Thursday, February 24, 2005

Judgement Week/March Madness Preview

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.


Blogger Bernie said...

Chuck Hayes is my favorite player in college basketball

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's it, Jimmy. Consider our friendship over. No one talks about my Eagles that way.
That being said ... I will be calling for you for tips on the annual Filene's March Madness pool.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Aly said...

That's it, Jimmy. Consider our friendship over. No one talks about my Eagles that way.
That being said ... I will be calling for you for tips on the annual Filene's March Madness pool.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Aly said...

Dude, these new posting options are confusing.

10:25 PM  
Blogger farsename said...

Jimmy... you and I could probably spend 2.75 hours talking about college hoops, easily. We also share some similar opinions, especially about betting on any Bob Knight coached team or any Cinci team... I have learned this lesson at least 3 times... Out west, everyone should keep an eye on Arizona and Washington to play well in the tourney. And keep an eye on the always under rated hoops team--- Gonzaga... the best mid-major year in and year out.

Prediction for me-- UNC, Cuse, OK State, and Kansas in the final four... unless of course any of these teams play each other in the earlier rounds.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

JT, I could have written at least 10,000 more words on the topic and can be counted on to pontificate on the subject for an entire day if prompted.

That being said. I like Washington, but depending on the bracket, I see them no more than a Sweet 16 team. And Gonzaga is a great team but they flame out notoriously within the first two rounds every year. I can't remember them even making it to the Sweet 16. People love Mark Few as a coach, but he hasn't done it yet on the big stage.

And as much as it pains me, Cuse does not look like a Final Four team to me right now. If teams play physical with them, they wilt. Not a good sign come Tourney time. Also the status of McNamara's ankle is in question, as his shot selection has been all year.

10:29 AM  
Blogger farsename said...

I am only predicting Washington and Gonzagga to make a sweet 16 run... AZ might sneek in to the elite 8 behind Staudamire's remarkable 56% from deep and Hassan's 53" vertical leap-- well, maybe it is only 43", but it is about 3 feet higher than mine. And Cuse in the Final Four--- maybe not, but they are my sleeper pick for the finals, but it all depends on McNamara's health and level of play. If not Cuse, then I would have to go with Wake Forest, or even Izzo's bunch up at MSU, and as much as I hate to say it, Duke always has a shot at the Final Four...

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be nice if we could start up a "Cuse year 'round" movement, but I think it would end up driving us both nuts. The inconsistency of this team kills me. GMac has made it clear he doesn't have the stamina to play a full 40 and Craig Forth has regressed to the point of being no better than Elvir Ovcina.
One thing's for sure - BC is COMPLETELY fraudulent. They will get bounced in the 2nd round.
Are you employed yet?

Bud Poliquin

12:23 PM  

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