Monday, March 31, 2008

One: No Longer Lonely

Well another tournament weekend has gone by and I have again emerged somewhat humbled. As you all know, we here at IBT successfully predicted 3 out of 4 Final Four teams. What you don't know is that in the wee hours of Saturday morning some guy wanted to bet $2000 that all 1 seeds wouldn't make it and I was damn close to pulling the trigger, but the bastard wouldn't give me odds. But, I digress. And as you've undoubtedly heard, we're heading for the most anticipated Final Four in history. As was the case with our original predictions (and is even more prevalent now), there truly is no way to differentiate with these four.

All year, my top spot has wavered between Kansas and UCLA. Ever since about Christmas I have felt like they were the two most complete teams. For the longest time I felt like North Carolina was a step behind because of their defense and Memphis was probably even a step further down for a variety of reasons. But as we head to San Antonio, those disparities have vanished and the two I used to hold above the rest are actually underdogs with the lines opening UNC (-3) over Kansas and Memphis (-1) over UCLA. And to be honest, I can't disagree. With that said, as the lines suggest, a Kansas/UCLA final is not all that far-fetched. Here's an initial, off the cuff reaction to the match-ups.

Memphis v. UCLA

As you may imagine, I don't know who to pick here. My initial premonition is to take UCLA because of how much more suited they are to win a close game. I also know that Memphis has had a lot of trouble with junk defenses and/or when their dribble penetration was limited. Combine that with UCLA having some pretty solid perimeter defenders and Ben Howland having 5 days to figure them out and again we're leaning toward the Bruins.

But on the other side of that, though Kevin Love has been great, UCLA has had some trouble playing against bigger front lines – and if there's one thing Joey Dorsey is, it's big. Add in that they'll have a size advantage at every other position on the floor and again the scales tip in favor of Memphis. And though UCLA can go on some damn good runs of their own and are fairly adept at limiting those of their opponents, they have yet to face a group of athletes like Memphis.

But in the end, I think I'll lean the way of the Bruins because I thought Kansas would "out-athlete" them last year and we all remember how that went. Plus I just think they're way too good to get blown out and I just can't believe that Memphis can shoot free throws at 58% all year and then all of a sudden, when the pressure is on, make them in the clutch (and no, last weekend doesn't count because those weren't close games). The pick: UCLA 68 Memphis 63

Kansas v. North Carolina

If all you've really seen of these teams was what we saw over the weekend, you'd be crazy not to take Carolina here. (Side note: I'm a big TBL fan, but if you read the open thread from yesterday's Kansas game, you'll see that though people love to have opinions, they're rarely correct when they aren't educated. Though they're taking Kansas anyway - interesting.) Fortunately, we here at IBT have been college basketball devotees since the season started and even more so, since the Orange Bowl concluded. In short, we know that while he's a no-brainer All-American, Tyler Hansbrough isn't always unconscious facing up from 17 feet and even more importantly, that Kansas is quite a bit better than they looked yesterday. In fact, until this past weekend, we would have liked Kansas in a head-to-head game pretty much the entire season.

But they aren't playing in February, or even March, so how will this one shake out? In short, I don't have a F-ing clue. On the one hand, North Carolina is the best transition team in the country. But the other side of that is they've never played a team that could match their talent, size or depth. Specifically, they were able to play their ideal game against a MUCH less talented and not nearly as deep Louisville team, and that game wasn't decided until after the final TV timeout. Foul trouble notwithstanding, Kansas will not have this same problem. They are much better at the guard position on both ends of the floor and will have more offense and depth in the frontcourt than Louisville did. Take from that what you will.

From Kansas' perspective, they are definitely a better defensive team than North Carolina and are better able to win when they can't force their desired tempo. But the fact remains; Kansas is much better fast than they are slow, a facet with which UNC will be happy to oblige. So two questions arise from this; 1) can Kansas keep up with UNC, and 2) will their superior defense be a factor? Ideally, I say yes to both. Assuming Kansas isn't nervous again (maybe this is a big leap, but they really have NO reason to be), they have just as many shooters as UNC as they've proven on numerous occasions; most notably against Texas a couple weeks back. Secondly, and this depends on #1 being true, if the game stays close, it will eventually become a game of possessions and who can execute in the half court. In that scenario, you like to think defense prevails. Then again, if they get in a situation where they need a score and they run that ball screen handoff to Mario on the wing, my head just might explode when it doesn't work. Let's be optimistic (but of course not bias) and say next time they'll start that play and run something different from it. The pick: Kansas 88 UNC 84

The thing to keep in mind is that these picks are entirely based off my initial instinct. In the former, I didn't even address how Memphis will guard Kevin Love away from the basket and how UCLA's much shorter perimeter will defend the taller Rose and CDR. In the latter, I didn't mention UNC's prowess for offensive rebounding or how easily Chalmers should be able to score on Ellington. But that's the beautiful thing about this particular Final Four – you could analyze it all week or flip a coin and you're pick will have absolutely no more validity either way. It's going to be shit good time down in San Antonio.

1988 One Shining Moment

That may have been the most agonizing game you've ever watched yesterday, but we're two Jayhawk wins from another one of these.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Halfway Home

There really isn't too much to say this morning, but I figured with the Final Four on the horizon, a little snippet was warranted. In case you didn't get to see it on Friday, Kansas' demolition of Villanova was not truly reflected by the final margin of 15 points. It was complete domination and it was beautiful (the first half). As I said, Kansas had every capability to play that game without so much as a worry - and it was incredibly satisfying to see them execute to that degree.

What surprised me Friday happened well before Kansas even took the court. As you know, I took Wisconsin to win the game and truly thought they'd be able to slow down and frustrate Davidson. But as you also know, that didn't happen in the least bit. At every position on the floor, Davidson made Wisconsin look like the slow, boring Big 11 team that they are, and it lead to an eventual blowout. At one point, the Wildcats actually lead by 21 - which in Wisconsin terms is more like 35.

And so because of that, our Jayhawks will be facing America's new favorite team for a chance to go to San Antonio. It's hard to complain, because it means that in order to get to the promise land of college basketball, they will have had to beat only 1 single digit seed in #8 UNLV. For sake of comparison, UNC had to play #4 Wazzou and #3 Lousiville. Similarly, Memphis had to face #5 Michigan State and today will square off against #2 Texas, a team we certainly know to be pretty damn good. UCLA had, never mind.

