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Posts Tagged ‘March Madness’

It’s Here..

Posted by Nathan Atkins on March 16, 2009

 

365-bracket

The bracket has arrived. 

Locks: 

Louisville in the Elite Eight. Coming into the tournament hot after the Big East Championship, there aren’t any teams that can slow Terrence Williams, Earl Clark and the Cardinals down. 

North Carolina in the Final Four. After being embarrassed by Kansas in the Final Four last year, North Carolina will be back in 2009. With Ty Lawson coming back from injury, the Tar Heels will be rejuvenated in what appears to be one of the easiest regions. 

Michigan State. There are no stats for it but each year the Spartans find a way to win, and keep winning in March. Last year the fifth seed Spartans made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and the final four in 2005 as the fifth seed once again. 

Dont Believe the Hype: 

Pittsburgh is 0-3 in games where DaJuan Blair has 4+ fouls. If the Panthers’s big man finds himself in foul trouble, he could find himself on the bus back to Pittsburgh. If Pitt can find a way to protect Blair, then watch out, they are a very good team. 

Oklahoma is another team that may look like a powerhouse. But don’t let the celebrity of Blake Griffin fool you. Last year Kansas State had the Big 12 and NCAA Player of the year in Michael Beasley, along with a quick explosive guard in Bill Walker; they didn’t make it past the second round.

Bracket Busters: 

Midwest-

Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are a force to be reckoned with. With wins against North Carolina, Duke, Boston College, Florida State, Clemson and Maryland the 24-5 Deacs are very tough this year. It would not be surprising to see the Deacons in the Elite Eight.

West- Purdue/Missouri 

Purdue was the pre-season favorite for the Big Ten; but after an injury to sophomore standout Robbie Hummel, Purdue lost games to Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois. Hummel is now back and the Boilermakers are the 2009 Big Ten Champions. They are getting hot and healthy at the right time, I have them in my Elite Eight. 

Missouri plays in the same conference as Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Texas A&M. Each one of those teams is in the tournament, one of those teams has the player of the year, and one of those teams is defending National Champs. Who won the conference tournament? Mizzou. The Tigers have beat Oklahoma State and Texas on the road, and beat Oklahoma at home. The Tigers are a balanced team. Their high flying offense averages about 82 points a game, while their defense only allows about 67 points per game. 

East-

Vilanova is a tough team to figure out. They have  a strong record overall at 26-7, yet  are only 3-4 against the top 25. But they are 13-5 in the Big East, this years toughest conference. They can shoot the three (36.8%) so if they start making shots, other teams will have a tough time slowing down the Wildcats. 

South- Western Kentucky /Syracuse 

Western Kentucky made the Sweet Sixteen last year. Tyrone Brazleton isn’t on the team this year, but another other Hilltopper star is. A.J. Slaughter comes into the tournament after being on last year’s team. Slaughter is averaging 15.8 ppg and is shooting 36.8% from three, look for Slaughter to take the Hilltoppers deep into the tournament. Since Chester Frazier has had surgery on his hand, the Illini have struggled after losing their assists and steals leader; so I don’t see how WKU will struggle with them. As for Gonzaga I’m unsure if they’ll even make it out of the first round, in both ’07 and ’08 the Bulldogs were bounced out of the tournament on the first day.

Syracuse has come on strong after a valiant showing in the Big East tournament. After going six overtimes with UConn, the Orange emerged victorious 127-117. As if six weren’t enough, the Orange played one more the next day. They took West Virginia five quarters and won 74-69. As if beating UConn and West Virginia weren’t enough, the Orange went to battle with the Louisville Cardinals. They lost 76-66 but the score doesn’t do ‘Cuse much justice, the game was much closer. Syracuse had an eight point lead at half. The Orange have some players too: Johnny Flynn averages 17.6 ppg and 6.7 apg, Eric Devendorf contributes another 15.9 ppg, and Paul Harris rounds out the lineup with 12.6 ppg and 7.9 rpg. I have the Orange in the Elite Eight, they’re getting hot at the right time and have all the players needed to make a run.

