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The WWOD? Preview of Today’s Game in the West Regional
Since I've embraced the madness and made a self-diagnosis of my condition I figured that I need not be shy about the symptoms of my dementia. And, what shows off the mannerisms of my madness better than to add another tournament preview to the bonfire of unasked and unfounded prognostications? To put my late night ramblings into some context I’ve also included the pick from Vegas, the pick from noted college basketball blog Storming the Floor as well as the teams tapped by noted ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
#3 Xavier vs. #14 Georgia
Thursday at 12:20 PM EST in Washington, DC
Vegas: Xavier (-8.5)
Storming the Floor: Xavier
Joe Lunardi: Xavier
WWOD?: Georgia was the darling of early March. It's a great story but they picked the wrong week to use up their magic and voodoo dolls and freak-weather-altering powers. Even if the Bulldogs are playing better than they have all year (not hard) that just means that they're playing better than a team that was second-to-last in the SEC. And, I'm pretty sure that marginally better than that isn't good enough to beat the team that should-have and almost-did knock Ohio State (with Oden and Conley) out of the Dance last year.
#6 Purdue vs. #11 Baylor
Thursday at 2:50 PM EST in Washington, DC
Vegas: Purdue (-3)
Storming the Floor: Baylor
Joe Lunardi: Purdue
WWOD?: Oh, this game. This feels like the one that busts my bracket. I want to pick Baylor all over the place (and practically have) in spite of the fact that they are the team that just snuck in to the field by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins. But, I don't see this team and this program (which is coming back from that whole players killing one another thing) just being happy to be here. George Mason wasn't just happy to be there in 2006 when they were the last team to sneak in. Hmm... Either way I'm mostly (but not everywhere) going with Baylor because the Bears start juniors while the Boilermakers play freshman. And, Purdue is in the Big Ten, which I do not rate very highly. Ever. And generally without evidence in hand to support my decision.
#8 BYU vs. #9 Texas A&M
Thursday at 7:25 PM EST in Anaheim, CA
Vegas: Texas A&M (-1)
Storming the Floor: BYU
Joe Lunardi: Texas A&M
WWOD?: Another classic 8/9 of teams I've heard of but really don't know anything about. I feel the same way as Vegas since this is a toss-up for me. BYU has a dominant conference season (in a mostly lousy conference) on their side of the ledger while A&M has a tougher schedule behind them. I usually go with the grit one should earn from the tougher schedule but then you can't write off those Mormons because they are sometimes older than Chris Weinke and married with kids and stuff and come at these games with a level of focus and grown-up-ness that compensates somewhat for the talent gap. Like I said, a toss-up.
#1 UCLA vs. #16 Mississippi Valley State
Thursday at 9:55 PM EST in Anaheim, CA (which is where the Los Angeles Angels play...)
Vegas: UCLA (-32)
Storming the Floor: UCLA
Joe Lunardi: UCLA
WWOD?: UCLA. Boatloads of people have this team winning it all. I'm one of them (on most of my brackets). So, thanks for coming out MVS but I'm not even going to take you to cover a 32 point spread. Well, actually I might, depending on how the early games work out and what the feel is on that court in Anaheim when BYU and A&M play.