April 7, 2008
Well for those of you who were paying keen attention, or who are now looking back and reading my earlier blog, I will go ahead and take this opportunity to admit that I was wrong. I rarely do that, so mark this date in your calendar. I predicted that the North Carolina Tar Heels would beat the Kansas Jayhawks by a score of 78-71 and that they would do so on the backs of Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson as they had been doing throughout the season and thus far in the tournament. Well, clearly, I am less clairvoyant than I thought I was. The Jayhawks ripped the Tar Heels 84-66, the type of blowout win that you don’t expect to see this deep into the tournament, and certainly not the type you expect a team like Kansas to have against a team like North Carolina. I’m sure a lot of people picked Kansas to win, but I doubt anyone predicted that kind of point spread. Brandon Rush showed up in a big way for the Jayhawks, scoring 25 points and pulling 7 rebounds, in the first game after disappearing entirely for most of the game against Davidson. Tyler Hansbrough managed to put up decent numbers with 17 points and 9 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to keep his team’s championship hopes alive.
I was right about Memphis beating UCLA, although I didn’t get the point spread right. But with that win, Memphis has won more games during a season than any other team in major college basketball history, yet another record which has been broken during this year’s tournament. What this sets up is a matchup Monday night that pits two of the nation’s quickest teams against each other in a fast-break battle for the NCAA National Title. You better believe the Bill Self and John Calipari are going to have their troops ready to go for this one. I’m taking Memphis in a close one, 75-72.
Also, I gotta give some major props to the ladies from Stanford, who just knocked off the No. 1 seeded UConn Huskies, the team picked by many to win the championship. At least someone is holding it down for the Pac-10. Does anyone not know how good Candice Wiggins is yet? Candace Parker is super-legit too, and I’m hoping that she and the rest of Pat Summitt’s Lady Vol’s can knock off LSU to set up what would actually be a women’s championship game that would be interesting to watch even for those fans that can’t quite stomach women’s basketball. The battle of the Candi(a)ces for basketball supremacy! Let’s see what the Tigers have to say about that.
April 5, 2008
Well, if anyone’s bracket still looks good, I bet its for one of two reasons. (A) It got totally destroyed early, most of the damage done in the first weekend of play, followed by some more interesting bends and breaks in the Sweet Sixteen, and now your bracket looks good if you disregard the first couple weeks because you are either boring, uneducated about the history of the tournament, or are just one of those “geniuses” that picks the number one seeds all the way through and somehow got it right this year or (B) you are a computer program. Either way, all number one seeds? Come ahhhn…
Being a Pac-10 guy, I’m kind of glad the Bruins are there. As much as I have a difficult time rooting for a team that I love to hate during the regular season, I would like the Pac-10 to go ahead and keep establishing itself. We certainly have won a lot of titles over the years in a broad range of sports, but I would really like to see our basketball and football prowess keep reaching higher and higher. That said, I think that UCLA is going to have a tough time with Memphis. K-Love is super-legit, but Joey Dorsey is more athletic and more experienced, and he has a whole crew of guards to help him that are more dominant than UCLA’s backcourt. Collison and Shipp are quality guards, but they are going to have their hands full tonight. I’ll say Memphis over UCLA 83-74.
As for the other side, its Roy Williams’ current team versus Roy Williams’ former team, and in this one, I’m going to have to give the nod to Roy in the present tense. But I’m not sure it’s because he’s coaching, but I certainly do believe that it obviously has a lot to do with the continued outstanding performances given by my clear cut Player of the Year, Tyler Hansbrough. Of course, having a guy as smooth as Ty Lawson to feed you the ball helps, but Hansbrough’s will to win and his knowledge of the game surpass most other players in the college game right now. Kansas is usually a speedy team, one which only narrowly escaped the upstart Davidson Wildcats and their sophomore phenom Stephen Curry, but should be able to put up a better fight against the Tar Heels. But I have to give the edge to the boys in baby blue, and I’ll have to apologize to my buddy Scott for not picking his Jayhawks, but UNC is just a little too solid. UNC over KU, 78-71.
I can’t imagine asking for a better Final Four, nor can I wait to see just what goes down. UCLA-Memphis starts at 3:07 PM PST on CBS and UNC-KU is immediately after.