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March Madness Baby

Posted by Charlie Hustle on March 16, 2009

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The Nasty Boys are lighting up the midnight oil to provide one of the first March Madness primers….assuming Pat Forde’s 10,000 word column was mainly written before the brackets came out…

Winners:

Big East – Hard to believe when ESPN has Big East Monday and covers the Big East conference tournament, that it could possibly result in 3 #1 seeds. ESPN dictates sports fans viewpoints with the vigor of a Soviet propaganda minister.

Memphis – Not a #1 seed? Who cares. After Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, etcetera left in 2005, Memphis seems to go pretty much defeated in the Washington Senator-esque Conference USA every year. They lost 3 games after losing their 3 best players to the NBA draft. Soak it up Calipari… you’ve come a long way baby

Just 15 years ago Cliff Huxtable was ready to whip your ass.

Big Ten – 7 tournament bids from the most horrendous offensive teams in recent history. But hey, they followed a simple formula… make one team so indefensibly bad they improve everyone’s conference record (Indiana) + make typical losers slightly better (NW, PSU, UofMich, Minny) + make your middle of the road teams (OSU, Purdue) as good as your best teams (Mich St, Illinois)

Arizona – Consistently underwhelm every year and do less with more? Check. Lose basically every game for 3 weeks leading up the tourney? Check. Sneak in as the last at-large bid? Check.

Atlantic 10 – If anyone would have told me before the season that the conference championship would include a luke warm Duquesne/Temple showdown and that there would be 3 bids coming for the tourney, well… ya know…

Losers:

Missouri Valley Conference – Your best team (Creighton) doesn’t get in and your best showing is a 12 seed (Northern Iowa)? Ouch.

Akron – Win a surprisingly tough MAC tournament? Good for you. Now go play Gonzaga in Portland.

Kentucky – Misses the tourney for the first time since 1991 even in a weak year for the SEC. Only a 4th seed in the NIT? Yikes. Maybe the extra time will help Billy G. find more than one player who can shoot a jumper.

… and now…

Announcers:

Gus Johnson – Anyone with a pulse will be excited to hear Johnson calling upset-last-second-shot victories.

Bill Raftery – Saying “mantoman” and “onions” in a weird voice does not a good playcaller make.

Ian Eagle/Jim Sparnakel – I wish there was an announcer website like baseball-reference.com that kept track of most consecutive boring, unimportant games called record holder – Ian Eagle. Whether it’s calling late season Chiefs/Bengals matchups or the enticing UNC/Radford showdown, Ian Eagle has it covered. That’s “eye-an” for those keeping score.

Lesley Visser/Tracy Wolfson/Sam Ryan – Hey, woman sideline reporter, NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. Where’s my mute button….

Jay Bilas/Dick Vitale/Seth Davis – Just tattoo a Duke logo on your forehead and get it over with. We get it already….

Fakers:

Kansas – Great home team. Won last year. But no one is forgetting their streak of early round upsets especially since this team lost almost all of its main components from the Championship squad. They’re a year away.

Prediction: North Dakota St. wins. Gus Johnson strokes out.

Wake Forest – Talented team that just simply has not lived up to expectations after their #1 ranking in the middle of the season. Demon Deacs are just not up to it.

Prediction: Cleveland St. or Utah knocks them out.

Michigan State – Great coaching can make up for a lot of issues and Tom Izzo seems to have MSU competing every year for a Big 10 title. But this Spartans team can’t hang with anyone who can score more than 65 points. They just don’t have the shooters.

Prediction: Sent packing before the weekend is over.

Marquette – Dominique James couldn’t shoot for his life but for whatever reason, this team just cannot make up for his loss. They’ve been cold for a month and can’t recover.

Prediction: Utah State’s middle aged team (their best guy is 26 years old, due to school rules of 2 years doing church work) wears down Marquette and sends them home.

Tennessee – Bill Raftery on Wayne Chism’s long shorts-high socks look… “It looks like he’s wearing pajamas out there.” When your best player wears his head band on the crown of his head and your coach has a 365-day tan… you are making a quick exit.

Prediction: OK State by 10-20

Butler – No team has had more highly touted nonathletic white guys come through their doors than possibly save Gonzaga. I watched them lose to Cleveland St. and they don’t have the horses.

Prediction: UNC wins by 30 in 2nd round.

Syracuse – Coach? Check. Point guard? Check. Shooters? Check. But there’s a long list of teams that sell all the way out for the conference tournament and lay an egg in the NCAAs, and we’ll be adding this Syracuse team to the list. They were good enough to hang with the big boys in the Big East but every game seemed to fall apart at the end…

Prediction: Either James Harden (ASU) or Dionte Christmas (Temple) will send ‘Cuse home.

The Players:

Louisville – Seem to make up for their lack of shooters with a stifling press defense and lots of depth on the front line. They are a second-half team, and second-half teams that play great defense seem to win a lot of games (See Celtics, Cavs)

Prediction: Final Four

USC – Sometimes talented teams take a while to mesh, and if the Pac10 tournament is any indication, USC has just started to touch on their potential.

