Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Southern Strategy

The WWOD? Preview of Today’s Game in the South Regional

Since I've embraced the madness and made a self-diagnosis of my condition I figured that I need not be shy about the symptoms of my dementia. And, what shows off the mannerisms of my madness better than to add another tournament preview to the bonfire of unasked and unfounded prognostications? To put my late night ramblings into some context I’ve also included the pick from Vegas, the pick from noted college basketball blog Storming the Floor as well as the teams tapped by noted ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.

#3 Stanford vs. #14 Cornell
Thursday at 5:00 PM EST in Anaheim, CA (which is, like, way closer to Stanford than Cornell)
Vegas: Stanford (-14.5)
Storming the Floor: Stanford
Joe Lunardi: Stanford
WWOD?: This one really pits some of my baseless bracket biases against one another. In one corner is my overriding skepticism of The Cardinal. And, across the squared circle is my feeling that dominant BIGS (of which Stanford has two. And, they are related. And, shared a womb. That's gross. Because they're both HUGE.) are always worth at least one tournament win. You notice that Cornell doesn't actually factor into this debate. The game will likely be the same (although Cornell did go undefeated in the Ivy League, for what it's worth). Maybe I'll reconcile my concerns by picking Stanford on the bracket while hoping that Cornell can cover the point spread. Either way, Ithaca is gorges and the Cornell team will be back there in no time.

#4 Pittsburgh vs. #13 Oral Roberts
Thursday at 3:00 PM EST in Denver, CO
Vegas: Pittsburgh (-8.5)
Storming the Floor: Pittsburgh
Joe Lunardi: Pittsburgh
WWOD?: One of my roommates (err…housemates) fills out his bracket like a PAC-10 coach whereas I traditionally lean toward the Big East on such matters. That’s why I just knew the Panthers were going to beat Duke way back when they played at the Garden and why many of my wild theories for this tournament involve Pitt making some noise. Still, all biases aside, Pitt did beat Duke way back when and they are healthier than they’ve been in a while (Fields is back) and seem to be peaking (they just won the Big East Tournament) at the right time. And, I'm also pretty sure that the only reason any wants to pick Oral Roberts in the first place is because of their name: Oral Roberts. Yeah, I guess "oral" is pretty funny but I'm not going to be swayed by their name until they just go all the way (pun not intended but then kept upon realization) and change it to Blowjob Richards. Then, they get their name in pen on my bracket. And, scribbled on the walls of bathroom stalls across this great nation.

Gamblers: The Big East Champ should probably beat Oral Roberts by 9 points!!!!!

#5 Michigan State vs. #12 Temple
Thursday at 12:30 EST in Denver, CO
Vegas: Michigan State (-7.5)
Storming the Floor: Temple
Joe Lunardi: Michigan State
WWOD?: Yeah, this is a tough one. It will vary from bracket to bracket for me. Normally, I would take Tom Izzo in a heartbeat as another of “my” criteria for this stuff is coaching. And, Izzo knows how to coach ‘em up. However, Izzo screwed me by losing to UNC last year. And, I’ve found myself developing some sort of school-boy crush on Philly hoops in the past month or so. I think those teams are gritty and poised down there. The Big 5 schools look like what NYC hoops are supposed to look like. Maybe it’s Mardy Collins making me unable to write off Temple. Maybe not. Yeah, thinking of Mardy makes me realize that if I had but one bracket (which thankfully I don’t) I would probably go with the Spartans (even though that is pick based on rep rather than reality) and pin my Philly hopes on St. Joes.

#6 Marquette vs. #11 Kentucky
Thursday at 2:30 EST in Anaheim, CA
Vegas: Marquette (-6)
Storming the Floor: Marquette
Joe Lunardi: Marquette
WWOD?: I've yet to fully accept Marquette into my Big East Coast Bias since they're reasonably new here and I don’t like their new-fangled recruiting friendly uniforms so I am not totally confident in picking them. They're getting the nod from me but I'll take a flyer on the Wildcats in some bracket. To us their brutal start seems like it was yesterday whereas to them it probably seems several seasons ago. I would take them over a mid-major here as they're an easy-to-back, blue-blood ‘dog. I wouldn't be shocked if they won this game and even if they beat Stanford (because I'm so skeptical of the Cardinal) in the next round. After all, they are Kentucky.

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