Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NCAA First Round Preview: West Region

2:10 Thursday, Tucson58.3 possessions
10Penn St.44.0%61.549.116.829.819.7
Wasn't the pod system supposed to eliminate games like these? Penn State and Temple, whose campuses are less than 200 miles apart, will travel 2,300 miles west to play each other in Tucson. Morehead State and Louisville, just 140 miles apart in Kentucky, will travel 1,200 miles to play each other in Denver.

4:40 Thursday, Tucson62.7 possessions
15Northern Colorado12.7%57.341.122.734.824.9
2San Diego St.87.3%71.851.316.135.627.1
Much like Michael Phelps is a physical freak whose body was made for swimming, Kawhi Leonard has the perfect body to be a rebounding machine. He's only 6'7" or so, but his arms seem to hang almost to his knees. That lets him keep his dribble low enough to handle the ball with ease on the perimeter when he's not mixing it up inside. The only thing that keeps Leonard from being the best player in the country is that he just shoots too much from the outside (or doesn't make enough of the outside shots he takes). He's worth watching, though.

7:20 Thursday, Washington63.5 possessions
Uconn gets tagged as a one-man team, mostly because Kemba Walker is such a great player. Walker definitely makes that team go, but nobody wins five games in five days against quality competition without a really strong supporting cast.

9:50 Thursday, Washington67.9 possessions
Cincinnati deserves to lose if for no other reason than that their uniforms are so stupid. They're designed to look like some animal--a bearcat, presumably--has slashed the shoulders and thighs with its claws. But Cincinnati are the Bearcats. Why would the bearcats have attacked themselves?

12:15 Friday, Tulsa70.7 possessions
Oakland is a trendy upset pick, mostly thanks to their win at Tennessee and a one-point loss to Michigan State, to which I say, "So what?" Would anyone be picking the Volunteers or the Spartans to beat Texas here? Probably not. We tend to give far too much weight to singular (but impressive) data points when dealing with teams about which we have limited information. We need to also remember that Oakland was blown out by West Virginia, Purdue, Illinois, and Michigan. Sure, they can beat Texas, but it's not bloody likely.

12:40 Friday, Charlotte61.4 possessions
Michigan went 1-3 against low-level competition in their trip to Europe this summer. John Belein has done a heck of a job to get the Wolverines from that Point A to this Point B.

2:45 Friday, Tulsa67.2 possessions
Memphis is TAPE's #108 team in the nation. They're surrounded in the rankings by Montana, Northern Colorado, Dayton, and James Madison. They're the seventh-best team in Conference USA. All of which is to say that Arizona should have little trouble with the Tigers.

3:10 Friday, Charlotte68.8 possessions
One of the things I'll miss now that all the Tournament games are shown in their entirety is playing the "how long will the 16-seed keep it interesting enough for CBS to stick with the game" game. I've been working on my Greg Gumbel voice so that I can let the audience at home know what game I'll be switching to, but the audience at home is probably going to be limited to just me and my wife, and I don't think she'll really get the joke. I'll have to take my enjoyment from her confused looks and growing annoyance at my inability to let the joke go.

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