Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bracket Breakdown: Round Two

"You know all of the things that I know."

So the tourney got off to an interesting start that saw me at 13-3 after Day 1, and then a fairly disastrous 8-8 record on Day 2. All I can say is this: I'm glad I changed my Wake Forest Final Four pick. That would have been real bad. I do have to give some credit to the Big 10. I said that conference would "flame out," and they still have four teams left (and they really should have had five if Ohio State didn't blow a big lead against Siena). The ACC has been awful. The aforementioned Wake, BC, Clemson, and FSU all going down in the first round. The two games I totally regret not picking were the Cal/Maryland game and the Utah/Arizona game. They were too easy, and I think I may have psyched myself out there. However, I was 3-1 in the 8-9 games, and I can't remember the last time that happened. So, it's on to the second round:

Saturday Games:

1:05: (3) Villanova vs. (6) UCLA; East Region; Philadelphia:

Both these teams survived pretty big scares in round one, with 'Nova losing by double-digits in the second half against American, and UCLA barely able to hold on against VCU. Again, I have to stick with the "home" team here. UCLA looked totally jet-lagged on Thursday, and I don't see them getting their feet underneath them today.

Original Pick: Villanova, Present Pick: Villanova

3:20: (2) Memphis vs. (10) Maryland; West Region; Kansas City:

Talk about scares. Memphis saw their tourney lives hang in the balance against Cal St. Northridge, but I think that may have been a wake-up call. Here's the thing: There are only two ways this could go: (A) The team who almost gets beat responds with a resurgence of intensity in the next game, or (B) the team who almost gets beat is really not that good, and they are being exposed going against tougher opponents. Memphis is a bit of an unknown because three of their players from last year's National Runner-Up team got drafted, and they play no one in Conference USA. Maryland got incredibly lucky that Cal decided to not show up for their game. Seriously, that could have been one of the most dreadful tourney performances I have ever seen. The Bears looked like they were running with concrete boots. On inbounds plays against the Maryland press, they stood still, and even got a 5-second call against them, which you rarely ever see.

Original Pick: Memphis, Present Pick: Memphis

3:35: (1) Connecticut vs. (9) Texas A&M; West Region; Philadelphia:

UConn was able to play without Calhoun on the bench Thursday, but he will be back on the sidelines today against the Aggies. This game scares me because (A) I really don't like UConn's chances at all this year, and (B) A&M can jump out to really quick starts, just like they did against BYU, who they simply dominated the entire game.

Original Pick: Connecticut, Present Pick: Connecticut

5:40: (4) Washington vs. (5) Purdue; West Region; Portland:

Not picking U-Dub and showing my homerism for Miss. St. really cam back to bite me. I actually really liked the Huskies all along, and yet I went with the "hot" team, which sometimes works, but more often than not, it doesn't. So, I regret that to an extent. Purdue let Northern Iowa stay in the game, but in the end, they simply had too much size, which is why I think they will move on here.

Original Pick: Purdue; Present Pick: Purdue

5:45: (1) North Carolina vs. (8) LSU; South Region; Greensboro:

I think it will be easy to look past LSU for Carolina. I have a feeling they will hold out Lawson, which could hurt them on the perimeter, because I'm not sure if Ellington can stop Thornton. Still though, LSU is susceptible to perimeter scoring, which is why Butler was able to get back in the game against the Tigers in the first round, and which is why I think that, while UNC may not have its best game, they will still be able to win by double-digits.

Original Pick: North Carolina; Present Pick: North Carolina

5:50: (2) Oklahoma vs. (10) Michigan; South Region; Kansas City:

You know, I have no regrets about picking Clemson to go to the Elite Eight (you know, outside of the fact that they lost and all). I watched the entire Clemson/Michigan game, and Clemson was absolutely dominating down low, but Ogelsby simply could not get a shot to drop, and instead of looking for someone else, he kept shooting. I didn't know this before, but Ogelsby, in two years in the tourney, has not made a three pointer...not one. Interesting. I feel like the maze and blue will get dominated down low again, but this time, I suspect that they will be encountering a better shooting team in the Sooners.

