Saturday, March 21, 2009

Looking Ahead To Saturday

A number of potential upsets: I picked UCLA to beat Villanova, so I'm going to stick with that. There are no other big upsets that I picked (taking a 5 over a 4 isn't really an upset), but I'd point out a few games that could potentially end up with an underdog moving on. All of the 2 seeds are vulnerable, and I like all of the 7/10 seeds playing today, so any of those could end up exciting. If I had to pick one, it's going to be Texas over Duke. Texas is the best 7/10 seed remaining in the whole Tournament, but Duke might be the best 2 seed and is going to be very difficult to beat. Both of these teams rely on three-point shooting, but Duke has a slew of great shooters while Texas is really all about the AJ Abrams show. Texas won't win unless Abrams hits at least five three-pointers, and has at least 25 points.

LSU is a very dangerous team, and I'd give them a great shot against any of the other 1 seeds. But unfortunately they got stuck playing North Carolina, and the Tar Heels are just a cut ahead of every other team in the nation. Hard to see the upset there. UConn is potentially vulnerable, but I don't see Texas A&M being able to win this one. If you're looking for a 1 seed to lose in the second round, watch Sunday, where we are much more likely to see one of those upsets.

One other "upset" to watch for is Purdue over Washington. Not that a 5 over a 4 is much of an upset, but I did pick Purdue in my bracket. That said, the Pac-10 has looked great, and Washington looked great in round one. This should be a very good game.

And the best game will be...: I narrowed this one down to three choices. LSU/UNC should be a very fun, up-tempo game. Don't expect to see any shot clock violations. Unfortunately, the game might also turn into a romp. UCLA/Villanova should be a good game between evenly matched teams. I expect that game to come down to the final minutes. But the game of the day for me is Texas/Duke. All in all it's probably going to be the highest quality game, with the best athletes and talent on both teams. And it will likely be fairly close. Texas could easily pull off the upset.

The most to prove: Easy question, the answer is the ACC. All three of their remaining teams play today. You've got to figure that North Carolina will win easily, so this question is about Duke and Maryland. If Duke gets upset and Maryland gets rocked then this Tournament will be a total failure for the conference, no matter what North Carolina does. But if Duke can get a win over a very solid Texas team, and if Maryland can shock Memphis (not as unlikely as you might think), then suddenly all will be well, and the ACC will reaffirm its status as a major player in this Tournament.


DMoore said...

UCLA -- Further proof that you can't think you can turn it on for big games and expect to win. What matters is not how a team plays at their best, but how consistently they play at a high level.

Jeff said...

Yeah, well I don't think we can draw too much out of that Villanova/UCLA game. Best as I can tell, Villanova couldn't miss a shot for the first few minutes and UCLA couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and the Bruins got frustrated and lost confidence. The end of the game was just embarrassing. That's the worst I've seen UCLA play in several years.

This is the same Villanova team that was losing in the second half by 14 points to American.... there's a reason why Boston College can win at UNC and then lose at home to Harvard.

If the computer rankings could perfectly predict the future, we'd all be like Biff from Back to the Future, Part II.