Head-to-Head: Final Four Edition
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 03/30/2007
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. 2 Georgetown vs. No. 1 Ohio State (6 p.m., Saturday, March 31)
Drew: If he hadn't eaten himself to death, Pizza the Hut might slap 1,000,000 space bucks down on this being the Game of the Tournament. It has it all: guards that shoot, guards that penetrate, all around forwards and a pair of anchors in the middle that leave me pining for yesteryear. The only problem is picking a winner. The team whose big man logs the most minutes will advance and since Mike Conley Jr. might penetrate enough to bait Hibbert, I'm going with the Buckeyes.
Prediction: Buckeyes 74, Hoyas 72
Jordan: Well, it's Goliath vs. Goliath. Roy Hibbert and Greg Oden collide in the Final Four. This is great because rarely do we get the chance to see two dominant college big men go at each other. Also throw in super Buckeye freshmen Mike Conley, Jr. and G-town's other main attraction, Jeff Green. Foul trouble will dictate the game, but both teams have shown the ability to flourish when their respective big is on the bench early. Ohio State can slow G-town with the 2-3 zone, but Jeff Green cannot be slowed for long. He is the difference in this game.
Prediction: Georgetown 71, Ohio State 65
No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 1 Florida (9 p.m., Saturday, March 31)
Drew: Focus. That's what Billy Donovan has talked to his returning champs about all year. But now I'm going to question his focus. Kentucky? The Miami Heat? I haven't heard the name of a member of the Donovan referenced this much since Art Donovan did all those ESPN commercials. Those were funny, but Ben Howland and his scrappy defensive squad mean business. That business is revenge.
Prediction: Bruins 68, Gators 64
Jordan: The Bruins are looking for revenge. The Gators want back-to-back rings. UCLA won't wow you with another stellar offensive game like we saw against Kansas, but the way they lock up defensively will be the key. Point guard Darren Collison leads this group on both sides of the court, and if Afflalo can just do anything but stink up the joint like we saw in last year's title game, the Bruins will have a chance to win. Josh Shipp's physical defense will do wonders compared to how Oregon defended (If you called that defense) Lee Humphrey. Horford and Noah will outplay UCLA's post players, but it won't be enough to win this game.
Prediction: UCLA 69, Florida 67
Who will be your surprise team in the MLB this year?
Drew: It's almost become a rite of April: some down-and-out squad rips off enough wins to gain the confidence it takes to make a run at the playoffs. This year, look East my friends. Sure, the Yankees, Red Sox and Braves are perennial favorites, while the Mets and Blue Jays appear poised to win with big budgets, but don't sleep on the Orioles or the Phillies. Both teams have solid and complete lineups with speed to support both situational and pure power hitters. The rotations have young arms at the top and veterans at the bottom who have that knack for winning.
Prediction: Baltimore makes a run, but falls off late, while Philadelphia takes the Wild Card.
Jordan: The Cubs are my squad and I say they win the NL Central. That might not be a surprise because of the talent they have, but they are the Cubbies and most think they are usually done come July. As far as sleepers are concerned, I really like Milwaukee in the Central as well. If Chicago can't win the division the young Brewers will have a shot. With Sheets and Capuano atop the rotation, as well as a very promising lineup, expect a big year from them with at least 80 wins. Another team I think could jump out at people is the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Prediction: Cubs, Brewers finish first and second in the NL Central while the D-Backs will lead the West at one point past July 1.
New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals (8 p.m., Sunday, April 1)
Drew: The off-season treated neither of these teams well. The Mets lured Moises Alou from retirement and plucked Damion Easley off the scrap heap. The Cardinals found Kip Wells. Not much when you consider their challengers - the Braves and Cubs - made some intriguing moves. If lineups went 11 deep, the Cards would be nasty. But the only thing I'm afraid of repeating is Tony LaRussa's drunken nap on a busy intersection. Still, I fear my beloved Mets might stumble out of the gates behind the 193-year-old Tom Glavine.
Prediction: Cardinals 6, Mets 5
Jordan: Is it just me or do the Mets scream vulnerability with their starting pitching? They've already publicly stated that they don't expect anything from Pedro this season and Tom Glavine has been good, but a 41-year-old can't be your ace. The lineup is loaded once again, and it will be one of the best with Reyes, Wright, Beltran and Delgado. However, Chris Carpenter has been plenty good this spring and him on the mound spells an opening day win for the defending champs.
Prediction: St. Louis 5, New York 3
Utah at San Antonio (8 p.m., Friday, March 30)
Drew: Losing to the Bucks and Celtics was embarrassing, but the perennial 50-win Spurs bounced back with four straight. The Jazz also struggled against the East, losing a four-pack that same week only to bounce back with wins over three out of four Western opponents. Go figure. The frontlines of both teams are outstanding and supported by quality guard play. But I like the Jazz to ride high in this one on the notes of big games from Boozer and Kirilenko.
Prediction: Jazz 101, Spurs 93
Jordan: The Jazz have been extremely impressive simply for the fact that they have not disappeared this season. It's one thing to start hot, but to hold up and look just as good late in the year, especially in the West, is quite a feat. I mean, just ask the Magic how that feels like. San Antonio continues to lie in the weeds with Dallas and Phoenix eating up all the press. The Spurs are always tough at home, however a healthy Jazz team is very dangerous.
Prediction: Utah 92, San Antonio 88
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 email@example.com.