So I got one right? It was to be expected. All that research, and it was worth roughly 10 games. I feel bad about that. I had my moment of brilliance and many deaths in the second weekend.
And here’s what I’m going to say. I’m going to analyze the strengths of each team. I will look for one major weakness? And
+ Height. It’s not just Hasheem Thabeet that’s a tall dude. They have size to break it down.
+ Shotblocking. A nautral extension of being tall.
+ Field Goal Defense. Forcing bad shots isn’t exclusive to being tall, the perimeter defense is excellent as well.
+ Turnovers. They will likely win the turnover battle. Michigan State can lose the ball if they aren’t careful.
- They just do not shoot threes. All of their losses have been of the variety where they get bombed out of the arena in a rapid fashion. Outside of A.J. Price? They have nobody who can score by the magic number.
+ Luck. Ken Pomeroy has them as the 8th most lucky team in D-1. For whatever that’s worth.
+ Home State Advantage. Those who can afford it are going to roll out to Ford Field.
+ Rebounding. UConn is a solid team at generating second chances, but you know what? The Spartans are stronger.
+ Tom Izzo. Say what you will. He’s a great coach. Someone who has made as many final fours as Izzo is worth a posession or two. Especially with Jim Calhoun busy texting.
+ Depth. They have a much deeper rotation than UConn.
- Turnovers. Kalin Lucas is a good distributor, but the reason why they lost a couple in the Breslin Center they shouldn’t have is because the rebounds don’t overcome the turnovers. And with a team like UConn?
+ Balance. They have little that they’re basketball leading dominant, but they have a salad bar of the skills that they bring to the table.
+ The Line. They can generate baskets by drawing fouls. And when they get to the free throw line? They sink the baskets.
+ Second chance baskets. If they can keep a team up off the boards? They will win the rebounding battle.
+ Dante Cunningham. He is the most underrated player left in the Tournament.
+ Simmons bunching theory. Philadelphia is in position for a good run as a sports city.
- They foul. If you want to be snarky. It is what could cost them the game. In a bang bang play between Cunningham and Hansborough? Does overrated white guy or underrated salad bar get the call?
+ The most efficient offense in sports entertainment.
+ Fouls and Turnovers. They do not commit them.
+ They shoot sharply. Beyond the arc? Inside? They can handle themselves.
+ They generate second chances. They get their misses.
+ Six starters. Anybody in the country would take them.
- A good day from the backcourt can beat them. Scottie Reynolds is a shining star right now. Corey Stokes is a legitmate three-point shooter. One of them gets hot? And they contend.
So what does it all mean? It means I expect UConn and UNC to play each other. And Jim Calhoun takes one for evil. If you’re betting game by game.
But if you’re taking odds? Go for Villanova.