But if any of you have watched Davidson over the past two weeks or throughout the course of the year, you know they aren't a 10 seed. For one thing, they're ranked. We all know how subjective and unreliable those rankings are, but any team that wins 25 straight games is probably pretty worthy. Hell, I don't think many would argue that they aren't ranked high enough. Just pulling a few teams out of the mix, Butler is 10, Drake 14, and Vandy 16 - I think you would have a pretty tough time arguing that any of those teams are better than Davidson. Hell, Georgetown is 8 and Wisconsin is 5 (granted both were clearly overrated) and we all say what happened there. I would argue, with the possible exception of Georgetown, that Davidson would beat each of those teams and many more in their company more often than not.

But the same will not be true today when they play the Hawks. That's not to say they won't win, but they won't be the better team. And as I've said all along, all you can ask for is that your team is put in the position to win every time they're on the court. As has been the case all year long, the same will be true today. Up to this point, it's been enough to come out with a win nearly 92% of the time. I have a great deal of respect for subjectivity, but when it comes down to it, the numbers rarely lie and a figure like 92% makes me feel pretty good even if every living creature that does not count Kansas as its favorite team will be rooting heavily against the Hawks today.

Just as was the case Friday night, the onus will be on the guards, primarily Russell to stop them at the point of attack. He was able to do this with Reynolds and key #1 for tonight's game is if he can do the same to Richards. As I did Friday, I like the odds of this happening. Keeping with odds, when Kansas gets to play fast, I'll usually take my chances with them. Whereas Davidson was able to speed up Georgetown and Wisconsin and take them out of their game, that plays directly into the hands of the Jayhawks. Knowing those things, I'm going to go ahead and say Curry is held below 30 for the first time in tournament (28) and the Hawks pack their bags for San Antonio getting the proverbial monkey of Bill Self's back.

The pick: Kansas 84 Davidson 73

Before I leave you to the games, I want to throw congrats the way of UNC and UCLA. Tyler Hansbrough re-won me over last night (I love him as a freshman but hated him since) - the guy's a gamer. And Kevin Love won me over a long time ago and last night did nothing to dissuade that. Obviously I dislike both of these teams, but there couldn't be two more worthy adversaries this year.

And in case you haven't seen them all yet, here are some links to some of the Bill Self articles around the country today.

First, from your nation's best sportswriter.

Secondly, from someone not nearly as talented, but a bit higher profile.

And thirdly, from Methzou alum Pat Forde.

Finally, here's an excerpt from STF, via Deadspin, "Here's what Self is facing, pressure-wise:

• Facing a hugely popular Cinderella team
• Could get beat by a #10 seed
• Two #1 seeds are in San Antonio already, Memphis could make it three
• He plays the last game of the weekend
• If he wins, he gets to play his predecessor, Roy Williams
• If Mark Mangino can win an Orange Bowl, what's your problem?

That about sums it up. And you wonder why the guy's going bald."

All I can say is, I hope he and the guys in the white jerseys slept better than I did last night.

Rock Chalk!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gameday Motha Uckaaa's

Happy Friday to everyone – it's great to have basketball back. Unfortunately, with the exception of Xavier/WVU, the games last night were largely disappointing. North Carolina continued to look like the team of the tournament so far. Tennessee (as predicted) continued to display their complete lack of a half court offense (or defense, for that matter) and since they finally had to play a team with the same athletic ability, they were crushed. And UCLA, for all its "struggles", continues to march on. As his been the trend in this tournament, the second day of each round usually provides more excitement and I have a feeling this one will be no different. To label myself anxious this morning would not be doing justice to whatever this emotion should actually be called. I don't mean that in a bad way – unless of course you are my boss and were hoping for some productivity out of me.

Before we get to a little breakdown of this evening's main attraction for us Jayhawk fans, I thought I'd delve into the Elite 8 match-ups produced last night. Both are between 1 and 3 seeds (and the possibility exists that the Midwest and South will provide the same). Also, you have to love Charles Barkley.

North Carolina v. Louisville
I'm going to take UNC here for a few reasons, but I won't be shocked if Louisville pulls the upset. On the surface, UNC has been the most impressive team in the tournament, playing with double digit leads for 30+ minutes in each. But on the other hand, some of this success may be fool's gold. I say that gingerly and with all due respect to their team as the offense has been incredible. But they did allow 40-some points to Mount St. Mary's in the first half, allowed Arkansas to shoot 48%, and I can't even count the amount of open looks/missed layups that Wazzu had last night. Now, part of that speaks to North Carolina forcing the pace, but it also has to be mentioned that if they play the same against teams like Louisville, Kansas or UCLA, their season will be ending.

I can't quite figure out Louisville either. I didn't see their game against Boise St., but clearly they had no trouble. They were even better against OU, dominating from the start, but that one was a long time coming also. And last night, they absolutely dominated a #2 seed (still think you deserved a #1, Bruce?). But I can't help but notice that they do not have a point guard and are unbelievably sloppy and turnover prone. At first I thought they'd be a really tough match-up for UNC, but now I'm not so sure, because there is no team that makes you pay in transition better than the Heels. The pick: UNC

UCLA v. Xavier
This is another tough game to figure. I guess that's to be expected, considering it's an Elite 8 game. On the shell, UCLA should absolutely dominate as they are better in every phase of the game. But I can't help but think that they are eerily similar to UCONN of 2006 in that they're just living too close to the edge and a team live Xavier (George Mason) that has: more talent than they're given credit for, a solid defense, and nothing to lose just might be the tipping point for the Bruins. Of course, just as with UCONN, I won't be the least bit shocked if UCLA comes out and wins this one going away, either.

I think this one may ultimately come down to if Josh Duncan can stay out of foul trouble. Xavier is clearly a different team with him in the game and while he won't have the same success he's used to against Kevin Love, him staying on the court is invaluable. For one thing, he can pull Love away from the basket (and rebounds) because he has a sweet 15 footer. And aside from that, it always stands to reason that the more options you can put out there the better, because even if they're being locked down, it should be able to open up other areas. I'm going to go with Bruins here, but again, I will not be all that shocked if the Musketeers pull the upset and that is something I couldn't have imagine myself saying as recent as 2 weeks ago. The pick: UCLA

Now, for the main course…

Kansas v. Villanova
First off, if you're interested, here is the take from a Villanova blogger. If it's a pro-Kansas article you're looking for, here is Doyel's take from CBSSportsline (ps - I hate that bastard!). Per Wednesday's post, you already know how I feel about this one. Kansas is clearly the better team, likely in every facet of the game. They score more, they allow less, they rebound better, they take care of the ball better, and they have more balance and depth. None of this is debatable. On paper, this one's no contest. And if the team's played a 7 game series, Kansas would take it easily. But if that were the case, there would be a few more banners in Allen Fieldhouse. Add in the fact that Villanova is the rare case of a team playing entirely with house money that also has loads of talent and in a one game scenario, anything can happen.

If I just scared the hell out of you, take solace in knowing that despite that, the Jayhawks don't have to do anything spectacular to win this game. I would argue, in fact, that they could play their 'B' game and come out with a win. Obviously none of us want to take that chance, but it could certainly happen. 'Nova plays solid defense and KU won't have a field day (even on the inside), but they will have the advantage - possibly at every position - especially when Sherron is in the game. As are many games, this one should be in hand as long as the Hawks can take care of the ball. Assuming they don't turn it over too often (< 14 would be ideal), it stands to reason that with their height advantage, ability to penetrate, and overall balance that they will be plenty efficient on offense.

As for the defensive side of things, there's a reason all you've heard about is Villanova's guards. Cunningham and Pena are both solid forwards who can score some points and get some rebounds, but they aren't going to win this game for them. Their guards (Reynolds, Stokes and Fisher), on the other hand can all penetrate and hit the three so they need to be contained. As is always the case, this starts with Russ. If he can keep Reynolds in front of him, while also applying good pressure, things should be fine. Because, as Scottie Reynolds goes, so goes Villanova. I like what I've seen from Russ lately, so I feel pretty good about his ability to get this done tonight and power the Hawks into the Elite 8.

The pick: Kansas 76 Villanova 61

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Picture Time

I really don't have all that much for you today, but I saw a few pictures that were worth passing on, so here they are.

First, we have Darrell Arthur post dunk and apparently hitting his head on the backboard.

We also have a photo courtesy of the LJW's football beat writer Ryan Wood, who attended the open shoot-arounds and media sessions at Ford Field today. Amazingly, this is the view inside of Ford Field, not from the upper deck, but from the 100 level.

I hate the NCAA even more than I hate snow storms on March 27. I just want to go home and get cheesed out of my mind to watch these games. (Bonus point if you're privvy to that reference)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All You Need to Know About the Sweet 16

Since my concentration level is work is approaching an all-time low anyway, today we have for you some quick breakdowns of each of the Sweet 16 games. Also, if you haven't seen them, I've linked each of the #1 seeds to a scouting report from a prior coach. You likely won't be caught off guard with any of the info, but they're all very interesting reads. Pay particular attention to the last line in the UCLA report.


UNC v. Wazzu
Skinny… There's really not a lot to analyze here. We all know who the better team is, likely at every position and certainly off the bench. If this game is played with any sort of a pace and extends into the eighties, it probably won't be much of a game. But if Wazzu can stop the Heels in transition and force this down into the sixties, we could have a possible upset brewing.

Selfishly… I want Kansas and North Carolina to match up in the semis in San Antonio (and no, it's not because I hate Roy – far from it actually), so obviously the Heels would need to prevail for that to occur.

Actually… I absolutely won't under-estimate the Cougs, but the Heels just have too much here. If I'm a Heels fan, I hope Tenny knocks out Pitino though, because they aren't the best matchup for UNC.

Louisville v. Tennessee

Skinny… There likely will be a lot more ins and outs determining the winner here than in the other matchup. For one thing, if Tennessee doesn't take care of the ball any better than they did against Butler (doesn't even pressure), this is the end of the line for them. For some reason I chalked up Tennessee on my bracket and I've still yet to figure out why, because they're probably only better in one phase of the game; transition.

Selfishly… I really can't decide. On the one hand, I have Tenn. in my bracket and could use the help. Also in their corner, I think UNC would handle them rather easily, (hopefully) setting up a game with the Hawks. However, I absolutely love college basketball and a Lousiville/UNC match-up intrigues me a whole lot more, for several obvious reasons.

Actually… I gotta go with the Cards. I think Bruce Pearl has done a good job, but he's no Pitino. And more than that, Tennessee doesn't have a point guard, let alone one that's suited to handle Louisville's pressure defense. The biggest question here is; will the Cards be ready on offense? If so, they should be able to handle the Vols.


Kansas v. Villanova
Skinny… Though this is a 1/12 match-up, Villanova is not your typical 12 seed. And as I mentioned the other day, I would actually argue that no upsets occurred in their pod and that the best team truly came out of it. But despite that, this is still a 1/12 match-up and historically, twelve's are 0-13 in these games. The thing you have to like as a Kansas fan is that 'Nova is dependent on their guards, a position which Kansas obviously is known for as well.

Selfishly… Pretty worthless category, I know. But actually, I don't just want the Hawks to win this one. I want them to control it, because they have every capability of doing so and it would provide them with that much more confidence heading into the regional final.

Actually… I may not get my wish entirely as 'Nova represents the rare combination of a team with nothing to lose that also has loads of talent. With that said, the Hawks are much better on both ends of the floor (scoring more and allowing less) and really should be able to play this one at arm's length and win it in double figures.

Wisconsin v. Davidson

Skinny… As you may have heard, the key here will be whether or not Wisconsin can stop Stephen Curry. And let's be honest, there really isn't a worse match-up for the Wildcats, because if there's one team that can shut down an offense, it's the Badgers.

Selfishly… I would obviously love for Davidson to pull off the upset for several reasons. 1) You have to root for Stephen Curry; 2) Kansas matches up better against them; and 3) I wouldn't have to endure watching an entire Wisconsin game.

Actually… As I alluded to above, this is the worst possible draw for Davidson as Wisconsin will be able to at the very least slow Stephen Curry while also limiting their other players. The blueprint for Davidson here is to keep it close with defense and hope Wiscy gets nervous at the end and Curry is left open to hit a few. Unfortunately, I don't see it going down like that.


Memphis v. Michigan State
Skinny… Very intriguing match-up here and could end up providing the first loss for a #1 seed. With all of their bodies, MSU should be able to neutralize Memphis' inside game. The key will be on the perimeter if MSU can slow the Tiger's penetration and if Neitzel and Lucas can create some shots of their own.

Selfishly… I'll be pulling for the Spartans. I don't really have a good reason (especially because I have Memphis in my bracket), but that's what I'll be doing.

Actually… I want to call the upset here, but I'm just not convinced. I mean, sure Lucas has looked good, but he hasn't been going against Rose. And Raymar Morgan is every bit the athlete of CDR, but he has a tendency to disappear at times. What the hell, I'll go out on a limb and say Neitzel and Rose take over late, with Neitzel getting the last laugh.

Texas v. Stanford

Skinny… Much like UNC/Wazzu, this is a battle of styles with Stanford planning on dominating the inside and Texas the outside. And to be honest, both should be able to with the question being; to what extent?

Selfishly… Being a fan of the Big 12 and having the Horns in my bracket, I'll be leaning heavily that way. Plus, I really don't want to see the Lopez sisters in San Antonio.

Actually… My head tells my Texas, but my gut is trying to tell me Stanford. If there were ever a time for Texas to zone, this is it. But can they rebound out of it? If they can, they should be in good shape as their offense should prove effective, even moreso if James/Atchley can draw the Lopez sisters away from the basket and possibly into foul trouble. Add in the Houston factor and I'll go Horns in a close one.


UCLA v. Western Kentucky
Skinny… As if UCLA didn't have enough of a walk already, now they get Western Kentucky (no offense, Hilltopper). I honestly don't know what to analyze here, because WKU is over-matched everywhere. Their two best players, Brazelton and Lee will likely be guarded by Collison and Westbrook, respectively – match-ups I don't like as a WKU fan.

Selfishly… WKU all the way. If this happens, I'd argue it's a bigger upset than George Mason over UCONN two years ago.

Actually… As I mentioned, the Bruins just have too much here. In addition to the guard match-ups, they've also got Kevin Love on the inside and he will almost assuredly dominate the smallish Hilltoppers. It's doubtful UCLA will need any unbelievably bad calls to pull this one out.

Xavier v. West Virginia.

Skinny… Now this is a tough one to call, probably the most evenly matched game of the Sweet 16. Can Burrell lock up Alexander? The answer to that is likely what this game hinges on.

Selfishly… I really don't have a preference. I guess I'll lean West Virginia because I think they pose a bigger threat (albeit not a large one) to UCLA and I'm hoping to see Huggy in another beautiful pimp suit and the bigger the stage, the more likely that becomes.

Actually… Again, I'm really not sure. In this situation I'd normally go with the team with the best player and likely go WVU because of Alexander. But Drew Lavender has looked pretty good and by playing point, can control the game a bit more. In a no win situation, go with the guy that's been there – WVU marches on.

**Post-edit** Here's what Basketball Prospectus had to say.

Your thoughts?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Detroit Rock City

If you ever start feeling like you really understand college basketball and that you can accurately predict what's going to happen, all it takes is watching the first weekend of the NCAA tournament to snap you back to reality. Because none of us have a friggin' clue. Even those of you that got lucky and picked the right upsets as I'm sure Davidson and Western Kentucky are providing ample boasting for thousands of men around the country that couldn't have named a player on either team prior to last week. But they knew it was going to happen.

In other news, we here at IBT (despite not consulting my colleagues, we do all have the same final four) still have our Final Four in tact, with UCLA being the only team having to endure a really close game, though Texas made yesterday a lot tougher than it needed to be. By the way, how incredible are these pictures?

Interestingly enough, the top three teams of the first weekend will all be I Charlotte this upcoming weekend. Clearly the most impressive of them all was North Carolina, easily topping the century mark in both games. But to their own credit, Washington State was pretty impressive as well in perfectly opposite fashion, holding Winthrop to 40 points (not that surprising) and then holding offensive-minded Notre Dame to 41 (tip of the cap). I still expect UNC to prevail, but as I said in my preview, I think Washington State will give them one hell of a headache.

Right behind those two was probably Louisville, first handling Boise St. and then utterly humiliating Oklahoma. If the first weekend was any indication (though it rarely is), a UNC/Louisville regional final on Saturday has us very excited. The fourth team to survive in the East was Tennessee, though while the other 3 were magnificent, Tennessee was possibly the least impressive team to advance and really didn't deserve to win either of their games and still hasn't looked good since their win at Memphis. Which probably means they'll end up in Atlanta. UNC

Moving to the West, we already mentioned UCLA and the questionable call pushing them through, but below them is where the real surprises happened. I didn't pick Western Kentucky here (I had Drake), but I'm not totally shocked that they are. Unfortunately, this is the end of the road for them as UCLA will likely re-focus a bit after Saturday and win this one comfortably. Below that I knew I was taking some chances with my picks (Arizona and Baylor), neither of which panned out, to leave us a not so shocking Xavier and West Virginia matchup, that I have no idea who will win. UCLA

As for the south region, of the four teams to advance, the only game that was decided before the final possession was Michigan St., as they handled Pitt with relative ease. I love Bobby Knight as a coach, but his picking of Pitt to win it all was so damn dumb, I just can't let it go. Yes, they won the all-coveted Big East tournament. And yes it happened in nearby MSG. But until that happened, they were likely looking at about a 7 seed and even if they had won that game and gotten by Memphis – who in their right mind would think they could then reel off wins over Texas, UCLA and Kansas/UNC?! But alas, we don't have to hear about that any more. What we do get to look forward to is Tom Izzo having 5 days to prepare for Memphis. If we see the same Michigan State team that showed up this past weekend, I'd say bye bye Tigers, but you just never know with them. They'll likely hold Memphis down and rebound well, but lest we forget, this is the same team that only scored 36 points against Iowa.

On the bottom of this region is possibly the most intriguing game of the weekend (though Tenn/Lousiville will get more play) with the contrasting styles of Texas and Stanford facing off. I don't think Texas will have much trouble scoring as their guards are obviously better and James and Atchley should be able to pull the Lopez sisters away from the rim. What I worry about it Texas' ability to contain them on the other end. I'll be taking Texas, but they better close it out a little stronger than they did against Miami. And oh yeah, DJ Augustin – what in the shit was that?! I've seen some airballed free throws in my day, but that thing missed by at least 6 inches. Texas

I'm sure by now you're wondering why I haven't mentioned this year's tournament darling, Davidson. Well here it goes - even though I had actually watched Davidson several times this year and thought they were better than Gonzaga, I didn't take them to win because everyone else was and I figured the Zags would relish being an underdog again. So much to my liking, Gonzaga built up a big lead and seemed destined for the second round – until Stephen Curry decided to score 30 second half points while Josh Pargo began throwing up contested threes that were lucky to draw iron. Despite picking Gonzaga, by about the 4 minute mark, I was heavily rooting for Davison here. And so even though I had the Hoyas beating the Zags in round two, of course I was again rooting for Davidson – and watching them come back from 17 down was as enjoyable as anything outside of the OT thriller Drake and Western Kentucky gave us Friday. So big kudos to the Davidson Wildcats, who will now be forced to play the slowest game of their lives as they match up with Big 11 foe Wisconsin. As a Kansas fan, I'm rooting for Davidson just so I don't have to endure any more Badger games.

