Category: NCAA tournament



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!

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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!


In this post I’m going to talk about some of the reasons why I like Butler to advance not only to the Elite 8 but to the Final Four.

I’m not sure if a team can be considered the Cinderella team two years in a row but I like Butler this year as the “Underdog” once again.  This season (including the NCAA tournament games) Butler is only 3-3 against teams that made it into the tournament.  Their losses were against Louisville (Nov. 16th 2010), Duke (Dec. 4th 2010), and Xavier (Dec. 9th 2010) and their wins against Florida State (Dec. 23rd 2010), Old Dominion (March 17th 2011), and Pittsburgh (March 19th 2011).  Some would say this is a weak resume against teams in the tournament, only two of those teams are left in the tournament not including Butler.  I would have to agree with this claim, that’s not very impressive.  However, the Bulldogs are tough and know how to win tough close games.

“This team is tough because Matt Howard is tough” -Butler Guard Ronald Nored (article from espn.com, Matt Howard leads Butler to Sweet 16) link to article:  http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/tournament/2011/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=6246779

Howard's workhorse mentality and leadership gives Butler the boost they need to win games

I like Butler making its second trip to the Final Four in two years because of the fact they have Matt Howard.  Howard isn’t the most versatile or flashy player in the game but he gets it done with hard work and hustle.  His energy and work ethic motivates his teammates to work hard and to get better.  They respond to his on and off court leadership. He also leads the team in points per game (16.7) and rebounds per game (7.8).  Howard’s hustle is also second to none.  He has one speed, GO (To quote the great Charlie Sheen) and he doesn’t stop til the game is over. You have to admire that from an athlete that is so gifted.  His hustle and toughness though have gotten him to trouble at times.  Last season he was known to get into foul trouble, this year he’s done better and seems to be playing under more control, which is good news for Bulldogs fans.

I also like Butler’s coach Brad Stevens.  Even though he’s a young coach he knows the game exceptionally well and relates to his players on a very personal level.  You can tell his players respect him and want to play for him.  He brings a sense of family to the program which has not only brought him closer to his players but the whole team and faculty closer together.  Another good thing about Stevens’ youth is that he brings a certain energy to the game that most coaches can only attempt to bring.  I also like his composure. His calm and collected attitude mixed with his passion and energy vibes perfectly with his team.

Shelvin Mack needs to continue his hot shooting to help Butler reach the Elite 8

Shelvin Mack, absolutely lit up the the first round.  In order for Butler to be successful the Bulldogs need more big games out of Mack.  Which I think he’ll have.  He was a part of the amazing run Butler had last year and knows what is needed of him to make the same type of run.  I’m not saying he needs to put up another 30 points but he needs to hit big 3’s with the shot clock winding down or hit open looks (I guess you could say that about any shooter).

I like this team a lot. I think their unselfishness on the offensive end will help them get good looks against the Badgers defense.  The Badgers will put up a great fight but Butler wins in a close game.  I also like Butler in the Elite 8, whether they play BYU or Florida. I like the way they match up against both teams and believe they’ll be successful and will see themselves in Houston!


If you ask me this tournament blows.  Honestly I want to watch the best teams from the entire year not just who got hot for a week or maybe even two! However, I’m here to give my thoughts on the upcoming Sweet 16 match-ups. Hope you enjoy!

East Region:

  • Ohio State vs. Kentucky: Ohio State has been the most consistent and dominating team this season.  Winning the regular season Big Ten title and the Big Ten Conference championship.  Although Kentucky has shown some toughness and good play I don’t see much hope for the Wildcats.  As much as I hate to say it, Ohio State will most like dominate the Wildcats and move on to the Elite 8 with another very impressive victory.
  • Marquette vs. North Carolina:  Marquette has been a surprise this tournament (just as every other team left besides a few).  I had Marquette losing 1st round but they’ve proven me wrong not just once but by also beating Syracuse.  Everybody wants to talk about playing close to home…I don’t think that means anything come tournament time. Marquette took down Syracuse in Newark, New Jersey and Purdue got pounded by VCU in Chicago.  And UCN barely escaped Washington in their own back yard, Washington had traveled somewhere close to 2,000 miles compared to UNC only going about 140 miles.  If you watched the UNC/Washington game you’ll agree that UNC didn’t win that game but Washington lost that game.  I’m still not impressed with the TarHeels but think they have just as good of a shot as anybody but, I think Marquette will prevail in this one by playing tough defense and breaking down UNC’s almost non-existent defense at the other end of the floor.  Marquette > UNC in a close game.

