Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Madness...Aka Why March Means Basketball....

It's that time again....March Madness...The best week of the year is the opening week of the NCAA basketball tournament. Cinderella dons her dancing shoes as the supposedly weak mid-major schools look to upset basketball's big boys. Every so often one of these schools hangs around and goes deep into the Tournament, shattering everyone's bracket, a few years ago George Mason did just that ending up in the Final Four. At least ESPN hasn't tortured us with Obama's lousy picks this year, maybe they thought he might be busy, although he doesn't do much.

ESPN's annual $10,000 give away is set to begin with the Tournament, so head here and fill in a bracket. I loved it last year when I could use one of my bracket selections to put UNM, UTEP and NMSU in a Final Four together. I knew it wouldn't happen, but if it did I wanted to be ready. None of them made the Dance this year though. The New Mexico schools were bounced in their Conference Semis; UTEP made their Conference Championship. 

Teams To Watch:
  1. In the East I like: Villanova, Xavier and (God this hurts) Washington. 'Nova and Xavier are Mid-Majors that aren't really. UW has lots of upside with solid guards and good inside presence, which always seems to matter in March. Syracuse may be poised to make a run too, as coach Boeheim is a seasoned coach with a solid squad.
  2. The West has four teams that could easily make the Final Four. If it goes chalk any of the top four seeds are capable. The biggest First round danger pick is San Diego State at 2. Northern Colorado likes to run and gun and they are very capable, while SDSU has the never won a tourney game albatross to deal with. I like the Aztecs, whose only two losses this season came at Jimmer Fredette and BYU's hands. Look for them to go deep. Arizona could also make some noise as the 5 seed here.
  3. In the Southwest, watch out for Richmond, the committee seeded them far below their abilities. We usually see a 5-12 upset this could be the easy one to pick in the first round, or second round I guess now with the expanded field. The Spiders can go, and if coach Mooney can get them playing mad from their seed debacle, they could George Mason this thing. I expect Purdue and Notre Dame will have something to say in this bracket before all is said and done. 
  4. I gotta give some WAC love for the Southeast, Stew Morrill is a great coach and has had a ton of talented teams at Utah State, but has never been able to go deep in the Dance. Look for a Sweet 16 this year. This bracket seems to be the Mid-Major bracket lots of talented smaller schools here. Including last season's runner-up Butler. I think I like more low seeds in this bracket, including Michigan State as a 10 seed. Coach Izzo lives for March, the Spartans will be ready. 
Players To Enjoy:
  1. Jimmer Fredette: BYU, The guy could win player of the year honors and no one would bat an eye. He is a supremely gifted scorer and has a great knowledge of the game, plus his name is fun to say. 
  2. Kemba Walker: UConn, Another POY candidate with a fluid game. Plays like a man among boys. I hate UConn, in all things but he is fun to watch. 
  3. Kalin Lucas, MSU, The Spartans spark plug, the senior guard does everything, passing, scoring rebounding. Gives MSU some senior leadership that coach Izzo can lean on. 
  4. Derrick Williams, Arizona, The 'Cats sophomore big man, is averaging nearly a double-double scoring 19.1 points a game while hauling in 8.1 boards. Gives them something in the low post. 
  5. Tu Holloway, Xavier, Can shoot the lights out, sparks a fun Xavier offense. He can help score points in bunches, a necessary thing in the tournament. 
Have fun watching the tournament everyone, should be a good one this year. For the record my Final Four picks are: Ohio State, San Diego State, BYU and Notre Dame.

1 comment:

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