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Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/25/2008 09:01:00 AM

On To The Sweet 16 ...

Qwest Center
A prospective ticket buyer on Saturday in Omaha ... who was also offering up his Kansas sweatshirt in exchange for a $50 donation to a charity of his choosing.
Luke Winn/SI

AIRPSPACE BETWEEN LITTLE ROCK AND DETROIT -- On the off-day before Wisconsin beat Kansas State in Omaha to reach the Sweet 16, reserve senior center Greg Stiemsma found time to shop for a fishing pole at the Outdoor World in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This trip did not affect his preparedness for Saturday's game -- he scored 14 points in 14 minutes against the Wildcats, and also did some inadvertent damage to Bill Walker's face -- but it did help Stiemsma get ready for Memorial Day weekend, when, instead of preparing for the NBA draft, he'll be angling in Canada. Stiemsma specifically selected a seven-foot rod with medium/heavy action because, he said, "I needed something with backbone. We're going to be catching some big Northern up there."

I'll go out on a limb and guess that none of the victorious players from this past weekend's other sites -- in Little Rock, or Anaheim or Birmingham, or Denver or Tampa, or Washington D.C. or Raleigh -- went hunting for new tackle boxes before practice. But the Sweet 16 we were left with has room for all kinds: Rural fishermen (Stiemsma, who's from Randolph, Wis.) and brawny West Baltimoreans (Memphis' Joey Dorsey, who's from Wire territory); super-sized clutch stars (Stanford's 7-foot, 260-pound Brook Lopez) and super-slender ones (Davidson's 6-3, 185-pound Stephen Curry). Glamour teams (the Tigers, 'Horns, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Tennessee), Final Four darkhorses with "backbone" (the Badgers, Louisville, Xavier, Stanford, Michigan State and Washington State) and even a pack of giant-killers (West Virginia, Davidson, Western Kentucky and Villanova). All of which should make the NCAA tournament's second weekend as good as its first.

Five Matchups I'm Most Excited For (over the next two rounds):

5. Rick Pitino vs. Bruce Pearl: Can we get them to break out the white suit (Pitino's) and the orange blazer (Pearl's) just for the occasion? It's doubtful that either signature look was packed for the Louisville-Tennessee showdown in Charlotte, but this duel of sideline flamboyance and pressure D should not disappoint. One gets the feeling that if these guys met twice every season, they'd hate each other.

4. Stanley Burrell on Darren Collison. It would be in Xavier's best interest to put Burrell, its defensive stopper, on the Bruins' speedy point guard should the two teams meet in the Elite Eight. An all-out lock-down of Collison could make it hard for the Bruins to break 55 points.

3. Michael Flowers on Stephen Curry. Neither Gonzaga, whom Curry scorched for 40 points, nor Georgetown, whom he lit up for 30, has a perimeter defender like the Badgers' Flowers. He was snubbed for a second straight Big Ten defensive player of the year award, but is still considered the main cog in the nation's most-efficient defense.

2. Tennessee vs. North Carolina. Would Tyler Hansbrough be a bigger matchup problem for the Vols than Tyler Smith would be for the Heels? And will UNC defend the perimeter against JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton as well as it did in its second meeting with Duke, or will the Heels let one of Tennessee's shooting stars turn into Tyrese Rice for a half? I'd prefer if Louisville and Washington State played nice in the Sweet 16, just so these questions can get answered.

1. Texas vs. Memphis. This shootout could easy top that Tigers-Vols classic from February. A.J. Abrams is shooting 60 percent (12-of-20) from long-distance in the dance, and every player in the 'Horns' starting lineup is capable of knocking down treys. Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, meanwhile, would love to get in a transition war that ends with scores in the mid-80s.

Five Half-Serious Suggestions:


1. For players: Don't wear NBA socks. The two guys I saw rocking the Jerry West logo above their shoetops did not fare well on the first weekend. USC's O.J. Mayo wore a white pair against Kansas State, perhaps in honor of Heat coach Pat Riley's attendance, and the Trojans were upset 80-67. Mississippi State's Charles Rhodes wore a black pair against Memphis, perhaps in honor of it being his last game before the NBA pre-draft camp, and the Bulldogs lost 77-74.

2. For the NCAA: Create a screening process for potential refs in the West Regional, just to be sure they're not susceptible to the "UCLA Spell" in late-game situations. I picked the Bruins to win it all -- and still think they can pull it off -- but would rather it not happen by virtue of non-calls like the one below, from Texas A&M's final shot in Saturday's thriller:

UCLA Foul
AP

3. For followers of pregame minutiae in Houston: Count how many different combinations of Adidas gear Memphis players sport during warmups. At one point on Sunday in Little Rock there were seven: Dorsey was the only player in warmup pants, presumably so he'd have a pocket for his iPod. Antonio Anderson wore a black tank top. Derrick Rose and Jeff Robinson wore blue tank tops. Shawn Taggart and Willie Kemp wore white tees. Robert Dozier had on a Memphis shooting shirt. Chris Douglas-Roberts rocked his new no-sleeves look. The rest of the Tigers wore their new Adidas long-sleeve warmups that read "Believe in We" on the front and "March is a Brotherhood" on the back. While Memphis may have a brotherhood, apparel-wise, there is no unified front.

