Tag Archive: Elite 8



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!


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!

Duke Meets the Criteria


As mentioned earlier today Duke was 1 of the 5 teams that have met the criteria for being a National Champion.  If you’ve forgotten what the criteria were I’ll remind you promptly:

  1. Team must have at least a 10 game winning streak at some point during the season
  2. Team’s Margin of Victory must average double digits. So +10 points/victory
  3. Team must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

Duke’s preseason rank: 1

Duke’s MoV (Margin of Victory): 20.7

Duke’s Record: 27-3 (13-2 ACC)

Duke’s RPI: 4

At the beginning of the season I thought Duke was a very impressive team.  They have two wins over 40 points (46 and 52).  I realize these wins were against bad teams but give some credit for playing some D and making shots/layups/and free throws.  As of late though I have lost a lot of confidence in Duke.  They’ve lost to Florida State whose a tournament hopeful, Virgina Tech who I think is one of the first four out as of right now, and St. Johns.  Florida State is a good team and I know when you’re expected to win every game and you lose people point fingers.  I’ll give Florida State credit of a well played game and not bash the Dukies for a loss that was bound to happen.  Virginia Tech was looking good for a little bit and making a case for themselves to the selection committee but this loss was unimpressive to say the least.  As for the St. Johns loss, who hasn’t St. Johns beat?  Enough said on Duke’s losses.  Their very few and not much to fuss about.  I think Duke’s success is in the hands of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, obviously.

Coach Krzyzewski

Coach K needs these two to step up and be the leaders they can be.  The loss of Kyrie Irving dampers their ability to win title.  I see Duke making it to at least the Elite 8 and think they’ll make the Final Four, but that’s the end of the road for the Blue Devils.  Like I said in a previous post, predictions are just predictions.  It’s great when you get them right but when you’re wrong who really cares, unless you’re betting on the games….That’s just wrong anyway! I look for Coach K to have his team ready to perform well but not able to prevail and win another title.

I’m interested in hearing what other people have to say and their opinions on how far they think Duke will make in this year’s March Madness Tournament!

Jimmer Fredette and BYU


As I watch Brigham Young University and San Diego State University a couple of thoughts on how far I think each team will go in the tournament come to mind. BYU and SDSU haven’t quite impressed me as much as they have everyone else.  I mean no disrespect towards either team in my analysis, I just want to point out some weaknesses that I think will catch up to them come tourney time.

BYU:  From watching BYU against SDSU I noticed that they rely way too much on the 3 point game.  With 3 minutes left in the game they’ve already chucked up 22 three’s, granted they hit 14 of them at this point.  I know that’s their style of play and they know they can knock down three’s consistently.  What worries me about this is the obvious, all teams at some point have an off game and have a cold shooting night.  I’m not convinced yet that BYU and stick in a game with their post players.  I think if they got far enough in the tournament and went cold they would have trouble with any of the teams in the Big 12, Big East, or the Big Ten.  Another note about BYU’s 3 point game is that they take a lot of bad 3’s, especially Jimmer.  This can obviously hurt them against fast transition teams that like to run.  With long rebounds landing in their opponents hands a lot of fast break points could potentially be scored on them.

I know that playing tough, in your face, defense is tiring for 40 minutes.  But at times I noticed BYU taking breaks, not hustling back, and sometimes playing lackadaisical D.  For obvious reasons you know why this could be bad.  Especially after a missed 3 and a long rebound not getting back on D will kill you.

Even though I’m a Jimmer Fredette fan the kid needs to get the ball out of his hands.  He runs the point and sometimes forces his own shots, which aren’t necessarily good shots.  He’s an amazing player and can score at will it seems but I just think if he didn’t have to run the point and create so many of his own shots BYU would be better off.  To counter that point Jimmer has probably the best court vision in the Mountain West Conference.  In such a big game Fredette put up 25 points and 9 assists! Those are career highs for some guys in different games.  I won’t take anything way from Jimmer but if BYU had the option to set off the ball screens for him he might have a few more open looks.

SDSU:   I haven’t been caught up in the hype of San Diego State all year.  Yeah I find their 27-2 record to be extremely impressive but who have they really played?  I’ll get more into that point for both squads later.  Personally I thought SDSU was too reliant on Kawhi Leonard and D.J. Gay to score.  Last year Purdue proved that only two guys couldn’t get the job done (E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson).  Leonard only averages 15.2 ppg and Gay 12.1, and Malcolm Thomas adds another 11.6 a game.  That’s only 3 players averaging over 10 points a game.  If you add those point totals up between the 3 of them you get 38.9 points per game.  Not that many.  I’m almost positive for SDSU to get far in the tournament these three will have to pick up their point averages per game.  If they can do this and take advantage of the way they share the ball as a team (14 assists/game) I think SDSU may have a chance to show me and all their other nonbelievers up.

I was not impressed with San Diego State’s defense.  I realize they were playing Jimmer Fredette and the high scoring BYU Cougars but I think they could have played better defense.  Too many time Fredette would split two defenders and get himself a 3 point play opportunity.  There was apparently a lack of communication on the defensive end of the floor.  I’m not going to question SDSU’s effort or hustle, it was there, I just don’t think they executed their game plan and it cost them a game.  If they continue to lack communication they will suffer and be knocked out fairly early from the tournament.

BYU and SDSU:   I still question The Mountain West Conference’s toughness and strength of schedule.  Yes, most of the teams have good records but I’m not completely sold that they all play tough non-conference schedules.  For SDSU I only see two solid non-conference victories: Gonzaga, at the time ranked 12th and Wichita State.  Not all that great of a resume.  I just don’t feel as if SDSU deserves as much credit as they have. I would like to see how they would do in lets say the Big 12 or even the Big Ten.  From what I saw today SDSU would be and above average (just above .500) in either of those conferences.  As for BYU, they have what I call 6 solid victories (SDSUx2, UNLVx2, Arizona, and Utah State).  I think they have a more impressive resume but I would still like to see them matched up in either the Big 12 or Big East (I think BYU’s style of play fits a tad better here than in the Big Ten).  With how crazy the Big East this season I think it would be very interesting to see how they would finish.  But, to each teams credit they beat the teams they’re supposed to beat and I can respect that.

I’m really looking forward to see how each team does in the tournament.  I think BYU is very deserving of a 3 seed at the worst, possibly a 2 seed.  As for SDSU, I’m not as convinced and think they deserve a 5 seed.  With these seedings and no idea of what possible match-ups may arise I’m going to go on my gut feeling and make some predictions as to how far I think each team will go.  I think BYU has the better shot making it deep in the tournament. However, with the possibility of them having a cold shooting night I don’t think BYU make it to the Final Four.  I see BYU making it to the Elite 8.  SDSU, I can’t say enough how unimpressed with this squad I am.  Honestly I don’t think they’re that good and depending again on match-ups I think SDSU makes it to the Sweet 16 but wouldn’t be surprised if they do get that 5 seed and they’re the 12:5 seed upset game of the year.