately. Don’t be surprised if they lose to the UNLV/Georgia Tech winner.
Butler – The Butler Bulldogs have been exposed. Yes, they are a good team, but no, they are not a Top 25 team. They have been eating off their Preseason NIT win, when it comes to respect and national recognition. If ODU doesn’t get them, Davidson will.
Mid-Major Report
Butler – They can shoot the three and they play hard, but the magic is gone. ODU should handle them.
Old Dominion – Before they slipped in the CAA Semifinals, Old Dominion had won 12 games in a row. They have great balance offensively, they play good defense, and they are the best coached team in the CAA hands down. Sweet 16 is a possibility.
Davidson – Davidson only lost four games this season; on the road against Michigan, Missouri, and Duke, and at home to Appalachian State. They can play with the big boys, and freshman Stephen Curry is the truth. However, they are a young team and will make a little noise this year before blowing up next year.
Winthrop – Winthrop is the better version of Davidson. They have more experience and more quality wins, and they even took Wisconsin to overtime in Wisconsin. If it wasn’t for Oregon in their way, they’d have a good chance at an Elite Eight run.
UNLV­ – I don’t know much about this team, but they do have a very high RPI despite a lack of big wins against major conference teams. It’s a crap shoot between them and Georgia Tech.

West Region

Teams that could go deep
Kansas – Kansas has the horses to get the job done and they seem to be putting it together at the right time. They do everything well and in my opinion; they are right behind Florida for the team that has the best chance of winning it all.
UCLA – While the Bruins have decent big men, they will only go as far as their guards. Their defense is a great one to lean on, but Aaron Afflalo, Josh Shipp, and Darren Collison are they keys to victory. They could very well win it all as well.
Teams that should fall early
Duke – This is the worst Duke team I’ve ever seen. They can’t do much right and they’re the easiest upset pick in the entire bracket.
Pitt – Pittsburgh has always seemed overrated to me. They do play good defense and have a lot of talent, but they’ve been struggling as of late. They just don’t seem to have it all together, at a time where that’s most important.
Mid-Major Report
Southern Illinois – Southern Illinois is a very good mid-major team. They’re probably not as good as advertised, but they definitely have a Sweet 16 run in them. They’ve already defeated their potential second round opponent Virginia Tech during the regular season.
VCU­ – VCU was the class of the CAA all season. They have one of the best guard trios and they can fill it up. If they are making their shots, they have a Sweet 16/Elite 8 run in them for sure.
Gonzaga – I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘Zags. They’ve struggled all year, with and without Josh Heytvelt. They shouldn’t get past the second round at the farthest.

East Region

Teams that could go deep
N. Carolina – Carolina is the most talented team in America, top to bottom. The only thing that will stop them is their lack of experience. If they bring most of these guys back next year, you can pencil them in as champs.
Texas – Kevin Durant. He is the embodiment of Adidas slogan “Impossible is Nothing.”
Washington St. – Defensive teams do better against teams who are not familiar with their style of play than others, at least in my book. Therefore, playing hard defense on a neutral four, Washington St. is a potential Final Four sleeper.
Georgetown – They are clicking at the right time. They have excellent size and decent guard play. They are the most efficient team in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistics. They have an excellent chance to win it all.
Teams that should fall early
Not many upset prospects here.
Mid-Major Report
No mid-major teams of significance here.

South Region

Teams that could go deep
Ohio State – Winners of 17 in a row, they definitely have the guns to get the job done. It’s solely a matter of experience and poise.
Texas A&M – Acie Law replaced Aaron Brooks as my favorite college player a long time ago. Basically, he’s a smarter, taller, tougher Damon Stoudemire. He’s also ambidextrous. The rest of the Aggies can play defense and shoot the three too. I like them to do big things this year.
Teams that should fall early
Tennessee – I’m a big Chris Lofton fan, but I haven’t been a fan of their play this year. They just look lethargic and uninspired, which is a no-no for tournament victories.
Memphis – Their conference will be the death of them, again. After playing the best of the best non-conference, the Tigers played the worst of the worst in conference. They’ll go home very early.
Mid-Major Report
BYU – I don’t know much about them, and I’m still trying to figure out how their RPI is so high. If they win, they’ll lose to Ohio State anyway.
Xavier – Xavier is always a scrappy team, but that’s not enough. If they win, they’ll lose to Ohio State anyway.
Long Beach State – I know nothing about these guys, but I’m picking them to upset Tennessee. Go figure.
Nevada – Nevada might be an Elite 8 in any bracket except this one. They definitely have a major-caliber team.
Creighton – The Jays are a good team and should give Nevada fits. I have too much confidence in Nick Fazekas to ever pick against him, at least this early.

Final Four
Florida vs. Kansas
North Carolina vs. Texas A&M

Championship Game
Florida vs. Texas A&M

Florida – The Gators will reign again as National Champions, their “Big Four” will head to the NBA Draft, and Billy Donovan will reload.

Top 10 Teams with best chance to win it all
Florida – One of the most talented teams.
Kansas – On fire lately.
Texas A&M – Acie Law IV.
North Carolina – Deepest team hands down.
Georgetown – Best offense in America.
Ohio State – Thad Five can really play, they’re most just Greg Oden.
UCLA – Made the same run last year, this year its revenge.
Texas – Kevin Durant
Washington St. – Defense wins championships.
Virginia – Reynolds and Singletary

Now lets see how wrong I was about this.