 

Sweet Sixteen: 

Louisville, Wake , Kansas, Michigan St, Connecticut, Purdue, Missouri, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Villanova, Texas, North Carolina, Western Kentucky, Syracuse and Oklahoma

 

Elite Eight: 

Louisville, Michigan State, Purdue, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Villanova, North Carolina and Syracuse 

 

Final Four: 

Louisville, Memphis, Villanova and North Carolina

 

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Who’s #1?

Posted by Nathan Atkins on March 15, 2009

Louisville, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Connecticut have all received #1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

NCAA Men’s brackets have been announced today and Rick Pitino and his Cardinals are the number one overall seed in this year’s tournament. 

Though I’m not a Big East fan, I must admit that this is their year. Three of the four overall number one seeds are out of the Big East. 

Louisville made it clear that they deserved to be the number one this year after going 28-5, 16-2 in conference play, and destroying all challengers in the Big East Tournament: 73-55 against Providence, 69-55 against Villanova and 76-66 against Syracuse in the championship game. Louisville will the the number one seed in the Midwest Region, playing their games in Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh had a strong case for the number one as well. They were the regular season number one for three months during the 2008-2009 season. until they lost to Louisville 63-69. But after a 28-4 season (15-3) they were recognized as the second best team; not only in the Big East, but in the tournament as well. Pittsburgh has been awarded the number one seed in the East Region, playing their games in Boston.

Louisville, Pitt, North Carolina and UConn all been seeded number one in the 2009 Men's Basketball Tournament.

Louisville, Pitt, North Carolina and UConn all been seeded number one in the 2009 Men's Basketball Tournament.

 

North Carolina, the only number one team not from the Big East was the number one team during the regular season as well. In the highly competitive ACC, The Tarheels were dominant. In route to winning the ACC, Carolina posted the best record going 28-4  (13-3). The second place team in the conference, (Wake Forest #4 seed) went 24-8 and 11-5 in conference play. With the way Carolina handled the ACC this year; beating the #2 seed Duke twice during the regular season, they are more than deserving of a number one seed.  

Carolina will be the number one seed in the South Region hoping to make it to the regional championships in Memphis.

Last but not least, another former regular season number one: UConn. 

Connecticut fought hard this year in the Big East going 27-4 (15-3). The first, second and third place team in the Big East are all number one seeds this year, a testament to the dominance of the conference this year. 

The Huskies played games against both Louisville and Pittsburgh this year, beating the Cardinals 68-51, and splitting their series with Pitt, losing 76-68 in February. But the Huskies rebounded in March, beating the Panthers 70-60.

UConn rounds out the tournament with the number one seed in the West Region.

Though their seemed to be more parity last year, it doesn’t seem as if this year’s tournament will be much different than last year’s. 

The number one seeds look to be the most dominant teams, and will probably advance to the final four. 

The tournament is losing its parity, in the last few years Non-Power Conference teams are losing “At-Large” bids. 

Five years ago in 2004, there were twelve.

Last year there were six, this year, four. 

Remember the excitement of the 2004 tournament? 

St. Joseph’s led by  guard tandem Jameer Nelson and Delonte West making it to the Elite Eight?

Manhattan knocking off SEC power Florida in the first round 75-60? 

Nevada beating Michigan State and Gonzaga to make it to the Sweet Sixteen?

Seton Hall beating Arizona in the first round? 

Alabama upsetting Stanford and Syracuse to make the Elite Eight?

It truly was Madness in 2004, and in 2008 as well. 

Remember Siena’s upset Vanderbilt?

Davidson’s upset Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin to make the Elite Eight.?

Western Kentucky’s upset Drake, and beat San Diego in route to the Sweet Sixteen?

San Diego upsetting Connecticut in the first round?

Now there will only  four Non-Power Conference teams thanks to the Selection Committee. 

I’m excited for the tournament, but in the future will it actually be “March Madness” ? 

-Nate 

(Bracket’s coming soon….)

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It’s Coming…

Posted by Nathan Atkins on March 11, 2009

Starting next week, it has begun.

Get your brackets ready.

Each day there will be updates regarding the day’s dissapointments and upsets.

Once again, get your brackets ready, because I will be posting one too.

See who gets more right…

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