Match Up of the Day

Today’s Match Up of the Day is the Michigan Wolverines vs the Florida Gators. This game is going to go down right to the wire. It is on CBS at 2:20 ET. Both teams have outstanding coaches and they are hot at the right time.

Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr.Michigan’s Keys:  The keys for the Wolverines is the play of Mitch McGary. He has been amazing this whole NCAA Tournament. He has to have a big game because he has to guard Florida’s great big man Patrick Young. He has to play very physical because Young is going to try to beat him up in the paint. Also, Tim Hardaway Jr.  has to actually show up today. He is the Maize and Blue’s second best player, but he is a streaky shooter. When he is hot he just drains shots, but when he is cold he can’t throw a ball into the ocean. Hardaway has to play great if the Wolverines want to save the Big Ten and advance to Atlanta to the Final Four.

Florida’s Keys: The keys for the Gators is the play of point guard Kenny Boynton. He 507e2c207cce3.preview-300is the heart and soul of this Florida team. He is their best player and the true leader of their team. He has to guard the best player in the country, Trey Burke. We all know that that is a tough task. If Billy Donovan and his Gators want a chance against the Maize and Blue, Boynton has to have a monumental game.

Prediction:  This game is going to be tight but at the end of the day I trust Trey Burke. I have Michigan keeping the Big Ten alive and advancing to the Final Four.

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Match Up of the Day

Before the Match Up of the Day I have to comment on Trey Burke’s shot. What a game, what a shot, and what a player. In my opinion, Burke just clinched the player of the year, but for the Michigan Wolverines there is still more ahead.

Today’s Match Up of the Day is the Syracuse Orange vs the Marquette Golden Eagles. This game is on CBS at 4:30 ET. I choose this game because both of these teams are Big East rivals and the winner punches the first ticket to the Final Four. This is going to be a very close game but one team has to come out in the win column. If you want to watch a incredible game tune into Syracuse vs Marquette, the championship of East segment of the bracket.

Syracuse’s Keys:  The key for Syracuse is their zone defense. Their defense hasimages copy 6 been demolishing teams in the tournament. Marquette has their hands full. Also James Southerland has to have a big game. He is a lethal three point shooter, and when he gets hot he is almost impossible to stop. When Southerland is playing well the Cuse rolls. Marquette plays very physical and are very aggressive so the Orange big men have to step up. If Syracuse wants to advance to Atlanta Southerland is the key.

Junior+Cadougan+Vander+Blue+Walmart+Carrier+GisAoleJk2oxMarquette’s Keys: The keys for Marquette is the play of their guards, Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan. Can they handle Syracuse’s zone defense? They have to take care of the ball and establish their tempo. They are going to have to draw fouls and get Carter-Williams and Southerland in foul trouble. I think Marquette has the talent to win this game but if they make the Final Four I don’t think that they can handle Burke and Michigan or Florida.

Prediction: I think this is going to be an even matched game, but I don’t think Unknown copy 5Marquette can handle Syracuse ‘s defense. I have the Orange in the Final Four.

Match Up of the Day

Today’s  Match Up of the Day is the Duke Blue Devils vs the Michigan State Spartans. This game is on CBS at 9:45 ET. I choose this game because they are two historic programs with coaching legends. Both of these teams are used to winning and have the talent to go all the way and cut down the nets. I think this is going to be a battle for the ages, so you should check it out.

Michigan State’s Keys:  In this game MSU needs to take advantage of their big menkeith-appling-28jpg-3853e3449357e043 and work the ball into the paint. The keys for the Spartans are Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne. They have  a huge advantage in size. I don’t think that Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly can handle them. Also if Izzo and the Spartans want to advance point guard Keith Appling needs to have a big game. He is very inconstant and tends to struggle in the spot light, and when he struggles usually MSU does too.

