Sunday, March 22, 2009

Second Round Thoughts and Sweet Sixteen Preview

  • What a finish to an exciting first week of action. Here are my thoughts on the second round of games.
  • Villanova is going to give Duke quite a game and the matchup of excellent guard play on both ends should be entertaining. Duke was exposed as having very little down low against Texas, but managed to pull off the win with good defense and clutch shooting. So in a way Duke is like a guy who uses his Corvette to compensate for other deficits. Which works fine until that car is totalled by an 18-wheeler (and that 18-wheeler's name is Tyler Hansbrough). However I think Villanova's guards are the Ferrari that takes all attention away from the Corvette. If you can't follow this extensive metaphor, in plain terms I think Villanova wins.
  • Memphis is basically a team full of young NBA players. This is both an advantage and a disadvatage. When they are focused and properly motivated (thank you Grevis Vasquez), they can make a good team look silly, when they overlook teams and play selfishly their inexperiance shows and they almost lose to a 15 seed. Their Tigre a Tigre (I gotta say, for tigers neither look very intimidating) matchup with Mizzou should be very interesting as Mizzou fields an athletic roster, but one without any future pros. The way Memphis deals with Mizzou's press should go a long way in determining the outcome. If memphis remains composed and capitalizes on their athletic advantage, they could win going away, if not the Midwestern Tigers could pull the victory.
  • Connecticut looks like the most dangerous team in the tournament. As long as Lawson's toe is a question mark (it will be much tougher to play two games in a 3 day span if the toe is not healthy), I think Connecticut is the favorite. They should overwhelm a solid Perdue team to set up a potentially fabulous matchup with Memphis.
  • Pittsbugh and Louisville have not been particularly impressive through the first couple rounds. Pittsburgh in particular is at risk of their worst sweet sixteen meltdowns yet if they do not step up their level of play. While neither Xavier or Arizona should be too much for Pitt and Louisville to deal with, it would not be entirely surprising to see either of these teams heading home before the weekend is over. On the topic of Arizona, the Wildcats have to thanking the gods of the Mojave for their draw so far. First they drew an overseeded Utah and then benefitted from cleveland state knocking off Wake. Arizona now is sitting pretty in the sweet sixteen without as many haters complaining about their inclusion.
  • I think the Collins-Aldrich combo is one of the most effective combos since Chandler and Joey (Friends was all downhill from the point at which they stopped rooming together). That said Michigan State is a more complete team with a good point guard of its own that has already beat Kansas. This should be another good one but I think the Jayhawks will go home without much shame after making the Sweet Sixteen after losing 5 player to NBA last year.
  • Ty Lawson turns a solid UNC team to the most dangerous offensive machine in the nation. The way he took over the game (and absolutely faked an LSU defender out of his shoes) against LSU should strike fear into every other team in the tournament. Couple Lawson with Hansbrough, a smouldering Wayne Ellington, and Ed Davis who is rejecting everything that comes his way, and UNC is absolutely the most talented team in this tournament. That said, Gonzaga matches up well with UNC and should keep the game close up until the final ten minutes which is when I see UNC running away with it.
  • The issue of Blake Griffin's racial ambiguity was finally revealed as he is apparently half African American and half Ginger. This is a great accomplishment for gingers everywhere who now have somone other than Ron Howard to aspire too (I think I may have lost all of my Ginger readers with that comment). I of course say this all in jest, as without gingers there would be no Isla Fisher and the world would be a worse place. However I think a more complete and momentum-driven Syracuse will take out the Sooners.
  • That's all for now, check back after the Sweet sixteen for more impressions.

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