Monday, March 12, 2007

And as for the Big Dance itself....

A few very preliminary thoughts:

  • The Big East didn't necessarily get the respect I thought they would. Syracuse and West Virginia both ended up on the outside, while our beloved Marquette squad hardly got a break. MU did stumble a bit down the stretch, but falling to an 8 seed is pretty amazing. Even more troubling is a first round date with Michigan State, the school where Tom Crean made his bones as an assistant under Tom Izzo. Ultimately I think the Golden Eagles match up well against the Spartans, who are far too dependent on Drew Neitzel. But it's a tough assignment, especially with Carolina waiting in the wings. MU needs to get some better big men, and soon.
  • Ohio State really roughed up the Badgers in the Big 10 championship game, so the 2 seed is about the best they could have expected. One might be upset that they landed in Florida's bracket, but consider this: if you really expect to win the tournament, you probably have to beat Florida, sooner or later. I think the Badgers can get past their initial likely opponents, starting with hated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. But I don't know how they stop Joakim Noah and Al Horford short of a restraining order.
  • My best early guess on a sleeper team is Winthrop. They can score, defend and their losses are all to other teams in the tournament. Notre Dame got a tough early assignment.
  • If you are a Minnesota Gopher fan, do not fear that this tourney has nothing for you; chances are good that one of the mid-major coaches you'll get to see over the next week will be announced as the new man at the Barn. Could it be Lowery, or Theus, or someone else? It won't be Flip - that much is certain.

Fearless predictions? Maybe tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

The NCAA's are penalizing Marquette because of Mc Neal's injury. He's on the shelf for the year and they tried not to disclose this fact. Injuries almost always get you a lower seed. Michigan State has more than Neitzel. They have good big men and they play exceptional defense. An extremely tough draw for Marquette. Wisconsin will be ok, they ran out of gas against Ohio State. Now that they are out of the big ten (and the big ten officiating where Greg Oden gets 20 fouls per game) they should be in better shape. Oden should be well prepared for the NBA. He already has annointed status with the officials.

Mark said...

Hey anonymous, I noticed the pattern with Oden, too. Billy Packer spent a good part of the telecast crowing over how effective a play it was for Conley to drive the hoop, miss the basket and then have Oden smash his way through the lane for a putback. Just a guess, but if Stiemsma tried something similar, he'd get called for a foul pretty much every time.

But again, you have to adjust. And our Red-clad heroes didn't do it. On the bright side, they've really come a long way from the days of Leroy Stahl.

MarkMiller said...

Bring back Gregg Steinhaus and Mark Newburg ... NOW!