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Nova Gets Smoked

UNC didnt miss… Nova couldn’t buy a bucket… The END

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Final Four Predictions

FINAL FOUR – Alamodome San Antonio, TX
Memphis vs UCLA ( -2 ) 6:07 PM

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Chris – This game is going to probably be an ugly one. Both teams play hard scrappy defense, barrel through screens, and love to drive and finish around the rim. This game will turn into a turnover-laced, foul-laden slugfest.

The Tigers are at their best when they’re playing aggressive defense, crashing the boards hard and sharing the ball through their dribble-drive motion offense. The Bruins are battle tested, throughout this year’s tournament, as well as this being the third straight year the Bruins have been in the Final Four, being eliminated by eventually back-to-back champion Florida Gators.

This game will be low scoring, close through-out, down the final possessions game and will come down to who will make the big time buckets down the stretch. I see the Tigers strength and balance to prevail.
The Pick: Take the Tigers, the points, and the outright win. MEM 66  UCLA 62

Brian – I am currently still in first place in my bracket and all the naysayers nipping at my heels have UNC as their champ.  My champ however is UCLA, so I am sticking with them no matter what to win this game and will be pulling hard from my couch. 

I am a little nervous though as Memphis looked GOOD against Texas, almost making it look easy at times.  Derrick Rose is the real deal and he took over whenever Memphis needed a key bucket early.  Besides Joey Dorsey being a freak of nature, Taggert (had a great game off the bench against TEX) and Dozier inside will be tough for Kevin Love to take on by himself. 

Darren Collison will need to step it up defensively on Rose and the combination of Mbah a Moute, Russell Westbrook and Josh Shipp need to contain CDR.  Take out one of Memphis’ big three (Dorsey, CDR or Rose) and its lights out for the Tigers. 
The Pick:
UCLA to win outright, Memphis’ horrific FT shooting finally catches up with them, in the biggest game of their season.  UCLA 78   MEM 71

Kansas vs North Carolina (-3 ) 8:47 PM

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Chris –  Roy Williams against his former school for the first time, two of the most talented teams in the nation are facing off on the biggest stage.

With these two powerhouses of college basketball facing off, look for this game to be more anti-climatic once it starts.

The Tar Heels with Ty Lawson just look unbeatable. With his dribble ability he can seemingly break any full court pressure on his own. Combine that with the excellent wingman Green and Ellington, as well as all-American Tyler Hansborugh on the inside, the all-around Tar Heel game will be too much for the Jayhawks.

This game is controlled by UNC pretty much from start to finish. Kansas might make things interesting in 2nd Half, but Williams and his talented gang will march onto Monday night’s title game to play for their second national title this decade. The Pick: Take the Heels at -2. UNC 78  KAN 70

Brian – As mentioned above, I am atop the leaderboard in my bracket with my buddies and everyone’s champ is UNC besides me.  So take a wild gander as to who I am pulling for in this one?  Thats right folks, the Kansas Jayhawks will prevail.  First of all, I think the most certainly can, and WILL win and here’s why. 

Almost every game in this tournament has been won or lost behind the 3 – point line.  Kansas is deadly from behind the arc, whereas UNC is mediocre at best, with no real threat from deep.  Kansas has the luxury of four great 3 point shooters in Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson and Sherron Collins.  Chalmers and Rush are straight deadly and if you leave Robinson or Collins open for a second, they will burn you. 

If the bigs for Kansas (Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun) can frustrate ‘Psycho T’ Tyler Hansbrough, we should be in for a thriller.  Another aspect I consider favorable for Kansas is that UNC relies way to much on very few players.  Besides Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, and Wayne Ellington, UNC doesnt have any legitimate scoring threats.  Every player in Kansas starting five and even well into their bench is capable of putting up 20 on any given night. 
The Pick: Kansas throws way too much depth at Pyscho T and  Ty Lawson.  Kansas gets hot from deep and wins outright.  KAN 84   UNC 79

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Which 1 Will Come Out on Top?

Davidson had Kansas by on the ropes last night only to lose it in the final 90 seconds of play.  I don’t care what anyone says, Stephen Curry is the real deal and proving to a lot of big-time coaches, that the little kid with a naughty jumper can still play and DOMINATE games.  He has to be the unanimous decision for tourney MVP after dropping 40 on Gonzaga, 30 on Georgetown, 33 against Wisconsin, and 25 against Kansas.  This kid has a bright future and just put himself on the map as the NBA Draft nears.   Sources say that Curry has made himself an early 2nd round pick after not even being on any draft boards prior to the Tournament.  Scratch that, according to ESPN.com, Curry says he will return. Look out for Davidson next year folks.

With the Kansas Jayhawks ending Davidson’s miracle run last night 59 – 57 at Ford Field in Detroit, we now have our Final Four set.  For the first time in NCAA Tournament history we have all four #1 seeds in the Big Dance. 

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Ben Howland’s UCLA Bruins will face John Calipari’s gangsta squad, Memphis, at 6:07 PM on Saturday from the Alamo Dome.

Roy William’s Tar Heels and Bill Self’s Jayhawks will follow with the tip-off scheduled for 8:47 PM.

Predictions to come Friday.

