Lets talk NCAA Tournament weekend 1! David, EJ and Bill talk Kentucky, Gulf Coast, Upsets, and everything else.
Bill: While they have a nice collection of players, they could have used some support from the guys that chose to leave after winning it all last season. I’m rather disappointed that the NCAA has become NBA-lite and not treated as a true growth experience as it should be, but it’s not going to change anytime soon. Beyond that, losing Nerlens Noel was a team breaker and cost them the remainder of their season. A single player can sometimes make or break a team and Noel showed his impact on both fronts. I still don’t see how they’ve got nine potential NBA-level or even NBA-ready players.
EJ: Pretty easy. This Kentucky team bought into it’s own hype. After seeing last year’s collection of one and done players win a championship, this current Kentucky team naturally thought they would do the same thing. Don’t get me wrong: losing Nerlens Noel was huge but there was more than enough talent on this Kentucky team to not only win the NIT, but crush every team they faced in doing it. Some blame should fall on Coach Calipari as well. He had to have lost some control on this team, but with 6 of the top 20 high school recruits enrolling for next season, he will have no excuse if he can’t lead that team to another National Championship.
David: I loved it. I knew they were not much of a threat in the big boy tourney, and we can debate if they should have gotten in, but quite frankly, they didn’t care about the NIT, Coach Cal is more worried about replacing his one-and doners, and simply got caught. This isn’t the 80s. KU can’t just roll the ball out and not care. They looked tired, they were ready to go home AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
2. Should the NCAA Re-Seed after every weekend?
Bill: Sure. I think it would add a lot more competitiveness to the tourney if the teams were re-seeded. There are too many blowout games for my taste and would much prefer a true battle to the end every chance we get. I don’t know how they’d go about re-evaluating the seeds each round, but I’m sure they could work something out.
EJ: Yeah they should. As Bill mentioned it would bring a lot more excitement to the tournament. Re-seeding the teams would bring some competitive ball, and we’ll really get to see if some of these Cinderella teams are for real.
David: I don’t think so. The NCAA tourney is a cash-grab, and part of the reason they love the Cinderella is the fact that Duke, Kansas and UNC might not care about the sweet 16, people like Gold Coast, Northwestern and Butler will spend their weekends and move heaven and earth to get to each and every game. Re-Seeding would only make errors in Seeding worse (Oregon)
Bill: There are a couple I could take, but one stands out for me… and that’s Indiana/Syracuse. This should be one hell of a game and pits two of the best teams all season against one another. It’s anyone’s game as to who comes out on top, but I suspect that it’ll be IU that does so and continues on to the championship game. As an honorable mention game, I’ll lean towards Duke/Michigan State.
EJ: I’m going with Duke/Michigan State. I won’t call myself a Dukie, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Blue Devils. Coach K gets the job done and I like players such as Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry, and the Plumlee brothers. However, I shouldn’t count out the job Coach Izzo does year after year with the Spartans. Michigan State always does well in a tough Big 10 Conference and his teams are always battled tested and hungry come Tournament time.
David: EJ has it right, Izzo/K is the matchup, but Let me throw out Oregon/UL. I love to see Pitino lose, and Oregon got robbed by the NCAA, the Ducks struggle when they get hit with good defense, but UL tends to be very uneven. Should be one of the better games this weekend.
4. Is too much put on the Final Four?
Bill: Somewhat. While the dramatic buildup is great and all, that’s about all it is.
EJ: Yes. I have to admit I’m usually a little fatigued with the Tourney once we get to the Final Four.
David: Depends on who makes it. I got tired of the Butler story, I get tired of Coach K. The Media turns from the players to the legacy that weekend, and it hurts the story.
Bill: For this one, I’ll take my alma mater in UNLV. I’m surprised that they had such a poor game against Cal and lost in the first round. Anthony Bennett has been a stud all season and looks to be a solid pro.
EJ: I’m a Big East homer (as a New Yorker and St. John’s grad) so I’m going with Georgetown. While I am impressed with what Florida Gulf Coast University has done so far, the Hoyas should be in the Sweet 16. I don’t know how many times John Thompson III can suffer these embarrasing exits and keep his job.
David: I’m going to be honest, I don’t see one- I hate to pile on EJ, but the Hoyas looked bad and played worse, they deserved to lose, OSU looked like poo, Gonzaga has been overrated all year, and proved it. Of course, proper seedings might have given us a different arrangement, but the teams right now have peaked at the right time and deserve to be here, there have been VERY few close games this year.
Bill: Florida Gulf Coast. While the Harvard win was big, seeing FGCU beat G-Town in only their second year of tourney eligibility is great.
EJ: I know I just spoke on Georgetown, so obviously the biggest upset is Florida Gulf Coast. FGCU plays with excitement. From their high flying acrobatics, to their dancing celebrations. The little school in Fort Myers, Florida is showing out for the whole world to see.
David: Don’t forget Wichita, They beat Pitt, and then the Zags, both convincingly.
Bill: Duke. Hard to argue with Coach K and his continual crop of top flight talent.
EJ: I think I chose Miami to win on my ESPN.com bracket so for the sake of this roundtable I’ll go with the Hurricanes. Miami plays hard nose defense, and wins some ugly games but they just dismanteled the ACC and showed little fear doing it. I’ve been impressed by the Hurricanes all season and I think they can get the job done.
David: It does my heart proud to see both of you pick the ACC to win, and in the grand scheme of things, thats all that matters. I’m taking Miami, as they have been pushed down all year, but are gaining confidence game by game. Its senior lead, and that is always a HUGE bonus.
Bill: No. They’ve had their swan song and will get bounced by Florida. Cinderella’s slipper is about to be altered dramatically from a heel to a flat.
EJ: They’ll lose to Florida. They’ve done a great job getting this far, and Coach Enfield will either get a raise or a job opportunity elsewhere in the next few weeks.
David: I’m picking them to beat Florida. Florida has not played well all year, they don’t beat teams like they should and I think they are ripe. Talent SHOULD let the Gators win, but I have them losing, then Gulf Coast to lose in the elite 8.
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