Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweet 16 Thoughts

This year’s NCAA Tournament has been a lot more exciting than anticipated. I figured this year would be the year of the major conferences, but a few underdogs have been able to sneak into the Sweet 16.

Although I had them going to the Elite 8 in my bracket, Davidson’s run has been surprising to a lot of people. Stephen Curry has been the best player in the tournament by far, and watching him play has been a pleasure.

Two Big East teams, West Virginia and Villanova, have made surprise runs to the Sweet 16 as well. I got a chance to watch West Virginia play at ‘Nova in February. ‘Nova dominated the game and made the Mountaineers look like a NIT team. Since then, both teams have been playing some of the best ball in the country.

Watching West Virginia play Arizona in Washington last week, I noticed what made West Virginia so dangerous. Because of who’s on the roster, Bob Huggins has to play John Beilein basketball. They can shoot better than any team in the country, and their lack of size makes them one of the more athletic teams in the country.

Western Kentucky is also a surprise team in the Sweet 16. They knocked of Drake in one of the most exciting games of the tournament so far, and then knocked of San Diego’s Cinderella team. Unfortunately for them, they face UCLA tonight.

That said, my Final Four is still in tact. UNC has been the most dominant team in the tourney, hands down. They face Washington St. tonight, who will try to slow them down, then they get the winner of the Louisville/Tennessee match-up.

UCLA smashed Miss Valley St. in their first game before barely getting past Texas A&M (with an assist from the refs). Now they face an underdog Western Kentucky, before getting the winner of West Virginia/Xavier (likely to be a thriller).

Kansas has also shown flashes of excellence thus far. They get Villanova first, then they will face the winner of Wisconsin/Davidson. Speaking of that game, it’s probably the Sweet 16 match up I’m looking forward to the most. For the record, I still have Davidson winning this game.

Texas will face Stanford (with Coach Johnson for hopefully the entire contest), before getting the Memphis/Michigan St. winner. Memphis has shown they are the weakest #1 seed, with their streaky and undisciplined play and their pathetic free throw shooting. A defensive team like Michigan St. should knock them off. Mississippi St., a less talented defensive team, almost did so in their 2nd round game with Memphis.

I still think all four of these teams to make it to the Final Four. I’d love it if Davidson and West Virginia could make runs, but I think the #1 seeds in their sides of the bracket are just too tough. UNC and Kansas are almost locks to make it to the Final Four. UCLA will have trouble with Xavier or West Virginia. In the South region, anyone of those four teams could make it.

Just like last week, Mrs. Sportsology is out of town, so I’m going to be a coach potato for the next four days.

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