Championship Week

The wait is over. The best part of the college basketball season is here. It’s March, the weather’s warming up and the basketball’s getting better. I absolutely love March Madness. Selection Sunday is only a week away. It’s so exciting!
Cornell, Winthrop, Murray State, East Tennessee State, Northern Iowa and Old Dominion are the first six squads to get their invites to go dancing and 25 other teams will get theirs at some point over the next week. How can’t you love this?
So, let me give you my projections for all the tournaments. And when I say give you my projections for all the tournaments, I really mean I will take a wild guess at the winners of a couple and actually break down one or two. So here we go…
Big East Tournament (March 8-12)
– This will be an exciting tournament, to say the least. Three of the top four teams get a ton of pub, but everyone seems to forget about the two-seed: Pittsburgh. The Panthers have quietly worked their way to a 24-7 record. They’re ranked 18th and 17th in the nation. They’ve beaten each of the top three teams in the conference. I’m not going to act like I know a lot about this Pitt squad. I figured they’d be a middle of the pack team after losing Levance Fields, DeJuan Blair and Sam Young – the only three players who averaged double-digits for them last season.
Now the Panthers are led by Ashton Gibbs. Heard of him? I know I haven’t. Everyone wants to talk about West Virginia, Syracuse and Villanova, but I get the feeling this Pittsburgh team will give all of them a good run for the Big East tourney title. But it could be tougher if some of those West Virginia fans come to MSG and throw stuff at them again. But my boy Huggs would take care of it, I’m sure.

You don’t mess with Huggie Bear.
Unfortunately, my Bearcats got a tough draw. Maybe if they had sucked less during the regular season, they wouldn’t need to worry about it. Instead, they get Rutgers (which isn’t a big deal), then they have to play Louisville for the right to take on Huggs and the Mountaineers. It’s especially tough because of how good the Cardinals look. What a showing by the ‘Ville to knock of Syracuse this weekend. And how about Kyle Kuric? 22 points in a flash of White Lightning in the second half. Hot dog, he was impressive. (And a great end for a great arena. Freedom Hall really is a great venue. It’ll be weird to see L’Ville playing somewhere else.) The Bearcats need to run the table to go dancing. With the draw they’ve got, I don’t think it’ll happen.
I take West Virginia to cut down the nets in MSG next weekend. It’ll be entertaining and there’s a great chance I’m wrong, but I like the Mountaineers. Especially after the way they won this weekend at Villanova.

Big 12 Tournament (March 10-13)
-This will be as exciting a conference tournament as we’ll see this season. Obviously, Kansas has set itself apart from the rest of the teams in the national spotlight, but Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State have played the Jayhawks tight at some point this season. Don’t think kU will just be able to walk through this tournament.
After Kansas, this conference is jammed. The next six teams are all within a game or two of one another. The 2-6 seeds, in order: K-State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Mizzou, Texas, Oklahoma State. K-State has beaten Baylor, A&M, Mizzou and Texas. Baylor’s beaten Mizzou, Baylor, Texas and OK State. Texas A&M has beaten Mizzou, OK State, Baylor and Texas. Mizzou’s beaten K-State, Texas and OK State. That makes the Tigers (the fifth seed) the only team that hasn’t beaten four of the teams seeded second through seventh. This conference is legit. All of those teams are tourney teams – and teams that you wouldn’t wanna face. This tournament will be very exciting.
Mizzou’s got a tough draw. Nebraska should be no problem, but they’d get A&M in the second round and, if they can get by the Aggies, they play kU right after that. They’d need to win four games in four days to win it. That’s not easy against mediocre teams. It’ll be way tougher against good teams. It’s especially tough (at least to me) because I believe A&M and Kansas are the two worst match-ups for Mizzou in this tournament.
It’s going to be a blast to watch, and I think it’s gonna be Kansas that comes out on top. They’re just too talented top to bottom. I hate them for it, but it’s the way it is.

