>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010
After an amazing opening weekend to the NCAA tournament, we've been left with cinderella stories, rejuvenated five-star programs and busted bracket. Even though the majority of our brackets were busted by that choke artist Bill Self and his overrated Kansas Jayhawks, it was still a damn enjoyable weekend.
Now, its time to get down to business....The PMB's sweet 16 picks. (Let's hope they're better than our original brackets)
1. Syracuse vs. 5. Butler
Butler was a trendy pick to be upset in the first round, and then received the same label in the round of 32 versus Murray State. However, they survived and advanced, and that's all you can ask for this time of the year. Butler is lead by the three headed trio of Mack, Howard and Heyward and they pose a dangerous threat to the Syracuse zone defense.
Syracuse cemented itself as one of the heavy favorites for the national championship with a second round dismantling of Gonzaga. The 'Cuse are also hoping to add Arinze Onauku back to the line-up and his defensive ability and post presence makes this team even more dangerous.
In the long run, I believe that Wesley Johnson and company are too athletic and explosive for the Bulldogs from Indiana. Butler will keep this close with their style of play and grit, but Syracuse pulls away late.
11. Washington vs. 2. West Virginia
Washington's impressive explosion against an overrated and undermanned New Mexico squad brought the Pac-10 some respectability that had been lacking all season. Include their first round defeat of Big East opponent Marquette, and you have a trendy upset pick in the sweet 16. UW will give West Virginia fits with their tempo and the pressing play of Isaiah Thomas. Pondexter is a stud at the wing, and Butler must contain him in the scorebooks, or UW has an excellent shot at an upset.
West Virginia isn't pretty. They're not flashy. They are a gritty, athletic and extremely good defensive team that struggles to put the biscuit in the basket, outside of De'Sean Butler. If WVU continues to struggle at managing the game and allows Thomas to control the tempo, WVU could be in for a rude awakening at the hands of an 11 seed. Joe Mazzula MUST control the clock and allow WVU to play their game.
We're taking the upset at this spot, and struggle to believe that WVU can score enough to keep up with the high-flying Huskies.
Washington-79 West Virginia-68
6. Xavier vs. 2. Kansas State
Welcome to the big-time Jordan Crawford. If you're posterization of Lebron James wasn't enough to get you name recognition, your impressive display during the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament has firmly planted your name on draft boards. Oh, wait, this post was supposed to be about Xavier, not Jordan Crawford. Wait, that's right. Jordan Crawford is Xavier. Crawford could go for thirty five and this team will still struggle enough to keep up with Frank Martin and the Wildcats from Manhattan.
Kansas State is lead by a duo at the guard position that is as good as nearly any team in the country. Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente are explosive and dangerous and compliment them with a solid frontline and this is a team that possesses national championship aspirations. Kansas State will be entirely too much for the Muskies to handle.
Kansas State-81 Xavier-64
12. Cornell vs. 1. Kentucky
Has the media's love fest been as sickening to you, as it has me? Cornell? Mark Coury? IVY League? We get it, folks. The media wants Kentucky to lose, and Cornell is a great story, but are they TRULY a great basketball team? Cornell is a GOOD team, with great shooters and a shot at giving Kentucky a run for their money. However, I refuse to believe that Jeff Foote can contain DeMarcus Cousins and that Louis Dale can even hold John Wall's jock. The Big Red are a great story, for sure, but that story ends Thursday night.
Kentucky will overwhelm them with athletic ability at every position. We're talking about a team that has now five potential 2010 lottery picks in their top 7, and they're peaking at the right time. Kentucky's display of defense and overwhelming athletic ability in the first two rounds was the best display of basketball by a Wildcat team since 1996. Don't believe me? Ask Dino Guadio who stated, "That's the best team I've played against in my ten years coaching in the ACC."
Kentucky-88 Corenll 74
Friday's action to come tomorrow