4. For Stanford's Trent Johnson: Call Wagner's Mike Deane and have him send his seatbelt guy over to Reliant Stadium.

5. For CBS: If Memphis happens to lose, make Dorsey a guest analyst for the Final Four. I'd pay extra for a special audio feed of Gus Johnson on play-by-play and Dorsey on color -- and I'd probably replay the audio clips for the whole offseason, just for comedy's sake. Dorsey hates talking to the press so much that he avoided local writers for a long stretch of the C-USA season, and even hid under a table during the Tigers' off-day media availability in Little Rock. But when he actually does choose to speak, you tend to not want to move away from his locker, for fear of missing something golden. Case in point: after Sunday's 13-point, 12-rebound, six-block game against Mississippi State, Dorsey offered the following window into his mental fluctuations ...

"Everything was on me today. Beginning of the game, coach [John Calipari] was on me hard, and I'm like, 'What am I doing wrong?' I'm blocking shots and rebounding, and I'm still getting an earful from coach. So the guys on the team told me, 'Don't worry about it, we'll talk to coach and get him off your butt.' They got coach off my butt and it was good after that."

The All-First Weekend Team:

G: Stephen Curry, Davidson
30 points, five assists vs. Georgetown; 40 points, five steals vs. Gonzaga

If they gave out a first-and-second-round Most Outstanding Player award, Curry would've been a lock to win it.

G: Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
21 points, four rebounds vs. Clemson; 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists vs. Siena

Reynolds has been the best player on the floor for two straight games; is there any way he can keep it up against Kansas?

G: A.J. Abrams, Texas
26 points, 6-of-10 threes vs. Austin Peay; 26 points, 6-of-10 threes vs. Miami

Another game, another six treys: Why Miami didn't put more of a defensive emphasis on Abrams is beyond me.

F: Kevin Love, UCLA
20 points, nine rebounds, four blocks vs. Miss. Valley State; 19 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks vs. Texas A&M

Add "block machine" and "fadeaway jumper artiste" to potential descriptions of the Bruins' super-frosh.

F: Joe Alexander, West Virginia
14 points, eight rebounds vs. Arizona; 22 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks vs. Duke

Breakout star of the Big East tournament is turning into the breakout star of the NCAA tournament, too. Alexander earned plenty of new fans by insulting Duke, too.

Sixth Man: Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky
Stats: 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists vs. Drake; 29 points, seven rebounds, three steals vs. San Diego

Lee's pro-level game made the difference in the second-round Cinderella clash.

And Finally, Five Predictions:

1. Final Four: Tennessee vs. Kansas and Texas vs. UCLA.

2. Regional Most Outstanding Players: UCLA's Kevin Love (West), Tennessee's Tyler Smith (East), Kansas' Brandon Rush (Midwest) and Texas' Damion James (South).

3. Western Kentucky -- but not Xavier -- takes UCLA to the wire in Phoenix.

4. Louisville, the sexy Final Four sleeper, doesn't put much of a scare into Tennessee in Charlotte.

5. The Drake-Western Kentucky buzzer-beater aside, Memphis-Texas ends up being regarded as the best game of the dance. I'm headed to Houston on Wednesday. And I cannot wait for that one.
posted by Luke Winn | View comments (111) |

111 Comments:

Posted: March 25, 2008 12:45 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The under the radar or rather invisible Badgers will be in the final four. Too bad you sports "experts" find them boring.
Posted: March 25, 2008 1:00 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What are you...anti UNC?!? They are by far the favorite in the tourney. They are peaking offensively at the perfect time. Avg. 111 points per game. Check the stats before you make predictions next time!! Go over and check ESPN.com!!
Having watching North Carolina and Tennessee play this weekend I'm not sure how you can go with UT in the Final Four. No doubt they are a great team but they struggled while North Carolina cruised.

