Friday, March 26, 2010

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Friday Preview

What a night Thursday was for basketball. The amazing Kansas State-Xavier game was a sight to behold. That's another reason why we love college basketball. Especially the NCAA Tournament. It was a big day alright, as the West region also saw top seed Syracuse fall to Butler. Before we go to the Duke-Purdue, Baylor-St Mary's, Ohio State-Tennessee and Michigan State-Northern Iowa predictions, let's take a look back at Thursday's action.

5 Butler 63 1 Syracuse 59 - The little Butler Bulldogs knocked off top seeded Syracuse in another let down for our Big East brethren. Butler had a 10 point lead at the half, but saw the Orange take the lead by as much as 4 in the second. Ronald Nored hit a 3, and Matt Howard got a tip for the lead, and Willie Veasley scored 5 of his own with a Gordon Hayward free throw and an 11-0 run to ice it. Hayward led the Bulldogs with 17, while Wes Johnson had 17-9 for the Orange.

2 Kansas State 101 6 Xavier 96 (2 OT) - I'm not the only one who thought this was an instant classic, and in fact, there are really no words I can add to this great game. Down the stretch it was Jordan Crawford, Jacob Pullen, Terrell Holloway, Curtis Kelly, Terrell Holloway, Jamar Samuels, JORDAN CRAWFORD, Curtis Kelly, JACOB PULLEN, and JACOB PULLEN again. Dante Jackson had a look to tie at 99, but came up short. Crawford had 32, Holloway 26-6 assists, and Jason Love 11-15 for X, while Pullen had 28, Denis Clemente 25-5 assists and Curtis Kelly 21-8. Watch the highlights, hell watch the game on March Madness on Demand.

1 Kentucky 62 12 Cornell 45 - This game seemed like it sucked for a long time. Kentucky pulled away in the first half, then never scored in the second. Cornell cut the lead to 6 at one point, but Kentucky pulled away, just like I predicted. Louis Dale had 17 for the Big Red, while DeMarcus Cousins had 16-8-4 steals for Kentucky.

2 West Virginia 69 11 Washington 56 - This was a game for a half, but once West Virginia found a rhythm, the Huskies couldn't hang. The Mountaineers pulled down 19 offensive rebounds. Justin Holliday, J'Rue's brother, had 14-8-5 steals in the losing effort, while Kevin Jones had 18-8 for the winners.

Previews and Predictions

7:07 PM
6 Tennessee v. 2 Ohio State

2 Ohio State Buckeyes 29-7
How they got here: Big 10 Tournament Champions
Round 1- 68-51 over UC Santa Barbara
Round 2- 75-66 over Georgia Tech
Best Players: Evan Turner 20-9.2-6 assists William Buford 14.4-5.7-3.1 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 7/23

6 Tennessee Volunteers 27-8
How they got here: At large (SEC 3rd place)
Round 1- 62-59 over San Diego State
Round 2- 83-68 over Ohio
Best Players: Scotty Hobson 12.5-3.3  Wayne Chism 12.3-7.3-1.3 blocks 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 90/8

Prediction: Ken Pom has Ohio State by 5 with a 71% chance of winning. I like Ohio State by a little more than 5. Ohio State 71-63

9:37 PM (Estimate) 30 minutes after game 1
9 Northern Iowa v. 5 Michigan State

5 Michigan State Spartans 26-8
How they got here: At large (Big 10 3 way tie Co-Champions)
Round 1- 70-67 over New Mexico State
Round 2- 85-83 over Maryland
Best Players:  Raymar Morgan 11.6-6.2 Durrell Summers 10.7-4.5 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 35/30

9 Northern Iowa Panthers 30-4
How they got here: Missouri Valley Tournament Champions
Round 1- 69-66 over UNLV
Round 2- 69-67 over Kansas
Best Players: Jordan Egsleder 12-7.3 Adam Koch 11.6-4.9
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 53/14

Prediction: Ken Pom has Northern Iowa by 1, with a 51% chance of winning. This is a pure toss up, as MSU has Kailin Lucas out for the tournament with a Achilles injury. Even with Lucas, this would probably be a toss up. I think that the Panther run continues. Northern Iowa 69-68.

7:27 PM
10 St Mary's v. 3 Baylor

3 Baylor Bears 27-7

How they got here: At large (Big 12 2nd place 3 way tie)
Round 1- 68-59 over Sam Houston State
Round 2- 76-68 over Old Dominion
Best Players: LaceDarius Dunn 19.4-4.9 Tweety Carter 15.1-6 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 5/39

10 St Mary's Gaels 28-5
How they got here: WCC Tournament Champions 
Round 1- 80-71 over Richmond
Round 2- 75-68 over Villanova
Best Players: Omar Samhan 20.9-11-3 blocks Mickey McConnell 13.7-5.2 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 16/81

Prediction: Ken Pom has Baylor by 4, with a 68% chance of winning. I think that we get an upset here. I don't buy into Baylor. They let SHS stay close, and they let Old Dominion come back on them. I'm going St Mary's 77-75.

9:57 PM (estimate) 30 minutes after game 1
4 Purdue v. 1 Duke

1 Duke Blue Devils 31-5
How they got here: Won ACC Tournament
Round 1- 73-44 over Arkansas Pine Bluff
Round 2- 68-53 over California
Best Players: Jon Scheyer 18.1-4.9 assists Kyle Singler 17.7-7
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 2/3

4 Purdue Boilermakers 29-5
How they got here: At large (Big 10 3 way Champions)
Round 1- 72-64 over Siena
Round 2- 63-61 (OT) over Texas A&M
Best Players: E'Twan Moore 16.4-3.8 JaJuan Johnson 15.7-6.9
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 67/4

Prediction: Ken Pom has Duke by 7, with a 79% chance of winning. I think that's about right. I don't know how Purdue scores on Duke. I think the Blue Devils lock them down, like they did California. Duke 66-52.

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