Sorry for the long absence; school and water polo have been cutting into my time just a little too much. Also, I just zoned out in front of the TV and watched the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament(yeah, NCAA, I'm not falling into your little trap. The first four is not the first round.) Every time I thought about writing something, well...on came another game. And I'm lazy. But now I'm here to break down the Sweet 16!
NOTE: My advice is probably awful. My bracket's already exploded in my face, so... take this as you will, I'm just trying to have some fun here.
Teams remaining- #1 Ohio State, #2 North Carolina, #4 Kentucky, #11 Marquette
Matchups- OSU-UK, UNC-MU
Thank god for Marquette, or else this would be our only 1-2-3-4 regional. #1 Ohio State, so far, has been the only truly dominant team in the tournament. In their second round game against George Mason, they fell behind 11-2 early. After that, they went on a 50(!)-15 run for the rest of the 1st half. They have the best big man in the tournament (Jared Sullinger), ridiculous three point shooting (from Diebler and Lighty), and they can rebound better than pretty much every team. They look like the odds on favorite at this point (as if their #1 overall seed didn't say that already). #4 Kentucky has been spotty- they barely got by Princeton in the first round and eventually solved West Virginia's defense en route to a 71-63 win. They're a little too young, inconsistent and don't have enough size on the inside, especially not enough to take down Ohio State. We can say goodbye to them for this year (and remember, if they do manage to win, there's a good chance that the win could be vacated in a couple years. Gotta love Coach Calipari.) #2 North Carolina is like a better version of Kentucky. They've got a ton of talent in the back court, they are very young, and they rebound decently. They've had a little bit of trouble in both rounds, playing a closer than usual game against Long Island, and barely slipping by Washington in the next round. While they have the athleticism and talent to beat Marquette, it's not easy to see them losing in this round, or moving onto the Elite Eight and losing to a very complete Ohio State team. UNC is more of a threat next year, if their team stays together. As for Marquette...I'm going to be honest, I didn't watch a second of Marquette basketball. I was busy during the first round and the second game was on TruTv, and I don't get that channel...so.... after a cursory look-see, they run a fast pace. That plays right into North Carolina's hands, so I don't see them getting by. So yeah, going with chalk here- OSU vs UNC in the Elite Eight, with OSU taking it in the end.
Teams Remaining-#1 Duke, #2 San Diego St, #3 UConn, #5 Arizona
Matchups- DU-ARZ, SDSU-UCONN
No double digit seeds? Boooooooooring. Duke easily dispatched their first round pansy, obviously, but then stumbled by Michigan, escaping 73-71. And you know what? I LOVE THAT. Michigan is a team with almost no rebounding ability that lives on streaky shooting. The fact that Duke struggled against this team is wonderful. Once they play a team with legitimate rebounding and consistent scoring...watch out. That team could be Arizona, who have a NBA talent in Derrick Williams and decent enough size (certainly better than Michigan's). I'm torn, because I'd love to see Duke lose now, but I'd also LOVE to see Duke and Coach K lose right as Coach K is on the precipice of breaking the all time wins record, making him have to wait until next season to get his win (invariably against some crappy team and not on a huge national stage). Seriously, I know its cliche...but I hate Duke. Anyways, San Diego State takes on UConn in the other game. San Diego State has a big front line, and were able to shut down Jimmer Fredette in their conference tournament. Why does that matter? Well, they're playing against UConn, a team built around the stellar play of Kemba Walker and...not much else. If SDSU puts Jimmer-type defense on Kemba, they'll win the battle on the glass and force other players on UConn to step up, which ain't happening. So, basically, SDSU should get by UConn and create more animosity towards the hype machine that created the myth of the Big East. SDSU against...uh... fine, Duke in the Elite Eight, with SDSU moving on (oh please oh please oh please).
Teams Remaining- #1 Kansas, #10 Florida State, #11 VCU, #12 Richmond
Matchups- KU-RICH, FSU-VCU
Now this is more like it! Only one single digit seed! Kansas rolled through their first game (as all #1 seeds do) and then played a closer-than-the-final-score game against Illinois in the second round. They basically play through the Morris twins (twins in sports...always just a little creepy) with a pretty good supporting cast. As for the rest of this regional..it's tough to figure. Richmond, Kansas' opponent, has beaten Vandy and Morehead St. with a combination of solid defense and crafty (read: Backdoor Cuts) offense. I don't think they have the talent to keep up with Kansas, unfortunately (not to say I won't be rooting for them.) Florida State harassed Texas A&M and Notre Dame and shot the lights out, while VCU won their play in game, beat a weak Georgetown team, and then destroyed Purdue (a team I thought would make the final four). They've got some great three point shooting and are clearly motivated after Jay Bilas pilloried them on national TV. With that being said, I'm looking for Florida State to shut down VCU's offense and move onto an Elite Eight match up against the Jayhawks, with Jayhawks moving into the Final Four. But a ten or eleven seed in the Elite Eight? That's cool.
Teams Remaining- #2 Florida, #3 BYU, #4 Wisconsin, #8 Butler
Matchups- BUT-WISC, FLA-BYU
And now, welcome to the weakest side of the bracket! I mean, just look at these teams. I don't think any of these teams are capable of winning the national championship. In the first game, we have Butler against Wisconsin. Butler has won two very close games (a buzzer beater against Old Dominion and the wild finish against Pitt), while Wisconsin took care of business against Belmont and a very solid Kansas State team. Butler's guard play (Nored and Mack) has been exceptional, and they've been very lucky, but now they're running into the defensive powerhouse that is Wisconsin. Wisconsin won't wow anyone with offensive prowess, but they play shut down defense and shoot the three ball well. So this is where I think Butler ends their little run, although it'll be close. As for Florida and BYU, I'll be honest, I haven't watched any Florida basketball, but I know they lost to Kentucky and had a tough time against UCLA, so they haven't looked amazingly strong. BYU has Jimmer Fredette, who is a ridiculous scorer, and not much else. And I have absolute Jimmer mania, so I'll take BYU to beat Florida. That leaves BYU-Wisconsin, and I'd take 'Sconnie in that game, because they could shut down Jimmer.
So yeah, my Final Four (revised) is Ohio State, SDSU, Kansas, and Wisconsin. But I'm hoping for something unexpected and some double digits to get there! Bracket pandemonium, please.