That's not to suggest North Carolina will cruise the rest of the way - they won't - but they are so complete and deep that when they're playing as well as they are now on both ends of the court, they're hard to stop.
Posted: March 25, 2008 1:08 PM   by Anonymous Scott from California
Obviously you do not think too much of UNC's chances. They are playing at the top of their game, with a home court advantage and have just as much drive to win as anyone. I also don't understand that if all the polls showed them #1 at the end of the year and the NCAA committee picked them as the overall #1 seed, why isn't there that same confidence with all of you writers out there?
Posted: March 25, 2008 1:30 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How come everybody forgets about Michigan State. How can you doubt Tom Izzo or give him some love for all he has done in the tourney. I know Michigan State has a tough task in front of them with Memphis, but the Sparties have the talent to beat them, they have the coaching to out smart them and can run with the best. How can we forget that Michigan State man handled Texas earlier in the year.
Posted: March 25, 2008 1:32 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I think all of you all are idiots, doubting Louisivlle. Are u serious lets not forget are shooting percentage, lets not forget are Defense that ranks sixth in the country. U guys are blind. Tenn has struggled ever since Memphis and has not rebounded, i think the Lou Tenn will be a blow out, not becuase I am a Louisivlle Fan, ut you guys obviously don't know basketball. It will BE Louisville VS UNC, and that will be a game to watch beucase they will match up the best. NC SEE U SOON< TENN HEAD BACK TO ROCKY TOP!!!!!
Posted: March 25, 2008 1:40 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Seriously, must be an anti-UNC conspiracy over at SI. Well at least they won't be a victim of the SI curse; thanks for that at least, SI pundits.
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:02 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
They are all anti-Carolina because all these writers are on Coach K's jock!
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:18 PM   by Anonymous Marty
How in the world can you not pick UNC for the final four, are you on something, or just not watching the same games every one else is
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:19 PM   by Anonymous Scott
Wahh... you sports writers never pick my team... why do they even play the game at all? Go VOLS!
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:25 PM   by Anonymous Sara
Luke, I am SO with you on the blazer v. blazer potential of Pitino v. Pearl. Also, agreed on the garbage officiating of that UCLA/A&M game. Disappointing.
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:25 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
If you actually read anything Luke Winn puts out, you'd recognize his lack of badger hating in stark comparison to the sports experts you speak of. He even gives a Stiemsma anecdote in the beginning of the article. Give Wisconsin fans a better name and pick your battles more wisely next time around
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:34 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How can you be looking forward to a Memphis - Texas matchup when it is far from a sure thing that either of these teams will even win their next game. Stanford beating Texas is not at all a long shot...they will be able to pound on Texas in the paint, and Tom Izzo will outcoach Calipari every day of the week...especially in March.
I agree with most of the comments before mine - I think Louisville wins comfortably over Tenn. I'm a Carolina grad and I said before the selection show that the team I least wanted in our region was Louisville. Carolina got hosed in the selection. Second best 2 seed and best 3 seed by far.
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:38 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How can you be looking forward to a Memphis - Texas matchup when it is far from a sure thing that either of these teams will even win their next game? Stanford beating Texas is not at all a long shot...they will be able to pound on Texas in the paint, and Tom Izzo will outcoach Calipari every day of the week...especially in March. Oh yeah, Michigan State handled Texas earlier this season too. SI writers, especially Seth Davis, have seriously bagged on the Big Ten this season. Wouldn't it be hilarious if Wisconsin and MSU both made the Final Four? Just a side note...the ACC is the media's best conference every year...right?
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:42 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
As far as UNC's "home" game, UT's campus is not far from Charlotte. Should both teams meet, expect the crowd to be fairly even. Also, the fact that UNC cruised in the first two games is not necessarily a good thing. Adversity builds toughness and a belief that they can come back late in games. I feel UNC will win this region, but there are some very good resons to back UT.
Although I like your moxy with regards to the Longhorns, I wish you wouldn't dismiss Stanford.
Posted: March 25, 2008 2:55 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
WOW!! No love for the Spartans. Reading this article you would think that State was already out of it. If MSU loses, I'll have no problem pulling for the Badgers...gotta support the Big 10 baby.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:00 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
SI has been anti Big Ten all year. I just ignor it and smile as the Badgers and Spartans continue winning
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:07 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What about Stanford. Marquette had the great guards that were supposed to take down Stanford. But the Lopez Twins are just too good. Stanford has faced teams that go 3-4 deep at guard. But nobody outside the Pac 10 has faced the two 7 footers. I think Stanford keeps dancing.
The Spartans will roll to San Antonio. Don't doubt Izzo.

The fact that there is no mention of MSU in this article shows how much Luke doesn't know. Four Final Four appearances since 1999 and no mention of the Spartans upsetting Memphis?
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:13 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tennesseee is the best team in the tournament by a long shot and unc is way overrated because they had about a hundred close games that they barely won against horrible teams. Thay got really lucky in those games. On the other hand Tennessee handed Memphis their only loss of the season at Memphis in the biggest game of the year. Noone is "anti-unc" it's judt everyone knows who is better except for all of the unc fans. GO TENNESSEE!!!!!!!
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:16 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Calipari doesn't think his team's free throw woes are a big deal. Spoken like a coach who doesn't play many tough teams over the course of the season. Time for a wake up call against a team like MSU who's opponents only beat them by making three times as many free throws as State attempts.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The first poster is an idiot. Luke Winn not only grew up in Wisconsin, but I believe he's from the Madison area.

Give him some credit for not being a homer even though Wisconsin is in a good position to challenge Kansas in the Midwest Region.

That said... go Badgers.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:28 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Stanford will beat Texas. Stanford is unbeatable in a half court game, their weakness is against the press and Texas doesn't press.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
He's all about the Texas Memphis match up they play in the sweet 16 right? Oh ya Memphis has to beat a tough MSU team and Texas has to beat Stanford still.....One of the 2 won't happen my money's on the Spartans, Tom Izzo in March is tough to beat
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:33 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Wow, I'm surprised you don't think Louisville will even give Tennessee a game . . . Louisville is the better team statistically, according to kenpom. That game looks like a tossup at best for Tennessee.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Luke Wynn has been against Carolina since the start of the season, they are by far the superior team in the tournament and have held the #1 ranking the most all year of the other teams. They are peaking at the right time and i see them winning it all if they play like they have the last 2 games. The only other team that is as deep as them on the bench is KU, so i see them playing KU and that to me is the national championship game because UNC and KU are by far the best teams in the country. I think the committee messed up putting KU and UNC on the same side. UNC all the way!!!!!!!
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:38 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
"they have the coaching to out smart them and can run with the best."

