Monday, March 16, 2009

The Grand National Guide to the Big Dance...

I have shown you a lot of things about College Basketball. I have shown you who to love. I have shown you who to be annoyed with (Arizona). But for today? I will tell you all the things you need to know. Yay!

In list form! Boo!

The Round 1 (One on One) Match-Ups I'm excited for.
1) Eric Maynor vs. Darren Collison VCU vs. UCLA (This is the best point guard battle in round one that everybody knows about. Speed kills, and both of them have it. Maynor's shocked the world before, can he do it again?)
2) Josh Carter vs. Lee Cummard Texas A&M vs. BYU (A great match-up of tall two guards. Josh Carter is the super-offensive player. Deadly from beyond the arc, at the line, and he takes care of the ball.)
3) James Harden vs. Dionte Christmas Arizona State vs. Temple (Harden is a top three pick and a salad bar of offensive skills as well as getting fast hands. Dionte Christmas is a gunner with an awesome name who is tasked to stop him.)
4) Trevor Booker vs. DeShawn Sims Clemson vs. Michigan (A battle of undersized low-post threats. Booker is a good shooter, great rebounder and shot-blocker, an excellent anticipation of passing lanes, and he draws fouls without committing too many. Sims is a better offensive player who will protect the ball. This will be an excellent battle.)
5) Ben Woodside vs. Sherron Collins North Dakota State vs. Kansas (Ben Woodside is a top-notch offenseive player. He can score. He can distribute. He can draw fouls without committing them. Sherron Collins is a step up in weight class. But if the Bison would be Cinderella? He needs to get the win here.)

Most Likely to shock the world (13 seeds and higher most likely to take a game. Or lose by like two.)

1) Cleveland State (Excellent defense. Fast hands. They generate turnovers. And Teague is young, and Wake cannot take care of the ball.)
2) North Dakota State (They can shoot the lights out. 4 starters are 39% or better from beyond the arc. I know Kansas is a very talented team. The Bison's shots need to fall to win, but I would not be stunned if they don't. After all, The B-Magic extends to nicknames too.)
3) Stephen F. Austin (I know, this is my pick to click. A deliberate team that plays excellent perimeter defense. They control the tempo? They get second chance baskets? They will shock the Cuse. The Cuse aren't great at stopping the offensive rebound.)
4) Mississippi State (I don't trust teams that have to kill themselves to get to the tournament. I don't trust teams with Freshman point guards. But that's just me. Washington is a poor shooting team. Jarvis Vanardo is an intimidating force inside. This could be a game where Mississippi State has 35 minutes of domination and just runs out of gas.)
5) American (Pomeroy gives them a 1 in 10 shot. But it's Villanova in Philly. Garrison Carr is a gamer, but I'm just putting them there to make five.)

Second Weekend Drama (A.K.A. There's always one team that sneaks into the final four)
1) West Virginia (A Huggins coached team knows how to defend. Dayton should be an easy win. If they can control the physicality, they can beat Kansas. And Michigan State has the same sort of style as West Virginia. If you like fouls? After that? Two losses by 9 points to Louisville.)
2) UCLA (If they can get past round 2? Duke is very winnable. They play the same style as Pitt who just seems like they cannot get over the hump.)
3) Arizona State (Glaser-Harden-Pendergraph and a veteran coach of the ACC wars in Herb Sendek can do well if they get past the 3/14 game. They may be talented enough to handle Oklahoma. And the UNC-Gonzaga winner? They can take it. And if not?)
4) Gonzaga (They can make the run.)
5) Whoever emerges from the 4/5 pod in the East

More to come later.

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