Friday, March 30, 2007

Back to back?

From the opening tip this year, Money has been saying that Florida won’t repeat as National champions. And time is running out. I have never doubted the talent on this team. The two things that jumped out at me in defense of their title, was their ability to turn it on and off, and the arrow they would continually have on their back in each game.

Florida has managed to survive mainly due to some nice matchups (easy,) until now. The Bruins have been getting by on defense, with the exception of the Kansas game, where they got an outstanding performance from Afflalo. They will need that same performance and more if they expect to win the game. UCLA has relied all season on Afflalo for their offense. When he is on the court, he takes 27.7% of their shots. Given how he has played in this tournament and knowing that Corey Brewer and his long arms will be guarding him, I can’t expect an MOP performance out of Afflalo, which is what it will take to win the game.

Florida will have such an advantage in the frontcourt with Noah and Horford. UCLA simply does not have anyone to guard them. Add in the fact that Horford does not miss from inside the key, and you have a whole pile of wrong for the Bruins. If UCLA double teams the big guys, then they will pass the ball outside to one of their sharp shooting guards for an easy, open 3.

I still don’t think they will repeat as champions, but I can still pick them one more time.

FLORIDA 71 Ucla 59

The next game is much more difficult to handicap. Both teams have dominant big men who are prone to foul trouble, have good shooting perimeter guard play, and play very good defense. But who has the edge? I think both teams will struggle if their big men get in foul trouble. Ohio State has proven they can win without Oden earlier in the season and the OT win versus Xavier, but having Oden on the floor is clearly their strength. They are much more dominant when he is on the floor. Hibbert has a couple more years on Oden, and in the college game, that is huge. They both will get in foul trouble, but Oden will do it quicker.

Georgetown can score, and they can shoot too. They will also have a hard time stopping Jeff Green. Who is going to guard him? Green will be the difference maker for the Hoyas. The Buckeyes don’t defend the 3 point shot well, so this will be an advantage for the Hoyas. Georgetown usually turns the ball over quite a bit but has done a good job of holding on to it during the tournament. If they continue with this trend, OSU will be hard pressed to beat them.

This game will be close, you can count on that, so if somebody is down 4-10 points at halftime, then take the loser to come back and make it close.

GEORGETOWN 68 Ohio State 64

End of an Era

The tournament is coming to a close, and B. Anthony has talked himself off the cliff. I can make it another 11 months and 6 days before the tournament starts again!

Quick and clean predicitons below:

Ohio State is simply better than Georgetown. Jeff Greene is the only player on Georgetown that would crack the starting line up for Ohio State. Conley will continue to prove that lefty point guards are too tough in college and he will lead the charge. Oden will out play Hibbert, especially running the court.

78-69 Buckeyes.

Florida will get back to the final, and it won't be too difficult. They are a bad match up for UCLA. It won't be as bad as last years final, but close. They can defend when they have to, and they will. Corey Brewer will shut down Afflalo and the options are limited after that.

72-62 Gators.

Good Luck,

B. Anthony

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Speed kills

Ohio state and UCLA picked a good day to play their best game of the season. It became evident just after halftime that Aaron Afflalo was simply not going to lose the game. He just kept making clutch shot after clutch shot, ending up with a game high 24 points. Collison came up with some Money shots as well. We knew the defense would disrupt things for KU, Money felt the offense would disappoint, which it did not.

Joey Dorsey, Goliath, put up a big goose egg (0 points) after his big words and David ended up with 17 points and 9 rebounds. The best thing OSU did? They went to the free throw line 41 times, and made 35! That is outstanding, and smart.

This is shaping up to be a fantastic final four.

NORTH CAROLINA -3.5 vs. Georgetown
This game will be won by the Tarheels, rather easily in my opinion. The Hoyas have struggled against quick teams and these guys are about as quick as they come. Hibbert makes too many foolish fouls and simply won’t be enough of a factor for the Hoyas. Unless Green goes for 50, NC rolls!

OREGON +7.5 vs. Florida
As we have seen, Florida never plays a complete game and it will eventually catch up to them. Oregon, with their hot shooting, should get out to a quick start and Florida will make their run by pounding it inside. The Gators losses this year have come from speed teams; Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida State, and Kansas. Florida eventually gets their act together, but not before Oregon makes a couple of desperation 3’s to cover the spread.