Video of the Western Kentucky-Drake finish

Posted by nvr1983 on March 21st, 2008

Here it is for those of you who missed it the first time or just want to watch it over and over and over. . .

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The Tournament has officially begun

Posted by nvr1983 on March 21st, 2008

- Great individual performance? Check (Stephen Curry)

– Great finish? Check (Western Kentucky’s Ty Rogers hitting a huge 3 pointer at the buzzer with hands in his face)

After the media widely criticized the opening day of the tournament as boring (outside of Belmont’s near-upset of Duke), we think this should change them over to our point of view.

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Is Stephen Curry becoming a March legend?

Posted by nvr1983 on March 21st, 2008

A year after having giving Gary Williams and Maryland all they could handle with 30 points in the opening round, Stephen Curry came back this year with an even bigger performance. His 40 points (30 in the 2nd half!!!) including his 3 with about a minute left (the signature moment of the tournament so far) pushed #10 seed Davidson by #7 Gonzaga 82-76.

With Davidson becoming a mid-major power, they will likely be in the NCAA tournament as long as Curry remains in school. Although we consider him one of the best players in the country (do you think schools would like to recruit him if they had another chance?), we realize that he isn’t a big-time NBA prospect (according to scouts) because he isn’t that tall, strong, or athletic. In fact his biggest attributes are his shooting and intelligence, which are two things the NBA scouts don’t seem to care about these days. We are assuming that his family is doing ok financially given the fact that his father (Dell) had a long and distinguished career in the NBA. When you combine all of that, it seems like he might be one college star who remains in college all 4 years. In this day and age, that might be enough to make him a legendary player in March by the time he finishes his college career in 2010.

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Friday, March 21st: Update #1

Posted by nvr1983 on March 21st, 2008

- It looks like Bruce Pearl’s Volunteers haven’t shown up for the tournament yet. It’s 59-53 with 2:13 left. American is riding a big game from Garrison Carr’s 24 pts. It looks like Tennessee is pulling away now, but it should be an interesting finish.

- Gonzaga is up 71-70 against Davidson with 4:30 left. Stephen Curry is having a huge game with 34 pts. This looks like it is going down to the wire. Should be an exciting finish? We are enjoying Billy Packer having to sit/suffer through this.

- It looks like Western Kentucky and Miami (FL) are in control. We’ll update you if those games get interesting.

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Thursday, March 20th: Update #3

Posted by nvr1983 on March 20th, 2008

This is going to be a brief update because we realize listing the scores is kind of useless since you’re already on the Internet. We’ll just give you a little commentary and offer some more thoughts in the morning.

- The big story of the night was Belmont’s nearly historic near-upset of Duke. The amazing thing is that Belmont didn’t even have a player going off or a great night from beyond the arc. That just shows you how vulnerable this Duke team is when it doesn’t hit the 3. They needed a great 2nd half and end-to-end layup by Gerald Henderson to escape with the win. We also have to question the decision-making by Belmont in the final 10 seconds. Given their distinct disadvantage athletically we thought the decision to come back after Henderson’s layup without taking a timeout a questionable one. Then when DeMarcus Nelson short-armed a FT, they ran a horrible in-bounds play. How does Belmont expect to get a jump-ball against Duke? We also wonder why Coach K didn’t put Brian Zoubek by the basket to prevent that type of play anyways.

- In the only legitimate upset of the day, #11 Kansas State knocked off #6 USC. Surprisingly, they did it without a huge game from Michael Beasley (by his standards). Instead, Beasley used a solid game from Bill Walker and an off-night from OJ Mayo to lead the Wildcats to the win and ruin my bracket. Yes, you’re looking at the sucker who thought USC would make a run to the Elite 8.

- In the only other interesting game of the evening/early night, Texas A&M beat BYU 67-62 behind 26 pts from Josh Carter. This marks the sixth straight opening-round loss for the Cougars. Let that be a lesson before you pick BYU again. Well unless they have Danny Ainge on the team again. . .

