Sunday, March 23, 2008

March Madness Update

Three cheers for Davidson and Western Kentucky! Even though the tournament committee pitted mid-majors against each other in the first round for the most part, these two managed to make it to the second weekend.

My brief, uneducated, off-the-cuff previews for the Sweet 16:

Washington State has limited its opponents to just over 40 point a game, while North Carolina's offense has averaged well over 100; something has to give! It will make for a very interesting game, that's for sure, and Washington St. has a better chance than most people seem to think.

Louisville definitely looks stronger than Tennessee, and they are still my dark horse pick for the Final Four.

Villanova was way overrated during December and January, but they turned things around for the last month or so. However, they have little chance against the strong, balanced Kansas juggernaut.

Wisconsin isn't that fun to watch, but they always seem like put themselves in position to win, and then the proceed to do just that. Will Stephen Curry be able to score at will against one of the best defenses in the country? My hunch is no, although I would love to see Davidson go further!

West Virginia has been inconsistent this year, but they're better than people think. The matchup against Xavier seems to be quite even and could be the best game of the Sweet 16.

Can Western Kentucky continue their run? Probably not against UCLA, even though the Bruins have appeared vulnerable as of late (Texas A&M played well on the "road" for the first time all year and almost beat them, contrary to my pessimism).

Texas gets a "semi-home" game for its game against Stanford, which could be very interesting. The key may be whether the Lopez brothers and Taj Finger can gather offensive rebounds and make putbacks; the stats seem to indicate that they might, but stats other than the final score don't count for anything in the tournament.

Watching Memphis is exciting and painful at alternate times; their talent level and free-flowing offense is awesome, while their lack of anything close to decent free throw shooting is horrible to behold. Michigan St. is playing very well and may well give Memphis a run for its money, especially if the game is close at the end.

Enjoy the rest of the tournament!

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