Duke’s Keys:  If Duke wants to win, Mason Plumlee needs to have a big game. He has to contain Michigan State’s tough big men. He needs to toughen up and control the paint. Plumlee will have Unknown copy 4to step up his game, BIG TIME! Also if the Durham Devils want to come out of the win column point guard Quinn Cook needs to take advantage of Appling’s inconsistency. Cook is very young and inexperienced but he loves the spot light. There is also one more thing I would like to add, in Tournament play Tom Izzo is 1-6 against Coach K.

images copy 5Prediction:  It is clear that Coach K knows the formula to beat Izzo’s Spartans and I think Appling is going to choke in Crunch Time. That is why I have Duke barley escaping against Michigan State.

 

 

 

Match Up of the Day

The Sweet Sixteen is finally here and now the Tournament really gets interesting. The contenders get separated from the pretenders and champions are born. Thursday’s Match Up of the Day is the Arizona Wildcats vs the Ohio State Buckeyes. This game is on TBS at 7:41 ET. I chose this game because both of these teams have been near the top of the rankings all year and they are complete powerhouses. I choose this game because both teams are practically a mirror image of each other.  This going to be a hard fought game of two very similar teams. One of the reasons I think they’re so similar is because Sean Miller, “the coach of Arizona” was Thad Matta’s, “ the coach of Ohio State” assistant when Matta coached at Xavier.

Ohio State’s Keys:  The key for Ohio State is Aaron Craft. We all know he is OSU-tournament-Deshaun-Thomasone of the premier on ball defenders in the league but he also needs to score some buckets. Deshaun Thomas is going to score to rack up the points every night, but they need someone to help carry the load for him. Aaron Craft is the most talented player on their team who can do that. Also Deshaun Thomas, who is not known as a defensive star has to contain Solomon Hill, who is Arizona’s 6-foot-7 forward with long lengthy arms. Thomas is primarily known as a scorer. I don’t think he is going to do a good job guarding Hill. Look for Solomon Hill to have a big game. If the Buckeyes want to have a win, Craft and Thomas have to swap roles.

Arizona’s Keys:   The key for the Wildcats is transfer point guard from Xavier JeffGoodmanLyons.jpgMark Lyons. This game is truly the match up of the point guards, Ohio State’s Craft vs Arizona’s Lyons. Lyons has to score against Craft which is almost impossible, ask the best player in the Country Trey Burke, even he had a tough time against Craft’s stellar defense. Also Solomon Hill has to stop Deshaun Thomas from scoring the ball. Hill is a pretty good defender but even the best defenders struggle stopping Thomas. If the Wildcats want to come out on top they need Lyons to have a big game and Hill to lock down Thomas.

Prediction:  This game is going to be an up and down low scoring affair. At the end of the day it comes down to defense, and I think Craft gets it done for the Bucks. Defense wins championships and Ohio State has one of the best defenders. I have the Buckeyes escaping the Wildcats and moving on to the Elite Eight where they will cruise.

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Sweet Sixteen Breakdown

The first weekend of March Madness was great but I have a feeling that the Sweet Sixteen is going to be so much sweeter. The round of 64 and 32 is over and the contenders have been separated from the pretenders. There are sixteen great teams left and when the weekend comes they will be narrowed down to eight. I am going to give my predictions for some of the marquee games this weekend.

arizona_wildcats_vs_ohio_state_crop_exactMidwest:   The first game in the Midwest bracket is Oregon vs Louisville. Both teams got to the Sweet Sixteen by blowing out  each two of their opponents. You might think Louisville a number one seed facing up against Oregon a number twelve seed, Louisville has a cake walk, but this Oregon team is no regular twelve seed. They won the Pac-12 tournament and led the regular season title for most of the year. The committee made a big mistake making these guys a twelve seed they should have been a six seed. It was just unfair to Oklahoma State and Saint Louis because they earned a high seed and earned to play a bad team but instead they played a team that should have been another high seed. This is going to be a hard fought game but I think Louisville’s defense is going to take advantage against Oregon’s inexperienced guards. I think Louisville is going to squeak by the FIghting Ducks.

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The other game in the Midwest bracket is Michigan State vs Duke. This, I think is going to be one of the best games in the Tournament so far. Both of these teams are power houses that are coached by legends. Both of these teams are used to winning so it wouldn’t be surprising if either one of them advances to the Elite Eight. I think the Spartans will easily be able to work the ball inside with Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, but the x-factor for ole Sparty and Izzo is the play of point guard Keith Appling. He has been inconsistent through out the year and when he struggles it appears that MSU also struggles and they end up in the loosing column. This is why I think Duke is going to come out with the victory. In Tournament play Izzo and his Spartans are 1-7 against Coach K and Duke in the Tournament. Duke advances.

ScreenShot2013-03-23at8.21.01PM_originalWest:  The West bracket has been a complete mess this year. There have been upsets after upsets. And the first Sweet Sixteen game in the West has surprised everyone. The ninth seed Wichita State Shockers take on the thirteenth seed La Salle Crusaders. The Shockers and Crusaders have shocked everybody. Both of these teams have shocked the world, lived up to their names and reeked havoc on peoples brackets. I think that La Salle is going to win this game and advance. Who knows maybe they could do what VCU did two years ago and go to the First Four to the Final Four. Wouldn’t that be incredible but first they have to get past the Shockers and the winner of the Arizona, Ohio State game.

That brings us to our next match up in the West region, Arizona vs Ohio State. arizona_wildcats_vs_ohio_state_crop_exactThis game is like having both teams look in a mirror. They are such similar teams it is scary. Both of these teams are very talented and have the potential to win it all. This game is also a match up of the point guards, Mark Lyons vs Aaron Craft. This game is going to be neck and neck the whole time but I think Aaron Craft’s defense is too much for the Wildcats to handle. I have the Buckeyes moving on.

South:  In the South region the two games are very intriguing. The first game is Kansas vs Michigan. This game is like a heavy weight championship. It is two power houses who know how to fight. This game is going to be back and fourth, back and fourth.  After this game both teams are going to be battle tested. images copy 4Michigan’s bigs are going to have a hard time with Jeff Withey. He is just too good for Mitch McGary. Also Kansas’ guards have a gargantuan task ahead of them, they have to contain Trey Burke. I think this game is going to be a nail biter and both teams are championship contenders. My prediction is that Trey Burke is going to deliver the knock out punch and nail a step back three for the win. I have Michigan winning in dramatic fashion to advance to the Elite Eight. Hail to the Victors over Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.

The second game in the South Region is the Florida Gators vs the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. This game is a power house against the Cinderella team.  Both of these teams are well coached and they have great chemistry together. In this images-1 copy 2game all of the pressure is going to be on the Gators. They do not want to loose to a CInderella team. I think they are going to be nervous and tense and that might be trouble. On the other hand Florida Gulf Coast plays relaxed and just has fun out on the court. They are enjoying the moment and taking it all in. This is whyI am taking the upset and having the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles advance to the Elite Eight.

East:  The first match up in the East bracket is Indiana vs Syracuse. Both of images-2 copythese teams are very talented, but most importantly both of these teams are hot right now. I think that this game is going to be close until the last couple minutes. I believe Indiana is going to pull away from Syracuse. The Orange are a very good team but the Hoosiers are too powerful for them to handle.

Unknown-1 copy 2The Second game in the East region is Miami vs Marquette. I think this game is going to be the most lop sided game in the Sweet Sixteen. Miami is way too talented and experienced for this Golden Eagles team to keep up with. Marquette is lucky to even be in this round, they should have been bounced in the round of 64 by Davidson. They are going to get destroyed by the Hurricanes. I have Miami moving on and in my bracket I have the Hurricanes winning it all. Stay tuned, I’ll have the Match Up of the Day on Thursday.

Match Up of the Day

Todays Match Up of the Day is the Kansas Jayhawks against the North Carolina Tar Heels. This game is on CBS at 5:15 ET. This game is the Match Up of the Day because it is two historic teams facing each other and also Roy Williams is facing his old team. This match up is a battle of teams and a battle of coaches, one Hall of Famer and one future Hall of Famer.

