College Basketball National Championship

The Final Four was not what most were expecting. I can say that this was the worst Final Four games that I have seen in my life. Although the two semifinal games were blowouts, it did set the stage for an epic Championship game. The high flying Tarheels form North Carolina will face off against the scrappy rough Wildcats of Villanova. The two best teams in the country will play for their one shining moment.
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North Carolina dunked over Syracuse on Saturday. Their size showed big time in their victory over the Orange. They crashed the boards, and got offensive rebound after rebound. Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks, and Isaiah Hicks need to keep eating. Carolina’s big boys have been dominating the whole year, and if they are able to keep it up on the offensive glass, it is going to be a long night for coach Jay Wright and his Villanova Wildcats.
Villanova has been playing their best basketball of the season, I guess they chose a good time to kick it in gear. Villanova’s guards match up pretty well with Carolina’s athletic guards. The Wildcats have to be concerned about grabbing defensive rebounds. Villanova is a great shooting team. Power forward, Chris Jenkins may be the biggest factor in this ball game. With his lights out perimeter shooting, he can spread out Brice Johnson and the North Carolina rim protecters. This will open up the lane for Villanova.
The Championship game will be up and down. I truly believe these are the two best teams in the country and they will prove that tonight. This will be a fantastic game, I can’t wait. During the North Carolina vs Syracuse game, it seemed like all of the Cuse players would have their heads up watching the ball while the Tarheels would be in the air grabbing the rebound. Villanova coach, Jay Wright will not let this happen. His Nova teams are way to fundamentally sound. The Wildcats will not make the same mistake the the Orange did. Chris Jenkins, Josh Hart, and Daniel Ochefu will grab a body and box them out. The Villanova Wildcats will party like its 1985, as they hoist the trophy up as the 2016 National Champions.
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Prediction: Villanova 81, North Carolina 79
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Final Four Preview

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After a season full of ups and downs, tears of joy and sadness we have finally reached the Final Four. Buddy and his Sooners will face off against the Villanova team that just keeps shutting down the doubters, and Power House North Carolina against America’s darlings, the Cinderella Syracuse Squad. No matter who wins, this Final Four will be magical.

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Game 1: 2 Oklahoma vs 2 Villanova
When I was watching Oklahoma take on my Oregon Ducks in the Elite 8, I wasn’t sure if I was watching Buddy Hield or Steph Curry. This dude was lights out. I haven’t seen a college player catch fire like that since Trey Burke and Michigan against Kansas.  It is not all Hield though, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard also got hot. I know I sound redundant, but it really was like watching the Golden State Warriors. The question is, can they keep up that hot shooting against this tough Nova team?
Villanova is the definition of grit and toughness. They fit the mold of a Philadelphia team. They are not just tough kids who get really physical…cough…cough Cincinnati, these cats are fundamentally sound. I think the game changer is freshman guard Jalen Brunson. This former Mcdonald’s All American hasn’t been the greatest scorer, but he does the little things that make a team successful. If Brunson can play to his full potential, Villanova will have an answer to Buddy. Throughout Jay Wright’s career as the Villanova head coach, he has had to endure a lot of failure, but that was needed. This Wildcat team wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t upset year after year. That pain has made them who they are. Villanova’s experience and toughness will get in the heads of Buddy and the Sooners. Villanova will move on to the National Championship.
Prediction: Villanova 73, Oklahoma 72
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Game 2: 1 North Carolina vs 10 Syracuse
Looking at this game it just looks like a regular season ACC game, but it’s not. This is the ACC championship… wait still wrong. Oh yeah, that’s right this is an all ACC Final Four game, the ACC has had a great year. North Carolina is back in the National spotlight, Roy Williams finally has a team that is talented and experienced. From preseason #1 to #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Tarheels have been flexing their muscles. Brice Johnson has been the heart and soul of this team. He bleeds Carolina Blue. Johnson is an All American who can enforce his presence in the paint against the Orange. Normally a powerhouse, it is defiantly different seeing Syracuse as a Cinderella. I think Jim Boeheim and the Orange like the feel of the glass slipper. Malachi Richardson has turned himself into a star in a couple weeks. He went from disappointing freshman to March superstar who is getting phone calls from Carmelo Anthony. The combination of Richardson and  senior, Michael Gbinije has been lethal. This is not your father’s Cuse team, but they have been an incredible story. Syracuse will start off strong, but Marcus Paige and North Carolina will figure out their zone as the game goes on. The Tar Heels will move on to face Villanova in the Championship game. It will be a battle of blue in Houston.
Prediction: North Carolina 65, Syracuse 59

