From 16 to the Final Four PreView
Well I am back just in time to give my analysis and preview of the two rounds of games going on this weekend. Who needs Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale’s long winded rambling when you have my unbiased and well researched version right here. Without further ado let’s get going.
Convergence of the Midwest and West:
It’s pretty Sweet to be a Spartan once again as Michigan State is in the Sweet 16 and facing the farmers of Northern Iowa. Michigan State lost star PG Kalin Lucas to a torn Achilles for the rest of the year but this will only make us stronger. I think Northern Iowa blew their load against Kansas and are probably too proud to realize they are going up against another giant. Michigan State wins this one and moves on. In the second Midwest matchup it’s the Nuts vs. the Volunteers. Tennessee has this way of losing in the tournament and I see this streak continuing. Bruce Pearl may wear his orange suit in hopes of a little boost but Evan Turner is too much, Ohio State wins and moves on.
In the East region, Syracuse meets Butler. I would love to see the Bulldogs take out the Cuse but I just don’t see it. Jim Boeheim looks like a professor and he is one. Syracuse beats Butler to advance. The next matchup between Xavier and Kansas St. is a little tougher but I am going to go with the upset and pick Xavier. The fact that Xavier is a way cooler name for a school definitely went into my decision. Xavier moves on to faces Syracuse.
The Elite Eight games are a little tougher to choose but I have got my picks. In the first matchup it will be a good old fashioned Big Ten brawl. Ohio St. is thin and will tire quickly especially with only one days rest. Michigan State is deep and although their star is out they have new people stepping it up. Tom Izzo knows how to win in March. My prediction is Michigan State moves on to the Final Four.
Who will they play? In a game between Syracuse and Xavier I still have to go with the professor. Jim Boeheim and his zone defense seems to be too difficult for teams to figure out. Syracuse moves on to meet Michigan State. Now, that will be a battle on the boards!
Convergence of the South and the East:
In the South, Baylor plays St. Mary’s. This is a battle of the rookies in the tournament. Baylor is probably still trying to regroup from the Wako compound incident and St. Mary’s well they just have never really played in the big dance. It’s sort of a toss-up in this one but I think Omar Sanhan and the Gales will prevail. In the other matchup Duke meets the Boilermakers. Purdue is short their star but I still think they can overpower the Blue Devils. If Duke is cold from the outside they are done. I say Purdue moves on. Everyone at Purdue will be drinking Boilermakers in celebration!
In the East, the spotlight matchup is Washington vs. West Virginia. Most people would say this is a warm up game for West Virginia and they will move on easily. Not so fast, the Dawgs have been playing like a team on a mission. If they play like they did against New Mexico, they can’t be beat. Also, the Mountaineers will be short their point guard Darryl Bryant who broke his foot practicing too hard. I say the quickness of UW and Quincy Pondexter’s domination will be too much for West Virginia. Washington wins and breaks their Sweet 16 curse. The other game involves Kentucky vs. Cornell. Cornell has been dominant and they are a smart bunch of guys but smarts only goes so far in basketball. Talent normally prevails in this game. It may be close but the Wildcats will move on.
This brings me to the Elite Eight predictions on this side of the bracket. In the East, Washington will face Kentucky. Wildcats and Huskies are both pretty fierce animals so I can’t base my pick on who’s tougher. Kentucky is so dominant with Cousins and Wall I have to go with Kentucky to go to the Final Four. In the South, Purdue will face St. Mary’s for the privilege of facing Kentucky. The Big Ten is a tough conference and the Boilermakers could push around the squawking Gales but I am going to have to go with St. Mary’s to pull off the upset. St. Mary’s will be the Cinderella in the Final Four.
There you have it. These are my predictions. Anything could happen. We will see. I will be back to give the review of rounds 3 & 4 along with my Final Four predictions next week. Enjoy the games!