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Thursday, March 20th: Update #2

Posted by nvr1983 on March 20th, 2008

We missed the 2nd half of the first set of games while we were being tortured by a massage therapist so these recaps will be brief.

Final Scores
#1 Kansas 85, #16 Portland State 61:On the bright side for Portland State, they played Kansas close in the 2nd half. Unfortunately, the Jayhawks already had won the game in the first 10 minutes.

#3 Xavier 73, #14 Georgia 61: I’d like to thank Xavier for turning it around and saving my perfect bracket. Maybe Georgia should have scheduled another game earlier in the day.

#5 Michigan State 72, #12 Temple 61:The Spartans survive an awful game from Drew Neitzel (2/11 FG) thanks to an even worse game from Dionte Christmas (1/12 FG). Raymar Morgan wasn’t bad either with 15 pts on 7/9 FG.

Ongoing
#6 Marquette 56, #11 UK 51: The only reason Kentucky is still in this game is because of a huge game from Joe Crawford (28 pts with 7:43 left).

#4 Pittsburgh 47, #13 Oral Roberts 24: The Panthers are cruising as they are almost doubling up their overmatched opponents.

#6 Purdue 48, #11 Baylor 27: The young Boilermakers look like they have this game in control.

#8 UNLV 51, #9 Kent State 30: It looks like the Vegas books led me astray and cost me my perfect bracket.

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Thursday, March 20th: Update #1

Posted by nvr1983 on March 20th, 2008

It’s halftime of the early games so I guess it’s time for an update.

#14 Georgia 35, #3 Xavier 26: Get ready to tear up your brackets unless you are from Athens, GA.

#1 Kansas 49, #16 Portland State 26: It looks like Bill Self’s team will avoid a first-round choke again this year.

#5 Michigan State 35, #12 Temple 26: Tom Izzo’s Spartans are in good shape and look to avoid the traditional 5-12 upset.

It’s interesting that two scores have the same score and all 3 teams trailing have scored the same number of points. Obviously, Portland State has the small problem that Kansas already has 49, which we are not sure Portland State will get to after 40 minutes.

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What is an upset?

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2008

I don’t know about you, but it always irritates me when people brag about calling a 9-8 upset. Although I guess it technically involves a lower seeded team beating a higher seeded team, we don’t consider it much of a surprise. I guess the nerd in us feels that the seeds are a little bit like a normal distribution/Bell curve. The middle seeds (7-10) are like the big peak in the middle of the curve and are separated by very little difference. However as you get further out on the distribution (like in the top 3 seed region) the difference between seeds becomes more noticeable. That’s why we would consider a 2 beating a 1 more of an upset than a 9 beating an 8 (assuming games are played on neutral courts). This doesn’t really come into play at the bottom of the distribution since the 15 playing the 16 seed is such a remote possibility that it isn’t even worth considering.

Here are some of the figures about the first-round matchups by seed since 1985 when we went to a 64-team tournament:
#1 vs. #16: The #1 seed is 92-0 (100%).
#2 vs. #15: The #2 seed is 88-4 (95.7%)
#3 vs. #14: The #3 seed is 77-15 (83.7%)
#4 vs. #13: The #4 seed is 74-18 (80.4%)
#5 vs. #12: The #5 seed is 63-29 (68.5%)
#6 vs. #11: The #6 seed is 63-29 (68.5%)
#7 vs. #10: The #7 seed is 57-35 (62.0%)
#8 vs. #9: The #8 seed is 42-50 (45.7%)

As you can see the #8 seed is actually under .500 in the first round. While it isn’t statistically significant, I think it is pretty clear that this game is really a toss-up.

On a related note, we found some of the Vegas lines interesting (taken from USAToday.com):
– #8 UNLV (+2) vs. #9 Kent State
– #8 BYU (+2) vs. #9 Texas A&M
– #7 Gonzaga (+2) vs. #10 Davidson

So Vegas actually favors one #10 seed and two #9 seeds.

We would like to hear what you consider an upset in the NCAA tournament. Do you consider a 9-8 an upset? A 10-7 an update? Or something else? Let us know.

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It’s finally here!

