Head-to-Head: Sweet Sixteen
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 03/22/2007
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. 3 Texas A&M vs. No. 2 Memphis (7:27 p.m., Thursday, March 22)
Drew: A.C. Law IV is legit. This kid is college basketball's best replica of Tom Brady: unflappable. He plays calm and cool, with a confidence that had me convinced throughout the last 10 minutes of the Louisville game that no matter what lead the Cardinals built, Law and his Aggies would prevail. John Calipari may be the most underrated coach in the Sweet 16, but with a banged up star (Chris Douglas-Roberts's ankle) and a home court disadvantage in San Antonio, 32 wins is the limit.
Prediction: Aggies 83, Tigers 74
Jordan: While some say 'what have you done for me lately?' I ask who have you beaten this all season? I know 24-straight wins sounds good for Memphis, but it wasn't exactly a dogfight to come out of Conference USA unbeaten as outright champs. The Aggie-laden crowd in San Antonio will surely help, but the play of Billy Gillespie's squad will be the ultimate reason for advancement into the Elite Eight.
Prediction: Texas A&M 68, Memphis 63
No. 3 Pittsburgh vs. No. 2 UCLA (9:40 p.m., Thursday, March 22)
Drew: I'll give you the definition of college player: Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray. The 7-foot senior Panther is a college force, but would probably lose a foot race to Oliver Miller, Benoit Benjamin or John "Hot Plate" Williams. The Bruins go seven or eight deep with straight up athletes who defend like Spartan shields. Though I expected an early letdown from last year's finalists, the Howland Bowl should be in the bag for Papa Bear, since he's got the athletes and the home court.
Prediction: Bruins 63, Panthers 58
Jordan: Defense doesn't always guarantee a championship, but it will get you to at least the Elite Eight. And when it comes to defense, no one does it better than Ben Howland and his UCLA Bruins. Combine their intensity with the superior backcourt in Aaron Afflalo and Darren Collison, not to mention swing forward Josh Shipp, and it's the Bruins that take this match-up of teacher vs. pupil. Pitt has looked lethargic at times, and while UCLA hasn't been lights out, they have come through in the clutch. Afflalo is due for a monster game, and it comes here.
Prediction: UCLA 64, Pittsburgh 57
What time of year is best for gamblers and sports fans-March/April or October/November?
Drew: Your standard hard-fixed gambling junkie with dollars in his eyes, spreads in his veins and that unmistakable desire to drown his sorrows with intoxicants is best served in the fall. He has a week between plays to sober up and research his games for the week, while postseason baseball and first month hockey/basketball can give him his snacks. For the sports fan that doesn't normally put the green on the line, March is his fix-for it is in brackets where millions get their sample and addictions are born.
Prediction: Every office pool in America produces at least one fall customer.
Jordan: This one's tough. Do you want a blonde playmate or a brunette supermodel? Take your pick: March Madness and the beginning of MLB, or are you a football man, coupled with baseball playoffs and the start of the NBA. Personally, I will go with the fall, because nothing to me is better than some college football. Right now I am a little biased with the NCAA Tournament, but watching Michigan football every Saturday is enjoyable, especially for an Ann Arbor-born fan.
Prediction: The best season of the sports year is capped off by the worst possible scenario and one that will never go away: the BCS.
New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabers (7 p.m., Wednesday, March 28)
Drew: With two division leaders and the East's top seed in the balance, it's go time for Marty Brodeur and the Devil machine. The league did all it could to castrate the winning machine that produced Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003, but it just keeps rearing its manly head. Well Buffalo, you traded your security blanket and don't be surprised if the legendary Leeds baby, from which the Devil legend originated, comes by to kill your livestock.
Prediction: Devils 3, Sabers 2
Jordan: The top two in the East collide, but the difference is Brodeur. The Sabres have the best record in the NHL, but the Devils' road mark has been just as impressive. Only four wins in the last 10 won't get it done against Buffalo, so New Jersey better get its act together before they meet next week. As much as Buffalo has the edge with the cooler jerseys, the Devils get the road W.
Prediction: New Jersey 2, Buffalo 1
Detroit at San Antonio (8 p.m., Friday, March 23)
Drew: The Sunday loss to Dallas aside, the Pistons have cleaned up on Western opponents of late, beating Denver, LAC, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix. On the other hand, two pitiful Eastern opponents (Milwaukee and Boston) dropped Duncan's crew. This is a good match-up for the Pistons, with C-Webb in the middle. But if they play again without Billups, this game will probably be the pick-me-up this aging Western powerhouse needs.
Prediction: Spurs 92, Pistons 87
Jordan: The Spurs have disappeared, not because of their play but because of the dominance of Dallas and Phoenix. Detroit has put together one of the best road records in quite some time. If Mr. Big Shot still is unable to go, then the home Spurs get a big edge. Chris Webber has no doubt been the biggest spark for these Pistons, but the regular season still only means only so much to them.
Prediction: San Antonio 94, Detroit 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.