Previewing and Live Blogging the Sweet 16
Posted by Mike on March 22, 2007
I’ve so far done a terrible job of licking the first two rounds. After going 15-1 on the first day, I went 11-5 on day 2, and 9-7 in the 2nd round. Normally I can take solace in that my final four is still intact, but so is everyone else’s. Tonight, the world’s greatest sports tournament resumes, and I’ll be liveblogging SIU-Kansas and UT-Ohio State. Last week, the greatest week in sports, was missing what makes it great: upsets. UNLV is the only true underdog in the Sweet 16, and if they win against Oregon I guarantee that my bracket will deliver itself to Allah. But enough about my bracket’s jihadist tendencies. Looking at the Sweet 16:
#4 So. Illinois vs. #1 Kansas (Thursday, 7:10 pm): Frankly, I’m scared about the Salukis. Virginia Tech may be inconsistent, but Southern Illinois (and in Particular Jamaal Tatum) did an excellent job of dictating their pace throughout the game and keeping their opponent completely out of sync. That can be deadly for an inexperienced team like Kansas, who love to play at a fast pace and would be very uncomfortable with a halfcourt game, Still, I think they have too much talent.
#3 Pitt vs. #2 UCLA (Thursday, 9:57 pm): I’m taking UCLA in this one. They have more talent that the Panthers and they are also very good at disrupting their opponent’s game plan.
West Champion: Kansas
#5 Tennessee vs. Ohio State. I’m rooting for the Vols in this game, for two big reasons:
- The sooner a big threat to the Tar Heels goes down, the better.
- I have never been a fan of THE Ohio State University. There’s just something about the Buckeyes that tick me off.
My heart says the Vols. They even have the talent and the offense to pull this off against a Buckeyes team that struggled to get a victory against Xavier. But my bracket says Buckeyes, so I have to stick to my guns.
You know what? Screw my bracket. Rocky Top! WHOOOO!!!
#3 Texas A&M vs. #2 Memphis. From the beginning of this tournament, Memphis has been considered a weak #2 seed because they came from essentially a 1 bid conference. And while those arguments are valid, they did a good job of handling a tough Nevada team last Sunday. And their strength is the Aggies’ weakness: depth. Memphis likes to run a fast paced game, and John Calipari has no issue putting 10 to 11 players in a game. Texas A&M is only 7-8 deep, but their advantage is experience. They have more upperclassmen than the Tiger, including the best point guard in America, Senior Acie Law IV. Which makes me wonder, Who are Acie Law I, II, and III? In this tournament, experienced guardplay can make or break you. I’ll take the Aggies.
South Champion: Texas A&M.
#5 Butler vs. #1 Florida. This is the big upset that I would love to see. Two of the four #1 seeds must go down before the Final Four, and I think Florida should be one of them. Butler, much like SIU, wants to slow down the game by clamping down on defense. That won;t be an easy task against the tall, athletic Gators. I think that Butler will play well in the first half, but Florida’s depth will be too much for the Bulldogs to handle late.
#7 UNLV vs. #3 Oregon. I seriously underestimated UNLV in this tournament. But they have a good combination of experience and depth, even if a snail is more athletic than their point guard. But I have to pick Oregon because when they can shoot lights out, very few teams can beat them.
Midwest Champion: Oregon
#5 USC vs. #1 UNC. It shocked me to see the Trojans dominate Texas is most likely Kevin Durant’s last game in a college uniform. They did a very good job of containing the rest of the team. Having said that,they don’t have enough size to contain the Tar Heels in the paint. Hansbrough and Wright will tear them apart.
#6 Vanderbilt vs. #2 Georgetown. See #5 Tennessee vs. #1 Ohio State.
East Champion: North Carolina.
Tonight, I can finally rise from what has been a very boring Monday through Wednesday in sports, save the UNC Women’s close game against Notre Dame.