The Grand National Championships

March 18, 2009

South Projections…

Filed under: Basketball is played by tall guys,Bracketological,Tournalysis — by Andrew @ 4:48 pm

Round 1
1 North Carolina
16 Radford

Radford cannot take care of the ball. Lawson not being there will be meaningless to the end result.

8 LSU
9 Butler

LSU. When I’m in doubt, I always trust a teams ability to win the turnover battle. And LSU, while not tournament tested, has the size and experience to win the hustle battles as well as the turnover battles. Butler will be back. But this year? The Tigers get the win.

5 Illinois
12 Western Kentucky

Chester Frazier is going to be a loss that looms large. Western Kentucky is not great at taking care of the ball. But without Frazier? Illinois cannot take care of the weakness. Now that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to force bad shots, but the offensive strength for Western Kentucky is in their 1-3. And they can hit from deep and their spindly center will be able to work the offensive glass. Upset lives here.

4 Gonzaga
13 Akron

Gonzaga looks like they can win by 20. Akron can get steals, but with the broad base of skills the Zags have shown this season? Akron doesn’t have much a chance to pull a steal. Zags will at least get one.

6 Arizona St.
11 Temple

Both teams have a similar sort of style to them. Slow pace. Big strength is in the two-guard. Both force bad looks. Both are good shooting teams. Both take care of the ball with some aplomb. So? Arizona State. They are stylistically better.

3 Syracuse
14 Stephen F. Austin

Herein lies the rub of instinct. If you think a team like Stephen F. Austin can win, and you know I do. But I know Syracuse can get past Arizona State if they win here. So, I’m going to think on this out loud.

For Syracuse to win they are going to have to jump on Stephen F. Austin early. Flynn is dynamic, but he is not made to take care of the ball. The team does not have great free throw shooting either. This means if Stephen F. Austin can keep it close?

Also? Syracuse has not been a team that provides a threatening frontcourt. The Lumberjacks have Matt Kingsley and little else down low, but this is a team that they can go toe to toe with. It is a veteran team. They have amazing perimter defense. It can take care of the ball.

I have gone back and forth here. I really do think Stephen F. Austin can win here. But the flashes of Holy Cross and their quixotic run in the early parts of the decade are dancing through my head. But in the world of one man, one bracket?

Damn the broadcasters, SFA is a-ok.

7 Clemson
10 Michigan

Michigan has poor interior defense. Michigan struggles from beyond the arc. Clemson can work it in down low. Michigan can’t take advantage of Clemson’s poor perimiter defense. So? Clemson advances.

2 Oklahoma
15 Morgan St.

Morgan State is a tough team. Their defense is fierce. They may take Oklahoma to the limit in this game. But Blake Griffin will be just too strong here.

Round 2
1 North Carolina
8 LSU

If Lawson is not healthy, then LSU could be shocking the world. They have the defensive intensity and experienced guardplay to hang in with the Heels. Tasmin Mitchell could handle Hansborough. And Marcus Thornton could go crazy.

But with the qualifier out of the way? North Carolina is on a mission. If Bobby Frasor and Larry Drew are merely steady? They should be able to move onward. LSU has struggled versus quality teams this season.

12 Western Kentucky
4 Gonzaga

The turnover advantage that Illinois just couldn’t exploit? Gonzaga can. Team PMS can keep it close for a while, maybe even a long while. But in this instance I trust the Zags. (PMS = Pettigrew, Mendez-Valdez, Slaughter)

6 Arizona St.
14 Stephen F. Austin

Can the Lumberjacks make the Sweet 16? I don’t think so. James Harden is a real live superstar without the flaws of the Orangemen. They’ll keep it close. But they won’t win.

7 Clemson
2 Oklahoma

Clemson is a foul prone team that does not limit second looks on the offensive glass. Oklahoma has Blake Griffin. Sometimes? Logic is just as simple as that.

Sweet 16
1 North Carolina
4 Gonzaga

UNC because I think Ty Lawson is healthy by this point. This will be the game they hype the shit out of. But it should be a classic. The key to victory? Oddly enough, Danny Green. The Zags can’t handle the three very well. If Green’s gunning? Then it’s an elite UNC.

6 Arizona St.
2 Oklahoma

If you’re a fan of individual players? You have to love this potentiality. Harden versus Blake Griffin. But while James Harden may be able to keep it interesting? The Sun Devils are not great at cleaning the offensive glass.

Elite 8
1 North Carolina
2 Oklahoma

Willie Warren is the key here. Blake Griffin is going to be Blake Griffin in the low post. And that will keep them shiny. But if Willie Warren (or to a similar extent Austin Johnson, Cade Davis, or Tony Crocker) is hot from three. It won’t matter how healthy UNC is. OU has taken on challenges all year. They will be rewarded for it here.

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