On a beautiful St. Patrick’s day here in the (215), I was finally able to sit down and take some time to dissect the official bracket. There are some incredible first round match-ups and I am super juiced that I took off Thursday and Friday in order to watch. A three day work week followed by the best two days of college basketball followed by the weekend. Ahh can’t get much better then that folks. In the following post I will take an inside peak at some of the first round match-ups that you CANNOT miss as well as an in-depth look at the Philly schools and their respective match-ups. I will also disclose some of my upset picks for the first round of play to take place later this week.
1st Round Must See TV
No. 6 USC vs No. 11 Kansas State – Freshmen sensations Michael Beast-ley and OJ Mayo will grace the court together in Omaha on the first day of tourney play Thursday. The top two freshmen phenoms in the country square off against each other in what could possibly be the most talked about first round match-up in decades.
Not only will this game feature the top two freshmen, another storyline that is intriguing is that K States other freshman stud, Bill Walker, has been best friends with OJ Mayo since elementary school. The two were teammates at North College Hill High School in Cincinnati and, as you can prbably guess, North College Hill was pretty damn good. Behind Mayo and Walker North College Hill won two state titles and ranked among the nation’s best teams. But before their senior seasons, the Ohio high school association had ruled Walker ineligible, and Mayo bolted to Huntington High (W. Va.). This game is going to be amazing to watch and I am pumped already, too bad one of these awesome freshmen has to take an early exit.
No. 7 Gonzaga vs No. 10 Davidson – Davidson, one of the top mid-major schools of this year, gets to face off against the top mid-majors of last year, Gonzaga. We will once again get to see the sharp shooting of Del Curry’s son, Stephen, who is averaging 25.1 points per game on the season. This game will basically be a home game for Davidson as they only have to travel 100 miles to Raleigh and could prove to be a huge advantage while the Zags have to venture 2,000+ miles cross country for their first round match-up against a team that cannot be taken lightly.
How does the (215) stack up?
No. 5 Michigan St. vs No. 12 Temple – My immediate reaction to this game is that it is going to be an awesome one. Temple is coming off of an Atlantic 10 Championship and have not lost a game since February 23rd. Michigan State led by legendary coach Tom Izzo and PG Drew Neitzel recently just lost to boring Wisconsin and Brian Butch (such a loser) in a semifinal Big 10 match-up. Fran Dunphy will definitely have his teams spirits high and ready to rock and roll. I am taking the Owls with the first round upset here over the Spartans because Big 10 basketball is a joke this year and absolutely sucks to watch. Who can honestly say they watched the Big 10 Tournament this weekend when the ACC and Big 12 Tournaments were being televised at the same time? Besides Indiana, its slow, boring, and downright awful to watch. Temple’s uptempo brand of city basketball should be able to stun the Spartans and pull off the upset. C’mon Temple, make me look good here.
No. 5 Clemson vs No. 12 Villanova – Clemson made a great run in the ACC Tournament beating Duke and losing a heart-breaker to UNC on Sunday. They were in that game until the end and had a legitimate shot at knocking off the #1 ranked Tar Heels but could not make their free throws down the stretch and could not seem to box out Player of the Year favorite, Tyler Hansbrough. Clemson is very athletic and big inside and could be tough for the smaller Wildcats of Villanova. Although Villanova’s speed and shooting should make this game a thriller. Villanova made a remarkable comeback against top seed Georgetown in the Big East tourney but came up short in the final ten minutes of the second half. I am once again going with the (215) and my heart in this first round match-up and picking ‘Nova to advance with the win.
No. 6 Oklahoma vs No. 11 St. Joe’s – Sorry Hawk fans, but St Joe’s is the only Philadelphia team I see losing in the first round of play. The unfavorable match-up of perennial Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma does not look good for Phil Martelli’s squad. Blake Griffin is a beast inside and I don’t see anyone on St Joe’s being able to stop him. It doesn’t make any sense to me how St. Joe’s warranted a #11 seed after losing to Temple (a #12 seed) in the Atlantic 10 Championship game. They both went 21-12 on the season yet Temple had a better conference record of 11-5 (St. Joe’s 9-7). Either way, Temple should have been ranked higher, however, I feel they have a move favorable first round match-up against Michigan State from the Big 10.
No. 14 Cornell over No. 3 Stanford – Stanford is full of stiffs aka the Lopez Losers. People that think this guy Brook is going to be a serious NBA player. Puhh – lease, at best a career backup center reminding me of a one Bill Cartwright. He can’t move, has maybe two moves from the post and is most likely a douchebag in real life. I believe Cornell also got robbed by receiving the 14 seed and definitely deserved higher. They themselves have a 7 footer who looks much cooler then the Lopez’s combined, so I’m going with Cornell.
No. 14 Georgia over No. 3 Xavier – Xavier is a very overrated 3 seed in my mind. They recently just lost to St. Joe’s by 8 and never really seemed to get on track in that game. Georgia on the other hand is hot right now, coming off two huge wins in the SAME day over Kentucky and Mississippi State and taking the SEC Championship. After going 4-12 in the SEC during season play Georgia could be one of the hottest teams at the moment and I am taking them with the HUGE upset over Xavier.
No. 10 St. Mary’s over No. 7 Miami – Hey look who’s back, the Miami Hurricanes. It has been a while since Miami has been able to place a contender in the field of 65 and even though they cracked the bubble this year, I see them taking a very early exit thanks to the Gaels of St. Mary’s.
Other Close Match-ups and Possible Upsets
No. 7 WVU vs No. 10 Arizona (sorry Snakes – buddy is a huge WV fan)