Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mad Marchness

Let's get the predictions over with & watch some basketball. I'm not doing brackets this year. Much as I'm tempted to fill them out just for fun, I can't do it without being compelled to look up all the damned team records & stats, & with no office pool....

We can pray for an all Big East Final Four. Although I don't care for UConn or Louisville, druther Pitt, Syracuse, or Villanova, I'll settle for any as National Champs. But I'm not convinced this is a Big East year. Could be an ACC year. I'll say it is: North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, plus Memphis. NC wins it.

UConn, of course.

I've read that they're vulnerable because they destroy opponents by an average of 31 points & never had to win a close game. Yeah, right. It's isn't as if they've been playing Patriot League teams all season. So who came closest to scaring the Huskies? Rutgers & Notre Dame.

Rutgers: Their 7 seed is for strength of schedule & a Hall of Fame coach. But my girls beat only one ranked opponent in ten chances, that was their best game, they haven't strung together two consecutive impressive victories all season, no reason to think they will in the Tournament, even at home. If they beat Virginia Commonwealth at the RAC, they'll meet Auburn. If they get past Auburn, all bets are off.

Cinderella: You'll love 12 seed Marist Red Foxes, the small, formerly Catholic college from upstate NY, coached by a guy who came over from the local high school. 29-3, ought to be 31-1, with the early loss to Oklahoma. Best, unlikely scenario: They upset Virginia & Cal, meet UConn in Sweet 16, making Huskies sweat for half-a-game. Talented team, but coming from Metro conference, almost impossible to know how good they are at this point. Virginia's great coach, Debbie Ryan, has won 698 games, all at that school.

Liberty University: I try to keep up with my nephew's Baptist alma mater. 14 seed Lady Flames got senioritis in regular season finale, otherwise would've run the table in Big South. Last chance for the amazin' Frazee sisters, Megan & Moriah (what happened to Molly?) against 3 seed Louisville. Problem is, Big South is really small, & the Big East is really big. But the Cardinals may not have recovered psychologically from last week's humiliating whupping by UConn, & there could lie an opportunity for The Flames, who never go to the Tournament with "Jus' happy to be here" attitude.

Dangerous: 5 seed Tennessee, if the freshmen decide they don't want to wait until next year.

Except for UConn, it could be an anything goes tournament. But at the end, UConn struggles with feisty Maryland, then wins easily over 2 seed Stanford.

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