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My 4 Games to Watch:
While looking over my brackets I don’t see many potential upsets. In the past there has been at lest one 12/5 upset, but I see the best opening round match-ups in the #6 vs. #11 match-ups. You could look at most of these and not even know which team is the 6 and which is the 11.
USC vs. Kansas St. This is a match-up of two Power Conference Teams. Michael Beasley (26.5 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 1.7 BPG) leads Big-12 Kansas State against O.J. Mayo, Taj Gibson and USC.
Kansas State: 20-11 (10-6) The Wildcats finished 3rd in the Big-12, only behind #1 seeded Kansas and #2 seeded Texas. They actually finished ahead of #6 seeded Oklahoma, #9 seeded Texas A&M and #11 seeded Baylor. During the season their big wins included Cal, Texas A&M, Kansas, Pitt and @ Oklahoma. USC: 21-11 (11-7) The Trojans tied for 3rd in the Pac-10, tied with #4 seeded Washington St. They finished behind UCLA, a #1 seed and Stanford a #3 seed. Their big wins include Oklahoma, @ UCLA, Arizona St. (twice), Arizona and Stanford. Remember, USC reached the Sweet-16 last year, and they were able to fill in Nick Young’s departure with OJ Mayo’s arrival. Who Has The Edge: I am mixed on who wins this game. I picked Kansas State in my bracket, but that isn’t feeling like a good pick in my gut, but you have to trust your gut. Kansas State really only has Michael Beasley, and win or lose, he will be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft and make millions of dollars. USC on the other hand has Taj Gibson and OJ Mayo to lead their team. Mayo, who will most likely get chosen in the Top-10, is not 100% convinced that he is ready to leave. I think that USC’s will to win may outlast Kansas State’s, but Michael Beasley will lead K-State to the first-round upset. Safe Pick: USC Bracket Pick (For Your Pool): K-State My Pick: USC
Oklahoma vs. St. Joseph’s Blake Griffin and the Oklahoma Sooner’s take on the St. Joe’s Hawks. This #11 vs. #6 is intriguing based on where the team’s were seeded.
St. Joe’s: 21-12 (9-7) St. Joe’s finished their year 4th in the A-10 behind #3 seed Xavier, #12 seed Temple and UMass (who is probably pissed off because they didn’t make the tournament). Their big wins include victories over @ UMass, UMass, @ Temple, Villanova and @ Xavier. Oklahoma: 22-11 (9-7) The Sooner’s a #6 seed, finished behind #1 Kansas, #2 Texas, #11 Kansas State and #11 Baylor. Wait, they finished behind those teams? How does this tournament get picked? All of a sudden I am just shocked. Who Has The Edge: My pick here is Oklahoma. They are a Big-12 team, and you can see that they finished behind only good teams. Blake Griffin leads Oklahoma with 15 PPG and this team will be looking to avenge their 2006 first-round loss to UW-Milwaukee and Bruce Pearl. St. Joe’s struggled near the end of the season, and they don’t have any recognizable players. Safe Pick: Oklahoma Bracket Pick (For Your Pool): Oklahoma My Pick: Oklahoma
Marquette vs. Kentucky One team was 11-7 in their conference and finished 5th. Another was 12-4 in their conference and finished 3rd. Oh, let me explain: The first team is the #6 seeded Marquette, and the other is the #11 seeded Kentucky Wildcats. How does that work? Kentucky: 18-12 (12-4) The Wildcats finished 3rd in the SEC, behind #2 seeded Tennessee, #8 seeded Mississippi State and ahead of #4 seeded Vanderbilt, #9 seeded Arkansas and #14 seeded Georgia. Their big wins include beating Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Marquette: 24-9 (11-7) The Golden Eagles finished 5th in the Big East, behind #2 Georgetown, #5 Notre Dame, #3 Louisville, #4 UCONN, and ahead of #7 West Virginia, #4 Pittsburgh and #12 Villanova. Their big wins include winning vs. Pitt, @ ND in the tournament and vs. ND. Who Has The Edge: This game is really an interesting match-up. The Wildcats started the season 7-8, and many were wondering whether this team, without Tubby Smith could make the tournament. They just went on to go 11-4 the rest of the way. Unfortunately they got put in a sticky situation at the SEC Tournament with the Georgia Tornados. The Eagles on the other hand won two games in the Big East Tournament, including beating #5 seeded Notre Dame. I have a soft spot in my heart for Marquette as they made it to the Final Four through Minneapolis with D-Wade. I also enjoy their Light-Blue Uni’s and the active trim. Safe Pick: Marquette Bracket Pick (For Your Pool): Marquette My Pick: Marquette
Purdue vs. Baylor Purdue with nine underclassman, take on the #11 seeded Baylor Bears in this great match-up of Big Ten vs. Big 12.
Baylor: 21-10 (9-7) The Bears are rebuilding their program after the murder of former player Patrick Dennehy in 2003. At that time, the players were allowed to leave if they wanted and didn’t even have to sit out a transfer year. Now, just 5 years later the Bears were in the Top 25, and are in the tournament. They finished 4th in the Big-12 behind Kansas, Texas and Kansas State and ahead of Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Their big wins include K-State, Texas Tech and Winthrop. Purdue: 24-8 (15-3) Purdue led the Big Ten for most of the year and finished the season 2nd to Wisconsin. They finished ahead of Indiana and Michigan State as well. Their big wins this season came at home and @ WISC and vs. Michigan State, Who Has The Edge: Big 10 vs. Big 12. The Big 12, was a better conference this year, but Purdue, lead by two freshman are a tough team to handle. Baylor lost in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament to Colorado, and Purdue was upset by Illinois in Round 2. Purdue has more talent, and will most likely come away with this win. Safe Pick: Purdue Bracket Pick (For Your Pool): Baylor My Pick: Purdue
Here is a Thought: How about one of these two ideas: 1) Don’t make the play-in game be for a #16 seed. The crappy teams should all make it. Coppin State and Mt. Saint Mary’s both won their tournaments and deserve to be in the real tournament, not this play-in stuff. How about you make it into a #8 vs. #9 play in. That way teams like Virginia Tech can play Arizona State and they can duke it out. 2) Expand the Tournament to 70. Make the #10 seeds or something like that all have play-in games. That gives more teams a chance, and it also gives the NCAA a chance to make more money.
Don’t Blog That: Part of the reasons the Twins Stadium Naming Rights haven’t been sold, is that big Minnesota companies like Best Buy and General Mills are waiting to see how the Vikings stadium unfolds.
Big-Shot Blake: Is it fair that Blake Hoffarber could win 2 ESPY’s before Martin Scorsese wins 2 Oscars before he graduates from college?