Tag Archive: sweet sixteen


Lucky Number…..12?


The title of this post explains itself. If you’ve been following the NCAA March Madness Tournament so far you’re well aware of the notorious 12-5 seed upsets in the round of 64!  This season three of 12 seeds have upset 5 seeds. I admit, I’m rather surprised. It’s not a surprise that at least one 12 seed usually pulls off an upset in the round of 64, it happens almost every year since the tournament expanded to 64 teams (now the tournament has been expanded to 68 with four play-in games to kick off the tournament). 

I’ll start this by stating that I saw the Harvard > Cincinnati upset coming. As soon as I saw the bracket I looked at my roommate, who doesn’t care at all about college basketball or even sports in general, and said, “Harvard is going to upset Cincinnati in the “first” round. I’m calling it now”. 

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Now, I haven’t been able to watch as much college basketball as I’d like. I live in Marine Corps barracks and share a lounge with 300+ Marines so it’s tough getting to the TV in time to catch a game. Last year at this time I was in bootcamp getting slayed as we call it lol.  Basically, I had very, very little to go off with this prediction.  So, why did I call this upset so quickly? Harvard is obviously a roster filled with intelligent players. Typically, and I say typically, intelligence practices discipline.  From what I caught from the few minutes of watching the UC Bearcats was a group of sloppy, at times, and undisciplined team. I felt with Harvard’s great shooters and discipline to take good shots they would be able to handle their own. I literally know nothing about either team other than those few opinions.  That’s how I based that decision. 

Harvard will be facing Michigan St. in the third round.  I personally enjoy watching Big Ten basketball. The style and toughness is my thought of how basketball should be played.  Though Harvard may stay hot I feel their hopes for a Cinderella story will end here.  Tom Izzo is a great coach and the Spartans have been playing extremely consistent, high caliber basketball lately.  Sorry Harvard, but I don’t see brains beating brawn here…..and no, I’m not saying Michigan St. is stupid. They’re far from it with great coaching from Tom Izzo. 

 

How about North Dakota St.! I did not see that coming at all! One of the few Oklahoma games I watched this season was against my beloved Jayhawks and they played extremely well.  I thought they were a pretty tough team. They play a tough schedule and posted a 20 win season.  I honestly thought they could handle the mid-major Bison of North Dakota State.  I should’ve considered how consistent mid-major schools are starting to draw attention to themselves.  The Bison have now won 26 games on the season. I don’t care what conference you play in that’s impressive.  Though I didn’t see the Bison winning this game I’m not all that surprised. They played well, really well in fact.

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The Bison will be playing 4th seed San Diego St. in the third round. The Bison are tough, they have great size and terrific athletic ability. I’m going with the Bison advancing to the Sweet Sixteen!

 

The third 12 seed to pull off the upset is Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.  I didn’t completely agree with VCU getting a 5 seed so even though I picked VCU to win I’m not surprised by this so called “upset”.  This upset win brings the Lumberjacks to a 32 win season.  That’s pretty dang impressive at any level.  To be that consistent and doing what it takes to win games is hard to overlook.  I went back and forth with this pick and after flipping a quarter I picked VCU.  I was unable to watch this game due to work responsibilities so I don’t know what Stephen F. Austin is all about.  However, their 32 W’s are eye catching to say the least. 

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I don’t know enough, and even if I did it’s March Madness; anything can happen, to make a “good” pick on their upcoming game against UCLA.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! As always don’t be surprised if they pull off another upset and solidify their spot in the ever sought after Sweet Sixteen!

 

I simply wanted to write about the lucky number that is 12 in this years tournament.  Give some of these smaller schools some recognition for their outstanding play and success thus far.  They deserve it! Hope y’all enjoyed this post and as always feel free to start a discussion in the comments section below! I look forward to hearing from anyone and everyone!

 

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.


Being an Indiana boy and naturally hating Duke I fell in love with the Butler Bulldogs once my top two favorite teams were knocked out of the big dance (Kansas Jayhawks and Purdue Boilermakers).  I admit that it was just a love affair with the Bulldogs.  I never really invested much into Butler but found myself none the less rooting for them in the national championship game.  It’s no lie that Gordon Hayward was their team leader and helped them to their surprising runner up finish in the 2009-2010 season.  So, it is that much of a surprise to the Bulldog’s rocky start in the 2010-2011 season?

Not at all.  Last years team was same George Mason team that made it to the final four a few years back.  Coming out of the Horizon League I really didn’t know much about Butler and had them losing in the sweet sixteen.  I know my Indiana boys can play some ball but I’m not that confident in my small town schools, yet.  However, I don’t think the Bulldogs are suffering from the hangover from their title run just a season ago.  I think their early season struggles are due more in part to the departure of the sophomore stud Gordon Hayward.  He was the staple and glue of the team last season.

I’m not knocking Butler or giving up on them. I’m simply putting their season into perspective.  Their preseason ranking at #18 in the country I thought was a little ridiculous.  ESPN had to know they were wrong.  They probably just felt obligated to put the runner up in the top 25, the only problem I have with ESPN.  I’m not totally surprised by Butler’s rocky start but I still think the Bulldogs will start playing much better come conference play.

3 of Butler’s 4 losses come to solid teams; Louisville, #1 Duke, and Xavier.  After an impressive victory against Washington State I see a bright future for the Bulldogs.  Do I think they’re going back to replay Duke in the National Championship game? Not at all.  But I think the Bulldogs are making their way back into Horizon League champ form.  Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack need to step up and I think they showed their ability to do so this past weekend in Hawaii in the Diamond Head Classic tournament.  This, to me, is an important step before entering conference play coming up soon this coming week.  Some more good news for the Bulldogs is that Zach Hahn started hitting some big shots in their victory over Washington State Saturday night.

Personally, I don’t see Butler making another Cinderella run.  But, I can see them competing with Valparaiso for the Horizon League Championship.  And with Butler’s rocky start, winning the Horizon League is the only way I see them making the big dance come March.  Butler has a solid team and some very good athletes but, I don’t really consider them to be “back” with the big dogs and don’t really feel like they ever were “with” the big dogs.  I expect big things from the Bulldogs but think it would be completely unrealistic to expect to seem them back in the National Title game…..