Archive for March 24, 2011



Ohio State has hands down been the most consistent and dominating team all season.  Only slipping up to two tough Big Ten teams during the regular season.  Both losses were on the road at Wisconsin and at Purdue.  However, when they played these two teams at home both margins of victories were 20+ points.  That’s impressive.

David Lighty and Jon Diebler have had the hot shooting hands since the Big Ten tournament.  With Aaron Craft at the point distributing the ball to these two guys and Jared Sullinger Ohio State is a force to be reckoned with.  There’s not much that hasn’t been said about the Buckeyes this year and I have to agree with all that’s been said.  I dogged these guys late in December saying they would fall off once Big Ten play started but they shut me up quickly.  I have nothing but respect for this team.

Sullinger (0) and Buford (44) are the Buckeyes two leading scorers this season

Sullinger is leading the team with 17.2 ppg as a true freshman on the Big Ten regular season Champion team and the Big Ten Conference tournament Championship team.  The kid is a monster.  Just like Kansas he has a great supporting cast in William Buford, second on the team in scoring averaging 14.4 ppg.  I’ve already mentioned the likes of Jon Diebler and the hot hand of David Lighty.  These guys can score and shoot lights out on any given night.  I don’t have the numbers and couldn’t find them but I would guess they have the best shooting percentage of any team remaining during tournament play.

Not only can these guys score but they get after it on the defensive end.  Good old fashioned Big Ten basketball.  You have to love it.  They’re scrappy and in your face.  Their hardwork and focus is a complement to their talent.  I’ve always lived by the saying that, “Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.  Well good luck beating talent that does work hard.  Thad Matta has gotten his team to hit on every cylinder so far in this year’s tournament (all year for that matter) and I expect them to continue to do so.  I don’t see Kentucky being able to pull of the upset but they’ll give the bordering Buckeyes a good game.  To be honest I don’t see Marquette or UNC giving Ohio State much of a fight either. Once Ohio State gets by Kentucky it should be an easy Elite 8 game to advance to the Final Four.

Something to keep in mind.  Back in December I heard some “experts” talking about how Sullinger has given his word that he’ll play at least 2 seasons at Ohio State.  If he gets to the title game and even wins a national championship it could be the end of a beautiful relationship between Sullinger and the Buckeyes.  Just something to keep in mind.

To wrap it up I have my Final Four looking like this.  Ohio State meets the Uconn Huskies  in Houston while the Kansas Jayhawks face off with the Butler Bulldogs! There you have it folks.  I hope my picks have peaked your interest and I thank you for reading my posts!

–Ryan K.

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Bill Self is 202-43 (.824) as Kansas Head Coach. Self has led the Jayhawks to 7 straight regular season Big 12 Titles

Kansas has been one of my favorite teams since I can remember.  They’ve also been more of a heartache and let down than Purdue in past years.  Losing to Bucknell, Bradley, and even Northern Iowa in recent tournaments.  The always highly seeded and most respected Kansas teams have underachieved.  Not this year folks.

At this point in the tournament you can say that every team deserves to be here. Honestly I don’t think that’s the case this season. If you’re going to tell me that VCU REALLY deserves to be here then we should talk.  VCU got hot the last 5th of the season, Kansas and pretty much every other team played full seasons.  Anyway, I would say Richmond deserves to be where they are.  There first round game was a classic 12 over 5 seed upset, it happens.  Let me get back to my point.  I don’t think Kansas will flop this year like in years past.  Bill Self has stated the importance of those losses early in the tournament and how that’s made them tough.  That’s what helped them come back against Memphis in the ’08 tournament.  This year it’s obvious.  The Southwest Region is now watered down.  The match ups left to get to the Final Four are against Richmond and the winner of the VCU/FSU game (11/10 seeds respectively).  I think Kansas is too overpowering in the paint and has too much perimeter support from their guards.

Markieff and Marcus Morris look to continue dominating the competitions big men

The Morris twins are definitely the best big men duos this year.  The only comparison from years past that I can remember being this dominant is the Lopez twins from Stanford a few years back. This is how dominant the twins are.  They are the top two scorers and rebounders on the Jayhawks squad.  I can’t see Richmond being able to defend down low long enough without getting into foul trouble or just being ripped apart.

Not only are the twins dominant but they have a good supporting cast.  Tyshawn Taylor was a distraction earlier in the year and after serving a suspension has come back hot and contributing and distributing the ball extremely well.  If Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed can continue knocking down perimeter jump shots they’ll be tough to handle.  Let’s not forget Josh Selby either.  The kid is a baller and is a smart basketball player and still has a lot of room to grow.  Elijah Johnson also stepped up and ran the point in Taylor’s absence and played terrifically.  Kansas has the all around squad and the coach to get them to the Final Four.  Along with, what I call, watered down competition the road to the Final Four for the Jayhawks should be a done deal.  But, that’s why they play the games!

I look forward to seeing another great Final Four match up between Kansas and Butler.  Too bad it’s next weekend!


My Sweet 16 analysis has basically turned into my Final Four predictions.  You may have guessed it from the title but, I think Uconn is going to make the Final Four from the West Region.  And here’s why:

Uconn is coach by Jim Calhoun.  You cannot argue that Calhoun isn’t a great coach. He’s been in the tournament multiple times and has won a national championship.  The point is Calhoun knows how to coach in big games and in close games.  Plus it always helps to have one of the Player of the Year nominees on your squad.

Kemba is in contention for the Naismith Award (Player of the Year). His moves will be needed to lead the Huskies to a hopeful Final Four run.

I’ve said it all year that I like Kemba Walker.  Personally I can’t think of another player that I’ve ever seen.  He’s the all around player that can take over games and put the team on his back.  Kemba is 1st on his team in points (23.5) and assists (4.3) per game and second in rebounds per game (5.3).  To me that’s amazing.  It’s really good for a guard to be in the top 2 for points and assists but when you’re guard can also get up there in rebounds too your ball club will be given an advantage.  Walker has that uncanny ability to find the ball.  I remember watching the Pittsburgh vs. Uconn game on the Dec. 27th 2010 and even though Uconn lost I knew Uconn was going to be a Final Four team.  I just remember Kemba Walker making plays that no other player was making at the time (Jared Sullinger was making post player plays like none other, can’t compare the two).  Personally, I think Kemba is damn near impossible to stop and nobody can stop him besides himself at the college level.

Not only have the Huskies been through the brutal Big East schedule this season but they managed to win the Big East Tournament.  All 9 of Uconn’s losses came during Big East play (regular season obviously).  The Huskies are currently on a 7 game winning streak including 4 wins against teams ranked in the top 25! If that’s not being hot at the right time I’m not really sure what is.

I can’t forget to mention the fact that I don’t think San Diego State is very good.  Giving them a 2 seed was very very generous by the Selection Committee and they had a close game from a Temple Owls team I hadn’t heard too much about. I know it’s March and should expect close games but I thought they played sloppy against Temple.  I’m still not convinced SDSU is an Elite 8 or Final Four team.  I like Uconn in this match up, I think the Huskies will win big!