Speaking of the Jayhawks, they will be matched up with another "Cinderella" as 12th seeded Villanova emerged from their pod. Clearly Villanova is better than a 12 seed and one could easily argue that no upsets happened at all in their portion of the bracket. I wasn't smart enough to pick them over Clemson (way to blow an 18 point lead), but seeds aside if those two teams were matched up say, prior to the ACC tournament, who do you think would be favored? And as for Siena and Vandy, there's one I actually did pick and they were obviously the better team, destroying the 'Dores by 21 points. While we're on this, it should be mentioned that the only teams from the ACC and SEC to survive the first weekend were Carolina and Tennessee – shocking!

Since this is a Kansas blog, I might as well throw a little love the Jayhawk's way as well. As mentioned Friday, their first round trouncing of Portland State was great. And though it likely got very little respect nationally, their win over UNLV was very impressive because of how it happened. I say that because the Hawks were forced into UNLV's style and could never force the pace, yet they won by 19. Even more telling was the fact that they couldn't effectively exploit their inside size advantage (only guards in double figures) – yet they won by 19. As we all know, NCAA tournament games are mutually exclusive by nature, but any Jayhawk fan has to be happy with the way their team has looked so far. And after last year having to head to Anaheim to play a game SIU team and then UCLA, heading to Detroit to play Villanova and Wisconsin/Davidson sounds pretty good. Kansas

Finally, I want to give some love to the Big 12 for putting together a pretty solid weekend.

In the first round they went a very impressive 5-1, with Baylor being the lone culprit to lose. The second round didn't go quite as well as KSU was handled easily by Wisconsin, Oklahoma was humiliated by Louisville and Texas A&M was jobbed out of overtime against UCLA. Fortunately, Kansas and Texas advanced, pushing the league record to 7-4. Only two leagues have more teams still playing, with the Pac 10 (UCLA, Wazzu, Stanford) and the Big East (Villanova, Lousiville, West Virginia) having three apiece. If KU and Texas are to advance, they will have at least as many as both of the other leagues, as Kansas will have eliminated 'Nova and Texas will have done the same to Stanford.

That's all for now, but we'll be back offering a preview of the game against Villanova, and time permitting, will try and provide some information, etc. on Wisconsin and Davidson as well. Do your best to get through another awful week of work, and hopefully the Jayhawks will reward you with another great weekend that culminates with all of us planning our trip to San Antonio. Rock Chalk!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

That'll Do

From the Associated Press...

The last two times Kansas won by more than 20 points in the first round as a No. 1 seed, it was upset in the second round.

Year 2nd-rd opponent Result
2008 UNLV ?
1998 Rhode Island Lost
1992 UTEP Lost

Apparently the AP is relying on a source that isn't quite up to date. I can't think of any other reason to not mention last year's run as a #1 seed that started with a 40 point win over Niagara and continued with a convincing win over Kentucky.

But enough about that. As expected (but never to be underestimated), the Jayhawks dispatched Portland St. with relative ease today and will now move on to play UNLV on Saturday. I don't know a whole lot about the Rebels just yet, except that they play exceptional halfcourt defense, but they're pretty small. The key player to stop will be Wink Adams, as he not only leads them in scoring, but also chips in some rebounds and is one of their better assist guys. As I'm sure you know, they are coached by ex-Wildcat Lon Kruger - who, by the way, would have been a lot better long-term choice than Frank Martin - but that's neither here nor there.

Long story short, UNLV is extremely solid and will definitely try and slow the game down and win it with their defense. Interesting stat from their game today - in the first half, they held Kent St. to 10 points, 1 assist and forced 17 turnovers. I wasn't watching it too closely, so it's hard to say if that was more on account of their defense or Kent St being nervous, but if I had to guess, I'd say a little bit of both. Clearly, this is their strength.
But the Hawks should have an ENORMOUS advantage on the inside as the tallest Rebel is Matt Shaw, who is listed at 6'8" and pulls down 4 boards a game. Their best inside player is Joe Darger (6'7"), who averages 11 and 5. Their third leading scorer is Curtis Terry (6'5"), and he puts together a 10, 5 and 3 type game. A la Brandon Rush, their leading rebounder is wing player, Rene Rougeau (6'6"), pulling down almost 6 a game, while scoring 9 per.

So if you can't tell, the game will be won in the paint. The Jayhawks have an incredible size advantage and have really no excuse for not dominating the boards. If it does turn out to be a slow, close game, this will prove especially key as winning the rebounding battle will not only limit them to 1-shot possessions, but also give the Hawks a chance to steal some easy points on the offensive end.

We'll try and check back in periodically, but are making no promises. As for the Big 12, so far the league is 1-1, as Baylor decided not to show up for their first tournament appearance in 20 years. I mean, why bother? But all kidding aside, I guess congrats are in order for them making it, but I can't imagine they are too happy with the piss poor showing they gave. There are two more conference games tonight as Beasley takes on USC and Texas A&M faces up against the Mormons of BYU.

Rock Chalk!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Picks Are In (sort of)...

Since I've basically memorized the bracket and all the reasonable matchups throughout, yet not come up with my final four, I'm forcing myself to reach a conclusion on this blog. Whether or not that translates to my firm predictions remains up for debate, but at least it's something. By the way, here is an extremely thorough breakdown of the tourney.

We'll start in East. I'm not sure I consider this the toughest overall bracket as most are claiming, but I think it's probably the toughest path for a #1 seed. As you'll notice, I'm basically without balls with my picks here, but I just don't see too many upsets occurring. Starting from the top, I think both Indiana and Wazzu can (and likely will) give UNC a large headache, but neither have enough athletic ability to stay with them for more than 30-35 minutes. As for the bottom, I'm as lukewarm on Tennessee as anyone, but to me they're clearly better than either Butler or Louisville and I don't see any other viable challengers down there.

