Wednesday, March 18

Pick-Counterpick: South Region

It's hard to find anyone this side of Syracuse or Norman that thinks North Carolina will not make the Final Four, even with the question of Ty Lawson's big toe. Speaking of the Tar Heels, Catfish did the quick facts of team for the annual Deadspin NCAA Tournament on all 65 teams. I was slated to do the Miami preview but you know, they suck. The picks from the final region after the break.

1st Round

RADFORD SHOCKS THE WORLD!!!DREAMS ARE TRUE!!!! North Carolina over Radford: My whole office gets off Thursday afternoon to go watch the Highlanders attempt the unthinkable which should be fun since we live in the middle of North Carolina and will be rooting for Radford. Hopefully Lawson won't play and the Heels will at least give RU some hope before it gets ugly.

Butler over LSU: Butler and Clemson tie for getting jobbed on the seeding. The Bulldogs are very disciplined and as long as the three is going down, they are trouble.

Illinois over Western Kentucky: Since Illini guard Chester Fraiser has been hurt with a bum hand, there is not much room on the top of the hill for the Hilltopper bandwagon. But Darren Horn and Courtney Lee are not walking through that door.

Gonzaga over Akron: Much like Pitt Gonzaga has yet to get over the proverbial hump in the tournament. This has to be the Zags' most complete team, no offense to Richie Fram, Dan Dickau, Blake Steppe and Adam Morrison.

Arizona State over Temple: Harden is great, but Pendergrapgh and Derrick Glasser are the key.

Syracuse over S.F. Austin: Thanking their stars they got a Friday game after the marathon Big East tournament run, the Orange are a dangerous team.

Michigan over Clemson: For those who are not familiar with how it works at Clemson, let me fill you in: they will grab a lead early by hitting threes and getting the ball to Trevor Booker inside but eventually they will begin turning it over and jacking up bad shots and the game will end with Ogelsby taking some defunct outside shot.

Oklahoma over Morgan State: For all the chatter about the Sooners just a month ago, no one has full confidence in this team now. Mike Freeman must be angry.

2nd Round

North Carolina over Butler: Maybe Brad Stevens is too young to realize this, but you do not beat UNC in Greensboro.

Gonzaga over Illinois: Mark Few has to feel the pressure after all the missed chances in the past and the fact that two of his stars are seniors.

Syracuse over Arizona State: Your first thought is that ASU can bust the zone with Harden, but they do not have someone who is good from exposing the foul line weakness of the zone unless they use Harden which nullifies a lot of his three-point shooting. This game could be a classic.

Oklahoma over Michigan: Griffin may go Danny Manning with this team in an twist of irony.

Sweet 16

North Carolina over Gonzaga: The dream ends here for the Zags as Lawson should be back and running the break by this time.

Syracuse over Oklahoma: Cuse will counter Griffin with a collapsing zone of Onewaku, Jackson, and Ongenu and the supporting cast will not be able to knock down enough outside shots.

Elite 8

North Carolina over Syracuse: Instead of pointing out Carolina's obvious strong points I have a story. Two years ago Catfish was nice enough to get me a ticket to a football game with Miami visiting UNC. Of course, Miami sucked balls and lost the game after going down by 30+ at halftime. As the Canes came back on the Heels, a timeout was called and the PA played a rap song while we waited for the action to continue. Some of the Miami players started to bob up and down to the song. The crowd thought they might as well have sacrificed a young girl on the field: a chrous of boos and obscenities were fired on the Miami team. There was one redneck in particular behind us that kept shouting: "Dance boy, dance!" It was one of those moments when you say to yourself, "It's the year ___ and people still shout this stuff in a public place?" I of course found it more amusing than offensive. I am a Miami fan after all and have heard much worse and inane insults hurled at my team. I do however have to wonder what these people think when Danny Green does this before every game. Does he earn a "Dance boy, dance"?


1st Round

North Carolina over The Goofy Jersey Popper: To Go or Not to Go? That is the question. Whether or not Tywon "Pain Threshold" Lawson plays, the Heels have enough fire power to advance.

Butler over LSU: I've trashed LSU all year, and I've come too far to go back on my word, even if everyone is picking Butler, which makes me nervous. I'll gladly trade a loss here to have LSU face Carolina in the 2nd round.

Illinois over Western Kentucky: Do I get upset credit for this, since everyone is picking WKU? When was the last time a 12 was favored over a 5? It might just happen here.

Gonzaga over Akron: Akron's played a lot of close games in the MAC down the stretch. This one won't be close. I have trouble betting on anyone named Brett (except for Hart, as long as it's not a spelling bee) and Humpty. Sure, it's fun to say, but do you want to wager on him?

Temple over Arizona State: I hate to do this, but if football season taught us anything, it's that there's no way a team from Arizona can come East and win (unless you throw 4 INTS and refuse to cover the best WR in the country). Pendergraph and Harden have played well, but Kuksiks has been on an extended spring break. They need him if they want to win this game, let alon make a run.

Syracuse over Stephen F. Austin: The Cuse may have lucked out here. After an emotional week, it wouldn't be surprising to see them sleepwalk into this tournament, but fortunately for them the Stone Colds don't have enough firepower to get a big lead on the Cuse before they wake up.

Clemson over Michigan: Everyone's falling in love with Michigan, but most are doing so without having seen them play. Manny Harris will be the key if the Wolverines are to win, and Booker will be the key if the Clemson guards don't shut him out.

Blake Griffin over Morgan State: Blake Griffin looks like he's ready to load up the team on his back and make a run. Hopefully, the rest of the Sooners will get their act together in time for future rounds when the games get tougher.

2nd Round

North Carolina over Butler: Butler graduates players just like (most) other schools and this team's rep is built partly on players no longer in the program. They'll hit some threes, but Carolina's rebounding will prove the difference.

Illinois over Gonzaga: 41-33.

Temple over Syracuse: There's gotta be one, right? Cuse played their tails off in the Big East tourney, but it may be hard to regain that focus against teams they know they should beat. This one could bite me hard, believe me I know.

Clemson over Oklahoma: We saw how Blair played when everyone was talking about Thabeet. Trevor Booker could be poised to do the same against Griffin and Co. I always swear I won't bet on Clemson, but here I go again.

Sweet 16

North Carolina over Illinois: The Illini lack the offensive punch to hang with the Heels, again with or without Lawson.

Temple over Clemson: This is the matchup where you look at your bracket and think WTF was I thinking. There's no way Oglesby and friends continue to ride Booker, deciding it's their time to shine. Oglesby responds by going 1-9 from 3-point range.

Elite 8

North Carolina over Temple: Christmas keeps it close (terrible matchup for the Heels), but Ellington's shot and Hansbrough's presence inside lead the Heels back to the Final Four.


K-Man said...

Michigan is more then Harris, Sims downlow has showed many times that he can take over the game for the Wolverines when Harris isn't able to drive to the basket. Also if Sims is able to score downlow or Harris is able to drive, you then have Novak hanging out around the 3point line just waiting for the quick out to drown Clemson. Also this is Clemson, they always get their fans hopes up.

Cleet said...

You're right about Clemson, but don't play up Michigan too much.

Catfish said...

"Scoring for Manny Harris since February" In Wins: 28, 26, 8, 27, 14, 18. In Losses: 15, 7, 9, 15, 9. When Manny scores more than 15: 4-0. When Manny scores less than 10: 1-3. Slow down Manny, slow down the Wolverines. He's not the only player for sure, but he may be the most important.

Cleet said...

Leave it to Cat to use inane things like statistics to prove his point.

K-Man said...

But what about games he scored between 10 and 15??? Ha Ha Ha