Thursday, March 22, 2007

23 Minutes of hell

There are simply some teams that I am not impressed with. Particularly Florida and UCLA, both teams that spent time as the #1 team in the country over the course of the year. As I have stated all year long, Florida’s weakness (if we have to pick one out) is there ability to turn on or off their game. The “turning off” is what I consider their weakness and when they play somebody good, they will be exposed and likely lose. Fortunately for the gators, this match up most likely won’t come until the Final Four where they will match up against Kansas, and ultimately lose.

The other disappointing team has been UCLA. They are really struggling, having lost their last two games prior to the tournament, beating Belmont and then struggling to score against a mediocre Indiana team. Yes, their defense has been tight, but they can’t score and it is not likely to change today versus Pitt.

There is no reason to think that these teams will shape up now. They are who they are, and they are both good teams that won’t make it to the championship game.

Thursday’s games:

KANSAS -9 vs. Southern Illinois
How can you bet against Kansas right now? They are arguably playing the most complete basketball of anyone left in the country. Southern Illinois will keep things close with their smothering man to man defense, but they simply do not have the offensive firepower to keep up with KU, and will ultimately lose by double digits.

MEMPHIS +3 vs. Texas A&M
This game will be close, but ultimately won by the Aggies. Memphis is very similar to Louisville but better in almost every capacity. A&M showed tremendous poise in beating Louisville at Kentucky, and now they have the luxury of playing 2 ½ hours away from their campus in San Antonio. Memphis’ point guard (and leading scorer) will play (sprained ankle), but likely won’t be 100%. I don’t expect Memphis to shoot their free throws as well as they did in the last game, as they are one of the worst in the country in performing this task. Every point will count, and A&M will eek out a win.

PITTSBURGH +3.5 vs. Ucla
Nobody will be able to stop Aaron Gray for UCLA. The problem is that he has not been that great himself thus far. If Gray stays out of foul trouble and has a good game, Pitt wins. I don’t expect him to do both though. UCLA is doing the same thing they did last year; not scoring and winning ugly. This comes down to two players; Gray and Afflalo. Whoever plays better, their team will win. Afflalo is among the best Money players in the NCAA, and as ugly as it is, he will find a way to win this game. I will still take the points though.

TENNESSEE +5 vs. Ohio State
These two teams played earlier in Columbus. Ohio State won 68-66 and Oden had 24 points and 15 rebounds. I don’t expect much to change from Oden’s game. I do expect Tennessee to shoot the ball better as they shot just 7 of 31 from behind the arc.


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