Factually inaccurate. MSU is at least a step and a half slower then Memphis. Plus MSU hasn't faced guards like Memphis has. MSU's starting guards are both 6'0". UM goes 6'3" and 6'6". So they are both taller and faster as well as having better hops. I think MSU has the edge in the frontcourt, but getting them the ball will be a problem. The Big 10 doesn't do much full court defense, so the Tiger Pressure will be a challenge for MSU. I'm looking for 20+ turns out of MSU. That will more then make up for Memphis shooting 30% free throws. That said, if MSU can not turn the ball over and get it past the timeline, then their front court will win the game.
Memphis is the only roadblock between Stanford and the final four. Texas, MSU and Stanford all play slow tempo BB only Stanford has those 7 footers so they do it better.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:41 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
finally, somebody actually noticed how much the refs love ucla. Thats at least the game winning calls or non calls that have gone ucla's way. And Flowers vs curry. Oh my god I am so pumped to see that game go badgers.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:42 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
God forbid he pick anyone but North Carolina. How dare him.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:42 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Anti Carolina and anti Wisconsin.... too bad, they could go for the championship themselves
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:43 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Thanks, you are the first and only writer to give Tennessee a chance.

Guess we will have to see if Louisville and UNC are as good as hype puts them up to be.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:48 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
You guys think this dude is a homer??..... I think all of you all are idiots, doubting Louisivlle. Are u serious lets not forget are shooting percentage, lets not forget are Defense that ranks sixth in the country. U guys are blind. Tenn has struggled ever since Memphis and has not rebounded, i think the Lou Tenn will be a blow out, not becuase I am a Louisivlle Fan, ut you guys obviously don't know basketball. It will BE Louisville VS UNC, and that will be a game to watch beucase they will match up the best. NC SEE U SOON< TENN HEAD BACK TO ROCKY TOP!!!!!

The Vols had their scare against Butler, which is bad for L'Ville. I believe they'll rebound nicely and be ready for the Cards. Also, i'm excited at the "possibility" of Memphis/ Texas. I believe the Longhorns will role in that one.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Umm, you guys forgetting about the Tarheels? I mean no mention of Tyler Hansbrough or Wayne Ellington on the MVP list and you snub them in the final four. Where is the love?
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:51 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
As long as Michigan State gets beat, thats all that really matters. Anyway, Go Badgers.
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:53 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Please refer to comment below:
"I think all of you all are idiots, doubting Louisivlle. Are u serious lets not forget are shooting percentage, lets not forget are Defense that ranks sixth in the country. U guys are blind. Tenn has struggled ever since Memphis and has not rebounded, i think the Lou Tenn will be a blow out, not becuase I am a Louisivlle Fan, ut you guys obviously don't know basketball. It will BE Louisville VS UNC, and that will be a game to watch beucase they will match up the best. NC SEE U SOON< TENN HEAD BACK TO ROCKY TOP!!!!!"

Before you start bashing the Vols and others being idiots I would look at your writing and realize that you are the idiot that uses are when you are supposed to use OUR! Some school they got up in Louisville. Go Vols!
Posted: March 25, 2008 3:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I can't grasp the kind of blind devotion that these comments allude to. What kind of expert would it take to pick the number one team as the ultimate NCAA champ? A chimp could do that.
Luke,

Get your head out of your ***. You dont even mention the other teams in the south. I cant wait to hear from you after Stanford beats Tex and MSU beats MEMP.
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:03 PM   by Anonymous Lance
Not one mention of Michigan State!? I don't get it. Many people predicted Temple to upset them and then EVERYONE predicted a Pitt blowout, but MSU HANDLED both of them. I think they deserve at least a cursory mention. Watchout Memphis States gonna use their 5 big men to hack you with all 25 fouls and make you earn the win at the line (where you s-u-c-k)
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:12 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
One would think sports commentators know best, but that clearly isn't the case seeing that you didn't acknowledge just how dominant UNC was in its first two games. They really are a complete team and appear to be on a mission to win the national championship!
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:15 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I believe that they are anti Carolina due to Carolina's defensive problems this year. But, all of the teams left in that part of the bracket are legit. Great games ahead.
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:24 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Indeed -- SI is so anti-Carolina that they put Tyler Hansbrough on the cover and declared him player of the year over Beasley. Those jackals!
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:26 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
If you are a moron and want purely the "good" news about UNC, go over to ESPN where they are falling all over themselves to crown them before the final game.

Have hate for UCLA? Go over to ESPN where they have plenty of it. From SI, I expect more objectivity.

P.S. anyone see that gang-tackle of Collison? You know, the one where he is thrown to the ground by an A&M player and then called for the foul? Or the one where UCLA made a play for the a loose ball and was called for the foul on obviously incidental contact after the ball was in UCLA's control?

