Head-to-Head: March Madness in Full Swing
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 03/01/2007
Each week two of Doc's Sports gambling aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!
Here are this week's topics:
No. 15 Texas at No. 3 Kansas (noon, Saturday, March 3)
Drew: Coming off an instant classic match-up with Texas A&M, the Longhorns may be poised for a letdown. Especially since they're playing a Jayhawk team that is more than their equal. Everyone is slobbering over Kevin Durant and, don't get me wrong, he's talented. However, the two-guard in a power forward's body has struggled from the field against five ranked opponents - 42.5 percent shooting, and only topping his season average of 48 percent in the blowout win over Oklahoma St.
Prediction: Jayhawks 71, Longhorns 68
Jordan: Kansas, my preseason champs, are playing themselves into a No. 1 seed, although I'd like them to stay as far out of the limelight as possible. Their top five scorers are freshman and sophomores, but you couldn't tell by how well they've gelled over the past few months. Texas' youth makes Bill Self's squad looks like savvy veterans and they aren't up-ending the Jayhawks in Lawrence. Did I tell you how good I feel about this Kansas team? Alright, I'll shut up, but they are last year's version of Florida.
Prediction: Kansas 75, Texas 67
No. 16 Duke at No. 8 North Carolina (4 p.m., Sunday, March 4)
Drew: So what if neither team can beat Maryland? And so what if Duke keeps its ranking on the reputation built by Alaa Abdelnaby, Christian Laettner, Elton Brand and J.J. Reddick, not DeMarcus Nelson and Josh McRoberts? It doesn't matter because this game is always pick'em. However, the Tar Heels really have an opportunity to step on Coach K - in true Laettner style - and I don't think they'll pass. Besides, Duke has no answer for the inside combo of Hansbrough and Brandan Wright.
Prediction: Tar Heels 83, Blue Devils 75
Jordan: I see this game playing out a lot like the one in Durham. However, Carolina won't be as pitiful from the line and they'll take this one by double digits. Duke has no chance here, so I would like to take up some space by further elaborating on how overrated I think both Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus are. Seriously, stop calling McRoberts a lottery pick because that is almost as big a joke as the same label on Joahkim Noah. And let's not delve too much into how turnover prone Paulus is.
Prediction: North Carolina 77, Duke 65
Which conference tournament are you most looking forward to?
Drew: Year after year, the ACC and Big East seem to catch my attention most. Call it East Coast bias, or just the fact that I'm in the east and have a vested interest in teams in each conference. However, this year, I'll be watching as much of the Big 12 as I can. The big dogs are talented and bound for the tournament with top seeds, but Kansas State, Texas Tech, Missouri and the Oklahoma are fighting for their place in the 2007 afterlife. And you thought Texas/Texas A&M was good on Wednesday night.
Prediction: Oklahoma State might just redeem its season and we'll see if Law IV or Durant is the best player in the conference.
Jordan: As far as the big boys go, I'm pumped for some west coast action in the Pac-10. I would love to see another go-round of UCLA/Arizona, as well as some more of USC's talented trio and the low scoring mentality of Wazzou. But before that I am excited for the CAA. VCU, Old Dominion, Hofstra and Drexel - are there any four better mid-majors in the same league? They will all be in the semis and that will make for some great ball as they fight for what is said to be two bids.
Prediction: Old Dominion and VCU play for the CAA title. While Hofstra and Drexel bow out gracefully but not without flare.
Toronto at Cleveland (7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 3)
Drew: I picked the Cavs last week to surge this second half, and since then they've lost to a Wade-less Miami and beat the Hornets. I stand by my pick. Four games separate Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and New Jersey. I want to see both of those gaps close, but of course my wants don't make things happen. I think I've proven that. However, Toronto has struggled on the road and Cleveland has a winning record against teams over .500.
Prediction: Cavaliers 105, Raptors 98
Jordan: Ugh, is it playoff time yet? Okay, wake me when we get there. The monotony of the regular season has overtaken my joy when the Association first kicked off this past November. Let me see, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Phoenix and Dallas will make up the West's final two. And I am not shying away from my Baby Bulls. Still a little inconsistent, but they looked most impressive in Detroit, albeit a loss.
Prediction: Raptors are playing good ball. Cleveland is still way too reliant on King James. Toronto 101, Cleveland 97
San Antonio at Houston (8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 3)
Drew: The Rockets have cooled off and the Spurs are beginning to heat up, thanks to different players stepping up each night. I'm a big fan of this Rockets team, but even the lift they've received from McGrady can't hide how much they miss the Big Asian. I expect the Spurs to hand a demoralized Rockets team another loss. However, don't count the Rockets out for long - Van Gundy will find a way.
Prediction: Spurs 94, Rockets 89
Jordan: These Rockets just simply won't go away. Never mind the fact that T-Mac is in and out of the lineup, but Yao hasn't played since Christmas and they are still one of the top five teams in West. It has more to do with their supporting cast, but I still can't figure out why these guys are overachieving. The Spurs are as fun to watch as staring at wet paint, and they look old while doing it.
Prediction: Houston 94, San Antonio 90
Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every week. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.