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Thursday, March 15, 2007

March Madness Quick Preview

There are very few times on my blog when NASCAR takes a backseat. The opening day of March Madness is one of the times. There are so many great memories and characters that surface during the tournament, especially the first weekend. The upsets, individual performances, and buzzer beaters. Too many to name in fact. Here’s my breakdown of this year’s tourney. This breakdown is probably worth less than the price of this blog, but I still find pleasure in it. For full disclosure, my Final Four picks from last year were UConn, Kansas (1st round loss), Gonzaga and Villanova. That’s right 0-4. Read on at your own risk.

Final Four Teams:
Kansas-The Jayhawks have a lot of talent and play an uptempo game that can wear thinner teams down. Julian Wright is the underrated glue man that could have a great tourney. Aside from a potential game with UCLA, their path is rather unobstructed. My pick to cut down the nets.

Maryland-A team loaded with seniors led by guards DJ Strawberry and Mike Jones. They also have enough inside size to deal with Florida in the Sweet 16. Center James Gist is the key to a deep run.

North Carolina-Traditionally freshman guards do not do well in the tourney. That’s overstated a bit, especially when the guards are as talented as Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington. They are deep, big and will wear teams down.

Tennesee-Looking at the South bracket, there wasn’t a team I was in love with and have a feeling this is where the upsets will come (see below). Tennesee has an experienced scorer in Chris Lofton and this bracket could open up for the Vols. Plus there’s something strangely mystical about Bruce Pearl and his sweaty orange blazers.

Who will be this year’s George Mason?
Nobody. That was such a unbelievable run that it might never happen again. As usual, there are plenty of Cinderella candidates to pull an upset or two. Watch out for Oral Roberts, Winthrop, or Old Dominion.

Biggest upset:
Xavier over Ohio State. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta recruited many of the Musketeers and several players were on the 2004 team that made the Elite Eight. The Buckeyes have ridiculous talent, but they are young and the Big Ten is not as good it seems.

Overrated:
Wisconsin-Center Brian Butch is out for the year. Without him the Badgers lack the inside scorer to take the heat off Alondo Tucker.

Memphis-Yes, they’re 30-3. No, they haven’t played anyone. Nevada or Creighton could easily beat them in the second round.

Underrated:
Georgia Tech-The 10 seed is very young, but very good. They could easily make some noise and scare some teams.

Enjoy the games!

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