Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A good tourney so far for the Big East. The conference has proven that it is the best in the nation by still having five teams in the tourney. It is the first time that a single conference sends five teams to the Sweet 16. Having five team left keeps the possibility open for a complete Big East Final Four. The picks...
Last Round: 6-0
(5) Purdue vs. (1) UConn: The Huskies have been the most dominant team in the tourney so far. It helps to be playing with a chip on the ole shoulder. The ailing Jim Calhoun seems to have sold the disrespect card to his boys…and now they are taking it out on anyone who is in the way. Purdue has played well, but won’t handle the physicality that UConn will throw. Expect the Huskies to push the ball inside and take control early.
Prediction: 76-63 UConn
(3) Villanova vs. (2) Duke: It should be one of the better games of the round. Both teams have great guards, sharp shooting, and pretty solid defense. Nova desperately needs to come out strong. Jay Wright can ill-afford to get into a coaching battle. If so, Coach K will bury him in two seconds. The Wildcats will try to insert a more physical game. Duke does have a history of backing down to stronger teams. Once again Dante Cunningham could be the difference. Duke can’t match his game. If it’s close give Duke the advantage. I just don’t see it being close enough.
Prediction: 70-63 Villanova
(4) Xavier vs. (1) Pitt: Coach Miller gets to take on the team that he used to lead on the court. Now they stand between him and back-to-back Elite Eights for his Musketeers. There is no question Pitt has struggled, but maybe the break is what the Panthers needed. Sam Young is also playing at top form, which doesn’t bode well for Xavier. What does bode well for Xavier is the fact that Pitt hasn’t been to the Elite Eight in quite some time. The Panthers always find ways to lose. I’m sticking to my bracket, and going with the Musketeers…tournament experience and better form being the difference.
Prediction: 63-61 Xavier
(3) Syracuse vs. (2) Oklahoma: Here’s a straight battle for you all. Syracuse will bring the tough zone and athletic transition game. The Orange has been pretty solid so far, though have struggled to finish games out. The Cuse won’t get away with it against a team as solid as Oklahoma. Blake Griffin seems to be back up to form...and the boys have been shooting well from the outside. This will be a close one. Expect Oklahoma to attack the zone with Griffin, then kicking it out for open looks. The Cuse will look to exploit all turnovers and missed shots with the transition game. These two teams will be spent when it’s all over. And when it is finally through, expect the never-say-die Orange to be moving on.
Prediction: 85-80 Syracuse
(12) Arizona vs. (1) Louisville: The Cardinals were a tad lucky to escape the second round. Now Louisville takes on an Arizona team that is much better than the 12-seed it has. Each squad has numerous NBA prospects and fine role-players. The difference may simply be that the Cardinals have more. Louisville doesn’t normally blow teams out. Instead, the Cards slowly dismantle the opponent with great defense and colossal depth. The Wildcats are on a nice run, but the finish line will not be reached. Too much depth for Louisville.
Prediction: 71-58 Louisville