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.

Over Time In Ann Arbor

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Tuesday night the most historic rivalry in all of sports had written a new page to its many games. Number 10 Ohio State or as people down in Michigan like to call them Ohio at number 3 Michigan. Earlier this year Ohio State gave Michigan their first loss of the season, but this time the Buckeyes had to travel to the home of the Wolverines. With all the emotion on their side Michigan got a lead but they should never get comfortable because this Ohio State vs. Michigan, one of the greatest rivalries in college sports.  The Bucks made a quick run to be up 31 to 30 at half.

It seemed like the boys from the shoe were pulling away with the game, well until NBA legend son Tim Hardaway Jr. had a heat-check hitting six straight three pointers and four in four straight possessions. The Maize and Blue had taken the lead, but with two turnovers Ohio tied it and the game went to over time. That was when the questions began.

Up by one with 20 seconds left Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III was fouled by Ohio State’s Aaron Craft. Craft hit Robinson III over the face which should have been a flagrant which would have given Michigan two shots and the ball but it was called just two shots. Robinson made one but missed the second shot. Aaron Craft sprinted down the court and got blocked on a layup by Tim Hardaway Jr. It looked like Hardaway got some arm but since they didn’t call a flagrant on Craft it was the right call. I like the no call. Michigan won a must win home game and has two tough road tests ahead of them at Michigan State and Wisconsin.

After the game Hardaway said, “ I saw the ball in my face, so I just tried to wrap it up, probably got his arm or something like that, but like I said, it’s up to the refs to call that call, and they let it go.”

The refs called it clean so Aaron Craft said, “There was a bit of contact, but they didn’t call it, so I guess it wasn’t a foul.”

I think that is great sportsmanship by Craft and a good showing of humbleness by Hardaway. The big thing though is Michigan is victorious. GO BLUEth-2 copy 11

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