March Madness Elite 8

The Elite 8 starts today, and I am here to break down the biggest game of the day. The West Regional Championship between  #1 Oregon and #2 Oklahoma is the game you don’t want to miss. Chalk has played out in the West, and the Ducks and the Sooners will face off for a chance to play in the Final Four.
This will be one of the most exciting games we will see all year. These are two of the most explosive offensive teams in the country. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield is the best player in the country and is most likely the Player of the Year.
hield-020316Hield and Oklahoma’s other guards will have their points, but the key for Sooners is to get their big men going against Oregon’s tough shot blockers. Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin will have to assert their presence in the paint to make this Oregon defense honest.
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Oregon is the most well rounded team in the tournament. They are balanced at every position on the court, and extremely athletic. Sophomore forward Dillion Brooks has been a monster throughout the year and especially in March Madness. His motor is nonstop, and he will burst through the defense straight to the hoop. Brooks has been playing with a chip on his shoulder and now that he faces off against Buddy Hield, he will be very motivated. Oregon is so deep, they have their star Brooks, and you add on the likes of Tyler Dorsey, Chris Bouchier, Elgin Cook, and more. This team is very dangerous.
I think Oregon will over power Oklahoma’s big men, and will be the better coached team today. I am sticking with my championship pick, Oregon.
Prediction: Oregon 96, Oklahoma 92

Top Seed Controversy

march_madnessIt is that time of the year again… The weather is changing, flowers are blooming, and best of all March Madness is on its way. The Selection show will be airing at 4:30 CT on CBS. Every time the brackets are revealed, the teams on the bubble draw all the attention. This would make sense, these teams are waiting on their postseason future. The bubble teams absolutely deserve all of the drama and attention, but with all of the parity in college basketball this year I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the top of the line.
Most years we have a pretty clear picture of which team will be the #1 seeds, but in this crazy season, there might be 10 teams deserving of a top seed. Going into Saturday, there seemed to be a clear picture of the top seeds. North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, and Villanova. Once Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead banked a last second layup plus the foul, full chaos broke out. The Wildcats were knocked off their Big East throne and opened the gate for another team to sneak into a top seed.
While the Pirates sunk Villanova’s ship in Madison Square Garden, North Carolina and Virginia were amidst a heavy weight battle in our Nation’s capital. The Tarheels held on to their early lead, and were able to escape D.C. with a number one seed as a lock. Virginia was not able to say the same thing.  Although Virginia lost in the ACC Championship they still looked like one of the top teams in the country. It seemed very possible that even with a loss Virginia would be a number one seed.
That was until the Oregon Ducks absolutely obliterated the Utah Utes 88 to 57, completing their sweep on the Pac-12 regular season, and tournament titles. Oregon has quietly been having an incredible year. They ran right through the Pac-12 conference, and I believe right into a number one seed. Oregon has been playing some of the best ball, and their up tempo run and gun offense is almost impossible to stop. Oregon dropped 88 points on Utah,  the top defensive unit in the Pac-12. When the Pac-12 champ has the fifth hardest schedule in the country, and dominated the competition, it would hard placing them anywhere lower than a one seed.
Michigan State also has a great chance of being at the top of the seeding, but they still have to beat Purdue today in the B1G Championship game. No matter if you are on the bubble or a top team, everybody will be anxious leading into the Selection Show.

College Basketball Stock

March Madness is only a month away and no teams have really separated themselves from the pack. I’m sorting out some of college hoops most confusing teams and offering a look as if they were commodities on the NY stock exchange. Here are my thoughts, what would you do?
Texas Longhorns, BUYimgres
Coach Shaka Smart has his Longhorns playing fantastic basketball. Texas is one of the elite defensive teams in the country with great size. Texas has been on a two game loosing streak, but both games were to top 15 teams on the road. Isaiah Taylor has been playing out of his mind on both sides of the ball. It took a couple of years, but it seems Taylor has truly blossomed to his full potential and has stepped up as the leader of this team. Come March Texas will have a great chance to make a run. Buy high for these Longhorns.
imgres-1Texas A&M Aggies, SELL
It was only a couple weeks ago that Texas A&M was a top 5 team and a popular pick to make it to the Final Four. Since then, the Aggies have been a completely different team, loosing 4 in a row to unranked opponents. A&M has struggled having the target on their back. This team has a ton of talent of their team, but they seem to not get it done time after time. Aggie fans will hate to hear me make this comparison, but A&M reminds me a lot of last years Texas team. Texas was chalk full of talented players, but they were not ready for the spot light. If the Aggies can’t even take being the team to beat in the terrible SEC, there is no way they can handle the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament.
imgresOregon Ducks, BUY 
It may be a year early, but the Oregon Ducks have established themselves as the class of the Pac-12. Although they have lost their past two games on the road, this Duck squad is for real. This team has a great balance of young talent and experienced players. It also helps to have a super star in Dillion Brooks on your team. Brooks has been the bet player in the conference, putting up 30 point games with ease. Freshman point guard Tyler Dorsey is the key for this team’s success. He is a great young player who has a bright future in college ball and beyond. Success in the NCAA Tournament comes with great guard play. Dorsey is the man to take the Ducks to Houston for their first Final Four in a long time.
imgresMichigan Wolverines, BUY
I am going to be on record saying, I think the Wolverines can make the Final Four. I know I sound crazy and a little biased, but here me out. I am not saying they will, but there is a chance. Michigan has been a tough team to figure out this year. They have looked like a top 10 team, but they have also looked like a team that doesn’t even belong in the NIT. Injury has been most to blame for Michigan’s inconsistency. Losing Caris LeVert for a long stretch of the season was tough for this team, but it has also been good as other players including Duncan Robinson and Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman have stepped up to add great depth. Now the Caris LeVert is finally back into the line up Michigan has gone from a okay team to a team that is down right scary. Michigan is on of the best shooting teams in the country and they live and die by the three point shot. If the Wolverines become hot during March, watch out.
imgres-1Purdue, SELL 
Yes I am selling on Purdue, a team that has consistently been in the top 25 week after week. The Boilermakers are tough, physical, and have some of the best big men in the country. They are a great team, but they have on major flaw that will be their Achilles heel in March. Purdue does not have consistent guard play. As I mention earlier that is crucial if you want to make a good run in the NCAA Tournament. I am selling on Purdue and look for the Boilermaker to be upset and make a early exit from March Madness.

