Monday, March 13, 2006

Preliminary Thoughts On The West


Maybe the most unpredictable of all the brackets. You have teams like Pitt, Gonzaga and Indiana, who are as unpredictable as the South Bend weather, and then teams like Kansas and UCLA, who won their conference tournaments, but what exactly does winning the Big 12 or PAC-10 tournament mean? To throw an even bigger hitch in the whole thing, you have four potential sleepers in Bucknell, Arkansas, Alabama and Marquette, and, oh yeah, people are discussing Oral Roberts over Memphis - a 16 over a 1 - as a legitimate possibility.

I don't think Memphis will be stopped before the Sweet Sixteen, where they'd get serious trouble from the Pitt/Kansas winner. Pitt trumps them experience-wise and Kansas matches their young talent, so that game would be a toss-up. On the bottom half, Marquette is an exciting sleeper, but they'll have a tough go out of the first round. Maybe Gonzaga's slump in the WCC has simply been boredom, but they'd have time to turn it on with the only teams seperating them from the Sweet Sixteen being San Diego State, Indiana and Xavier.

I really like UCLA because of their guard play, but Dickie V picked them to the Final Four last night. Choices choices...

First Round Fun:

Marquette vs. Alabama - It seems like a lot of people are putting a lot of thought into Marquette dethroning UCLA in the second round, but Alabama is a solid squad. I realize they lost a lot of games early to the likes of Temple of Notre Dame, but they're not going to be an easy out.

Oral Roberts vs. Memphis - Oral Roberts lost eleven games so far this season playing in the freaking Mid-Continental conference. Memphis will blow them out. People need to stop talking crazy.

Bucknell vs. Arkansas - Bucknell took out Kansas last year, but this game might actually be tougher than that one, especially since Arkansas will in no way be looking past them.

Pittsburgh vs. Kent State - Another rematch, this time from the 2002 Sweet Sixteen. Any time Pitt plays, their outside shooting comes into question, and against a Golden Flashes team that won 25 games and can put points up, this could be deja vu for the Panthers.

Looking Ahead...

Pitt vs. Kansas - Sage Carl Krauser against Young Gun Mario Chalmers, and the loads of Kansas talent trying to grit out a win against Aaron Gray and the rest of the Pitt frontline. Very interesting match-up.

UCLA vs. Gonzaga - Granted, both teams would have some business to take care of before this, but Farmar/Affalo vs. Raivio/Morrison would be good West Coast television.

Memphis vs. Arkansas - This game is being played in Dallas, meaning Memphis would basically be playing a road game, despite the fact they're a number one seed. This could be a great game, but Arkansas must get past Bucknell first.

Cinderella Rating (Or, the potential for complete and total bracket chaos):

8, because Memphis is looking susceptible, Pitt and Kansas have as much potential for flame-out as they do a deep run and Gonzaga isn't exactly a powerhouse as of late. Things could get crazy fast.

No comments: