Tuesday, March 23, 2010
An Admitted Biased Ranking of the Sweet 16
1. Kentucky. The Wildcats haven't been tested yet, and a lot of people are wondering what will happen when they are. Will we find out this weekend? We just might. Couldn't you just picture John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins turning on each other when things got hot? Yelling at Coach Cal and disintegrating before our very eyes? I can. Still, the most talent left in The Dance.
2. Syracuse. Man, these cats are playing great and are still, somehow, under the radar. Quick - name their best player. That's what I thought. It's Wes Johnson, the most underappreciated player in the tournament. For some reason that 2-3 zone just perplexes the bejesus out of people, almost as much as wondering how Boeheim landed a wife that hot. It's just a mystery. Oh wait, I remember. He's rich.
3. Duke. God, I hate Duke. They got a gift from the committee with their draw. That said, their Big 3 of Singler, Smith and Scheyer are going to be hard to handle this weekend. I know, people say their inside game is lacking, but I think their serviceable enough to carry them through. But God, I hate Duke. Then again, 13-years of working summer camps in College Park will permanently alter your view of the Dookies, and not in a good way.
4. West Virginia. Lord knows I'm biased here, 'cause I love Billy and Huggs. The only thing that worries me is their perimeter shooting (the team, not the coaches. Billy can still shoot lights out with that one-hander). They're the best defensive and offensive rebounding team left though, and that could carry them. I would LOVE a Kentucky-West Virginia regional final. Butler vs. Wall and Cousins & Co. vs. WV's bigs would be epic. Plus, I'll take the Mountaineers coaches and bench over UK's any day. Again, biased.
5. Ohio State. I might be underrating the Buckeyes, but Evan Turner just hasn't looked right to me lately. Sure, the stats are good, but he's turning the ball over a lot. Hope that, and the lack of Buckeye depth, doesn't catch up to them. Bonus: Diebler has been money from beyond the arc thus far. But man, if only our boy Dallas "The Fort" Lauderdale had a post up game. If he did they'd be the favorite. I still got 'em in the Final 4 however.
6. Kansas State. They play great defense, but can that carry them? They can be really shaky on the O end, but they may be just scared enough of Frank Martin to keep advancing.
7. Baylor. The Bears are big, athletic, and well coached. Quite possibly the most underrated NCAA team from start to finish. If Duke meets these fellows it could be curtains for Coach K and his band of dipshits. Have I mentioned I hate Duke?
8. Xavier. Jordan Crawford takes some bad shots, but he seems to hit them when it counts. They may be overmatched in the post soon, though. Sidenote: Please, coach, let Dante shoot the ball more!
9. Butler. Butler is in Indianapolis. The Final Four is in Indianapolis. What a great story that would be, no? These guys are playing with a ton of confidence and think they can beat anybody right now. Lots of experience too. I like Butler a lot.
10. Cornell. Seriously, Kentucky had better be ready to play. This senior-laden team can flat out play. They all live together in one house on campus, and none of them are on a scholarship. It'll be Good vs. Evil when they play the Wildcats, and I can't wait. Maybe the aforementioned Wildcat Meltdown happens in their next game. Hey, a guy can dream, right?
11. Tennessee. I gotta tell ya, I'm completely torn where these guys are concerned. One minute I think they have no chance and the next I can see them making the Final 4. I just don't think they can outscore the Buckeyes. In addition, Bruce Pearl is a dick.
12. Saint Mary's. Omar Samhan, my friends, is a load. He is a true center with great, fundamental post moves, and if you double him he'll destroy you with his passing. If Dallas Lauderdale had his post moves he'd be Moses Malone, except with, you know, a post 4th grade education.
13. Northern Iowa. Question - why haven't Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck been complaining about Ali Farokhmanesh's name? Seriously, I think the (what the hell are they, the Panthers?) have a really good shot at the Izzos.
14. Washington. Way better than anticipated, and they're representing the much maligned Pac-10 so they're on a mission. They're scary, but I think the Mountaineers handle them with their suffocating defense.
15. Purdue. Nobody gave these guys a chance after they lost Hummel. They're playing with a chip on their shoulder, play good defense, but can't match up with the Dookies. The road ends here.
16. Michigan State. Just too decimated to go much farther. They might, just might, sneak past Northern Iowa, but the Buckeyes or Vols await. Ruh-roh.
My Final 4? I've got Ohio State, West Virginia, Syracuse, and . . . Duke. Damn, I almost said Baylor. Please God, let it be Baylor.