Let SMU Play in the NCAA Tournament

smuAaron Torres, writer for FoxSports wrote a story yesterday on SMU basketball and nailed it. I completely agree with everything he covered in this article and urge the NCAA to reconsider the sanctions placed on SMU.  I also hope those who agree and want to see justice done for the players of the best basketball team in the country to sign the petition attached to Torres story. Thanks Aaron Torres for covering this so well.

Lift SMU’s Basketball Postseason Ban  by Aaron Torress

 

 

Fiesta Bowl Preview

A few weeks ago, Notre Dame and Ohio State were in the top four. These two powerhouses came short of their championship dreams, but this is a pretty good consolation prize. The Ohio State Buckeyes were picked to win back to back championships by everyone. The amount of NFL talent on this team is unbelievable. Notre Dame had an emotional season full of injury. They were two plays away from being in the Final Four. This Irish squad is also full of NFL talent. The x-factor in this game is if both teams will be focused on the game and not their professional future. I believe because of the name brands these two teams are they will both be focused. Ezekiel Elliott will get things going and the Buckeyes will come out on top.
Prediction: Ohio State 40, Notre Dame 35
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The National Championship

After an epic night during the Final Four, we get spoiled with a great Championship game. The Duke Blue Devils are young and talented and Wisconsin has a lot of experienced imgresveterans. It is a good thing Duke has Quinn Cook and Coach K. I believe the key to the game for both squads is Jahilil Okafor. Duke has a huge advantage on the offensive side of the ball because he is so strong and Frank the Tank can sometimes be a weak defender. Early in the Kentucky game was a good example. Karl-Anthony Towns was dominating him early, but Kentucky went away from that and, it came back to bite them. Coach K will not make that mistake. Duke is known for going man to man defense. Since Kaminsky can stretch the floor because of his three point shooting it would take Okafor out of the paint and he would no longer be a threat as a shot blocker. This game will be a battle of the two best players in the nation. It will be some spectacle to see.

Prediction: Duke 65 Wisconsin 64

I believe this will be a battle of the ages, but having Coach K on the sidelines will push the Devils to the victory. Duke will win at the buzzer by a shot from their senior leader Quinn Cook and it will be a play that will be remembered.

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Match Up of the Day

The Elite 8 is here and today two teams will punch their ticket to Indianapolis for the Final Four. There are two great games today that will not disappoint. The match up of the day is a rematch of last year’s Elite 8 game, Arizona vs Wisconsin. Last year Wisconsin defeated the Wildcats in an all time classic.

Keys for Wisconsin: 

The Badgers are one game away from a potential rematch with Kentucky in the Final Four, imagesbut they have to get through a hungry Arizona team with a huge chip on their shoulder. They key for Wisconsin is controlling the tempo. If the Badgers are able to establish their tempo I really believe that they will control this game. If they are not able to, it could be a very long day for cheese heads. As we have seen in Wisconsin’s last two games they were not able to run with the speed and athleticism of Oregon and North Carolina. Arizona is 100 times more athletic than UNC and the Fighting Ducks combined. Wisconsin is a great and disciplined team, but they lack speed and athleticism. Arizona may be too much for Frank the Tank and his Badgers.

Keys for Arizona: 

When I created my bracket, I picked Arizona to win it all and so far it is looking great. Theimages-1 Wildcats are just so big and athletic. I watched them dismantle Oregon in the Pac 12 championship game. That was the same Oregon team that Wisconsin squeaked by in the round of 32. The key for the Wildcats is freshman phnom, Stanley Johnson. Johnson undoubtedly will be a top 5 pick in next year’s NBA draft and he will be matched up with Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes. Hayes is a great player, but I believe this is a big mismatch because Johnson will easily take him off the dribble. Stanley Johnson must have an enormous game if Arizona wants to strike revenge and make the Final Four.

Prediction: Arizona 67 Wisconsin 63

I am staying true to my bracket, Arizona will over power Wisconsin and taste how sweet revenge really is.

Other Prediction: Kentucky 77 Notre Dame 69