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.

East

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.

Midwest

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.

South


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.

West

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?

8 comments:

cityleaguehoops said...

Here's some amazing Drew Lavender highlights from youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iZTJMEHS8A

GingerBalls said...

I will agree to disagree with you regarding the Tennessee match-up. I think Tennessee will win this one going away...Louisville has been known to give the ball away on occasion and if Tenn can keep turning those into points it bodes well.

Also, faster paced teams have given more problems to UNC this year, like flame-outs Clemson and Duke...even non flame-out Davidson. I think the best chance for a team to counter UNC is too keep running with them rather than slowing it down to see Psycho T go to the line 30 times.

Which means Louisville will win and then take down UNC, because I know shit...

GingerBalls said...

Little Lavender is certainly something else...I for one am happy we did not have to play against him in the Big 12, save that one year.

GingerBalls said...

umm, I meant to type 2 years...not so good at proof reading

Hiphopopotamus said...

You could very well be right. But Duke doesn't count because Quentin Thomas was the point guard.

As for Davidson, 72-68 is pretty slow by Carolina's standards, I'd say.

And Clemson (and Maryland) have something that Tennessee doesn't, and that's size.

As for Tenn/Lou., you've got a point, but if giving the ball away is the worry, I think Tenny needs to decide if they actually have a point guard or not.

But like you alluded to, rarely does any of this actually pan out logically, so we'll see.

barb michelen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hiphopopotamus said...

More SPAM, sweeeet!

Robo Boogie said...

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