Monday, 12 March 2007

March Madness Sleepers, Best Games, and More

I'll have my picks tomorrow, but here are some jumbled thoughts and lists for the Tourney.

Best Games, Round 1
- Notre Dame vs. Winthrop - Two teams that both get up and down the floor and shoot a lot of 3s. This game could be played in the 90s (scoring-wise).
- Nevada vs. Creighton - Two great mid-majors who are talented and tough offensively and defensively.
- Tennessee vs. Long Beach St. - Much like Notre Dame/Winthrop, this will feature a lot of 3s, and this will be played at breakneck speed, and will have a lot of points scored.
- UNLV vs. Georgia Tech - I must admit that I have absolutely no idea how to pick this game.
- Maryland vs. Davidson - Davidson is a really good team... I don't really like this draw for them, but they can definitely hang with the Terps.

Best Potential Games, Round 2
- Notre Dame/Winthrop vs. Oregon - I think whoever Oregon plays (presuming they win) this will be a great matchup. Lots of 3s, lots of points, lots of excitement.
- Duke vs. Pittsburgh - Look, Duke is not as bad as you think. They're very good defensively, and they are improving offensively. If they get by VCU in round 1, I actually like them to knock off Pitt.
- Nevada vs. Memphis - Very dangerous game for the 2nd seeded Tigers.

Best Potential Games, Sweet 16
- UCLA vs. Pittsburgh - Just for all of the Ben Howland against Pittsburgh/Jamie Dixon storylines.
- North Carolina vs. Texas - Honestly, do I even have to explain?
- Ohio St. vs. Tennessee - You heard it here first, The Vols would be able to give the Buckeyes fits. Wayne Chism could pull Oden out from under the basket, opening up the lane. The Buckeyes couldn't play zone either, because the Vols just have too many good shooters. This would be a very intriguing matchup.

Middle Seeds with Potential for a deep run
- Notre Dame - I really like this team. They shoot the 3 ball as well as anyone, they have some solid big men, and Tory Jackson is quickly establishing himself as one of the best freshman PGs in the country.
- Winthrop - I include them with Notre Dame so much because I think the winner of that game has a real shot to get to the Elite 8. Like George Mason last year, Winthrop has quality big men, which is rare for mid-majors.
- Tennessee - I already talked about them above. They pose a lot of matchup problems.
- Texas - They sort of count as a middle seed. I wouldn't be shocked to see them cutting down the nets. Kevin Durant is that good.

13 seeds and lower than can pull an upset
- Oral Roberts - This is sort of the trendy pick, because Oral Roberts has shown they're not scared to face the big boys, and Washington St. is making their first Tourney experience in a while. I don't think this upset will happen, but it certainly wouldn't be a shock if it did.
- Davidson - They control the ball, and they have a star in frosh Stephen Curry. Just a very good mid-major.
- Wright St. - They beat Butler in the Horizon Championship to earn the auto bid, so you know they're good. Also, despite Pitt getting to the Big East title game, they are not playing very well lately. Aaron Gray needs to show up.
- Albany - I like Albany, but this has more to do with my feelings for Virginia than Albany.
Teams that were overseeded
- Virginia - Virginia getting a 4 seed is just baffling.
- Arkansas - Just them being in the Tourney makes them overseeded.
- USC - They're a good team, but other than 2 wins against Oregon and 1 against Washington St., what did they do to deserve a 5 seed?
- Butler - Has the committee watched them play lately?
Ranking the easiness of 1 seeds path to Atlanta
1) Florida - Are you kidding me? Who's going to beat them in that bracket?
2) Ohio St. - Tennessee could be a tough game, and I'm not sure they'd make it out of an Elite 8 meeting with Texas A&M, but other than that things look good for the Buckeyes.
3) Kansas - Potential Elite 8 meeting against UCLA in San Jose. The committee did Kansas no favors there.
4) North Carolina - Could potentially have to get by Texas and Georgetown, who are playing as well as anyone in the country right now.

Who are your sleepers?