Thursday, March 20, 2008

NCAA Midwest Region Preview

And now, the final regional preview by GDB...

Kansas (1) v. Portland St. (16)
Upset Potential: 1%
Normally this would be 0%, but Kansas does have a recent history of inglorious and shameful early tournament exits (SEE: Bucknell, Belmont). Unfortunately neither Portland St. or any other team in this region starts with a "B" so maybe this it the Gayhawk's year.
Player to Watch: Brandon Rush. And not just in this game, but during Kansas' entire tournament run. KU is the definition of depth and experience, they only have one starter who isn't a senior or junior. But if they want to go deep in the tournament Rush has to be the go-to guy more often that not, and be the glue that holds these talented pieces together.
Prediction: 82-56, Kansas.

UNLV (8) v. Kent St. (9)
Upset Potential: 50%
These teams, champions of their respective conference tournaments, are pretty evenly matched on paper. However, UNLV is significantly smaller and will have to rely on creating, and making, their own shots.
Player to Watch: Matt Shaw, UNLV. The 6th Man is, at 6-8, also UNLV's biggest player. He will have to come in to provide key minutes of defense and rebounding help to keep his team competitive.
Prediction: 75-70, Kent St.

Clemson (5) v. Villanova (12)
Upset Potential: 20%
Clemson comes into this one with all the momentum, riding a run to the ACC conference tourney title game. Villanova on the other hand is a bubble team that limped in to the dance by virtue of a win over unimpressive Syracuse in the Big East tournament
Player to Watch: Cliff Hammonds, Clemson. A four year starter who can do it all: make his own shot, distribute to teammates, and play superb D.
Prediction: 70-60, Clemson

Vanderbilt (4) v. Sienna (13)
Upset Potential: 15%
Vanderbilt has shown troubling inconsistencies, especially on defense, but they can put up points in bunches. That alone should be enough to handle Sienna and move on to round 2.
Player to Watch: A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt, yet another Australian 7-footer. Everyone knows about Vandy's guard play, but the big man in the middle gives this team a semi-legit post presence they will need if they want to make a run, especially if they match up with Georgetown down the line.
Prediction: 86-73, Vanderbilt

USC (6) v. Kansas St. (11)
Upset Potential: 30% USC has played great down the stretch, but anyone who has seen a minute of Michael Beasley this season knows that he is capable of just straight taking over a game and carrying his team to victory on his manbear-sized shoulders.
Player to Watch: Bill Walker, K-St. I can't say anything more about Beasley that has already been said. If he gets any help at all from the rest of his team, especially the hot-and-cold Walker, Kansas St. will pull this one off.
Prediction: 68-65, Kansas St.

Wisconsin (3) v. Cal-Fullerton (14)
Upset Potential: 5%
Just when you think Wisconsin will have a rebuilding year, you remember that they are coached by Bo Ryan and they go ahead and win the Big Ten regular season and tournament. They are more than capable of dismissing Cal-Fullerton in their opener.
Player to Watch: Michael Flowers, Wisconsin. Cal-Fullerton will try to run-and-gun their way to victory, so getting the maximum effort out of their top defender, Flowers, will be key.
Prediction: 80-62, Wisconsin.

Gonzaga (7) v. Davidson (10)
Upset Potential: 55% Whoever did the seeding for this bracket must have eaten some mushrooms offered by Josh Heytvelt, and this game is a good example of that. Gonzaga is in a down year by their standards, and Davidson will be a tough opponent who has too much expirience both playing big teams and in the NCAA tournament to shat the bed in this one.
Player to Watch: Josh Heytvelt. He is a key reserve who has loads of talent, but doesn't seem motivated to use it all the time. I wonder why?....If he lays off the "herbal" remedies, he can be a key contributor and could help Gonzaga pull out a win.
Prediction: 72-66, Davidson

Georgetown (2) v. UMBC (15)
Upset Potential: 1%
Considering I don't even know what UMBC stands for, I'm not optimistic about their upset chances.
Player to Watch: Roy Hibbert, Georgetown. His season has been something of a letdown based on expectations after last year. However, if Gtown works the ball through the big guy, they are primed for a return trip to the Final Four.
Prediction: 90-59. Georgetown


Young Cicero said...

UNLV takes care of Kent St., so I'm already 1/2 here.

Young Knuckleballer said...

I would have been 2-0 you bum. My preview was brilliant...especially since I do know who UMBC is (University of Maryland Baltimore County). They're in the same Conference as the team I cover (BU) and they are solid, but no match for G-Town. Watch out for Nova in this region, they could surprise some people.

dr. burns said...

Speaking of eating Josh Heytvelt's mushrooms, I must have been tripping balls when I put $ on Indiana making it past the first round. Burns should have listened to Swole on this one.