Lots of bad calls in that game going both ways and it doesn't do the student athletes any justice throwing all these conspiracy theories about because this is, after all, college hoops not pro. Save it for your favorite pro team.
I think maybe the fact that the ACC is a mid major conference has something to do with people being down on UNC. Yes, UNC is good. But when a team plays in a conference where the second best team is Duke and no one but UNC gets out of the first weekend, you have to wonder about that team's ability to compete against top competetion.

For anyone who thinks the ACC is anything but a mid major this year, why do they have the same number of teams in the Sweet 16 as the A10 and Conference USA but less than major conferences like the Big 12, Big East and Big 10?
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:30 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Please give some love to Wazzu! We are NOT a fluke and, if we can control the tempo, we can go ALL THE WAY!

Go Cougs!
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:32 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
UNC may have blown out their last two opponents, but look at the two previous games in the ACC tourney: 2 point win over VTech and a 5 point win over Clemson. And neither Clemson nor VTech is of the same caliber as Louisville or Tennessee. Don't be surprised if UNC drops in the Elite Eight against either of those teams.
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:44 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
would a ku v. unc final four game be the game of the decade or century for that matter?
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
As a Badger fan, I am pulling for both the Badgers and the Spartans.

This year, i do not see where a true Badgers or Spartans fan would not pull for the other team to move on. It's all a matter of our conference getting more respect. IMHO, what would be cooler than a final tussle between the 2 for the National Championship?
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
you mentioned the poor calls (or lack there of) in the A&M v UCLA game... I would say about half of Love's "blocks" were hacks! Especially in the last 2 minutes! I am not of fan of either team - but A&M got robbed!!!
Luke made the North Carolina babies mad!!! Bad Luke! BAD!!!
Posted: March 25, 2008 4:59 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
These UCLA lunkheads are the only people who can compare a bad foul call with the score 21-17 midway through the first half to one in the last five seconds that denied a team a chance to tie the game.
UT will defeat Louisville! TN plays better basketball against better teams.#1 Tyler Smith will play his best game yet as a Vol which will send them to the next round
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:08 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
For all of you Michigan State idiots- Don't forget your 43-36 loss to Iowa and another loss to Penn State as you mention your one good win against Texas. The team you play has 6 more RPI Top 50 wins and only one loss.
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Whether the ACC is a weak conference or not, that doesn't take away the fact that UNC was ranked #1 for most of the season and received the #1 overall seed. If they were voted #1 there's no reason for suddenly saying that they can't even make it to the Final Four. I agree our defense is not the best, but don't rank a team #1 in the country, give them the overall #1 seed, then say they probably won't make the Final Four. That's crap. I just hope they win it all and shut up all the anti-UNC people out there.
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:18 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
UCLA has had way too many wins decided on bad calls (the overtime win against stanford where brook lopez made an amazing block on collison and was called for it). UNC has showed dominance throughout the tournament especially against a strong Arkansas team loaded with exprience. Right now they are my pick. In addition, I think Stanford is one of the best teams in the country with both Lopez twins in if they can both stay out of foul trouble Stanford should have a chance at winning it all.
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:22 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It is not that sports "experts" find Wisc. boring, they find Wisc. unathletic and they play in a weak conference.
Wisc. will give Kansas a tough game, but Kansas will pull away in the final five minutes to make the Final Four.
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:23 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Texas does not press? are you kidding me. They have goen to the press much more over the course of the season. Watch the horns play before you pretend to know thier game.
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:40 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I am a UNC fan but the last comment was so far from proving anything. Look at the last team UNC beat-Arkansas which was the last team to beat Tenn- and UNC beat them by 30. So if you want to compare teams played, this is not in your best interest. Louisville gets beat by G-town who cant hold up a 17 point lead in the 2nd half against another team UNC beat (albeit by one but it was the FIRST GAME of the season, classic trap). My advice to everyone...relax, enjoy the tournament and appreciate the fact that from what it looks like, ALL OF OUR TEAMS have made it this far and we all still have the chance to win it all!
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:44 PM   by Anonymous Freddy
Memphis vs Texas?.....Maybe. If the Spartans control the tempo and keep it in the 50's, they will win down the stretch as Memphis bricks at the line.....Now Texas is another matter....
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:45 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
oh come on. Everyone is taking for granted that UNC will win over WSU. WSU not only won over Notre Dame, they completely dismantled the 3rd ranked offense in the nation. How is it so hard to see an upset? Likely? who knows. but don't just throw them away because UNC is "the best".
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:57 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It truly amazes how writers as so biased when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. I am a Washington State fan and am excited to see them play UNC however I am realistic in my thinking. From what I have seen, UNC appears to be the scarriest team out there. In regards to the refs and UCLA, there last few games of the season showed how the refs will lean toward them with questionable calls at the end of games. I look forward to another great four days of basketball.
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:12 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Not a thing about Louisville or any of there players?????
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:16 PM   by Anonymous Mike
MSU was lucky to get out of their game against Pitt... and yet people here are claiming they are going to roll Memphis... who lost 1 game all year... to a very good Tennessee team that could end up meeting them again in the final.

Everyone seems to forget that the generally bad officiating that has plagued the NCAA this year was in full force in the MSU/Pitt game. The refs essentially turned a close game into a 11 point final.

