Who can win?
Who can surprise?
Xavier. Be leery of the double digit seed who was a preseason top 25 squad. If that is not in the bracketologist handbook, it certainly should be. Teams with talent who underachieve, for whatever reason, are scary outs in the tournament. Xavier still has all the same players that warranted that preseason ranking. They beat Vanderbilt and Purdue back to back, followed by a win versus
early in the year. That Cincinnati
game held some sort of unpleasant player gathering, perhaps you heard about it,
and Xavier subsequently lost five of their next six contests. Whether they ever
truly recovered was still up in the air until the Atlantic 10 conference
tournament where the Musketeers made it all the way to the finals and seemed to
get some of their moxie back. I know Duke plays everything one game at a time
but if I were the Blue Devils, I would have a hard time not worrying about a
possible matchup with Xavier. Cincinnati
UNLV. Losers of five of their last 10, the Runnin’ Rebels have had trouble regaining that early and mid-season swagger. With a number of very impressive wins on their resume, UNLV has the chops to win the
yet they have only beaten one really good team since the first day of February.
Giving up 102 points to TCU in a five point loss one day and only managing 45
points in a 20 point blowout in The Pit the very next game out is the kind of
wild point swing that shouldn’t be seen from a team firing on all cylinders. That
specific example of course has much to do with the opponents but Rebels star
Mike Moser has also been in a bit of a lull ( Albuquerque games as the exception that proves
the rule) and they will need him to get back to mid-season form. Wyoming
What possible matchup is interesting?
Indiana is able to
handle , a possible rematch
with the one seeded Wildcats would be very interesting. New Mexico
State would be out for blood, trying to
avenge their only regular season loss. As much as teams could give extra effort
in the Sweet Sixteen, Kentucky
would be. Also for Kentucky ,
it would be a chance to prove to nonbelievers that the first win was no fluke
and the Hoosiers are an upper echelon team. As interesting as a Duke-Baylor,
outside versus inside matchup would be, the game of the region would be the one
seed facing the four seed in Indiana . Atlanta
Which player will dominate?
So many good players reside in the South region.
probable Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Duke has a freshman of
their own who was first team All-ACC. Baylor is loaded with lengthy forwards
with NBA bodies. We have already mentioned Cody Zeller out in Kentucky . Yet the player to watch out for in
the South is Notre Dame junior forward Jack Cooley. Cooley is a big-bodied,
gravity-challenged, next generation Luke Harangody. If Notre Dame is able to
squeak by Xavier, look for Cooley to go off against Duke in round two. Front
courts already give Duke trouble, as they are very outside oriented. But with
Cooley’s girth and court smarts, he could singlehandedly control one aspect of
the potential seven-two matchup. Shooting over 60% from the floor for the
season and averaging near a double-double with 1.5 blocks per game to boot,
Cooley is a matchup nightmare for the Blue Devils. Indiana
What system is tough to prepare for?