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I figured a lot of us will be watching, or at least paying close attention to, today's games, so why not just have one thread where we can discuss the games, make predictions, etc. I am taking off work today and tomorrow for the tenth consecutive year, so I'll have two games on at a time all day!
The early session looks freaking stacked to me with Butler - Bucknell and Pittsburgh - Wichita State providing early intrigue, followed by Memphis - St. Mary's, Oklahoma State - Oregon, and my sleeper good game Marquette - Davidson. This evening looks tamer with only Arizona - Belmont and UNLV - California drawing my eye. VCU - Akron would have been a good one before Abreu got...booted... and I'm not buying New Mexico being in jeopardy against Harvard in Salt Lake City.
I have Oklahoma State going out 2 wins because of Smart, so I hope they show up today.
OSU is hard to predict. Trust Smart to be effective in NCAA setting. Don't trust Ford at all though.
I'm really, really high on St. Louis, so I wouldn't bet on Oklahoma State with Ford and non Big 12 officials.
Ok State I view as easy money as everyone is thinking Oregon will win this game but why? Because they won their conference tournament in a league that was horrible? I really think OSU is the better team, and have the best talent. Now the coach? Well Oregon has them there, but Marcus Smart is a type of player that wills his team to win. I think OSU gets it done today.
In a 1-off setting - I'll take Smart against the lesser talented teams. Problem is Travis Ford is, well, Travis Ford.
I generally will but I never have a good feel for NCAA officiating. In general they seem to call less fouls it seems. If Smart does not get bailed out on drives and is not hitting then I worry about OSU.
I'm also really high on St. Louis. Defend at a high level, well coached, and a unique team with big guys who can stretch the floor.
A block charge was called correctly against a moving defender who flopped and the announcers could not even be sure it was correct. Raftery has turned into such a clown as he spends the whole game waiting to tick the boxes for all his sayings he has to get in every game.
The first half of Bucknell and Butler was hideous. I'm afraid it won't be the most hideous half of the tournament, but it was hideous.
I really think Kansas, Gonzaga, and Louisville would like a three-way swap of draws. Pitt and Wisconsin have potential to really disturb what Gonzaga does by being very physical and having athletic bigs to chase Olynyk, but neither would really disrupt Kansas. Mizery with Pressey, OSU with Smart, and St. Louis with their bevy of guards can really frustrate Louisville because they don't feed into what the Cardinals thrive on and won't succumb to the press, but Gonzaga isn't softer than any of those teams except OSU and would thrive against that draw. Kansas may have real issues with North Carolina's three point shooting or villanova's "handsy" pressure defense, and then also against Burke or "HAVOC" defense, but Louisville isn't really susceptible to those things at all.
Ok, the next time I see HAVOC in all caps I may beat someone to death with a bat labeled HAVOC on one side and DRIBBLE DRIVE MOTION OFFENSE on the other.
Also Louisville is not at all afraid of Pressey.
Bucknell stretching it out a bit on Butler. That game was one of the hardest for me to pick. I ended up putting Marquette into the sweet 16 even though I don't think they will get there because I had Butler/Bucknell as a pure coin flip.
Pressey can break Louisville's press is my only point. Mizery isn't a legit threat to win
First final score of the day: Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54
Worth it to flip over to the NMSU/STL game just to see that big guy NMSU runs out there. Looks like a shaved big foot or something. Kid is just huge.
St. Louis just looks like no fun to play right now at all. If you get down 10 points it would seem to be so hard to come back quick. They bait you into taking really bad shots and they are very disciplined on offense.
Second final: Butler 68, Bucknell 56
We were really fortunate to slap them around early in that game an make them play catch up all day. They're really, really good at playing from ahead or even.
Imagine him with Klicli hair, that's what I do
It is funny. They chase people off the three point line very well and then build a wall inside. Teams seem to take a lot of mid-range shots against them. That is a formula for losing.
Yep. As long as the three-point line exists, you need to chuck threes and work it in for layups. There's no reason to attempt other shots
Wow. Just heard the NCAA screwed up Saint Mary's trip to the First Four. They had a plane on Sunday night from Oakland but no flight crew. They sat around for four hours looking for one and went back home around 1AM. They didn't leave Oakland until Monday at 9AM to play Tuesday in Dayton
The above is one of many reasons the first four just need to go away.
Also Pitt looks awful. Throwing up airballs all over the place and can't hang onto the ball.
If Pittsburgh loses in the first round, they would have to be considered the biggest statistical aberration in the "tempo free stats era," right? They're top ten overall, and top twenty in both offense and defense.
And if you have to keep the stupid first four, stop the BS and just announce which 8 crappy-conference automatic qualifiers are in it on Saturday night, and have the real teams play starting Thursday. This isn't a out fairness, it's about crowning a CHAMPION
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