I'm all for cheering for your team, but at the very least don't be blind idiots.
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:25 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tennessee looked really suspect in it's first tournament games. Have you seen you North Carolina play this tournament? I don't even like Carolina but you can't deny how well they are playing and especially because they are playing great D. Furthermore, they are playing these games in Charlotte a major advantage. Tennessee nearly chocked that game against the bulldogs
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:27 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
UNC just blew out the same Arkansas team by 31 that beat Tennessee in the SEC tourney. Tennessee will beat UNC? Get the f*** outta here. Retarded!
Would you UNC lovers quit your CRYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Everyone in the world says you guys are comming out of east and when ONE PERSON says different get out the Kleenex!!Tennessee does have the ability to beat you and you know it.But right now we are thinking LOUISVILLE!So stop crying like coach K and get ready for Wash St. OR YOU WONT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY to play anyone else!!!!
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:35 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Like so many of you have said, these SI writers/analysts apparently don't have much respect for carolina, and i think stewart mandel's reason for replacing louisville as his final four pick is absurd! Ok, the ACC was down this year. Carolina couldn't pick what conference they play in. That's clearly out of their control, and all UNC did was what they had to do in conference...WIN! I think, if anything that UNC looks like an even stronger final four pick after this past weekend. They look pretty polished on offense, and they played in plenty of close games in the regular season to know how to face that challenge when it arises in the rounds to come. I guess I'm glad there are such Carolina doubters out there...even more motivation for the 'heels!
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:38 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Oh my goodness, I'm sure he's sorry he can't pick every team to win the tournament folks. But seriously, in his preferred rankings (from Kenpom.com) North Carolina is not far and away the countries best team, of course they can still win, but the way their draw has unfolded they and Memphis have the two hardest roads to San Antonio.
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:39 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Whether NC is the best is really still unknown as they really haven't been tested yet. Looking at their schedule in retrospect, it looks like a 4 pt win over davidson may be their best win. Beating Duke is not a win you can hang your hat on is a statement I doubt few would disagree with and the the ACC is definitely down this year. Therefore, picking them not to make the final four is not an impossibility. I think Tennessee or Louisville would also be strong possibilities to represent the east.
Posted: March 25, 2008 6:45 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The reffing at the UCLA-Texas A&M game was atrocious, for both sides. But it mostly favored A&M; the refs let the game get really physical for the first five minutes or so, and then when UCLA adjusted, they started screaming with whistles over incidental contact. The second half, for a period of time, descended into one make-up call after another; if you want evidence of referees 'persecuting' UCLA for our on-ball defense, look at the previous games against Florida or even at the examples given a few posts up.

I think once you realize that all refs are bad, it gets a little easier to stomach.
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:10 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I'm amazed at all the outpour of support for those overrated Michigan State Spartans. They stumbled during the last half of the season and the only way they can beat Memphis is if Drew Neitzel scores 20 or more points again which won't happen. Just because you are coached by Tom Izzo does not mean you can win. We see great coaches go down all the time in the tournament to better talent and performances through the roof. Memphis is too much inside and out for Michigan State. Stanford is lucky to be where they are only due to to a lucky buzzer shot by Brook Lopez. Texas' outside shooting and array of big men including the beast known as Damion James will be able to control the Lopez Twins inside. Texas is likely to make it out on top in the South regional due to their experience of playing and beating quality opponents. UCLA, Kansas, and Tennessee should tell the story. Yes, the lost by 1 point to Wisconsin and were outplayed at Michigan State, but that only helps you when you get this far into the tournament.
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:26 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It's too bad that you are looking forward to a matchup that won't take place. As a consolation prize you should enjoy Longhorns v - Spartans 2.
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:29 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I predict MSU will beat Memphis in both basketball and hockey...
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The invisible badgers and Michael Flowers will shut down Stephen Curry no matter what the "experts" say.
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:34 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I understand why a lot of people say UNC can't win. We all have our favorites, but let's be honest here. The ACC conference is the toughest as far as college basketball goes, just as the SEC conference is for football. You could take a number of our teams in the ACC and put them in another conference and they would dominate. I have always been a Heels fan and from what I see they are the best team still in it. I know people talk about some of their wins not being great. Look at Davidson, these guys having been playing together for a couple of years now, but the Heels won regardless. Did you people forget about what Davidson did to Georgetown? Enough said. A few years ago Carolina played an unbeaten team for the championship (Illinois) and won? Don't ever count the Heels out. I will be honest though, any team can win. I hope it is the Heels.
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:48 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
These are PREDICTIONS. Luke has every right to make his. It's kind of funny how worked up people get about someone elses opinion. No matter who he picks, most people are going to feel disrespected. I hope he is wrong about a few. GO BADGERS
Posted: March 25, 2008 7:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The matchup I can't wait to see is UCLA-Texas, it would be fun to watch Collison and Augustin duke it out for the title of best point guard in the nation.
Posted: March 25, 2008 8:02 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Is everyone overlooking the fact that UT played a Top 25 team when they played #11 Butler while UNC or Louisville haven't had to play a Top 25 team in the tourney yet. UT is battle-tested.
Posted: March 25, 2008 8:23 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Luke is not picking UNC for the same reason that a gambler won't pick a horse that pays $2.60 to win. Too easy - gotta make your name by picking the upset team. The chalk (UNC) is too good this time. Hand another one to Roy!
Posted: March 25, 2008 8:28 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
KU vs. UNC if played will be the game of the last 50 years! They hype and attnetion to that game would be unheard of...I almost wouldn't want that game to end. If they do meet in the final four they should forget about the other 2 schools and play 4 out of 7 game series...In attendence (Larry Brown, Dean Smith) Who do they root for? Dean played at KU and coached at UNC, Lary Brown played at UNC and coached at KU) Half the NBA from the last 30 years would be there seeing as they all played for one of the two schools!
Posted: March 25, 2008 8:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Further proof that UCLA is a joke and the zebras are blowing calls for the "great, white dope."

