Tuesday, March 14, 2006

March Madness: Sixteen-over-One?

I just finished watching the 1989 Princeton/Georgetown game on ESPN Classic, the closest conflict in tournament history between a top seed and their first round opponent. Obviously, I don't remember that game, but back in 2003, there was another near-miss, as Holy Cross actually led number one seeded Kansas - which featured NBA talent Drew Gooden, Wayne Simien, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison - at the half. There were a number of questionable calls in the second half that balanced out Hinrich's injury, and Kansas eventually won by eleven, although the score was not indicative of how close the game was. The Jayhawks rolled onto the Final Four, and really didn't get a game from anybody like they did from the Crusaders.

I only bring this up because there's some talk of Oral Roberts having a shot against Memphis. They play at 2:40 on Friday, and while all of the neutral fans in Dallas will certainly be cheering for the Golden Eagles, I don't think that'll be enough to get ORU - who had eleven losses in the regular season, mind you - to overcome the 6' 7" and up line-up of John Calipari. Granted, Memphis loves to fall in love with the three ball, and if they do so and go cold, the underdogs might be able to stick around.

Pros for Oral Roberts? Their top six players are juniors and seniors, and they've got a couple of guys shooting above 40% from three. If they keep the pace down, which is always essential for the Big Dance upset and Memphis starts forcing shots, then this could be interesting. Not that the upset is going to happen, especially with the Tigers having to hear about how they're upest candidates, but the fact a lot of people have brought it up is worth noting.

Tomorrow or Tonight: Breaking down the "trendy picks" and potential "bracket busters".

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