Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Predicting Thursday evening's NCAA tourney games

If you missed our Thursday morning games predictions, be sure to check them out. Now we check the eight afternoon/evening games, starting with a game that promises fireworks...

Minnessoooota vs Texas
The two coaches are close friends, and Kentucky fans will be looking for bridges as just about every one of their "ex'es" is in the NCAA tourney and exceeding expectations, while the Wildcats are slaving over Kruger's Slugfesting Rebels and they can't even play the game at Rupp.

While Tubby is a much better coach than Rick Barnes, Barnes has the player advantage with the big space-eater inside and the wild-shooting AJ Abrams. Not to be confused with the television/movie JJ Abrams. So, we give the edge to Texas, as either one of the aforementioned players can be a key and a game changer that can tilt the outcome of the game in Texas's direction.

However, don't count out the Tubby Gophers, if they manage to contain the risks of the space-eater and Abrams, then they will have a very good chance of winning.

We think that Tubby would have a better chance at beating the Dookies as his defense can derail their three-point shooting, but ultimately, the players will decide this game, and Texas will get a hard-fought victory over the TimberGophers.

Clemson vs Michigan
This is a game we are having a hard time predicting. If each team plays their "typical" or "average" game, we think Clemson would win. However, considering the past, we think that Clemson may under-perform their "typical" selves while Beilein's Ann Arbor Elitists will perform above their "typical" selves.

Ultimately though, we think Clemson will manage to withstand the shooting barrage of the Beileineers and move into the second round.

American at Villanova
We predict the pressure and home-court situation will lead to a very close first half, but in the first part of the second half we predict that Villanova will pull away and eventually deliver a 30+ beat down on the Patriot league trash-talkers.

Akron vs Gonzaga
We are tempted to say that this will be GoneZaga again, but the Akron Zippers do not have LeBron playing for them. Despite the Zags softness and wine-and-cheese approach to most games, we think they have enough talent and more toughness than usual to survive the possibility of a first round upset.

In-fact we think this will be a rather comfortable and easy-breezy beautiful victory for the Zags.

Morgan State vs Oklahoma
I think I smell a potential upset here. The grizzled and redemption-starved coach versus the wine-and-cheese Dookie-bred newbie. Sure, there is Blake Griffin, but upsets usually happen when a series of events derail a high seed, and once the "upset pressure" starts hitting the high seed, they get trapped by fate.

Having said that though, we only see a 40% possibility of Morgan State pulling this huge upset, so we are still predicting an Oklahoma victory sooner than later :)

We badly want VCU to win and expose Ben Howland for his crimes against the game of basketball. His crimes being that he makes the game ugly, and being the head coach of one of the most historically prestigious college basketball schools, he is responsible for playing the game at a high-level. Playing it as basketball, not as football!

But we think Howland's ugly defense and scorched earth style will take down the VCU Rams. Unlike the Dookies, Howland's "defense" (read: foul multiple times in every possession) will frustrate and annoy VCU and get the Bruins their first and only victory in the 2009 NCAA tournament.

Western Kentucky vs Illinois
The day ends (theoretically) with the Illinois vs Western Kentucky game. The first one to 33 wins this game. And while Bruce Weber was high-flying when he had the talented Bill Self recruits on his roster, his current roster maybe loaded with players, but there is no premium talent there.

We predict quite confidently that Western Kentucky, with their rookie coach, will indeed out-slugfest the Illinois team and pull the expected upset.

Yes, we are predicting Western Kentucky over Illinois!


Brett said...

So as far as Clemson-Michigan goes, since you hate the Big Ten you're hedging your bets so you can say Michigan "overperformed" while Clemson "underperformed". I hope you continue to have to hedge your bets for quite a few more Big Ten games in this tournament and explain away why the Big Ten wins games.

ncaahoops said...

I only hate the slug-festing Big Ten, not the Big Ten for being Big Ten. I want them to start playing basketball, like Ohio State and I am a fan of Beilein's unique defense/offense combo.

It's the ugliness of the way conference games are played and the rest of the teams that I am hatorating :)

Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesooota, and Illinois even (with the injury) had no place in the 2009 tourney :)

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