The elite 8 is an extremely tough call as I have similar issues with UNC and Tennessee – mostly surrounding their defense. Everyone raves about Tennessee's ability to pressure and force turnovers, but I just don't see that working against a healthy Ty Lawson. Something else the Vols like to hang their hat on is being able to wear a team down – another thing I don't see working against UNC. And lastly, UNC has the be-all-end-all of beings associated with college basketball, and he just happens to be a better inside presence than Tennessee can contain (If you look back, the ONLY real inside force they've seen is Patterson, who scored 20 when Kentucky beat the Vols). It's also worth noting that the other truly great offensive team they faced, Texas, obliterated the Vols by 19 points, despite Tennessee hitting 16 three balls.

UNC over Indiana
Wazzu over Notre Dame
Louisville over Oklahoma
Tennessee over Butler

UNC over Wazzu
Tennessee over Louisville

UNC over Tennessee

As you surely know by now, the East and Midwest winners face off in San Antonio, so that's where we'll head next. At first I thought this was an easy regional, and I still think Kansas' path is relatively simple, but as a whole this is a toughie. Consider you have the regular season champions from the Big 12, 11 and East. After that you've got a Vandy team that may be over-seeded but is still good enough to have beaten Tennessee and lambasted Kentucky (by 41), though both were in their weird gym, where they're clearly a different team. Below them you have a Clemson team that took UNC to the wire three times and legitimately should have won two of them, before blowing 1 in OT and the other in 2OT. Below them you have a USC team that starts a minimum of three NBA players and won in Pauley Pavilion. Moving further down you have everyone's Cinderella of yesterday (Gonzaga) and today (Davidson) to go along with extremely legit teams, UNLV and Kent State. And if that's not enough, the #11 seed has the best player in the nation and when he's not soiling himself another possible lottery pick.

Again, I apologize for all the chalk here as there are clearly some good upset picks here. Not only could KSU beat USC, but they have plenty of firepower to win a couple more as well – but they just haven't shown enough away from Bramlage to warrant me taking them anywhere. Also, I've seen Davidson give a solid effort against good teams, but Gonzaga has a tendency to play well as the underdog, which it looks like they're becoming. As for the top I took Siena over Vandy for the same reason I passed on KSU – they're just too inconsistent outside their weird gym. But if they do get by Siena, I could easily see them taking down Clemson as well.

As for the next two, I don't think I really need to justify KU over Clemson. Yes they're pretty good and they beat Duke and have given UNC trouble, but Kansas has the inside game Duke is missing and the defense UNC is missing. As for Wiscy over JT3, I don't have much of a defense, except that they seem like a more efficient version of Pitt, who I just watched beat G-Town pretty easily. Kansas over Wiscy is attributed to: 1) the eye test; 2) offensive abiltity, and 3) depth. So despite all of the firepower in this region, if the best team Kansas has to beat is Wisconsin, they don't have much of an excuse for not making it to San Antonio.

Kansas over Kent St.
Clemson over Siena
Wisconsin over USC
Georgetown over Gonzaga

Kansas over Clemson
Wisconsin over Georgetown

Kansas over Wisconsin

Going from perhaps the deepest to by far the easiest, we'll head West. Whereas the bigger champions from the East were the ACC and SEC and in the Midwest, they had the Big 12, 11 and East; the west has the Pac10 and….A10 and MWC. Riiight. This does, however, present my biggest string of upsets as I have very little faith in some of the top seeds. I would love to go against UCLA here (only because of Love and Mbah Moute's injuries), but I just can't because the rest of the teams are so average.

As you can see, I'm taking a few more chances here than in the others. The only real "leap" on the top is Drake over UConn and I'm solely attributing that to their ability to play the "no respect" card, which we'll hear ad nauseum until UCLA hammers them. The bottom is a different story. I actually like Xavier, but seeing them lose twice to St. Joe's and assuming Lavender's injury is worse than they're letting on I think Baylor is a tough matchup. I would also pick Purdue over X, but again I think all of Baylor's guards may prove a bit quick for the Boilers, who have been slogging away in the Big 11 all year and may not be up to speed. My biggest gamble here is probably Arizona, because they're unbelievably schizophrenic. But they're also unbelievably talented and battle tested and if Lute Olsen is done trying to sabotage the season, I like their odds to steal a few wins. But alas, UCLA has clearly shown they are much better.

UCLA over Texas A&M
Drake over UConn
Baylor over Xavier
Arizona over Duke

UCLA over Drake
Arizona over Baylor

UCLA over Arizona

And finally, we head South for possibly the most top-heavy region. Memphis and Texas lead the way, but anyone that doesn't think Stanford is better than Duke has been seeing way too much of either Mike Patrick or Dick Vitale. After that you've got a very hot Pitt team, but it's hard to say how well they'll play outside of MSG, where they commonly over-achieve. No one else really does much for me here.

So again I have some 1st round upsets here, but I don't like them going any further. I haven't seen enough of Temple to know how legit their run through the A-10 was, but MSU has been enormously inconsistent and for some reason I think they'll be off this weekend. I'm taking Kentucky over Marquette mostly because I like Billy Clyde in these situations (this would be a lot easier with Patrick Patterson). After that I do think Pitt will cause some problems for Memphis, but I just think the Tigers are a bit too deep. The toughest game to pick in the whole region is Texas/Stanford because of the contrasting styles. If there were ever a game for Texas to zone, this is it. From it they should be able to limit the touches of the Lopez sisters and make the Cardinal shoot from deep – both good things. What I'm unsure of is if they can rebound from it, which may decide they game. And lastly, it may again be bias, but I just think they're a better than Memphis. If you were to compare Memphis and Kansas, you'd likely say that the defense is comparable, Kansas has the edge with inside scoring and outside shooting, but Memphis can penetrate better. Based on what I've seen in their two games, if that's a correct, I'd say Texas can outscore the Tigers. The real issue here is that I'm not sure Texas can win 4 straight games, playing at least 3 different styles.

Memphis over Miss. St.
Pitt over Temple
Stanford over Kentucky
Texas over Miami

Memphis over Pitt
Texas over Stanford

Texas over Memphis

Which leaves us with a Final Four of:

UNC v. Kansas
Texas v. UCLA

If that's really the case, what a weekend we are in for in San Antonio. I mean, who is the favorite there? Who do you rule out? Which, I guess, means there is no way it's going to happen. And even if by chance this does happen, I know a lot of this is wrong by simply looking at my waaay too chalky Sweet Sixteen (West aside).
Bad Omen?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sexy Time!