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Kansas’ Keys:  Kansas came into the tournament with a lot of momentum but that might have come quickly to a halt after barely surviving against sixteenth seed Western Kentucky. What the Jayhawks need to do to win this game is establish their tempo. They cannot let the Tar Heels set the tempo in the game. Also they need to work the ball into the paint, I don’t think North Carolina’s small match up can contain Jeff Withey. It is crucial that Kansas defends the perimeter well because North Carolina is a great three point shooting team, and once they start knocking down threes the Jayhawks might be turned into the Tar Heels nice roasted bird dinner.

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Carolina’s Keys:  For North Carolina to pull of the upset they need P.J. Hairston to have a big game. He is the heart and soul of this Tar Heels team and if he doesn’t show up the Tar Heels might be sent right back to Chapel Hill. They also need James Michael McAdoo to play well. He is the only big man that they have and he has a tough task up against Jeff Withey and Perry Ellis. UNC is a lethal three point shooting team so if they even want a chance to upset the Jayhawks the need to shoot lights out.

Prediction:  This is going to be a battle for the ages. Kansas is a very talentedimages-1 copy team, but I think there is something really special about this Tar Heels team. I think that North Carolina is going to pull the monumental upset and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

 

 

Match Up of the Day

Todays Match up of the Day is the Rams of VCU against the Maize & Blue Wolverines of Michigan. This is a new segment of my blog and throughout  the Tournament called Match Up of the Day. In this segment I will pick what is the best match up analyze it, give the keys to victory for both teams, and then tell you guys who I think is going to win the game and why. Today the match up is VCU vs Michigan at 12:15 ET on CBS. There are many great games on today but I just have a feeling this is going to be a close one.

Unknown copyKeys for Michigan:  Michigan has a tough game ahead of them against the VCU Rams. We all know that VCU is going to come out in a full-court press defense, so Michigan will turn the ball over a lot in this game.  The key to victory for the Wolverines is the play of super star point guard Trey Burke. With the Rams trying to reek havoc Burke has to take care of the ball and set the game to his tempo. Also if they can break VCU’s press and get the ball down the court they could spread the Rams out and pass it to Hardaway or Stauskas to drain a three point shot. If they limit turnovers and spread the floor the Rams might be headed into some big trouble. If Michigan wants to advance to the Sweet Sixteen Mr. Wooden Award Burke has to take over.

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Keys for VCU:  Virginia Commonwealth has a HUGE task ahead of them, they have to contain Trey Burke and the high powered Michigan offense. The Rams will come out in a full-court press to force turnovers, but staying in that defense for the whole game might not be the greatest idea. Michigan will slice right through that defense and get an easy lay up, jump shot, or wide open three pointer. What the Rams should do is in the middle of the game switch to a half-court press defense to rattle John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines. They would catch them off guard and take advantage off the surprised offense. Also Michigan only had one day to prepare for the Rams pesky defense, that might be a huge problem for Burke and company. VCU has a great chance of reeking havoc and they might send the Wolverines packing back to Ann Arbor.

Prediction:  This is going to be a hard fought game between two evenly matched teams but there has to be a winner. Although Shaka Smart and his Rams demolish opposing teams offenses Burke will be able to exploit the Rams press and kick it out to their jump shooters and rack up the points. At the end of the game it is going to come down to Trey Burke and I trust him to win it for them. I think Michigan is going to survive a battle and move on to the Sweet Sixteen.
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Vegas Show Down

It has been an uplifting year for the Pac 12 conference after last year’s dreadful season. This season has given the Pac 12  a whole new look so how fitting it is to have the tournament in a brand new place. For the first time ever the Pac 12 tournament is in Sin City. This tournament has been great and the two teams that have made it to the championship will have a chance to rule the west coast. Tonight the UCLA Bruins will face the Oregon Ducks in the Pac 12 Championship.

Game Break Down: This game is going to be neck and neck and will probably go down to the wire. UCLA won last night but they also lost a key player on their team to injury. They had a hard fought win against Arizona to send them into the Championship but on the last play of the game their star Freshman Guard Jordan Adams landed on awkwardly on his foot and ended up breaking his foot. I know how that feels, ouch! Without Adams the Mighty Bruins might not be so mighty.