West Region:

  • Duke vs. Arizona: Duke escaped Michigan by a two point margin, which nobody expected to happen. Arizona took down Texas on a 3 point play by Derrick Williams in the closing seconds of the game.  Two close games that two good teams won.  But, Duke has been here before in more recent history.  I think Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving will be able to lock down Arizona’s guard but the opposite will not happen.  Duke needs a hot shooting night from Seth Curry if they don’t want to make it interesting.  I think Derrick Williams will have a big game but Duke wins.  I think Coach K’s squad wants to be the team that ties Bob Knight’s all time wins record for Coach K, just a little extra motivation.
  • Uconn vs San Diego State: I feel bad for anybody who has SDSU going any further than this game.  One of my friends has BYU and SDSU in the final game with SDSU winning it all.  He knows nothing about college basketball but might be on to something.  I don’t usually like to be proven wrong but hey it happens.  However, I think Uconn is just too tough and has better big game experience.  Plus, Uconn has Kemba Walker, whose in the running for Player of the Year (POY).  I don’t see SDSU’s luck making it past the Sweet 16.  Uconn wins by 9.

Southwest Region:

  • Kansas vs. Richmond: I think it’s fair to say that this region is a mess.  I hate it.  I’m not looking forward to watching these games.  I think this game in particular is going to be a blow out.  Kansas wins big, that’s all I have to say.  Actually, the Morris Twins are going to win this game with a bit of help from the guards (getting them the ball that is). Sorry Richmond, your Cinderella story is over.
  • VCU vs. FSU: I don’t want to watch this game. Maybe VCU will prove me wrong but I see them cooling off this round after 4 days off.  I strong feel that out of the 16 teams left that only 6 or 7 belong, and these two teams are not in that category.  Regardless FSU wins with good defensive and and rebounding.

Southeast Region:

  • Butler vs. Wisconsin: For once I’m actually looking forward to watching this game.  I think it’s going to be interesting watching the two different styles play.  I think Bo Ryan and his defense will be able to hold Butler in Check.  But, if Shelvin Mack stays hot he’s going to be hard to stop which could frustrate the Badgers.  But, I think Butler is at it again and pulls off another so called upset and advances to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year in a row on a buzzer beater by Howard!
  • BYU vs. Florida: I think Jimmer stays hot and frustrates Florida’s defense.  I like Florida’s team play and their ability to get open looks.  However, this is the one year where mid-majors have whooped big conferences butts so I’m going BYU in this game.

I’ve basically been wrong with every prediction.  But like I said before they’re only predictions.  So if you want your team to win that I have winning don’t hate me when they get beat.  And if I have your team losing and they win I don’t want to hear any smack talk about how wrong I was.  Like I said I’m not looking forward to watching too many of these games. I think once it’s down to the Final Four, when the best teams left weed out the undeserving competition, it’ll be much more interesting. Until then sit back and have a nice cold one to help you get through this weekends games.  I’ll be posting some more in depth reports later tonight and tomorrow before games resume on Thursday. Keep your eyes open for new posts!

Thanks for reading everyone!

Purdue


It’s very disappointing to write this post, as I’m a Purdue fan.  However, I think I have to bite the bullet and explain why Purdue was eliminated and failed to make the Sweet 16.

  1. Purdue played shitty defense Sunday night.  VCU shot about 60% from the field. Purdue played with zero authority on either end of the floor. Their is no way VCU should have scored 94 points! Purdue’s defense is what carried them through the season and led to their 26 wins.  Along with playing with zero authority Purdue played without a sense of intensity or urgency.  They also looked extremely slow and it seemed as if they had their feet stuck in cement for the entire game.  They played like they were scared as well as lost.
  2. Not only did they not play defense they didn’t make easy layups or open shots.  Yeah they shot 45% from the field but there were way too many times when Purdue had easy layups that they missed, and they didn’t have anybody crashing the boards because they should’ve been easy 2-pointers.  Disappointing to be a Purdue fan tonight.
  3. Just like on the defensive end Purdue played with zero intensity or authority on the offensive end.  JaJuan Johnson didn’t go hard to the rim and expected to get calls.  They didn’t deserve them the way they “attacked” the rim. I use attack lightly because that’s the complete opposite of what they were doing.
  4. Overall, Purdue played lousy basketball
  5. E’Twaun Moore didn’t show up.  He only scored 10 points on 5 field goals. He didn’t attempt a free throw and was 0-3 from behind the arc.