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2008

After spending the last couple of days creating previews for the regions, we’re ready for the big┬áday. We’ll be watching basketball pretty much all day (with the small exception of a short rehab trip so we can move our knee since we have to run the Boston Marathon in about a month). We are going to try to post updates as often as possible and eventually try to get a chatroom setup if possible. We’ll leave you with some interesting links and predictions that we have seen over the past couple of days, but were too busy to post.

Before we get to that, we suggest that if you haven’t done it already, sign up for the Rush The Court pool.

Now, onto the links:
Our first round schedule run-down
Our analysis of the East region
Our analysis of the West region
Our analysis of the Midwest region
Our analysis of the South region

Ok, now seriously onto other people’s links. . .
If you haven’t done so already, sign up for March Madness on Demand so you can watch all the games on your computer if you’re working. . .(Hint: “Alt + Tab” if you boss is nearby)
Bob Ryan decides its time to care about college basketball again and chimes in with his thoughts
ESPN.com’s Insider NCAA Tournament Guide
A panel of ESPN experts offer their answers to a bunch of random questions
Lunardi decides that predicting brackets isn’t enough to justify his career so now he’s predicting the scores for every game in the tournament.
Tim Keown’s “64 things to mull over before Thursday”
ESPN The Magazine offers some tips for picking your bracket
Vegas Watch asks the question about what the odds are of picking a perfect bracket. It’s a good read as is the rest of his site. We highly recommend it.
Picks from the sports expert in the Bill Simmons’s family. . .his wife
Here are the picks from the loser of the Simmons family pool along with a love letter to UCLA
The postseason blog of CNNSI.com’s Luke Winn (CNNSI.com)
Bill Trocchi on CNNSI.com offers his perspective on how to pick Cinderellas
The brackets of CNNSI.com’s writers

That’s it for now. If you have any links that you think we should include, send it to healthcarewatch@gmail.com

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South Regional Analysis

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2008

This is our final regional analysis and we’re running short on time to get them in before your brackets are due. Consequently, our analysis of the lower seeds will be very brief.

Teams
#1 Memphis:We can’t remember a #1 seed that has gotten less hype as a potential nation champ or more criticism. We know the Tigers aren’t going to remind anybody of a J.J. Redick shooting video. We know that they play in a relatively weak conference. We also know that they are 33-1 and were a short jumper away from being undefeated. We also know they may be the most talented team in the country. What does this all mean? We have no idea if the Tigers will win the title, but we do know that nobody wants to face Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts. They have an easy path to the Sweet 16 where they could face a very difficult challenge in Pitt. Schedule/Roster.

#2 Texas:In their first year AD (After Durant), Rick Barnes brings the Longhorns back to the tournament with a much better team even if certain LA residents who like to claim allegiance to Boston sports teams without suffering through the winter don’t care about them (or college basketball) any more. These Longhorns are led by All-American candidate D.J. Augustin (19.8 PPG and 5.7 APG) who brings a strong supporting cast with him to the NCAA tournament. Although they are the #2 seed, some might argue they are the favorites in the region thanks to the committee’s ridiculous decision to give them homecourt in the regional finals. That and the fact that they already have been UCLA and Tennessee this season. If they meet Memphis in Houston, the NBA scouts will definitely be watching for the great PG matchup (Rose vs. Augustin). Schedule/Roster

#3 Stanford: We actually have quite seen quite a few Cardinal games this year thanks to FSN. With Brook Lopez clearing that little issue of going to class, Stanford has become a very good team. Despite playing West #1 seed UCLA close two times in the past 2 weeks, we don’t think Lopez has the support to get Stanford by either the Longhorns (in Houston) or Memphis (anywhere other than Palo Alto) to make it to the Final 4. Schedule/Roster

