Monday, February 13, 2012

Is It Going to be An All Blue Final?

We are about a month away from the greatest event in all of sports.  No it’s not that thing that just happened that none of us will blog about, it is the NCAA Tournament.  You have 64 68 teams all fighting for the same goal, to cut down the nets in early April.  Obviously if you are a 16 seed, realistically you don’t have a shot, but just looking back at last year you had a Final Four matchup of 12th seeded (and first 4) VCU and 9th seeded Butler.  Before the season there was all this talk about the power conferences are back, but guess what, unless you have been under a rock this year, it’s the year of the mid-major and Kentucky.  With all these powerful sophomores in Perry Jones III, Terrance Jones, Jeremy Lamb, and Harrison Barnes all returning to campus, the blue bloods were supposed to be back.  Instead who do you have in the top 25? Creighton, UNLV, San Diego St, Murray St, Wichita St, Gonzaga, Harvard, and St Mary’s are there rather than expected powers of UConn, Texas, Vanderbilt, Villanova, and Pittsburgh.  So if there was ever a time for a 16 to beat a 1 seed, it would be this year.

Right now, every team is vulnerable and every team has weaknesses.  Just look at some of these home losses that should never happen at home, UNC to Duke, Ohio St to Michigan St, Murray St to Tennessee St, Creighton to Wichita St, Florida to Tennessee.  That was all in the last week, CRAZY!  What is going to happen in March on neutral floors, I can’t wait.

Now when I say every team has weaknesses, let’s just exclude one team, Kentucky.  This team is loaded, like my god are there freaks just all over the court for them.  When in doubt, throw a lob to Anthony Davis and he will dunk it.  Fear the Unibrow.  Their one weakness, Marquis Teague is all of a sudden turning into a legit threat as well.  In his last 2 games, he is scoring 12.5 points and dishing out 9 assists per game.  I haven’t even mentioned the most clutch three point shooter in Ray Allen Doron Lamb for the Cats, he is shooting almost 50% from 3 and just has a knack for hitting daggers against teams.  I don’t need to say anything about Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, for more on him click here.

Now after Kentucky, my prediction for the Final Four is a crap shoot.  Everyone knows March is all about matchups, so until you see the bracket you have no idea who is going to actually get there.  Even then you might as well pick like most girls do, by mascot name, the colors, or “Hey I know someone who went there.”  But you know what, I am going to give another prediction on my Final Four (read the original here), since it clearly seems like Baylor isn’t making a run for it with how lackluster Perry Jones III and company play that zone defense (if you want to call it that).

The safest bet I have to a sure thing after Kentucky is Kansas.  Oh yeah, that’s right, my boys from Lawrence.  The Jayhawks now have 3 legitimate options on offense in POY front runner Thomas Robinson, the mostly up Tyshawn Taylor and wait for it, wait for it, oh yeah it's Jeff Withey.  That three headed monster is unstoppable right now and the real x-factor isn’t Taylor or T-Rob, it's the tall lanky transfer from Arizona Withey.  If we exclude the Missouri game (which I am going to do to skew my argument) he has scored 10, 15, 25 and 18 points in his last 4 games and has 8.25 rebounds per game including the monster 20 rebound, 7 block, and 18 point game against Oklahoma St on Saturday.  Can you imagine that 7 foot monster in the tourney?  I sure can’t wait for it.

Everything else is a crap shoot.  Syracuse, Duke, Michigan St, Ohio St, Missouri, Baylor, UNLV, and UNC all have issues and I have to pick two more teams.  I know for sure I am not going with Duke or UNC and a lot of that has to do with the lack of toughness that either team has shown this year.  If you are UNC, how do you blow that lead at home to Duke and that is on top of a 33 point loss at the hands of team that lost to Boston College in Florida St.  Yeah, I’ll wait while you wrap your heads around that one for a second.  I’ll say it again, UNC lost by 33 points to Florida St who has lost to Boston College.  If we go by that logic, Boston College lost to Holy Cross by 22 and beat Florida St by 4, soooo that means Holy Cross could beat UNC by 59.  That doesn’t sound like a Final Four team to me.  And because Tyler Zeller routinely scores for the other team.  Duke, well to steal Mark Titus’ line has Austin Rivers’ Punchable Face and a few other guys that aren’t very athletic, that is always Duke’s problems when they cant advance in the tourney.  I will cross these two teams off my list.

The leaves me with a few obvious options in Syracuse and Ohio St to make the Final Four, but you know how March is, you just never know.  The Orange scare me because they don’t have a go-to scorer that you need in March to be successful and Ohio St is too injury prone for me.  We also all know March is crazy and relies on great guard play.  Guess who that leaves me with?  You guessed it, UNLV and Missouri.  I will start with Missouri.  It pains me to put two of my least favorite teams in college basketball with Kentucky and Missouri (I will never call them Mizzou – gross).  But my god, this team reminds me a lot of that 4 guard offense that Villanova had.  They have 5 legitimate scorers that can go off at any time.  Phil (Flip) Pressey is just unbelievable and is easily a top 5 point guard in America, youtube him if you haven’t seen him (okay I will make it easy for you - a link to Phil Pressey is here).  Marcus Denmon has Jimmer range and has serious guts.  I guess I could also mention that Ricardo Ratliff is shooting 74% from the field, yeah he is about to break an NCAA record for field goal percentage, no big deal. 

Moving on to UNLV, all I have to say is MIKE MOSER.  The UCLA transfer is just an absolute animal, just gets after it.  He is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds right now and can light it up from 3 as well.  The Runnin’ Rebels are back.  If anyone thinks I’m crazy for putting them in, the Mountain West is probably a 3 or 4 bid league while the Pac-12 is a 1 or 2 bid league for the tourney.  This league is loaded with SDSU, UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado St.  I have nothing else to say on UNLV because you have probably quit reading this post by now anyways so I am just rambling to myself.

Anyways, it’s tough to leave out my sleeper of every year, Marquette.  They will continue to be my sleeper this year, Buzz Williams has got them rolling.  DJO is about as good as it gets from a guard in college ball and is as tough as they get.  I would also look to Wichita St, Saint Mary’s, and Florida come tourney time.  Now that football season is over, I hope you get out and enjoy the last month before the greatest event in sports.

-The Boss


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