Well, here we are. Fresh off winning the Big Ten Tournament, we (as Buckeye fans) need to get ready for the NCAA’s, the Big Dance in collegiate basketball. To do that, Westward Ho!
Rather than go through game-by-game in the Region, I’ll focus on five (5) questions; 1) team likely to win region, 2) region’s Cinderalla team, 3) likely upset, 4) unheralded player (who’s he?) and 5) my Elite 8 picks. Envelopes, please….
Regional Favorite: Ohio State is my choice to win this Region. They are simply one of the hottest teams in the country right now. In their last 10 games, they are 9-1, and battled through a couple highly regarded teams to win the BTT. The complementary players (those not named ‘DeShaun Thomas’) are beginning to gain confidence and play well. And the Buckeyes play pretty solid defense, which is particularly useful come tournament time.
However, even Achilles had his heel. Two things can get this team out of the NCAA’s in a hurry. They have a tendency for slow starts. At some point in the first half their offense will absolutely flat-line for annoying stretches of time. Except for a few occasions this season, OSU’s defense has managed to keep the game within reach. But, as I mention, there have been exceptions, and in a “one and done” format, that usually means “done”. The other flaw is the recent (MSU,Wisconsin) love affair with shooting 3-point shots while showing very little ability to actually make 3′s. In this two game span, 3-point attempts were 40% of their FG’s, yet they only made 20% of them. That is a lot of empty possessions. Read More
As you do the research necessary to win this year’s BBN Bracket Challenge, we here at tBBC are previewing each region to give you just a bit of info on teams not named “Ohio State”. Here’s a gander at Bob Seger’s favorite part of the bracket.
Favorites: You can’t spell “Midwest” without “Meh”- While North Carolina is the top seed, you’ll have to drill all the way down to the #7 slot before you find a team that won it’s conference tournament, and that was an OT victory for St. Mary’s in the WCC final. Sure, Carolina won the ACC, but they couldn’t solve FSU more than once this season, and KU ended up behind Mizzou in what’s left of the Big Integer. There’s really no one who stands out, but there’s no one that looks to be mis-placed, either… You’ve got to think that Roy Williams will have his team ready for the long haul and intensity that is March Madness. Based on their mix of experience and youth, I’m going to go with the Tarheels as the obvious favorite in the region.
Ok, let’s take a look at the much maligned Southeast bracket…I also plead you don’t listen too much to what I have to say, because it may just confuse you more as you try to win tBBC Challenge. I’ve linked to some of our previous impressions as well, so you can make a better guess.
This maybe the most difficult region that I have ever tried to predict in recent memory. On the 1 line is a very solid Pitt Panthers team, but they are a team that can struggle offensively at times. If they face someone that gets hot from deep not sure they can keep up. Then you have a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 seeds that are so similar that it would be hard to call any win by them an upset. I’m not sure that any team is favored by 8 points or more, with most of them are probably toss up or 3-5 point spreads.
This region also has two teams hurting with lost players. BYU lost 3rd leading scorer, and main big man, Brandon Davies to team rules while St. John’s also lost their 3rd leading scorer in D.J. Kennedy. Both losses make these teams vulnerable to first round upsets to Wofford and Gonzaga respectively. I will speak about Belmont later, and also have Utah State as a team that could pull the 12-5 upset.
At the end of the day I am not sure who to pick. I am making the safe pick and advancing Pitt, but read along and you will see some stars to watch, under the radar players to watch as well as my sleeper pick and elite 8 picks.