 

Oregon has had a remarkable season that nobody was expecting. Oregon was not ranked pre-season and predicted to only make the NIT. Well we all know that’s not going to happen with the Ducks are on the rise blowing everyone away. They started off great until their Freshmen Guard Dominic Artis hurt his foot, but now he is back, and the Ducks are better than ever. They have been playing with heart and exceeding the odds.

Prediction: I believe that the Oregon Ducks will win this game and come out Pac 12 champions. I think this because after Adams injury the Bruins just looked crushed and they are down in the dumps. I think Oregon will win the Pac 12 Championship but this UCLA team is special and come March, they will be dangerous.

 

 

Wooden Race

It has been a great year in college basketball. All of the upsets, stormed courts, historic rivalries, and many buzzer-beaters. It was been a race to the finish and so many players are deserving of the most prestigious award in college basketball. Here are some of the players I think deserve to win the John Wooden award.

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Shane Larkin : Miami 

Strengths: Quick guard, deadly from behind the arch, good on ball defender, performs best when the game is on the line.

Weaknesses: Inexperienced, rattled on the road, needs to become more of a leader. When entire team struggles so does Shane.

Analysis: Larkin is a long shot this year but has still performed at an elite level. He is great in prime time and is always the one who steps up to take the big shot. It has been a miracle season for the Hurricanes and Larkin has been the ring leader. I do not think he will win POY but he is my favorite to win it next year.

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Victor Oladipo: Indiana 

Strengths: Great defender, attacks the rim with ease, highlight reel, full of confidence, electric finisher, crowd pleaser, posterizes defenders, block machine, and cocky attitude.

Weaknesses:  Has to share the spot light with Zeller, inconsistent shooter, tries  to put on a show too much, chokes in big moments, never finishes with the easy lay-up, misses dunks when team needs an easy dunk or lay-up not a mega jam.

Analysis: Oladipo is an outstanding player. He reminds me and many others of a mini Michael Jordan. Victor needs to work on his jump shot and he needs to improve in the fourth quarter. Victor Oladipo is one of my favorites to win the award and he has a great chance of doing so.

trey-burke5Trey Burke: Michigan

Strengths: Dynamic speed, can blow right past you, lethal three-point shooter, great on-ball defender, pick pockets everyone, hits big shots, sneaky passer, always finds the open man, lights out shooter.

Weaknesses: In crunch time rarely passes the ball, tends to struggle on the road and in hostile environments.

Analysis: Burke is one of the best players in the country. He has break away speed and can get past any of the best defenders. Trey Burke literally “steals” the spot light in big moments. Right now I think it is a two man race between Oladipo and Burke. Trey already has a head up against Victor because Burke won Big Ten player of the year. If I had a vote I would vote for Burke. My prediction is that Trey Burke is going to win the Wooden award and become Player Of the Year.

 

 

New Adidas Tournament Uniforms

This year six teams in the NCAA Tournament will be wearing new Adidas uniforms. Louisville, Baylor, Cincinnati,  Kansas, UCLA and Notre Dame. I think that these uniforms are very cool and will make the players standout especially in the big moments. The only thing I don’t like is that Baylor’s, UCLA’S, and Louisville’s jerseys are like the NBA Golden State Warriors’  alternate jerseys, they have sleeves. I think that it just looks weird. I am not a traditionalist or anything, I like the flashy uniforms, but sleeves attached to the basketball jersey is odd. They look like soccer jerseys. I am fine with players wearing t-shirts under their jerseys that have sleeves but this new style has taken it too far. Throughout the years of basketball no teams have ever worn jerseys with sleeves attached to them except for Golden State this year and now these three college teams. It looks unnatural. Although I am not too fond of the sleeves I am a fan of Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and Kansas jerseys which are sleeveless and look more professional. All of the teams shorts are the best parts. The design is super cool and they really pop out. I wish my basketball team had cool uniforms like these…what do you think?

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