Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Money’s Tournament thoughts and predictions

This has been a unique year. At the beginning of the year UNC was the clear cut favorite. I acknowledged this, but picked against them. Halfway through the season I changed my tune again. One would think that after the brackets came out, I would have picked my final four and champion. It was not that easy. I can find fault in all of the top seeds and see all of them winning, but I can also see how they can fall down too.

UConn: All you need to know is that ever since Dyson went down with a season ending injury they are 4-3. That is not a resume of a champion.

UNC: Lawson has a bad toe and will likely miss the first game. If he is 100% healthy, these guys win it all. They have the best talent. But with a hobbled Lawson at 80% they are a different team; a half court team. A very beatable team. But, they should still be able to win 3 games without him being at full strength. After that, things change, and I can’t put UNC in the Final Four. If I knew Lawson was OK, they win it all.

Pitt: If Blair gets in foul trouble, they likely lose. That is a pretty simple game plan and the refs will be calling a tighter game than what they are used to in a physical Big East.

Louisville: Down by 1, 20 seconds to go. Who gets the ball? Who takes the big shot? They don’t have a player who can do this. Williams likely has the ball and his shot is running straight to the hoop. Earl Clark could be that guy, but this team is not a great shooting team.

Memphis: Too young at the point, and not good enough offensively to win it all.

Michigan State: The worst of the four #2 seeds.

Duke: Better now will Williams in, but not big or tough enough to get to the final four or beyond.

Oklahoma: They won’t make it to the sweet 16.

So who is my final four? I have to pick somebody. I am going with an all Big East Final Four.

Midwest: Louisville
West: UConn
East: Pitt
South: Syracuse

Champion: Pitt over Louisville

Opening round bets: Not picking them all, just my favorites
Duke -22 vs. Binghamton
Duke is playing well and these guys will not be a challenge to them.

VCU +7 vs. Ucla
I am really bothered by how this is everyone’s pick now. This will ensure UCLA is focused and not taking them likely. I have now changed my pick to UCLA to win the game, but I still think it will be close.

Memphis -19.5 vs. CS Northridge
Memphis will run these guys out of the gym

Morgan State +16.5 vs. Oklahoma
Played a nice out of conference schedule with wins at Maryland and over DePaul. They won’t be intimidated.

Michigan +5.5 vs. Clemson
Clemson coach is a loser and Michigan’s coach is not.

Washington -5.5 vs. Mississippi State
Washington is well rested and staying close to home and MSU is not.

Western Kentucky +4.5 vs. Illinois
No Frazier for Illinois. No chance. WKU wins.

Cleveland state +8 vs. Wake Forest
I like this Wake Forest team. They have a lot of stars, but they can’t shoot. Cleveland state loves to play defense.

Stephen Austin +12 vs. Syracuse
Typical Syracuse collapse here. They win though.

Siena +3 vs. Ohio State
This will be tough for Siena as this is virtually a home game for OSU. Siena is better though and beat Vanderbilt last year in the first round with the same starting five.

Pitt -20 vs. East Tennessee State

Robert Morris +16.5 vs. Michigan State
Very similar to MSU, but not as big or deep. Plays tough defense and a better shooting team.

USC -2 vs. Boston College
Derozan is playing himself into the lottery now and won’t slow down.

North Dakota State +10 vs. Kansas
Kansas won’t take these guys seriously and they should.

West Virginia -8.5 vs. Dayton
West Virginia may be the best team outside of the top 8.

Wisconsin +2.5 vs. Florida State
Getting off the FSU horse.

Portland state +10 vs. Xavier
Xavier is overrated and has no backcourt. Portland state will press the whole game.

Good luck!


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