Thursday, March 26, 2015

Not Your Daddy's Sweet 16

Although most of the school names may be familiar the components of the teams are totally different so part of calling the tournament this year has been to separate the names on the jerseys from the players that wear em’. Firstly, Wichita State may be coming off the biggest win in the school’s history since 1981 but this team may not be as good as the 2013 team that was a top-seed and victim of a bad draw in the 2nd round taking on a #8 Kentucky team that made it all the way to the finals. Conversely, they will give Notre Dame all they can handle on Thursday but that is where the run should end. Notre Dame is back in the National Spotlight but this isn’t football. The Irish had a great regular season but struggled to beat a feisty Butler squad and many think they should be watching this one from home for their play during the final stretch of regulation but their here and they’re going to be the Shocker’s opponents. I’ll tell ya, after looking at the size Wichita State, they actually may want to borrow the Tight End from their football team as does anyone doubt that the Admiral’s Kid would make a great addition at power forward? The Tar Heels are where they always seem to be, in the Sweet 16, but Jordon, Worthy, and Perk aren’t coming out of the locker room, or even Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, or LD2 that won the title in 09’. This year’s club is not quite as solid in the top 5, or deep on the bench and hobbled by injuries and will struggle against a big, deep, and experienced Wisconsin team. Doesn’t it always seem that Arizona rolls into the dance as a top seed with only 2 or 3 losses but never seems to end up in the Finals? In that regard to that this year’s team may be similar but unlike their predecessors we do think they have the combination of a strong backcourt and one of the most athletic big front lines that will not only make it to the Final Four but the toughest test for Kentucky. Speaking of Kentucky, they have been the cornerstone of conversation during both the regular season and during the tournament with the possibility of going unbeaten for an entire season, but they are young and kings of the “one n done” may be exposed if they run into a team with Junior Leadership (Junior is the new Senior) who can give them a run for their money. The Friday Matchups Eleven National Championships, too many Final Fours to count but as intimidating as the for letters on the front of the jerseys USED to be there are not many that fear this year’s version of UCLA. The only other unanimous selection of the entire NCAA tournament field, Kentucky was the unanimous overall tops seed, and the Bruins were the unanimous pick for the one school that shouldn’t have been there. I don’t buy that the goaltending call got them through the first round, as Looney had the rebound anyway and would have followed up with a dunk plus SMU missed two shots after that which could have won the game, but they did beat a UAB team that played it’s best game of the season against Iowa State and was hardly the competition most faced to get this far. Last year the Bruins were here as well but had a stock cupboard of young talent that left for the NBA Levine, Anderson, and Powel that on any given night had the athleticism and power to give anyone a run for their money. They are still young but don’t quite have the guns to stay with Gonzaga, who actually may be better than the “Morrison Teams” of 2005-6 that rolled 30 wins and were among the favorites to win the whole tourney. In fact many believe this is Mark Few’s best team ever and the fact that they’ve already beaten this UCLA team by double digits in Westwood this year (their only home loss of the season) would make this loss far worse than the 2006 loss where they led by 17 points only to fall in the final minute. Keep in mind that starting Bruin lineup had more NBA players in it than the entire Gonzaga roster. Once again not the same makeup, the Zags should roll in this one. or view all of the Tournament Previews and view comments on the Main Site.

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