#4 Pittsburgh:Jamie Dixon’s Panthers have done a great job overcoming injuries since their early-season win over Duke in Madison Square Garden. The Panthers tend to dominate inside with Sam Young and DeJuan Blair, but are yet another good team that struggles at the FT lines (22/44 in the Big East final). While we normally would look at their Big East title as a sign they are ready to make a deep run in the tournament, Pitt has a history of doing well in their conference tourney and failing to reach the Final 4. When we combine that with the fact that their physical style is subject to the tight NCAA tournament officiating (h/t to Jay Bilas), we are unsure about their chances to make it to San Antonio. However, we look forward to seeing Levance Fields against Derrick Rose (and possibly D.J. Augustin) in Houston. Schedule/Roster

#5 Michigan State:It seems like Drew Neitzel has been a Spartan forever. He has grown from a talented if inconsistent player into Tom Izzo’s go-to guy. While he will have difficulty creating against more physical guards, Neitzel finds a way to get it done. If MSU can get there, it should be a very interesting matchup with Pitt in the Sweet 16. If they are to get past the Sweet 16, Neitzel will need a lot of help from Raymar Morgan. Schedule/Roster

#6 Marquette:The Golden Eagles are led by Jerel McNeal, who has overtaken his more hyped teammate Dominic James as the team’s most vital player. While Marquette is not as good as advertised early in the season, but they should be good enough to get by Kentucky, which is a rematch of the 2003 Elite 8 matchup where Dwayne Wade’s triple-double knocked out the last great Wildcat team. Schedule/Roster

#7 Miami (FL): After a torrid 12-0 start (helped by a cupcake schedule), the Hurricanes cooled off in the middle of the season before getting into the Big Dance with some big late season wins most notably over Duke. Miami will be challenged right off the bat by St. Mary’s. To be honest, their potential 2nd round matchup may be easier than playing St. Mary’s despite what the seeds say. Schedule/Roster

#8 Mississippi State: The Bulldogs were able to survive the falling Georgia Dome, but they were unable to withstand their buzzsaw namesakes from Athens, Georgia. MSU is led offensively by Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes and defensively by the human eraser known as Jarvis Varnado. We think they should be able to get by Oregon before meeting a tougher challenge in the 2nd round. Schedule/Roster

#9 Oregon: Perhaps no team has received more criticism for their seed than the Ducks. They made the tournament by winning their last 3 regular season conference games, but we question their ability to make a serious run as they lost every game down the stretch to the top Pac-10 teams including the ones at the vaunted McArthur Court. Schedule/Roster

#10 Saint Mary’s: The Gaels, led by Patrick Mills and Diamon Simpson, are a quick, athletic team that sports wins over Oregon and Gonzaga. However, they struggle with more physical teams that slow the tempo down. This may not matter as they probably won’t play a slow-paced team before they are knocked out. Schedule/Roster

#11 Kentucky: Billy Gillispie has done an outstanding job salvaging this season, which started out so poorly with a loss at home to Gardner-Webb in the 2nd game of the Wildcat season. This is a pretty mediocre Kentucky team especially with the loss of their best player Patrick Paterson to injury. However, Gillispie has molded the team’s style (slow the game down and limit possessions) to maximize what he has. Kentucky isn’t nearly good enough to make a run in the tournament, but they might be able to pull of an upset or two. Schedule/Roster

#12 Temple: The Owls come in having won the Atlantic 10 tournament title, which sends a pretty strong signal that they are playing well late in the season. When you watch, Temple you will realize these aren’t Don Chaney’s Owls. Instead of relying on their physicality, these Owls are very explosive led by Dionte Christmas (20.2 PPG and 6.0 RPG) and Mark Tyndale (15.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 4.3 APG). They should provide the Spartans with a stiff challenge in the first round. Schedule/Roster

#13 Oral Roberts: While Oral Roberts is led by 5’9″ guard Robert Jarvis, their hallmark is their relentless defense. Unfortunately for them, they will be facing what is potentially the most physical team in the tournament in the first round. Schedule/Roster

#14 Cornell: The Ivy League champs usually can at least taunt opposing fans that they will usually be the boss of the fans of the team that is kicking their ass. Unforunately for Cornell and their fans, they play Stanford so they don’t even have that to hang their hat on this year. Schedule/Roster

#15 Austin Peay: They have absolutely no shot against a talented and tough Longhorn team. Schedule/Roster

#16 Texas-Arlington: We give them 5 minutes before their game against Memphis gets out of hand. Just way too much athleticism on Memphis’s side. Texans may get some form of revenge in the regional finals. Schedule/Roster

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West Regional Analysis

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2008

For our second-to-last regional analysis we look to the West, which has 2 of the most storied programs in the history of the sport as its top two seeds.