I made that UCLA hack my wallpaper at work...and im a Texas fan!

Is it just me or does Love look like fat, lazy trailer trash. Maybe he can hook up with Britney...
Posted: March 25, 2008 8:55 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
oh, and please stop referring to Tennessee as UT.

There is only one UT and it's in Austin, Texas.
Posted: March 25, 2008 8:57 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Winn's a Badger himself. Give the man a break. He's been one of the few analysts who notices the brute effectiveness of Wisco. The man is at the altar of Pomeroy, and although Pomeroy statheads love the Badgers they love the Jayhawks more than anyone.
Posted: March 25, 2008 9:03 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Michigan State fans are not being blind... weak conference?? and i suppose Memphis' conference USA is a real powerhouse? are you kidding me? Michigan state is in full tournament form with great leadership from Izzo and Neitzel finally appears to be back on track (unlike the rest of the year) so they are a VERY deadly team right now. not saying they will roll over Memphis but i will say theyll give Memphis all they can handle. Plenty of depth for the Sparties not to mention their physicality has been tuned for the tourney when things get loose. Michigan State is a tourney team therefore im giving them the SLIGHT edge over Memphis although i would not be surprised to see Memphis move on either. Were not blind, just cant believe we didnt even get a mention. if your this far in the tourney id say you have to be a threat by now...even as a cinderella.
Love the pick of Damion James for player of the regional. If he starts coming up big for Texas, they won't lose.
Posted: March 25, 2008 10:11 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
lame, lame, lame. tennessee has been struggling as of late, and don't look all that great. louisville vs unc, with unc winning a great game. unc and louisville are playing the best in the tourney right now, and once unc gets by louisville they beat a kansas team that never finishes their good seasons in the tourney, and then beats an overratted ucla team if they get past texas (with much help from the refs). oh, and people gave unc so much crap for winning close games, while when tennessee, texas, ucla, etc winning close games = how tough and good they are. if anything, unc learned long ago how to win the close games, and now they're playing so well they don't even need it. but if they get into a close game, they have the experience to win it. best team in the country right now, easily, and unc wins it all. all the haters can eat their words when the heels cut down the nets. everybody doubted the 2005 heels, and they won it, and it's the same situation this year. championship #2 in the last 4 years for carolina.
2 Clarifications:

1. I know its boring to go with the Number 1 seed, but do say they can't get past UT is outragous! UT looked shaky at best closing out their game, where the Heels looked unstoppable. I know, if it happened we heard it here first! Come on.

2. Alot of talk about Texas and Memphis squaring off in the Elite 8, but don't look past Stanford, to beat off TExas, then out class Memphis to go to San Antonio.

"you heard it here first"
Posted: March 25, 2008 11:37 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
UCLA has gotten behind in many games this year. When they are behind, they play very conservatively on offense, and give their opponents confidence. They have been able to win (barely) most of these games. When they get an early lead, they play free and easy and are unbeatable.
Your Final Four is exactly what I had from the beginning. Here's hoping we are both right on the money!
Posted: March 25, 2008 11:44 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Carolina has to be the favorite at this point. Anybody picking against them is just wishcasting. And trust me, I've always been a Carolina hater.

The one team that really intrigues me that is getting no love is Stanford. They could really take Texas on the boards. They play sound fundamental hoops and that becomes more important in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Their size could get them to the Final 4.

I agree Carolina vs. Kansas would be awesome hype. Carolina has a tough road from here on out in the East... and then in the Final 4 if they face Kansas and UCLA.