ACC Tournament (March 11-14)
– This won’t be too competitive, if you ask me. After watching Duke absolutely dismantle North Carolina last night, I get the feeling the Blue Devils were angry after losing to the Turtles last week. They won’t let it happen again. Duke rolls through the tournament and grabs a top seed for the Big Dance. Scheyer, Smith and Singler are scary good. And, for my buddy Swan, I will throw this video in here to remember the Dukies’ glory days.

Now I’ll give you some quick hitters.
SEC Tournament – Kentucky’s good. John Wall and Demarcus Cousins lead the Wildcats to a tourney title and a number one seed in the Tourney.
Big Ten Tournament – Purdue can’t do it without Robbie Hummell. Michigan State is inconsistent. Evan Turner should be the POY this season. I think he leads the Buckeyes to a Big Ten tourney title and puts OSU in discussion for a possible one seed, even though they’ll get a two.
Atlantic 10 Tournament – Xavier, Richmond, Dayton, Charlotte, Rhode Island and Temple all have legitimate arguments to make the Tourney. Latest Bracketology has XU, Richmond, Rhode Island and Temple dancing, with UD in the “First Four Out.” That means this tournament could mean a lot for the Flyers. I’m pulling for them, but I don’t think they do it. I think it’s gonna be Richmond or Temple, and I’m leaning toward the Spiders. Mostly because they beat Mizzou.
Horizon League Tournament – I’m doing this one just because I know almost definitely that I’ll be right. Butler’s good. Which makes them a lot better than everyone else in the Horizon League. And they’re already in the semi-finals courtesy of their top seed. Even though they don’t need it, the Bulldogs get the automatic bid.
-As for the rest of the tournaments, I have no idea. New Mexico probably wins the Mountain West, but BYU might give them a run for their money. The Pac-10 isn’t all that good this year, so that tournament should be fun, too. I’ll take Cal there. And for the one small conference tournament I wanna pick, I’ll take Lehigh to win the Patriot League crown.
-And because I mentioned him above, I will give you a clip of one of my favorite moments in college basketball. Coach Huggins’ return to Cincinnati. I miss the glory days. I miss Huggs. I must admit I root for WVU now because of him, as long as they’re not playing the ‘Cats.

That’s all for basketball. At least for now. But the weather here in Missouri is beautiful. As I mentioned in my last post, I forgot my golf clubs. And I’m not happy about it.
-Camilo didn’t forget anything this week, though. A very good win for him this week in Palm Gardens. The early season Florida swing is always a good one for the PGA Tour. It got off to a very good start at the Honda Classic. I think Camilo had only one three-put all week. Vijay Singh was trying to put pressure on him today; he had at least four three-putts this week. You don’t win like that, Veej. I just wish he or AKim would have made things a little more dramatic down the stretch. Oh well. Camilo ended in style, dropping a 20ish foot putt on 18 for a birdie and a final tally of -13. A pretty solid showing from “Spiderman”.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I will leave you guys with some laughs, hopefully. All the way from Australia, our good friend Defibrillator is making his contributions to TAC. You gotta love it. Enjoy the videos he recommended and keep up on his semester abroad here. He’s a good writer and he’s got some good stories. Chances are you’ll enjoy it.
I start with a warning: these videos contain some foul language. If you’ll be offended, I would recommend you don’t click it. I find them funny, though, so I hope you do.

Same warning here. But I hope you click this one, too.

And again. Same warning. But I hope you click one last video.

Altiora.

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~ by nchaney3 on March 7, 2010.

3 Responses to “Championship Week”

  1. […] a realist. I don’t see it happening. Especially considering they’ll have to go through the team I picked to win the Big East Championship. This guy agrees with me. He just takes a far more technical and […]

  2. […] and a great defensive squad in Norhern Iowa. -I got almost every prediction spot on back in my Championship Week post. If only Richmond could’ve pulled out the upset in the Atlantic 10 title game, I’d have […]

  3. […] hope you’re just as excited as I am. *And yes, I have used “Championship Week” as the title of a post before.* I really think this week is a million times better than next week. Everyone makes a huge deal out […]

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