Monday, March 12, 2007

We're Number 66! (or 74)

Selection Sunday was yesterday. I don't know where you've been if you didn't know that, but I don't feel too sorry for you. I wish I wasn't following along as the teams were revealed yesterday. Of course I watched, and I was left very bitter after it was all said and done.

My Drexel Dragons got screwed big time. Left out of the bracket. Even the nations premier bracketologist didn't predict that. Off to the NIT, to get screwed again.

It follows as such: If Team A was one of the last four teams to miss the big dance, then logically, Team A should be one of four number one seeds in the little dance. That makes since right? According to the "old guys" who selected teams to the NIT it doesn't.

The NIT selection committee consists of 8 former coaches who seeded the teams according to "would we want to play this team or not," according to one of the members. I can see how this played out.

Gene Keady: So Dean, would you rather play Mississippi State or Drexel?

Dean Smith: Did you just ask me If Michael Jordan could be Clyde Drexler? Of course he could.

Gene Keady: How much would they win by?

Dean Smith: He'd win by at least three.

Gene Keady: OK boys, Mississippi State is a one seed, Drexel is at least a three.

Alright, maybe that was a little harsh but you get the point. The NIT was seeded solely on name recognition, which is wrong for a number of reasons. But it doesn't matter anyway. The only teams that win in the NIT are the teams that are happy to be there.

Going back to the NCAA tournament, I'm still trying to figure out what happened? There are a couple of teams who won at large bids over Drexel that make you scratch your head.

Purdue - The best teams they beat this season were Virginia (before Virginia put it together), Illinois, Michigan St. and Indiana - all at home. Their RPI is one point below Drexel and their non-conference computer numbers are 37/92 (RPI/SOS). They didn't go out of their way to play anybody, and their big wins happened to come against good teams in their conference, all at home. Coincidentally, Indiana is the only team I named that Purdue played twice. Indiana defeated Purdue in Indiana 85-58. (Luckily for them, they play Arizona in the first round.)

Old Dominion - Yes ODU easily defeated Drexel twice this season, but after that it's not even close. By essentially taking ODU over Drexel (Selection Committee commissioner Gary Waters said they took ODU over Drexel, as mentioned in this article. And to think I thought conference affiliation didn't matter.), the committee is saying if ODU and Drexel had the same schedule, ODU would either duplicate their record or do better. That's not true. Drexel plays better against teams that they usually never plays. Their two non-conference losses came against Penn and Rider, two teams they play on occasion. ODU is a different case.

Kentucky - I'm not going to go in depth with these guys, but I will say they are very suspect and will lose to a team in the first round, Villanova, that Drexel defeated on the road. Kentucky is eating off conference affiliation and inflated computer numbers.

Illinois - Their best non-conference win came against Bradley and their three road wins came at Minnesota (9-22), Northwestern (11-18), and Penn St. (11-19). Yet, that's good enough to earn them a spot in the Big Dance, opposed to what Drexel did non-conference and on the road.

Stanford - With an RPI of 65, Stanford has the lowest RPI of any at large team. They play in a tough conference and had some big wins in conference (all at home). On the road, the only beat the Cardinal defeated worth mentioning is Virginia. It pays to play in the Pac-10.

Xavier - They're here because they tied with UMass for the A-10 regular season title. Another "Home Warriors" favorite, their only loss at home was to Bucknell, while their three conference losses all were on the road (to St. Louis, Duquesne, and St. Joe's). They also picked up two decent wins in paradise.

Arkansas - They're the classic "hot at the right time team." On February 24th, they lost to Tennessee at home, leaving them with a record of 16-12, 5-9 in conference. Five wins in a row later, and they're a tournament team.

The moral of the story is this: If you are fortunate to play in a major conference, win all of your games at home, and pick up road wins against the worst teams. Don't play anybody good non-conference, and win most of your games at home. Home Warriors go to the Big Dance, Road Warriors get seeded 3rd in the NIT.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Its Been A Long Time (Drexel Bball Rant)

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without a dope post to step to. Where have I been, you wonder? On my grind. There's been alot of things I've wanted to talk about.

Like the Eagles not signing Jeff Garcia because of McNabb's sensitivity, and the possibility of yet another controversy because Garcia has a lot of support in Philly.

Also, Durant is proving right, but A.I. and 'Melo have been letting me down. And of course, baseball is back. But alas, no time = no post.

This post will be a short one, but I just want to rant about Drexel basketball again. We caught an L in the CAA semi's, but thats ok. We should still get in. My sports editor, Brett Fischer, wrote an excellent column pleading our case.

Just to piggy back a few things off this:

Creighton is now the MVC Champ. Penn is Ivy League champ. The loss to VCU was essentially a home game for the Rams. (The CAA tourney is in Richmond, VA, the same city where VCU is.)

In addition, if you notice, most of Drexel's losses come against teams that know Drexel. Drexel's defense is so tough that it gives everybody problems. Drexel's own offense is its problem. However, teams that don't know Drexel don't know how to defend them as well as CAA teams.

Therefore, Drexel would do well in the tourney, because they'd play teams that would not be familiar with them. Drexel, if they make the NCAA's, should be a Sweet Sixteen team. Mark my words.