Monday, March 15, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This seems to me the motto that Kentucky has adopted to represent their teams identity. Let's hope it sticks.

And I'm not talking about Christmas. You know what time it is: NCAA tournament time. And if this weekend is any indication of what the rest of March is going to be like then we are all in for a long, fun, agonizing month. The University of Kentucky showcased it's ability to blow out ranked teams (defeated #13 Tennessee by 29), play bad and still win (crap game vs. Alabama), or hang tough with a desperate opponent and refuse to lose (1 point win in OT against a formidable Mississippi State team). They can win against any team in any environment. They will need this versatile playing ability in order to win in March. They are a #1 seed but most experts and analysts agree that the Cats, along with Kansas, have an extremely tough road to the Final Four. Really tough considering that they are the two top seeds in all of the NCAA.

On the other side of the spectrum we have the struggling Cards. The Cardinals were a schizophrenic 2-3 the last five games of the season. Why so schizo? Because here is how the wins and losses read: Georgetown (L), Uconn (W), Marquette (L), Syarcuse (W), Cincinnati (L). Louisville beat an average Uconn team and a very good Syracuse team but lost to a good Georgetown team, a decent Marquette team and a bad Cincinnati team (yes Cincy is bad). Cardinals fans and Cardinal haters are both extremely confused.

So where does that leave the two teams as far as the brackets are concerned? I think Louisville actually has the more favorable match-ups, especially in the second round. The Cats should have no trouble dispatching the East Tennessee Buccaneers but there is a tough possible game versus Texas in the second round. Texas was a #1 team at one point in the season but finished out of the top 25 (the first team ever to accomplish such a feet). They lost to the likes of Baylor (3 times), Oklahoma (NIT team), Kansas (twice), Missouri (tourney team), Texas A&M (tourney team), Kansas State (tourney #2 seed) and Uconn (NIT team). Basically they lost to some real quality teams down the stretch.

Texas presents a problematic match up for the Cats with Damion James, Dexter Pittman and Avery Bradley. The Cats can beat the Longhorns but it will be much tougher to beat them than an NIT worthy Wake Forrest team. The Demon Deacons really don't deserve to be in as a 19-10 team in an extremely weak and overrated ACC.

Louisville has two very favorable games against the Pac 10 regular season champ California and then the ACC regular season and tournament champ Duke. California plays in the worst of the big conferences and Duke is very beatable. The Dukies has five losses against Maryland (tourney team), Georgetown (tourney team), N.C .State (NIT team), Georgia Tech (tourney team) and Wisconsin (tourney team). Duke's five losses have only one loss against a non-tournament team. But Georgia tech is very suspect and I think Maryland is a good but not great team.

Duke is 1-1 against teams in the Big East this year. They defeated St. John's by 9 earlier in the season and lost to Georgetown by 12 in January. Louisville lost to both of those teams quite handily.

Why am I skipping over Cal? Because they suck. Louisville should beat California but we have all learned by now that Louisville can play like world beaters against tough competition and lose against scrubs. Louisville could very easily go out in round one.

I am going to hold off on my predictions for now. I need to soak in the mammoth weekend that is to be.


  1. After Texas UK will probably face Temple or Wisconsin. Both teams with very tough zone defenses. The Cats have struggled with zones all year

  2. True. They got a tough draw, but not as tough as Kansas. I am going to write an article about why Duke always gets NCAA love. They have, by far, the easiest road to the Final Four.