Prediction: Sweet 16+

Washington – Usually the Pac 10 is chock full of wimps who make early round exits but this Huskies team has quietly had its best team in years. They have 4 double-digits scorers (Thomas, Dentmon, Brockman, Pondexter), including their best scorer named Isaiah Thomas. Perhaps he too will become a Hall of Fame player then the worst GM ever.

Prediction: Elite 8 (after beating UConn in OT)

Memphis – A hot team with a fairly easy draw, Memphis will be making a Final Four appearance no matter how bad their conference is.

Prediction: Final Four

Pitt – Many people’s favorite to win, Pitt has played consistently well all year and has depth and talent. However, they simply cannot survive DeJuan Blair getting in foul trouble (see Louisville loss) and Jamie Dixon isn’t what I would call a “big game coach”.

Prediction: Elite 8

Portland State – My knowledge of this sleeper is due to degenerate gambling but they have a great shot at making a run. They can run, shoot lights out, and their best player is like 5’5″. Xavier usually saves its best for Dayton then sucks against other good teams.

Prediction: Sweet 16

VCU – Should come as no surprise, this team is well-coached, has good depth, and a killer prime time scorer in Eric Maynor. C-ya, UCLA.

Prediction: 101-98 loss to Nova.

Villanova – Out of all the big Big East names, this team is quietly hanging under the radar. But they have good scoring depth, two stars in Cunningham and Reynolds, and a coach that could fill in as Don Draper’s double on Mad Men.

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Prediction: Final Four.

Duke – Great run in the ACC tournament but obvious front court weakness will eventually send the Dukies home and leave the Vitale/Bilas/Davis combination crying into their Van Heusen ties. Nova will be smart enough to guard the 3 point line and let the likes of Jason Zoubak beat them.

Prediction: Sweet 16

UNC – The deepest and most talented team in the field. A loss in the ACC tournament is going to make this team hungry and their hopes will ride on their floor general Ty Lawson’s foot. A full week of rest should do him wonders.

Prediction: Final Four

Gonzaga – Probably one of their best tournament teams in years. They are deep, talented, and Josh Heytvelt seems to be off the ‘shrooms. They go down to UNC in a high-scoring affair.

Prediction: Elite 8

Arizona State – A great player can carry a team far in the NCAAs and the Sun Devil’s James Harden is as good as there is. If they can put the clamps on Dionte Christmas, the Sun Devils will be in the sweet 16.

Prediction: Sweet 16

Oklahoma – Interesting team with plenty of talent (Griffin brothers, Willie Warren) but they just seem to have lost some momentum after Blake’s concussion. Playing a streaky Clemson team in the 2nd round, they could be sent home very early. Having the best player in the country doesn’t always mean winning in the tourney (See: Kevin Durant).

Prediction: Sweet 16

Final Four: Memphis vs. Louisville and UNC vs. Villanova

Louisville’s defense is too much for freshman PG Tyreke Evans and they roll 65-58.

UNC keeps Nova in it with less than stellar D but Hansborough tends to get big men like Cunningham in foul trouble and UNC scores 50 in the 2nd half to win 87-83 in a nail-biter.

Championship: UNC vs. Louisville

Offense vs. Defense. Pitino vs. Williams. At the end of the day, there aren’t many teams I would trust to break the Louisville press more than Lawson and Company. Louisville keeps it close with some strong runs in both halves but can’t make enough shots down the stretch to keep up.

UNC wins 85-76

Good luck and as always, when your bracket falls apart, burn it in the fireplace.

— Charlie Hustle

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8 Responses to “March Madness Baby”

  1. Im loving the site. Keep up the good work :-)

  2. MJ said

    A gem as always.

    • Condo said

      Well Charlie, our Final 4 picks are pretty much the same… although I’m not NEARLY as high on Nova as you (have them losing to a UCLA team that has managed to make deep runs in the NCAAs under Howland)

      I have Pitt/UNC and Memphis/Louisville.

      Louisville/UNC Championship Game…. and my working for Louisville previously leads me to pick them to win it all.

      I certainly will not be the slightest bit surprised to see UNC win it so long as Lawson is totally healthy, but after going to Atlanta to see UNC w/o him vs Florida State… they are in some trouble if Lawson cannot play effectively.

      • MJ said

        Lewisveele only beat Kensucky by 3 on a luck last second shot by Edgar “Don’t Call Me Sammy” Sosa.

        They’re overrated and they’ll under perform in the tourney according to “expert” expectations like they have every year except their lone Final Four year under Benedict Arnold. They didn’t even play one of the upper half of the hardest Big East schedules.

  3. I agree with you, Matt. Louisville only got the number 1 seed because we are in a shitfaced conference and didn’t have enough quality wins. Louisville is going to, in my opinion, probably crash and burn.

  4. In a show of NCAA incompetence, I have Michigan State, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse in my Final Four at work. Winner gets a drink from every loser, so either way, I’m getting shit drunk.

    • MJ said

      I have Michigan State in the Final Four in one bracket and Wake Forrest (I know, I know…Cleveland State, etcetera) in the Final Four in another bracket. All this just to appease the side of my being that gets sick to my stomach at the site of the Louisville Cardinals.

      As a side note, getting shit drunk sounds fantastic…so maybe those picks weren’t so bad?

      Thanks for stopping back by, Shea…it’s been a while.

      M

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