    Moore's subpar 10 point game isn't how the senior expected to leave Purdue

  6. JaJuan Johnson needed more help from his Senior pal E’Twaun.  Johnson had 25 points but wasn’t a presence on the defensive end of the floor like he was all year.
  7. Ryne Smith couldn’t do it by himself.  He had 20 points but needed help from his teammates to set him screens to get him more open looks.
  8. Just a thought here: If I was Robbie Hummel I would kill E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson.  The senior leader was in tears at the end of the game and I strongly believe that Robbie cares more than Johnson and Moore combined.
  9. Moore and Johnson leave Purdue as two of the top 5 scorers in Purdue history

    Moore and Johnson may have been seeing dollar signs, they sure played like they didn’t care and without heart (I can’t say that too positively though, I’m angry/disappointed/heated, I’ll most likely retract these harsh statements later).

  10. VCU played one hell of a game and I take nothing away from the Rams.  I’ll be on your side the rest of the way.  Good Luck to the VCU Rams.

Although this is a disappointing loss I look forward to next year.  Robbie Hummel says he’ll be back and I like the guys already on the squad, plus we have some really good looking freshman coming in.  Yeah, we lose E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson but they’re moving on to bigger things and I think their hearts might be in other places now.  I wish them both luck in their future endeavors.

Rodriguez's double-double helped VCU topple Purdue enroute to the sweet 16


The North Carolina/Washington game was an exciting game to watch from start to finish.  I didn’t get a chance to watch either team very much during the regular season or during conference tournaments.  However, I took a few notes that I think were key to success and failure. I’ll also get to the controversial call at the end of the game.

Harrison's 22 point performance helped the Tarheels escape a close game to advance to the Sweet 16

1st, I’m not very impressed with UNC.  I am impressed with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and Kendall Marshall.  Barnes can score and create his own shots like nobody else I’ve seen this year, maybe I shouldn’t forget about Kemba and Jimmer? Barnes literally took control of the game for about 3 minutes and led UNC on a couple runs that gave them the lead.  Personally I think the kid is living up to all the hype.  Tyler Zeller is a tough player that can finish at the rim.  I was very impressed with Zeller.  I was also amazed by Kendall Marshall.  14 assists in a tournament game is big time!

However, I’m not sure UNC has the team discipline needed to win a national championship.  Too many times I watched UNC break down defensively and give up easy shots.  There wasn’t a sense of urgency or hustle on the defensive end of the floor.  If I was a Tarheel fan I would be a little concerned.  Also, Roy Williams’ teams like to run and get a lot of transition and fast break points.  They’re usually pretty solid at getting back on defense in the transition game.  I know that Washington likes to push the tempo too but I saw Washington beat UNC down the floor and get some good looks.  Again this addresses UNC’s hustle issue.

I had Washington taking this game and advancing to the Sweet 16, I was wrong.  I don’t think Washington deserved to win any more than I think UNC deserved to win.  Both teams played outstanding.  However, Washington made a few too many mistakes during a crucial time period towards the end of the game.  The Huskies turned the ball over a couple of times at very inopportune times and also took some bad shots that ended with empty possessions.  I can’t stress enough how debilitating empty possessions are in the last 5 minutes of the game.

Isaiah Thomas's 12 points wasn't enough to propell the hopeful Huskies to the Sweet 16

Even though Washington loss I was fairly impressed with them.  As I mentioned above Roy Williams likes to have his guys out on that floor running it to death.  The Huskies ability to beat them at their own game was eye opening and a lot of fun to watch.  Isaiah Thomas’s performance was anything but electrifying like it has been in the past.  Much of the Huskies success came from his solid play and ability to score.  I think the Huskies were looking for and needed more out of him today scoring wise.  He finished the game with 12 points.  Something to note is Terrence Ross’s game high 19 points for Washington. He gave the Huskies a huge lift off the Washington bench.

I don’t think UNC will make it much further in the tournament.  I predict Syracuse being able to take care of business by playing disciplined basketball and controlling the tempo.

As for the ending of the game I have a problem with the referees not attempting to make sure they had the right amount of time left on the clock.  I know the rules state that the clock is supposed to be stopped on the referees whistle but, I know for a fact that I’ve seen referee crews go to the monitors and put time back on the clock when the ball hit out of bounds.  The rules are the rules but I really wish they would have taken another look at the monitors.