Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Midweek Musings on Regional Week

Ok, so my Cats aren't in the NCAA tournament this year. I still follow it with a rather ridiculous level of interest, so intense that I won't be able to watch from home tomorrow and Friday because I want to watch ALL the games, not just what CBS shows in my local area. Sure it'll be detrimental to my school work, but it's worth it.

While at the bar watching the games, I'll certainly be "whoop"ing it up for my buddies' Texas Aggies to represent the Big 12 well. I think they have an excellent chance to beat Memphis, who plays the worst form of basketball this side of the NBA. Sure, they have great athletes, but my idea of an 'offense' entails a little more than merely standing around and watching another guy go one-on-one. I'll take the Aggies because of their defense and Acie Law.

The other early game features the other remaining Big 12 team, KU, playing the junkyard-dogs of SIU. Apparently Matt Shaw won't be playing for SIU, which will really hurt because they need all the scoring punch they can get. Defense does win championships, and SIU plays some of the toughest defense in the land, but you have to have some offense to go with it. Randall Falker will be overmatched inside against Kaun, Arthur and Jackson, and Jamal Tatum won't be able to do enough against KU's tough backcourt to keep them in it. I think KU wins this one comfortably, though not in a blowout.

Now, on to teams that I know far less about. Ohio State is lucky to even be playing still, considering what happened against Xavier (if the refs had made the right call on Oden's intentional foul, the two main candidates for player of the year would be at home this weekend). Tennessee rolled bigtime over LBSU, then fought it out over Virginia. This should be a good overall matchup as both teams have talent in both the front and backcourts. I'm going to pick an upset with Chris Lofton shooting UTenn to the Elite 8.

Finally, Pitt will play UCLA in a game where the combined score may not reach 90. UCLA throttled Indiana early last week before struggling to hang on in a fugly game. I'm picking UCLA in this one, because they are at least as talented as Pitt, play tougher defense than Pitt, will basically be playing at home, and because they can neutralize Aaron Gray.

Take those picks with grain of salt, considering I rank 151,000 on facebook right now. Stay tuned for my picks on Friday's games, and a special post devoted to my dream scenario for the national title game.