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NCAA Tourney Talk: West and East Regions

WEST Region – Phoenix, AZ
Xavier vs West Virginia 7:10 pm (WVU -1)

Jumpin' Joe Slams for two... during practice

Chris – Red hot Joe Alexander versus one of the best teams in the nation at shutting down an opposing teams star player. Although Xavier does not have a big inside presence, which teams who do have been successful against Alexander do, but they play extremely solid team defense. Xavier is also an extremely balanced with six guys averaging between 9.8 and team leader Josh Duncan’s 12.1 PPG.

This is a tough West Virginia team that Coach Huggins will have playing physical for a full 40 minutes, but XU will have too much firepower and will do too good a job spreading around the offense.
The Pick: Xavier 72  West Virginia 69. Take Xavier and the points to win outright.

Brian – Let’s see, who’s tougher; a Mountaineer or a Musketeer? 

West Virginia has been hot lately and Joe Alexander has established himself as a serious load in the paint.  West Virginia pulled off what looked to be an easy win down the stretch against Duke without one of the top players, Darris Nichols even really getting going on the offensive end.  Joe Mazzulla also came off the bench and played wonderfully, which allows Huggy Bear the ability to go deep and wear out Drew Lavender and the Musketeers.

I look for Dub V to pounce on Xavier early and control the game from the start and finally shut down this fluke that is Xavier as a 3 seed.
The Pick: West Virginia covering the 2.5.  WVU 78  Xavier 71.

UCLA vs Western Kentucky 9:40 pm (UCLA -12.5)

Chris – I think the Hilltoppers give the Bruins an interesting match up. They’re great from 3 point range, which we all know is the great equalizer in every NCAA tournament game. They’re strong inside and on the boards. Super fresh Kevin Love might be forced to make more plays from the outside. This is an experienced, veteran, senior laden Western Kentucky squad that is good enough to hang around because of their three point shooting ability, and could pull off the shocker if the backcourt gets red hot.

Look for UCLA to really sweat in this one. But eventually pull it out as they are just too talented & too deep for the Sun Belt Cinderella Hilltoppers. Look for the Bruins aggressive defense to be too much to handle for undersized PG Tyrone Brazleton for 40 minutes.
The Pick: UCLA 68  Western Kentucky 61.  12.5 is a high spread for this level of competition, take the points.  UCLA wins but W Kentucky covers.

Brian – The buck stops here for the Hilltoppers.  UCLA will get back on the high horse they have been riding all year after a lackluster performance against Texas A&M.  They played awful and still managed to pull it out at the end. 

I think they get their act together tonight and get an easy win.  Darren Collison will prove too much to handle for Tyrone Brazleton and the combo of Westbrook, Shipp, and Mbah a Moute will finally cancel out Courtney Lee.
The Pick – UCLA covers the 12.5 in a statement game.  And they are my champ in my bracket, so I need to go with my gut.  UCLA 82  WKU 69.

EAST Region – Charlotte, NC
Washington St vs North Carolina 7:27 pm (UNC -8)

Chris – The most curious of the Sweet 16 match ups features the powerhouse that’s always in the national spotlight, North Carolina. We know the coach, the players, the history. Versus the no-name Washington State Cougars.

This will be a grind it out, control tempo, extremely hardnosed defense Cougars team. After holding the high powered Notre Dame offense to under 25% shooting; if they can play THAT type of defense against the Heels, we could be in for a dandy.

This is going to be an ultimate battle of willing your style into the game. The UNC offense which has been strong all season seems to be hitting its stride at the perfect time. After exploding in the ACC tournament, the offense has seemingly gotten even better in the first 2 rounds.

Ultimately with Coach Roy Williams and his staff having a week to prepare for the Cougar defensive attack, the Heels will be too much down the stretch, and the Cougars will not be able to match baskets with the North Carolina
The Pick: North Carolina 80 Washington State 69.  UNC covers easy.

Brian – UPSET SPECIAL.  Washington State in a thriller.  Actually I know nothing about Washington State.  Their games are never on TV, and being a resident of the (215) I didn’t even get to see their games so far during the tournament. 
The Pick – WAZZU 79  UNC 76.  Going out on a limb here.  Take the points though.

Louisville vs Tennessee 9:57 pm (Louisville -2.5)

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Chris – The best game of the Thursday foursome. Rick Pitino’s Cardinals have been playing great basketball for the past month (minus the early Big East tourney exit). With guard Chris Lofton going to playing on a bulky ankle, many are calling for the Cardinals upset. I do not. Tennessee is loaded, playing 9 players 15+ minutes Bruce Pearl and his gang will find a way to force this into the shoot-out they want. The Smith’s; JaJaun, Tyler and Raymour, as well as Wayne Chism will be able to pick up any slack Chris Lofton has as result of a sore foot, achilles, and ankle (which might be none at all) and the Vols will shoot their way into the Elite 8.
The Pick: Tennessee 84 Louisville 82. I think it will be close, I’m going with Pitino and the points.

Brian – Completley agree with Chris above that this is the best game of the night.  We better get plenty of live look-ins into this one. 

I see Bruce Pearl’s gangsta ass squad of the Smith’s and Chism combined with Chris Lofton’s ankle being fine (probably a Tom Brady strategy) running and gunning all night long.  They are too big and too athletic and ultimatley… will be too much.
The Pick – TENN 83  L’VILLE 74.  Tennesee getting points,  TAKE IT.

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