No UNC or Memphis...though I guess Psycho T was on the cover 2 weeks ago...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We're Down to Just Our Socks...

And you know what that means…It’s business time. After a third straight incredible Big XII championship between the two schools that are clearly the class of the conference, we have officially entered what Bill Self likes to call the third season. He’s mastered seasons 1 and 2 – here’s to hoping he can add the 3rd to his repertoire over the next few weeks.

As for the Kansas draw, I like it. Not as much as I like UCLA’s, but it’s plenty manageable all the same. For those of you mysteriously unaware, the region looks like this at the top:

1. Kansas
2. Georgetown
3. Wisconsin
4. Vanderbilt
5. Clemson
6. USC

I’m not really sure who scares me the most on that list. Each of them is plenty capable of knocking off the Hawks, but I don’t think there’s much denying that Kansas is clearly better than all of them either. This was not the case last year when they had to venture out to Anaheim to play UCLA. You can’t ask for anything more than that, I guess.

As for the bottom of the bracket, how about the 11/6 match up of KSU and USC? You don’t think a Beasley/Mayo pitch may have played a part there, do you? Me neither. The real question is how does KSU as an 11 seed get to play in Omaha, where they’ll clearly have the advantage over the Trojans in the 1st round and if they were to win over either Wisconsin or Fullerton? Very interesting. By the way, not that he’ll get the chance, but could Beasley outscore Wisconsin if they played?

As for the other regions, UCLA has an absolute cakewalk. Texas got exactly what they wanted by being the 2 and able to play in Houston. And the east is damn tough at the top with UNC, Tennessee and Louisville representing the top 3 lines. Here’s the snapshot:

1. UNC
2. Tennessee
3. Louisville
4. Washington State

1. Memphis
2. Texas
3. Stanford
4. Pittsburgh

2. Duke (Ha, what a crock!)
3. Xavier
4. Connecticut

I’m not sure where I’m at with those regions just yet. If I were going straight off whom I thought was best, I’d say UNC, UT and UCLA. But part of me thinks Stanford is a tough match-up for Texas and that UNC has a slip-up somewhere in there. I could really see someone like Wazzu with their defense and slow down style presenting a pretty big problem for them if they happen to meet in the sweet sixteen.
Now, for a little Big 12 recap. As expected, 6 teams did make it in, though Baylor and KSU cut it a little close with their early losses in KC this weekend.

1. Kansas (Midwest) – Addressed above. No complaints. Since I don't have anywhere else to put this, it's going here. How incredible was their ball movement today? 25 assists on 26 field goals...

2. Texas (South) – Have to love their geography and their chances against Memphis (or Pitt) if they can get by Stanford.

6.Oklahoma (East) – How did this happen? How mad are you if you’re Butler (29-3) and get placed as the 7 in this region and have to face South Alabama (in Birmingham) in the first round, followed by Tennessee? Then again, OU has to play St. Joe’s and probably Louisville, so they don’t have it too easy either.

9. Texas A&M (West) – They can thank their performance at the Sprint Center for this seed. They have a tough one against BYU to start and then get UCLA next, so I don’t see them sticking around too long though.

11. KSU (Midwest) – Again, I think they caught a nice break getting to play in Omaha. I don’t see them beating USC, but I’ve said all along, you can’t predict what you’re going to get from them. 1) Obviously Beasley can take over at any time. 2) You never know whether Walker is going to play like a lotto pick or wet himself.

11. Baylor (West) – Congrats to the Bears. And shame on CBS for making them wait until the last spot announced. Their match up with Purdue is a tough pick. On the one hand, I love their guard play, which we know is invaluable in the first two rounds. But Purdue is pretty disciplined and outside of the Big 1 tourney, hasn’t been losing too many that they shouldn’t. If they do get by them though, I love their chances against either Xavier or Georgia.

That’s all for now, but we’ll be back prior to Thursday with some thoughts on Portland State and other possible opponents. Rock Chalk!

*Post-edit* I'll link to this later as well, because it's too good to be hidden here at the bottom of a day old post. But it's brilliance is plenty worthy of multiple posts. I give you... Billy Packer's Dickipedia page.

Digger Needs a Nap

I know this comes as a shock to most of you, but I think it's now safe to say that Digger is getting a little too old for this gig he has with the worldwide leader. I'm linking it, because AA has it embedded and apparently YouTube has already been forced to take it dow. Could ESPN be worried about Mr. Phelps' credibility?

In other news, Brandon Rush and Kansas have a chance to grab a number 1 seed with a win over their newfound (and legitimate) rival, the Texas Longhorns. Either way, we are indifferent as I imagine the committee has them each already slotted with the winner being the 1 seed in the midwest (Tennessee as the 2) and the loser being the 2 seed in the south (Memphis as the 1).

What will be extremely interesting to see is if Illinois (v. Wiscy) or Georgia (v. Arkansas) can steal a bid from the already crowded bubble.

Also, it should be noted that I don't consider them on the bubble and actually think it sets up PERFECTLY for them to be on the 8/9 line in UNC's region, but some purple people seem to be a bit anxious after their late season collapse and have become a bit hostile because of it. From Bring on the Cats, "Speaking of rough play, from the Wichita Eagle, we hear that KU took offense to Nebraska's chippy play. From where I sat (sixth row, behind the chickens' bench), boo-f******-hoo. When this team leaves Allen Fieldhouse and refs actually call its guards for slapping and grabbing and pushing, it loses one of its basic ingredients. I also find it amusing the article mentions the physical play by Nebraska, but doesn't mention Darrell Arthur's thuggish launching of Nebraska's 5'6" PG, Cookie Miller on a first-half loose ball. It's unfathomable that he wasn't called for a technical, let alone a personal foul, on that one." Ahhh - Kittie's got claws!

We'll check back in sometime this evening after the games have concluded and the brackets have been announced.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Duke Flopping Camp

So this totally doesn't deserve it's own post, but I wanted to get the word out and this seemed like the easiest outlet. Ladies and gentlemen, Coach K invites you to...Duke Flopping Camp! (Provided you meet the requisite qualifications, of course.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You Stay Classy, Missery

Ok First off I have no idea why the US House of Representatives is wasting their time on things like resolutions to congratulate the Kansas Orange Bowl Championship team on the most successful year in school history, though I think it probably has to do with a real lack of pressing issues at hand, I mean with no fear of recession, no fear of health care collapsing, and no costly wars to worry about I think we can all get lost in some hyperbole, but I digress. Anyway they did vote on just such a measure (House Resolution 948) and there were 396 yeas and 12 abstainers (voted with present). Who would abstain you might ask? Well 1 is understandable the representative for blacksburg, Va. decided it was in his best interest to not vote on this one and I think that makes sense, kind of. So who might the other 11 be you might ask? Well 9 were none other than the whole missouri delegation to the US House of Representatives. I guess I should be surprised but I guess in a way I am not. In fact maybe it makes it even sweater the level of resentment goes up this high. To the 396 of you representing this great country in a noble way I say rock chalk to you my friends and may you avoid all male bathroom propositioning scandals, all prostitution ring scandals, and all homosexual lover on the side scandals.

All-League Awards

Since everyone has released their token All-conference teams, awards, etc, this seems an opportune time to release the official IBT awards (though the opinions of either GingerBalls or RoboBoogie were not considered). We'll tackle all six major conferences, going a bit more in depth with the Big 12 for obvious reasons, but will be holding off on the national awards until we see how they perform on a national scale. I know it doesn't make any sense that way, but what the hell.

(Note: Teams are selected on the basis of being able to legitimately put those five on the floor together, as opposed to simply selecting the 5 best players. Unfortunately, it didn't always work out.)

ACC – I haven't been all that impressed with the ACC over the year – now I'm really not, especially on the interior. I honestly couldn't find a second forward to put on the team. Who was next? James Gist? Kyle Singler? So alas, we have four guards here.

5 - Tyler Hansbrough – UNC (POTY)
4 - DeMarcus Nelson - Duke
3 - Jack McClinton - Miami
2 - Sean Singletary – UVA
1 - Tyrese Rice – Boston College

Honorable mention: Danny Green (UNC), Wayne Ellington (UNC), Toney Douglas (FSU), K.C Rivers (Clemson), Kyle Singler (Duke)

Big 10
– I guess this is what you get when your conference boasts 4 solid teams, 1 decent one and 6 awful squads.

5 - DJ White – Indiana (POTY)
4 - Brian Butch - Wisconsin
3 - Robbie Hummel – Purdue
2 – Eric Gordon – Indiana
1 – Michael Flowers - Wisconsin

Honorable Mention:
E'Twaun Moore (Purdue), Jamar Butler (aOSU), Drew Neitzel (MSU), Manny Harris (Michigan)

Big East – This league does some weird shit where they have like 10 or 11 players per team, but that doesn't fly here. Leaving Georgetown out seems crazy, but there just wasn't room.

5 – David Padgett - Louisville - I can't believe I wrote that…
4 – Luke Harangody - ND (POTY) - I can't believe I wrote that…
3 – Terrence Williams - Lousiville
2 – Dominic James - Marquette
1 – AJ Price - Connecticut

Honorable Mention: Roy Hibbert (G-Town), Jonathan Wallace (G-Town), Sam Young (Pitt), Kyle McAlarney (ND)

SEC – Again, why is there NO inside presence here? But my only options were Patterson (missed 3 and they looked fine without him), Ogilvy (No), and Hendrix (possibly, but I just couldn't). And Lofton may or may not fully deserve it with his production, but you can't discount what he means as far as how the other team prepares and ultimately defends the Vols. But man is this a small team – think Villanova '06, but smaller and won't play much defense.

5 - Tyler Smith – Tennessee
4 - Jamont Gordon - MSU
3 - Shan Foster – Vandy (POTY)
2- Chris Lofton - Tennessee
1 – Ramel Bradley - Kentucky

Honorable Mention: Devan Downey (SC), Sonny Weems (Ark.), Richard Hendrix ('Bama), Nick Calathes (Florida), Patrick Patterson (UK)

Pac 10 – I didn't buy into the hype surrounding Love, but the guy really does do everything and though they'd still be good, the Bruins wouldn't be anywhere near where they are without him. With the way he's playing lately I hate leaving Mayo off, but the guy you're seeing now didn't really show up until February.

5 – Kevin Love – UCLA (POTY)
4 – Brook Lopez – Stanford
3 – Ryan Anderson – Cal
2 – Jerryd Bayless – Arizona – Don't think too many figured he'd be the frosh guard on this team
1 – Darren Collison – UCLA – Watch them when he plays well…and when he doesn't

Honorable Mention: USC (OJ Mayo), Jon Brockman (Wash), Kyle Weaver (Wazzu), Russell Westbrook (UCLA)

Big 12 – Of course it's partly due to my bias and knowledge of this league, but there really are some players in the heartland. Consider that I made up three teams and couldn't find room for Richard Roby or Sherron Collins, two players that are sure to be in the league in the not so distant future.

First Team

5 – Michael Beasley – KSU (POTY) – I don't think I really need to justify this one, though the Austin American Statesman (showing absolutely no bias) did give their award to DJ Augustin and his love for Sponge Bob is reaching a highly questionable level.
4 - Blake Griffin – Oklahoma – This was my toughest decision, because if you're going straight stats, Maric maybe was a bit better. And if you're going, "help the team", Arthur, Jackson, James and Atchley deserve some merit. Unfortunately, those four are on two teams and cannibalized themselves with me, because I couldn't decide who was more valuable. So griffin gets it, by default.
3 - Curtis Jerrels – Baylor – Hated to see him miss those free throws in Norman, but he is unquestionably the team's leader. The thing to remember about Baylor – good guards can get you to the Sweet 16 and they've got a ton of them.
2 – Mario Chalmers – Kansas – He doesn't have the stats of the others on this team, but he does a little bit of everything for the Jayhawks and when he's playing with a swagger, they're awfully tough to beat.
1 – DJ Augustin – Texas – He hit a lull early in the conference season and was shooting the 'Horns out of some games, but aside from that, the guy was fantastic and most years could have been POTY.

Second Team

5 – Darrell Arthur – KU
4 – Darnell Jackson – KU
3 – Damion James – Texas
2 – Brandon Rush – KU
1 – Byron Eaton - OSU

Doesn't this five look better than the first team in most of these leagues? SEC for sure. And arguments could be made for a couple others that aren't the Pac 10.

Third Team

5 – Aleks Maric – Nebraska
4 – Connor Atchley – Texas
3 – Bill Walker - KSU
2 – AJ Abrams - Texas
1 – Justin Mason - Texas

Your thoughts?