Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sweet Sixteen - Part 1

Ok, the first weekend is over and people have had a chance to calm down a little. What did you do with your bracket after the first weekend? Are you happy with your picks? Is your team still alive? There really haven't been that many upsets in the NCAA Tournament (unless you're an ACC fan). We have 4 games tonight and so we'll take a look at those.

7:07 PM EST

Purdue vs. Connecticut - This isn't going to be interesting. I like the way Purdue has played defense and they have found the basket from all over the court. Robbie Hummel has stepped up his game and he and JaJuan Johnson have formed a rather imposing duo. E'Twaun Moore has played good ball over the first two games of the tournament also. This team woke up from their Big Ten slumber.

Connecticut is being hounded by this recruiting scandal that just came out now. Why now? It just doesn't sound right, someone had to do this on purpose. Anyway, this team needs no more motivation, but it seems as though they've gotten it. Calhoun will rally his troops and I expect that they will dominate this game tonight.

Projected Winner: Connecticut

7:27 pm EST

Xavier vs. Pittsburgh - Talk about close calls. I think that Pittsburgh should already be home. They have played terribly in their two first round games and barely held on in each. Some people call that knowing how to win and doing it. At the end of the day they do it with DeJuan Blair and Sam Young. I'm not sold on Levance Fields, at least not yet. I would take Eaton from OK State over him. Nevertheless, Blair is a beast. A throwback of sorts. He's not jumping out of the gym, but when he gets rooted in the paint, you can hang it up.

Xavier is led by B.J. Raymond. Along with that, Xavier brings size, something Pittsburgh lacks. They have 5 guys that they can play on Blair that are 6-8 or taller. We'll get a chance to see how Blair does against this height. Derrick Brown and C. J Anderson have to play well and they may need someone else to step up in order for Xavier to win.

Projected Winner: Xavier

9:37pm EST

Missouri vs. Memphis - This is going to be a track meet. There will be more athletes on the floor tonight than we've seen in any one game. Missouri traps in order to speed up the game and they normally score off of defense. One thing to watch is DeMarre Carroll who twisted his ankle in practice this week.

Memphis is doing the same. Led by Antonio Anderson, the Memphis Tigers can out athlete anyone in the country. Roburt Sallie showed everyone that he can score when given the opportunity and a hot streak. But in my mind, Memphis doesn't have shooters. They can pressure you and do a lot of things, but shooting isn't one of them. That Achilles heel won't hurt them in this game. I expect a big game from Robert Dozier who has been asleep at the wheel for the first two games.

Projected Winner: Memphis

9:57pm EST

Duke vs. Villanova - This is the toughest game to pick. Duke comes in off of a tough win against Texas and they had a showing from their big men (yeah, close your mouth now). I was talking to someone about this and I'll say it here, if Brian Zoubek can get 10 and 10 for the next 3 games, Duke will win the National title. No I haven't been drinking. Zoubek played well against Texas and was able to get some boards, but he hustled and did something besides waste height. Duke has scorers with Henderson, Singler, and Scheyer, and guys that play defense like Smith, Williams, and McClure. If Paulus comes in and plays well, it's on to the Elite 8.

Villanova has the one thing that I think Duke needs, active big men. These guys are small, only one person over 6-8, but they rebound the ball. Dante Cunningham scares the $*%( out of me. I just see him getting Singler in foul trouble. Scottie Reynolds leads this team and sometimes Duke has problems with good/great point guards. This ought to be a good game that comes down to the team with the last shot.

Projected Winner: Duke

We'll see what happens tonight and I'll follow this one up with my picks for the games for the rest of the weekend.

Am I too much of a homer with Duke? Do you see Pitt getting upset? Is Memphis beatable?

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