Teams
#1 UCLA: The Bruins seem to be the popular pick among analysts. We can clearly see why. They have experience (and no UF to go through this year), an inside game, an outside game, and a solid coach. Ben Howland has done an excellent job getting the Bruins to play defense, which has long been a trademark of Howland’s teams. When you combine that commitment to defense with talented offensive players and the easiest region in the tournament, you have all the makings of a championship team. The big question with UCLA is their health. Pac-10 POY and uber-freshman Kevin Love (lower back spasms) and his sidekick inside Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (sprained ankle) will have to be near 100% for them to cut down the nets in San Antonio. Schedule/Roster.

#2 Duke: Coach K (everyone’s favorite leader who happens to coach basketball) has done an outstanding job utilizing this flawed team’s strengths while managing go cover up its huge hole in the inside most of the season. The Blue Devils have several outstanding perimeter players in Kyle Singler, Greg Paulus, DeMarcus Nelson, and Jon Scheyer, but they have absolutely nothing inside unless they drive by their guy on the perimeter. While ESPN (and the rest of the media) would love to have the Blue Devils advance to the Final 4, we think they rely on the outside shot too much. One of the nights they will have an off night and unless it’s in the first round, their opponents are too talented and the Blue Devils are too weak on the inside for Coach K’s squad to overcome it. Schedule/Roster.

#3 Xavier: When the casual basketball fan first looks at the bracket, this seed might confuse them. However, the Musketeers have been solid all year-long and they are ranked #12 in both polls. The Musketeers play solid defense and have an extremely balanced attack with 6 players averaging between 10 and 11.7 PPG. They should be a formidable team in the West and could give the Blue Devils all they can handle if both teams get that far. Schedule/Roster.

#4 Connecticut: Before you get too excited about Jim Calhoun’s Huskies, you should realize that this isn’t a typical Connecticut team well other than their star point guard having a history of trouble with the law (A.J. Price joins the proud legacy of Khalid El-Amin and Marcus Williams). Price has turned into the leader of the Huskies. If Calhoun’s team is going to uphold his tradition of doing well in the tournament, Price will need help from shot-blocking savant Hasheem Thabeet and the teams 4 other players who average double figures (most notably Jeff Adrien). The Huskies will be hard-pressed to get by the Bruins in the Sweet 16 where their season will likely end, which is assuming they even get by a game San Diego team in the first round. Schedule/Roster.

#5 Drake: After graduating 4 starters from last year’s team, Drake vastly exceeded expectations this year going 28-4. To be honest, before this year we never would have imagine Drake with a seed this high. One interesting note is that Drake starts Klayton Korver (younger brother of former Creighton star Kyle Korver). We thing the Korvers have a Roger Clemens-like obsession with naming their kids. Schedule/Roster.

#6 Purdue: You have to admit that it’s sort of weird watching the Boilermakers without seeing the comb-over. We like Purdue’s talent and hustle, but we think they are a year away from making a run in the tournament. Schedule/Roster.

#7 West Virginia: Bob Huggins has done a good job keeping the program at a respectable level and avoiding the Morgantown cops. They face a tough matchup in the first round against a very athletic Arizona team. Win or lose we are predicting there will be couches on fire in West Virginia after the game. Schedule/Roster.

#8 BYU: The Cougars are led by Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted along with strong team defense. The Cougars are a legit team that gave UNC a tough game earlier in the year after knocking off Louisville. If they survive their first round game against the Aggies, they will have to play UCLA in a virtual home game for the Bruins. Schedule/Roster.

#9 Texas A&M: After starting the season 15-1, the Aggies have been up and down. The question is which team will show up in Anaheim. Regardless of which teams show up, we can’t see them getting by UCLA in the 2nd round. Schedule/Roster.