Let's assume Carolina wins it vs. WSU, then L'ville or Tenn, then Kansas and UCLA. They would have beaten Arkansas (SEC), WSU (Pac 10), L'ville (Big East) or Tenn (SEC), Kansas (Big 12), UCLA (Pac 10). That would have to be one of the greatest achievements in tourney history.
There were plenty of bad calls to go around in the UCLA-A&M game. It was a poor decision by the A&M guard to drive into 3 Bruins in the middle of the lane and expect a bail-out from the refs that never came. If the officiating has been questionable all game, then don't expect it to bail you out with the game on the line.
Posted: March 26, 2008 2:33 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
WOW! Louisville doesn't even scare Tennessee?? Are you serious?? Please tell me who Tennessee has beat since Memphis?? I know who they lost to. Arkansas (drubbed by UNC) and Vanderbilt (drubbed by SIENA). Sure Butler was a decent team, but they played ONE, yes ONE, tournament team (Drake, lost first round)all year and LOST! So I don't want to hear "Butler was #11". Louisville is playing much better ball right now and
will win by 7 at least.
Posted: March 26, 2008 8:36 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Whoever asked who would Larry Brown or Dean Smith root for in a possible KU vs. UNC matchup is an idoit. Clearly both are Tarheels.
Posted: March 26, 2008 8:47 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Completely writing off Sparty I see, Memphis is probably the most overrated team still left in the 16,but at least their free throw shooting is a work of art.
Posted: March 26, 2008 9:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Memphis has more overall talent than all the teams in the final 16.The disrespect they get only makes them better...tey will be in the final 4
Posted: March 26, 2008 9:55 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Your best game will never happen...prepare to see MSU vs. Texas...
Posted: March 26, 2008 10:11 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
one key factor with unc, they have not lost away from the dean dome. there road record is best in the country. this team is stacked and shooting lights out. what other 1 seeds had there scrubs in in both ncaa games playing mop up? as far as acc being weak... we beat down the big ten for the 8th year in a row.
Posted: March 26, 2008 10:21 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Because Carolina played well last weekend is no guarantee that they will give a repeat performance in Charlotte.

With that said, based on thier overall play in winning the ACC Tourney in the same arena, I don't know how anyone could not "favor" Carolina in Charlotte.
Posted: March 26, 2008 10:36 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Big Ten weak? ... 2 teams in sweet 16, Badgers beat KSU (Big 12), and both Badgers and MSU beat Texas this year. Weak conferences - PAC 10? SEC? Big 12? ACC? You could make a similar argument that each of these conferences are weak. No matter what side you take, you won't be right or wrong. It comes down to an individual team putting it together when it counts. Go Badgers, Go MSU!
Posted: March 26, 2008 10:58 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
To all you Carolina haters and sudden Tennessee bandwagoners. Why do you really think Tenn. can beat us when they barely got out of the first round against American!!!!! and barely beat Butler. Someone mentioned Butler is a top 25 team, but if Tenn. can barely beat them what makes people think they can beat Carolina. They had alot of turnovers in the Butler game. So I wonder what the game plan is for Louisville against there pressure and zone. People act as if this is the first games Carolina has played all year. The excuse for Tenn. is they are battle tested now because they had 2 tough games against teams they should have not even struggled with. Carolina has had to win close ones this year and blowouts. We proved to be pretty good doing both. Remember undefeated on the road this year. Go Heels!!!!!!!
For the guy that said the crowd would be even for a UNC vs Tenn matchup in Charlotte...You have obviously never seen UNC's fanbase around here. Rabid, rabid, rabid.

For the ones citing the close Clemson game in the ACC tourney as a sign of weakness....Clemson played them to the wire in all 3 games this year, the first 2 in OT. That was a rivalry game, folks. You really can't point to that and say they were weak, especially since they won all 3. Damned Hansbrough.

For those championing Stephen Curry...Winthrop shut him down in the game they played in Feb. If Winthrop could do that, I don't see why the bigger guys can't either. I think he'll fold under a stiffer D. That being said, if Davidson can survive Wisconsin, them vs Kansas should be fun to watch.
Posted: March 26, 2008 11:59 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Posted: March 25, 2008 5:01 PM by steve
UT will defeat Louisville! TN plays better basketball against better teams.#1 Tyler Smith will play his best game yet as a Vol which will send them to the next round


---Better basketball against better teams???????
Only team I know for sure we both played was Kentucky. You guys lost at RUPP and squeaked one out at home (against a pattersonless KY). We handled KY for the entire second half at RUPP.

So far as I know, Pitino has never been blown out in the regionals, and I don't think a team that goes 10 deep and plays solid D is going to get blown out. I'm not saying UT won't win, I think the game's a tossup, but I think it'll be an excellent game.
Posted: March 26, 2008 12:23 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Whats the deal? Why is everyone forgetting Jerel McNeal for the all first round? He carried Marquette past a solid Kentucky team and was the only reason Marquette was in the game against Stanford. Show the man some love!
Posted: March 26, 2008 12:35 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Orange and White Suits...It will be like an Orange Creamsicle...hmmmm Orange Creamsicle.
Posted: March 26, 2008 12:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
:) You might be remiss to ignore Michigan State.
GO GREEN!!!!
UNC fans = touchy (Calm down folks, the games will still be played, calm down!)

UT = University of Tennessee, founded in 1794.

University of Texas founded in 1883.

Which is the real UT? They can both call themselves that, but Tennessee has been around almost a century longer.
Posted: March 26, 2008 3:12 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
GO BADGERS!!!!!!!! Can't wait to see the Michael Flowers domination on Stephen Curry!
Posted: March 26, 2008 3:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Go Spartans, Go Badgers. Big Ten, welcome to the Big Stage...
Great post, Dawn. Go UT.
Posted: March 27, 2008 10:10 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
A bail-out foul??????? He tried to shoot your standard pull-up jumper and was clobbered by two players. Only UCLA fans would consider that a bail-out foul. There's nothing bail out about it. The only bail out here came when the refs bailed out UCLA for recklessly hacking the heck out of a guy trying to shoot a jump shot.
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