First of all, some bona fides. I'm not some total schmuck when it comes to breaking these things down. I'm willing two pools as we speak, one of which has 200 entrants, and a sizable entry fee--it isn't all pikers that I'm beating. I'm currently kicking the living shit out of the Sports Illustrated expert's bracket--that, despite the fact that I do in fact have Kansas winning it all a couple of times. But I predicted Villanova's early crash; Tennessee and Baylor's deep runs, Cornell's two wins, and Murray State, and Syracuse and Ohio State crashing out before the Elite 8.
OK, that said, let's look at tomorrow's games real quick:
Butler vs. Kansas State--both coaches, sitting together, awkwardly, on the court, were interviewed by the CBS crew. Both swore up and down that pace will not matter. I have to agree with Seth Davis, that that is bullshit. This game must not be up and down for Butler to win it. And Butler can absolutely win it. Hell, Butler beat Syracuse without playing their best basketball. They were in foul trouble, Hayward was a non-factor for huge chunks of the game, etc. But Kansas State loves to play fast and loose, and if the game is like that, I don't like Butler's chances.
But I do like Butler to "upset" Kansas State. Kansas State guards Pullen (he's got a beard, which people in Kansas find exciting!) and Clemente (hey, did you know that he's related to Roberto Clemente?) are dynamic, and are streaky but dangerous shooters. But I don't think they've faced a defense quite like Butler's yet this tournament. It won't be about getting a shot off--it will be about getting the ball in their hands. Butler will at least attempt to force Kansas State to win with their front court, which is suspect.
I think the difference will be Butler's front court--that's where they win the game. Matt Howard absolutely, positively, can't get into the foul trouble he did against Syracuse. They also have to generate turnovers--they can play fast when that happens, and they are more dynamic in transition than you think they are. And fatigue could be a factor late in the game.
Big Blue Monkey says: Butler by 5.
West Virginia vs. Kentucky. Jesus--flip a coin. This is a game that is going to come down to random variables. Let's just take an example--Cousins. If he gets in foul trouble early, that's trouble for Kentucky. Big trouble, because West Virginia is, as a team, huge--not that Kentucky is tiny--West Virginia is just uncommonly tall, and Kentucky is going to need their beast in the paint. This will be one of the few times that Patrick Patterson finds himself guarded by a guy his size who comfortable on the perimeter.
But West Virginia isn't particularly deep at the guard spot, and nowhere near as talented at Kentucky--if this becomes a game of guards pulling up from 10 feet out, edge to Kentucky. If it is guards shooting from 3? Edge to West Virginia.
If it is close late in the game, both teams have guys who seemingly hit every big shot needed (scientists tell me that is not true, but I, like Glenn Beck, believe Facts to be biased). If this were a best of seven series, I'd probably take Kentucky in six or seven. But one game? Very hard to call. And let's be clear--this game has the chance to be a blowout, too. In either direction. I'mma goin' to go with my gut.
Big Blue Monkey says: Kentucky by 9.
If UK shoots like they do in the Cornell game, they should lose. It was a shame that Cornell couldn't get any offense generated (which, I credit UK's defense for, honestly), because if they did, that game is MUCH closer.
WVU, however, has the athletes to potentially break down UK's smothering backcourt D.
Big BM, while I'm sure you are proud to be "willing" several brackets, you are sucking my tailpipe in our official competition. Just thought I'd remind you.
I filled out my bracket in less than five minutes, didn't watch a single possetion of NCAA basketball, and I am currently in the lead.
Tro NIxon's Hate was right in a lot of regards, but I'm willing to bet he wasn't expecting West Virginia's scoring to be so 3-point heavy.
Or that Patrick Patterson suddenly thought he was Tony Delk.
Your lead was short-lived Muumuuman. 'Cause I'm winning now.
Not only is Jess winning, she's absolutely killing it.
I'm pretty sure she cheated. Possibly via time machine/quantum mumbo-jumbo.
also, I'm patting myself on the back for this comment, which was way more prescient than I was expecting:
"if this becomes a game of guards pulling up from 10 feet out, edge to Kentucky. If it is guards shooting from 3? Edge to West Virginia"
Didn't think I'd need to add this, but I guess it worth saying that Patrick Patterson shooting from 3 is also an edge to West Virginia.
You're all cat people, and I know why you really make those creepy tombstone rubbings
No, I had no clue that WVU would live on the three like that. But, wow, could Kentucky shoot much worse?
And really, when will people realize that poor FT shooting comes down to how the coaches run practice? If UK is even halfway decent from the line, the last 2 min play out a little differently.
Oh, and no hate here, just a hat!
Right you are Jess, but if Duke wins their next two, I'm number one. Am I a Devils fan? No. I'm just lucky. I'd be luckier if I went with Michigan state, which I contemplated.
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