#10 Arizona: Kevin O’Neill managed to get the Wildcats into the NCAA tournament despite the unexpected and temporary absence by Arizona legend Lute Olson. While the media has widely killed the Wildcats inclusion in the tournament, we think they are very dangerous primarily because of their strong schedule and NBA-quality talent (Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger). Schedule/Roster.

#11 Baylor: One of the feel good stories of the tournament, Scott Drew has turned this program around. Baylor relies on 5 guards and 1 forward for their offense. If you couldn’t tell, they (like Duke) doesn’t have much on the inside. Unfortunately for Baylor, their players aren’t as good as Duke’s. Schedule/Roster.

#12 Western Kentucky: Led by Courtney Lee (20.4 PPG), the Hilltoppers snuck in under the radar most of this year playing in the same conference as South Alabama. Lee will have to have a big game if Western Kentucky is going to knock off Drake in the first round. Schedule/Roster.

#13 San Diego: This is one of the most interesting teams in the tournament. They have shown people that they can beat big name schools this year (wins versus Kentucky and Gonzaga). Despite being the third best team in the West Coast Conference this year, the Toreros will be a stiff challenge for a UConn team that isn’t your typical Jim Calhoun powerhouse. One thing is certain is that the Toreros will not be in awe of the Huskies having played a strong non-conference schedule this year. Schedule/Roster.

#14 Georgia: The media’s darling last week will be put in an interesting situation in the first round. Can you have a SEC team be a legitimate underdog against an Atlantic 10 team in the NCAA tournament? The answer is yes, but can anybody outside of Athens, GA root for them? We say no. We hope Dennis Felton and the Bulldogs enjoyed their ride. Schedule/Roster.

#15 Belmont: Belmont will get a few minutes of fame playing against TV favorite Duke. Unfortunately, they won’t be on TV long as they will likely fall way behind Duke early in the game and their game is paired against the USC-Kansas State game. Schedule/Roster.

#16 Mississippi Valley State: Jerry Rice’s alma mater will last all of about 5-10 minutes against a UCLA team playing in Anaheim, CA. That’s about all you need to know about them. Schedule/Roster.

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Midwest Regional Analysis

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2008

The rest of the previews are going to be much shorter than the East Regional Analysis because the other regions aren’t as loaded. Ok, you got me. That preview took way too much time given my schedule. Plus, the other regions suck. . .

Teams
#1 Kansas: Bill Self leads a loaded Jayhawk team into the tournament. They have all the tools–experience and talent in both the backcourt and frontcourt–that they need to win (although they are one of the few teams in college basketball that doesn’t take advantage of the short 3 point shot). The question is that will Kansas end its reputation for choking in the tournament. With a few exceptions (1991, 1993, 2002, and 2003 come to mind), the Jayhawks have found a way to lose to vastly inferior teams. The most notable example are 2005 and 2006 against Bucknell and Bradley respectively. We think the Jayhawks are too talented for that to happen, but the Jayhawks have proven us wrong before. Schedule/Roster.

#2 Georgetown: As we stated in our Big East finals review, we noted that the Hoyas have all the tools to win the tournament. They have experience, a very good backcourt, the nation’s best 7-footer, and a solid coach. Before the bracket came out, we were worried about Hibbert’s tendency to disappear for stretches when he should be able to dominate. However, their road to the Final 4 seems particularly favorable, which means they are a trendy pick to make it to San Antonio. Schedule/Roster.

#3 Wisconsin: While we don’t think the Badgers have much of a chance of winning the NCAA title, they definitely deserved a 2 seed over Duke. Like your typical Bo Ryan team, they play excellent defense. Led by Brian Butch and Michael Flowers, the Badgers are team capable of making the Elite 8, but will have a difficult road getting there (probably USC and Georgetown). Schedule/Roster.

#4 Vanderbilt: Vandy is an exciting team to watch and capable of beating anybody (ask Bruce Pearl). They have a solid all-around lineup with 3 seniors. However, their mediocre defense all but guarantees they will trip up somewhere along the line. Schedule/Roster.

#5 Clemson: With a win over Duke and three close games against UNC, Clemson can play with anybody in the country when they are on. The Tigers are athletic and had a nice run in the ACC tournament, but their awful FT shooting will catch up with them making them unlikely to advance past a round or two. Schedule/Roster.

#6 USC: We think that everybody knows about and has seen USC at this point. OJ Mayo has turned the Trojans into one the tournament’s most talked about “sleepers”. After reaching the Sweet 16 last year before bowing out to UNC, Tim Floyd added 2 “diaper dandies”. Ok, so maybe that isn’t 100% accurate since Mayo and Jefferson are closer to Depends than Huggies and Mayo’s recruitment was more like OJ adding the Trojans to his schedule. One of the interesting and challenging things for the Trojans has been how the freshman were integrated into a team that was already good. After struggling early, USC has come together at the right time. Mayo has reined in his tendency to dominate the ball although he still lapses into his old habits occasionally. The Trojans NCAA fortunes will like ride on which Taj Gibson shows up. Gibson, who has been college basketball’s version of Steve Slaton, will need to come up big if the Trojans want to make a deep run. Either way, we enjoy having another guy named OJ at USC. We hope that he has better “luck” with relationships. Schedule/Roster.

#7 Gonzaga: At this point, Gonzaga is way past the point of being a Cinderella. This team has a lot of talent including several guys with pro potential. They have a solid squad with 4 guys averaging double figures. Their first round matchup with Davidson will be a must-watch. Schedule/Roster.

#8 UNLV: These aren’t your old school Running Rebels. Lon Kruger returns a very different team from last year’s Sweet 16 team as most of the roster changed (including his son). Their own hometown doesn’t seem to believe in them, as Vegas has put UNLV (the higher seed) as 2 point underdogs against Kent State. Schedule/Roster.

#9 Kent State: As we noted above, Vegas has Kent State as 2 point favorites. Apparently they don’t agree with the selection committee. The Golden Flash should be a tough matchup as they feature a balanced attack with 4 scorers in double figures. Schedule/Roster.

#10 Davidson: Led by Stephen Curry and coming in with a NCAA-leading 22 game winning streak, Davidson is a very dangerous team. The committee made an interesting decision to pit them against Gonzaga. This can be interpreted in one of two ways: knock out a dangerous mid-major in the first round or ensure a dangerous mid-major in the second round Schedule/Roster.

#11 Kansas State: We would love to see Michael Beasley make a run deep in the tournament, but with his sidekick Bill Walker most well-known for peeing in a towel and going 0-for-14 against Texas it will be a short run for the #1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Schedule/Roster.

#12 Villanova: Jay Wright’s team was likely the last at-large team invited to the tournament. They are a young team with some talented players (most notably Scotty Reynolds), but they appear to be a few years away from being a threat to make a run (assuming nobody does anything stupid by leaving school early). However, Clemson’s awful FT shooting may let them stay in the game and allow Villanova’s talented players to steal a game. Schedule/Roster.

#13 Siena: Before you get too excited about their win over Stanford, you should remember that Brook Lopez was suspended earlier this season making Stanford a very different team in November. With a young team and the talent to beat Stanford (even if it wasn’t at his peak), Siena will be a very dangerous mid-major in a few years. However, their matchup with Vanderbilt will be a stiff challenge even if Vandy is soft defensively. Schedule/Roster.

#14 Cal State Fullerton: A team full of transfers (literally everybody transferred from somewhere else), CSF is a team that likes a fast pace, but will find out in the first 10 minutes that Wisconsin prefers a slow pace. They will quickly learn that it is easier to slow a game down than it is to speed it up. Schedule/Roster.

#15 UMBC: The winners of America East, a horrible conference except when Germain Mopa Njila becomes a household name for 15 minutes, UMBC should enjoy their hotel and the scenery because Georgetown is too talented and has too much experience to let UMBC hang around. We think. . . Schedule/Roster.

#16 Portland State: We’ll save both you some time (and us some research time). No #16 has ever won a first round game. Schedule/Roster.

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