Thursday, February 26, 2009
The VFSS Elite Eight
Before I get to the rankings a quick word on how they work. I, like many sports fans, love power rankings, its always fun to see people arbitrarily who is better than who. As such I wanted to include my own NCAA power rankings, but with a twist. I will only be ranking eight teams, and the logic behind the rankings is a little different. Instead of directly ranking who is playing the best right now my rankings are the teams most likely to be in the elite eight, per my opinion. Without further ado, the premiere of the VFSS Elite Eight.
1) Connecticut- After initially sputtering a bit after losing a valuable scorer in Jerome Dyson, Uconn pulled off a big road win at a very solid Marquette team. While they aren't perfect (but who is this year?) they seem to have enough depth to make a title push and actually do play defense. That second part elevates them over UNC for now.
2) UNC- In his ESPN blog (yes I am jealous) rap wordsmith and apparent sports watcher Lil' Wayne said the following "I really believe that Carolina has the character to win [the NCAA tournament]." While I think they can win it all too and appreciate Weezy's support of the Tar Heels, character has to be the last reason they are going to win it all. UNC's talent is unmatched and I still think they have a very good chance to win it all, but i don't think character is your strength when you occasionally decide playing offense is more fun and just don't play defense. Also Lil' Wayne claimed that Mike Tomlin should motivate the Steelers next year by claiming they don't get enough respect as indicated by their lack of involvement in Campbell's Chunky Soup ads (I'm not making this up).
3) Pittsburgh- Pitt may be the most complete team, and while they have a little less talent than UNC, they are much better defenders and have just as good a forward as Hansbrough in Dejuan Blair. However I can't put them in the top 2 until they prove they can win a sweet sixteen game (which they haven't done since 1974).
4) Louisville- Louisville has a talented team that underachieved early but has gotten some big wins and has the talent and coaching to go far. I put them over the Oklahoma Blake Griffin's because they are a deeper team and can hurt you in a larger variety of ways. Last year with comparable talent in a much stronger field they got it together in March and gave UNC a run in Charlotte in the elite eight. I think they can at least make it as far as that this year.
5) Oklahoma- The Blake Griffin's looked merely average without their namesake against top 25 level competition this past week. Blake Griffin really is the George Costanza of Oklahoma, with him they are elite without him it still may be good but not among the best. Once Griffin comes back he should make them a legitimate elite 8 threat, but I really can't see them beating a deeper and more balanced team late in the tournament.
6) Michigan State- I really don't know why they are in here. But apparently they are in the top 10 and have been winning more games recently. However, it seems likely that they have enough talent to sneak through the first few rounds in March. Plus I'm wary of UNC playing them, simply because of how bad UNC beat them early this year. I feel like UNC would revert into the "We're probably going to win anyways so let's just each try to outscore each other" mode which could lead to an upset more humiliating than when the team with all their stars back from strike got beat by Keanu's team in The Replacements.
7) Duke- The Blue Devils looked destined for another early tournament exit, which in turn would have led to smugness towards the dookies on my part. Then Coach K. actually decided to play his 5-star guard over Greg Paulus after letting him strategically sit on the bench for 2/3 of the season. Honestly, I though Duke people were supposed to be smart. Anyways now they are probably elite 8 material, though without any semblance of a talented frontcourt no better than that.
8) Memphis- I really didn't want to include them in this list as every top team they have played has resulted in a loss. Bragging about going undefeated in Conference USA is like bragging about making the final four of the NIT, you just look like an idiot when you do it. However, Wake is completely streaky and can't be expected to put together 3 straight wins against quality teams and Mizzouri is playing great, but way overachieving their talent level.