With all the energy circling the NCAA Tournament being negative, we hope to shine a little positive light on it with our preview.
With the craziness of teams like Virginia Commonwealth,USC, and UAB making it in over teams like Virginia Tech,Colorado, and Alabama you'd think the insanity stops there however a couple teams also got shafted by their seeding including mighty Kentucky who has beaten Florida who was given a 2 seed twice in the last two weeks, however the Cats recieved a 4 seed when hopefully looking at a 3.
Must see TV
6 Xavier vs. 11 Marquette
Xavier has a bonafide star in Tu Holloway who can take a game over and make it rough on opposing teams. However Marquette has some nice talent led by Darius Johnson-Odom. Marquette's defense may provide to be to much Holloway and the Musketeers.
7 Washington vs. 10 Georgia
A game that is likely split 50-50 as far as bracket picking goes, Washington is led by Isaiah Thomas. While Georgia is led by it's dynamic duo of Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins. I really favor the Georgia frontcourt over the Washington frontcourt, however March is all about guards usually and Thomas will be hard to keep up with.
5 Arizona vs. 12 Memphis
Josh Pastner was once a top assistant at Arizona before leaving to join John Calipari's staff at Memphis. He is now the head man at Memphis after Calipari bolted for Kentucky. Can Pastner knock off his former employer and the most overlooked player in America in Derrick Williams.
6 Cincinnati vs. 11 Missouri
When Missouri popped up opposite Cincinnati you know Mick Cronin and his crew had to feel that the were given no help from the selection committee. Missouri plays a interesting style which is a matchup problem for many teams. Personally I feel Cincinnati is over rated.
8 UNLV vs. 9 Illinois
UNLV is one of those teams it seems that every year just slides in under the NCAA's ax. They're led by a pretty balanced attack led by Tre'von Willis and Oscar Bellfield. However Illinois has a guy that when he flips the switch is very good in Demetri McCamey. The main ting is will he flip the switch now that it's NCAA Tourney time.
5 Vanderbilt vs. 12 Richmond
I'm looking forward to seeing the battle in the backcourt between John Jenkins and Kevin Anderson. Anderson like Arizona's Williams is very under rated. If Jenkins gets hot, Vanderbilt could make a run in this tourney as he is one of the nation's best shooters. I like Vandy's bench and supporting cast more then the Spiders as Festus Ezeli and Jeffrey Taylor can pick up the slack if Jenkins isn't on.
5 Kansas State vs. 12 Utah State
This game could very well come down to a battle at the guard slot as well as to which star guard can get his team going first, between K-State's Jacob Pullen and Utah State's Pooh Williams. The Wildcats got on a run late in the season after a disappointing start to their season.
6 St. John's vs. 11 Gonzaga
This is a 'run' game, as in whoever wins this game could go on a deep run due to the weak status of the lower Southeast bracket. St. John's is coming off losing one of their stars in D.J. Kennedy who tore his ACL. Gonzaga who came into the season with plenty of promise is looking to prove that this team was not over rated by pre-season publications. I think Robert Sacre,Elias Harris, and Steven Gray can take Gonzaga deep and return the golden slipper back to the foot of the Zags.
Over rated First Round Games
7 UCLA vs. 10 Michigan State
Many national pundits love this game, and I love it just not for the same reasons they do. I love it for the historical side of both programs. However I think Kalin Lucas and crew will be looking to make a statement of a UCLA team who is trying to return back to national prominence.
8 George Mason vs. 9 Villanova
After their run to the Final Four, I became enamored with the Mason Nation, however they were done no favors by the NCAA Selection Committee either when drawing Villanova who played through a tough Big East regular season. Villanova could suprise many with a second round KO of overall #1 Ohio State.
7 Temple vs. 10 Penn State
I like Temple, however they may have been slighted by the NCAA a bit as well with their draw of Penn State who is led by a favorite of mine in Talor Battle. Battle and Penn State like Villanova have the chance to shock and shake up the tourney field if they can knock out 2 seed San Diego State.
4 Louisville vs. 13 Morehead State
While I love the matchup because it pits the hated Cardinals against in-state Morehead State. Outside of Kenneth Faried the Eagles do not have the fire power to take out the Cards. Give props where they're due this Louisville team is scary.
7 Texas A&M vs. 10 Florida State
As far as seeding this should be an easy upset pick, the Seminoles are expecting to have Chris Singleton ready to go against the Aggies. And they held onto a tourney spot without him.
Get to know these guys
Devon Beitzel,Northern Colorado
Demonte Harper,Morehead State
Orlando Johnson,UC-Santa Barbara
Guys to take a big shot
Jon Diebler,Ohio State
Talor Battle,Penn State
Jacob Pullen,Kansas State
Kenneth True's Final Four
Burke Garner's Final Four