Being "Judgement Week", I figured I would take this time to share my thoughts on the college basketball season thus far and the outlook going into 7UP Championship Week and of course the Tournament. You should accept my word as the truth as I routinely prognosticate winning brackets and understand who to bet on and against in a very tried and true method. Here are seven things to watch for over the next month:
-The Big East is the most competitive league in the country. Although the ACC has had its share of upsets and competition this year, it still is essentially dominated by UNC, Wake, and Duke (I will mention Maryland's impressive sweep of the Devils and not their losses to Miami and Clemson). But the Big East is competitive SEVEN teams deep. I tried writing it out last night like a "six degrees of seperation" in terms of which teams have beaten others, but there is no discernible pattern. BC beats Syracuse and UConn, but loses to Notre Dame and Nova, which Syracuse and UConn both manhandled. Pitt sweeps Cuse, but loses to West Virginia and Georgetown. UConn beats Syracuse and Georgetown but loses to Notre Dame and Pitt. Make no mistake, there is no clear cut favorite to win the Big East Title on the neutral court of MSG in 2 weeks.
-That being said, BC, while a competitive team, is a joke when looking towards the tourney. Yes they beat Syracuse, but it was by 5 points on their home court! And great student section for rushing the court after beating a lower ranked team. Talk about faithful fans. I'll peg them as the University of Pittsburgh Memorial Trophy winners for their Big East regular season title, but annual Sweet 16 Tourney collapse.
-Illinois will not make it past the Elite 8. Considering the draw they will have- first rounds in Indianapolis, Sweet 16 and 8 in Chicago, and the Final 4 in St. Louis, this could be a very risky prediction on my part. Remember Syracuse's trip through their bracket in 2003 went through Boston and Albany, with essentially home crowds. Maybe I just proved myself wrong, however, I see them as this year's Stanford. Michigan State, however, could be the ultimate sleeper. Tom Izzo's teams are extremely dangerous no matter their seeding in the tournament.
-Kentucky is the most fraudulent team year in and year out. Their poll ranking is inflated every year because they march through the watered down SEC in conference play. Remember their number 1 seed last year and yours truly having them losing in the second round to Washington. "You remember I said that, Dildo."
-Also never bet on Cincinnati (annual 5 seed upset, never covers spread), Florida, and any Bob Knight coached team. You'll win far more than you'll lose on this one. Trust me.
-Jay Bilas has gone from my least favorite commentator to my all time favorite due to his love for Cuse this year, even when they go on losing streaks.
-Depending on the seeding, here are my preliminary Final Four to advance in the Tourney:
UNC- most dominant team I have seen in College Basketball this year.
Oklahoma State- Too much experience with last year's squad; JamesOn Curry could be the difference.
Wake Forest- Their backcourt is the best in college basketball. Paul and Gray can take over any game.
Michigan State- As mentioned, never count out an Izzo team. Have the inside/outside threat with Davis and Hill.
but look out for:
Kansas- so many weapons if they can bounce back.
Connecticut- Villanueva looking like the star they thought he would be.
Arizona- Lute Olsen's team always ripe for a run. Salim can shoot them far.
Duke- Shelden Williams is the most underrated player in the country.
I am getting saturated just by writing the most rambling post in a while.