Original Pick: Clemson; Present Pick: Oklahoma

8:10: (4) Gonzaga vs. (12) Western Kentucky; South Region; Portland:

The way the 'Zags rallied against Akron in the first round makes me wonder if this is the year they break through as a top seed. I mean they have been a top-4 seed for what, like six years in a row? Isn't this an example of the Coke Machine Corollary in full effect? They keep rocking it, eventually it falls over right?

Original Pick: Gonzaga

8:15: (2) Duke vs. (7) Texas; East Region; Greensboro:

Again, I feel like putting Scheyer at the point may have turned the tides for the Dukies (unfortunately), and in Texas, I just don't see them getting a good game here.

Original Pick: Duke, Present Pick: Duke

Sunday Games:

12:10: (3) Syracuse vs. (6) Arizona State; South Region; Miami:

For what it's worth, Jonny Flynn went from being a late first-rounder to a lottery pick in the last two weeks. Harden from State scares me though. If he gets going, and their complementary guys step up, it's going to be tough for the Orange to survive. I'll stick with my original pick in hopes that the Big East keeps going.

Original Pick: Syracuse, Present Pick: Syracuse

2:20: (4) Xavier vs. (12) Wisconsin; East Region; Boise:

Luckily, I was not one of the crowd to pick Florida State to make the Sweet Sixteen, and believe me, there were a lot of them. So, I'm riding Xavier, a team that, again, I felt was totally unappreciated by everyone considering they were an Elite Eight team last year.

Original Pick: Xavier, Present Pick: Xavier

2:30: (3) Kansas vs. (11) Dayton; West Region; Minneapolis:

This is one of the few occasions where I got both of these wrong, so this will at least give some rooting interest now. Kansas was very close to getting bounced by North Dakota State in the first round, but was able to get past the cinderella factor and the overwhelming support towards the Sioux, which makes me believe that they can do it again against Dayton, who I still don't understand how they beat the Mountaineers on Friday.

Original Pick: West Virginia, Present Pick: Kansas

2:40: (12) Arizona vs. (13) Cleveland State; Midwest Region; Miami:

I really regret not taking Arizona over Utah in the first one. Everyone had 'Zona...damn it! Well, I'm leaning towards Arizona purely based on the fact that I don't even know if Cleveland State could play any better than they did against Wake, and they are going to have to play at least as well against 'Zona as they did on Friday. I really like State, but I think 'Zona may be too much.

Original Pick: Wake Forest, Present Pick: Arizona

2:50: (1) Pittsburgh vs. (8) Oklahoma State; East Region; Dayton:

DeJuan freggin' Blair

Original Pick: Pittsburgh, Present Pick: Pittsburgh

4:50: (3) Missouri vs. (6) Marquette; West Region; Boise:

Mizzou looked great in the first round, while Marquette was barely able to scrape by Utah State. I lost like every close game in the first round...that was frustrating.

Original Pick: Missouri, Present Pick: Missouri

5:00: (2) Michigan State vs. (10) Southern Cal; Midwest; Minneapolis:

I told you about BC...this whole betting with my head thing may be something to look into. Both these teams looked great in their openers, which means this could be potentially an interesting game, and a tough one for State.

Original Pick: Michigan State, Present Pick: Michigan State

5:20: (1) Louisville vs. (9) Siena; Midwest; Dayton:

Siena was a great call for me. Ohio State had that game won, and somehow Siena was able to tie the game up, send it to OT...and then another OT. Louisville looked great, and their road to the Final Four got made a lot easier by Arizona and Cleveland State knocking out the 4 and 5 seeds. I really think that unless Siena pulls out the upset, Louisville will be booking it for Indy and the Elite 8.

Original Pick: Louisville, Present Pick: Louisville

Alright, well, I threw out all the Saturday games, and in the games I had a potential winner in, I went 7-0, which brings me back to my original theory: For some reason, I am way better on Thursday/Saturday than I am on Friday/Sunday...I don't know what it is, but I just can't get it together on the Friday games...ever. Alright, well, I'm hoping that Sunday goes as well. Even though I lost two elite eight teams already, I still have a shot, so I'm pretty stoked. I'm already making a goal for next year...14-2 on one of the first round days...and so it was written. Alright, hope your brackets are coming to a positive fruition. Cheers. Peace.


No comments: