16 E. Tennessee St.
I like Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs, and I think they have a chance to keep it below 20. But they can’t rebound. DeJuan Blair can go for 25-25 in this one.
8 Oklahoma St.
I love the Cowboys in this one. They can take care of the ball. They can limit offensive rebounds. And they are sharpshooters. For a team that is marginal to bad at stopping good looks like Tennessee? That means you get the Cowboys.
5 Florida St.
Pomeroy loves the Badgers. And why not? Florida State is bad at limiting an offenses second look as well as taking care of the ball. And the Badgers can take care of the ball and get second looks. But for a team with good size like the Seminoles? I know how the script is going to go. Toney Douglas and the tall trees of the Seminoles inside are going to eat the Badgers alive in the final minutes.
I wish I was homer enough to give the Badgers the 5-12 win. I just can’t.
13 Portland St.
There is also a high potential for upset here. A team unfazed by taking down a giant with a fanbase that doesn’t have to travel that far. They can hit the threes. They are decent at generating turnovers (and Xavier sucks at taking care of the ball). They were here last year, and they have good guards. The problem? Most of their losses? They were to teams with height to them. Xavier is a tall team. A tall team that can hit 3’s. My instinct is to get upset nuts. But I cannot.
Take Virginia Commonwealth. UCLA struggles to draw fouls. This brings Larry Sanders into the game as a raw but an absolutely adequate future Jarvis Varnardo. This leads Eric Maynor to have more room to maneuver. UCLA also has bad perimeter defense. Maynor has to touch the stardom of two years ago. I think he can.
Villanova in Philadelphia. It’s a team that’s kind of good at everything. Donte Cunningham should have a lot of room to work with. They have a deep backcourt. American won’t go out like a punk, but it’s a veteran team that has to destroy it from beyond the arc and take care of the ball. Long odds of that.
This is going to be fun. Or painful. It all depends on whether you like “Hair of the Dog” by Nazareth. Well, nothing against the A-team of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg. But this is built for Gus Johnson or Bill Rafferty. Both teams love to shotblock. Both teams have excellent perimeter defense. Neither team has great offense. The difference in this game? The turnover battle. Minnesota has lived and died by their ability to generate more turnovers than they give up. Texas can take care of the ball. This is why they advance.
Please. One, it’s in Greensboro. Two, Binghamton already fouls too much to overcome Duke’s fancy footwork and phantom flopping. Three, they don’t take care of the ball very well. The fighting Tony Kornheisers time will come. Next season.
8 Oklahoma State
Remember the year when Xavier was game but ultimately lost to Ohio State in overtime? It’s not going to follow the same script. Oklahoma State is fast and can hit threes, but a 4 guard attack is catnip for Pittsburgh. If Pittsburgh controls the tempo, and it’s a lot more likely to happen? The Panthers walk to the Sweet 16.
5 Florida State
Both teams have one similar flaw. They are not great at generating turnovers. Both teams have one different advantage. Toney Douglas is veteran and one of the better guards Xavier will see. But Xavier will get second chance looks. So who wins?
Virginia Commonwealth will be game, but the Larry Sanders show ends here. Donte Cunningham is veteran and the Wildcats can draw fouls pretty effectively. Then, it’s just a matter of Scottie Reynolds forcing Eric Maynor into trying to do too much. Nova to the Sweet 16.
There will be no second round schadenfreude here. Put it simply. Duke can generate offense. Texas cannot. If Duke struggled to take care of the ball? Things would be different. But they can. So they go to the Sweet 16.
It was an easy choice here. Xavier may be taller and they may have a tough front court. But Levance Fields and Gilbert Brown will be the differencemakers here. It will be closer than my confidence indicates. But Xavier’s struggles with the turnovers are the doomswitch.
I have no empirical analysis here. Both sides are very evenly matched. But I choose Villanova. Their defense is strong. They will force bad shots. And Elliot Williams is a freshman. Odds are he can’t beat them.
Also, fuck Duke.
Yeah, Villanova beat Pittsburgh by 10. But that was at home. This is a veteran team with good experience. But then again? So is Villanova. Let’s break it down. Pitt will win the rebounding battle. And Pitt will win the Turnover battle.
Chalk it up for Pitt.