Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Your last, but certainly not least, preview comes from RUTS
RUTS can be found in the Gay Spandex section of your local Google, and providing bong hits for Jesus.
His words on the West are after jump.
(AA Predicts- KAN/VT/DUKE/UCLA, VT/UCLA, UCLA.....this is the Region that will make or break me)
Will Kansas crap the bed again? Can Pitt finally make it to the Final Four? Does VCU really have a shot against Duke? Should Tubby Smith get his resume ready for monster.com? Do you know where I can get some 'shrooms? We'll tackle all of this and more in your West bracket preview!
The matchups at the top of the bracket:
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Anonymous Play-in Jokers -- Kansas has lost their last two opening round games, but that shouldn't be an issue in 2007 since they're the de facto #1 overall seed. Certainly, all of the elements are present for a long KU tournament run. They're extremely athletic. and hotter than the bottom log of a campfire as they head into Chicago. The real test for the Jayhawks will come in Round Two when they face the winner of...
(8) Kentucky vs. (9) Villanova -- It's Wildcat Insanity! Maybe it's my Philly roots coming into play, but this seems to be a bit of an unfair seeding for 'Nova, a 22-10 team which beat Texas and Georgetown. With the exception of a home loss against DePaul, all of Villanova's losses were to pretty good clubs. If anyone can tell me how Villanova get a #9 while Indiana gets a #7, I'd love to hear it. Kentucky, of course, limps into the tournament after losing to Mississippi State in the SEC tournament. Tubby Smith's future is in serious jeopardy, and Kentucky has lost to every Top 25 opponent they've faced this year. Not a good sign for a team with shattered confidence Expect Villanova to move on and give Kansas all they can handle in the next round.
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Illinois -- Every year, it seems that a team that barely sneaks into the tournament by the good graces of the selection committee makes its way to the Sweet 16. Illinois fits the bill this year. Virginia Tech's a good team, but they're spotty. The Illini struggled mightily through the midpoint of the season, but finished 8-3. Unfortunately for them, they're a poor offensive team going up against a really good defensive team in the Hokies. You'll probably have to find your #5 / #12 upset elsewhere, Chachi.
(4) Southern Illinois vs. (13) Holy Cross -- Who doesn't love a Saluki? They're a defensive juggernaut that often struggles on offense, but that shouldn't be a huge issue against Holy Cross, which is essentially a less-talented version of Southern Illinois. Given the potential for this game to be a foul-marred, slower than molasses, 44-42 nailbiter, an upset isn't out of the question.
Of these teams, Villanova and Kansas have the combination of inside-outside scoring and athleticism. My heart says Villanova makes it out of this half of the bracket, but they'll need one hell of an effort to get by KU.
The lower half of the bracket is where things get rather interesting:
(6) Duke vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth -- At some point, Duke has to play like Duke, don't they? They're paper-thin, but should be well-rested after crapping out in the first round of the ACC tournament. Sometimes, an early loss can be a blessing for a tired team (I think UCLA will also benefit from this, incidentally). That'll help against VCU, a team that like to push the tempo. If you're searching for a reason to go with VCU, they beat Drexel twice and split with Old Dominion. Also, they lost by three against Xavier back in November. As much as we all enjoy watching Duke fans squirm, they should be happy at the end of this game. Also, when will we, as a nation, start making fun of Mike Krzyzewski's ridiculous hair? He's only two or three years away from joining Gene Keady's oil-slicked snap-on wig in the Hair Hall Of Shame.
(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Wright State -- Initially, this looked like a classic upset scenario since Pitt has serious difficulties scoring. And let's face it, they don't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to the NCAA tournament lately. Wright State (it's in Ohio, you know) is your Horizon League champion, beating everyone's darling mid-major, Butler, in the conference tourney. They're a good team, but undersized in the paint. That's bad news against 7'0" Aaron Gray and 6'10" Levon Kendall (he's white, you'll have to just take my word for it). This game will be a grinder, but as long as Pitt can keep the entire WSU defense from smothering Gray and Kendall, the Panthers should advance.
(7) Indiana vs. (10) Gonzaga -- Do you trust Kelvin Sampson in the NCAA tournament? I sure don't. Gonzaga has all of the necessary ingredients for a minor upset here. They have great scoring balance and have played more than a few top teams this season. We all know they won't play timidly. Indiana? Their last three wins came against Big Ten bottom feeders Minnesota, Penn State, and Northwestern. They haven't beaten a good team away from home since they won at Illinois on January 23. Oh, and they're still coached by Kelvin Sampson. Gonzaga wins.
(2) UCLA vs. (15) Weber State -- Honestly, I liked what I saw from Weber State in their tournament championship game, but UCLA is on an entirely different level than WSU. This will be a cakewalk for the Bruins, who are my clear favorite to advance to the regional finals.
Your Sweet 16 teams? (1) Kansas, (5) Virginia Tech, (6) Duke, and (2) UCLA. We're looking at a Kansas vs. UCLA matchup in the regional finals, with UCLA moving on to the Final Four.
Possible Bracket Busters? Villanova and Gonzaga, with Holy Cross as a severe longshot with a chance in a relatively weak quartet.
Final Four Bound? UCLA. They were in the final game last year while Kansas has pooped out in its last two first-round games.