Head-to-Head: NCAA Tournament Edition
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 03/14/2007
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:
Who will be in the Final Four (and who will win)?
Drew: Wow, that's a great question. Tough one though. What does one gauge his response on: physical dominance, keen defensive skills, the ability to banter well with top seeds? I've looked over the brackets and I can't see this year's George Mason, nor discern that certain "accomplished but always a bridesmaid" program which will win it all. Last year's winners will get tossed early, but the heir apparents just don't feel right. The East and South Regionals could make a great Final Four by my standards, but UNC, Georgetown, Ohio State and Texas A&M will have to weed the field of each other.
Prediction: I'm late to the Kansas bandwagon, but the West is cake for them if UCLA chokes against Gonzaga as I expect. I'll stick with the guards of Oregon and say they're joined by UNC and A&M. Could A.C. Law carry a team to the title?
Jordan: Going off a combination of my preseason picks and what has developed over the last several picks, I'd say these four aren't too far of a stretch. I have Kansas and Texas A&M making it to Atlanta (two of my preseason teams). I would have UCLA over nearly anyone else, seeing I had them losing to the Jayhawks in the finals in November, but I'll have to settle for them out in the Elite Eight. I have the No. 2 seed Georgetown Hoyas and the No. 3 seed Oregon Ducks as my other combo to pair up with the Big 12 duo.
Prediction: Kansas prevails over Georgetown in the National Championship game.
Which first round game is most intriguing?
Drew: Game? We're not talking about a regional, but a game? A game? I can't pick one. I'm looking forward to Kentucky vs. Villanova and USC vs. Arkansas. Both Kentucky and Villanova got screwed, first facing each other and then having to face Kansas. With Tubby's job unfairly on the line, Kentucky's kids might be the best test for K-Hawks, but 'Nova is not an easy out. As for the Trojans and Razorbacks, Tim Floyd's quality trio has to go up against a charging boar?
Prediction: Take the Boar and I'm giving Tubby's boys some credit.
Jordan: Two of the first round match-ups peak my attention more than the others: UNLV vs. Georgia Tech (-2) and Louisville (-5) vs. Stanford. I think the winner of the Runnin' Rebels and Yellow Jackets could be a sleeper to make the Elite Eight. Initial thoughts have me leaning toward the Mountain West champs. As for the Cardinals/Cardinal showdown, this is going to be an excellent game. Many are in love with the 'Ville because of their late season push but I am extremely impressed with this underrated Stanford team. In this one I'm kind of feeling the Pac-10 underdog.
Prediction: UNLV sneaks into the Sweet Sixteen, then fall to Oregon in a typical west coast shootout. Stanford knocks out Louisville, but then they feels the wrath of Acie Law and the Aggies of Texas A&M.
Which is your favorite first round upset?
Drew: My favorite first round upset would be a scrappy Virginia Commonwealth squad unseating an overrated Duke squad which should have been a No. 9 seed, if in the tournament at all, with its sub .500 ACC record (8-9). The Rams may have the backcourt that can overdefend Coach K style, and maybe they won't get tired like Paulus & Co. just 10 minutes into the game.
Prediction: Cuse's Jim Boeheim and Drexel's Bruiser Flint strengthen their case when Duke and Stanford lose.
Jordan: Certainly there will be more than one double-digit seed advancing, and at least one no one saw coming, but right now I'm looking at VCU over Duke (-7) and Old Dominion over Butler (-1). The Dukies have the name, but quite frankly VCU's guards are better. If you saw the CAA title game then you know what kind of player Eric Maynor is, and you better watch out for the scoring partnership of shooting guards B.A. Walker and Jesse Pellot-Rosa. This trio will be all over Coach K's overrated group of players.
Prediction: Old Dominion sneaks through a feisty Butler team, while VCU sends Duke packing. Also keep an eye out for a very dangerous Long Beach State team.
Which team is a sleeper and how far will it go?
Drew: Can you call a No. 3 or a No. 4 seed a sleeper? If so, I like No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 4 Maryland to go to the Final Four and Elite Eight, respectively. But, alas, sleepers can't be teams we've been awake on for so long. Louisville is a chic pick for the final four, but I'm not expecting a Patriot run this year. No, there is a far more sinister plan at work. The forgotten new giants of Gonzaga and Nevada or maybe even a good old-fashioned newcomer, such as Albany, will break the mold.
Prediction: Gonzaga takes UCLA from its home court advantage and Nick Fazekas gives Calipari a John Cheney-style ass whooping-unforgettable, but maybe just a close call.
Jordan: I love UNLV and I think they could make it as far as the Elite Eight. They have the offense to dispose of Wisconsin and the high-paced attack to deal with Oregon or Florida come the Midwest final. Also, Arizona can never be overlooked. Yes, they could flop out in the first round and many would not be surprised, however I think they are primed to give Florida all it could handle. I also think No. 6 seeded Vanderbilt has the outside shooters and slashers to make it into the last 16. If they can slip past an outrageously athletic George Washington team, they have the skill to knock off Wazzou and challenge Georgetown.
Prediction: UNLV will advance. I see them beating the Techies and very possibly making an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. Arizona can beat Florida, especially because the Gators too don't have a lot of depth to challenge the 'Cats' starting five. And for Vandy, they will secure at least one victory in this tournament.
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.