Posts Tagged ‘jacob pullen’

Talkin’ Basketball: Butler vs. Kansas State

Tim and John S have spent most of this NCAA Tournament putting their picks in separate posts that prevented them from both collaborating and mocking one another. Now that we’ve reached the Elite Eight, it’s time to stick the two of them in the same room and see what emerges. Not surprisingly, the answer isn’t consensus.

TIM: So John, what looks worse now: your prediction that K-State’s game with Xavier “wouldn’t be close” or that Syracuse would play Pitt here since you expected “a lot of intra-Big East showdowns in this Tournament”?

JOHN S: Well, probably my Syracuse-Pitt prediction. I frankly admitted that my hunch about the K-State/Xavier game wasn’t based on anything, but my prediction about the Big East failed time and again in this Tournament. So far every team in that conference has lost earlier than I expected, with the possible exception of West Virginia, who I had in the Final Four–so there’s still time for me to be wrong on that one.

Anyway, we were both wrong on Syracuse, so don’t try and duck that one. Two questions about this game, though, stand out to me: 1) Are the Wildcats riding a high from their 2 OT win two night ago, or are they emotionally and physically spent from a game like that? Is winning a thriller an advantage or not at this point? And 2) If Butler advances to the Final Four in Indianapolis, how much does the quasi-home court advantage help them? Continue reading

John S Picks The Friday Games

If there was any remaining doubt that this was the best NCAA Tournament ever, last night’s Xavier-KSU game (which I declared would not be close) should have cemented that status. Anyway, here are some more picks you can take to the bank….

2 Ohio State vs. 6 Tennessee

Original Pick: Georgetown over Ohio State

What I’ve Learned: Obviously, if the Volunteers are going to win this game, they are going to have to shut down Ohio State’s leading scorer in this Tournament: Jon Diebler. Diebler tore up UC-Santa Barbara in the First Round, dropping 23 points, and everyone knows that as goes Diebler, so go the Buckeyes. In all seriousness, Evan Turner has been the best player in college basketball this year and—notwithstanding what Denis Clemente, Terrell, Holloway, Jordan Crawford and Jacob Pullen all did at various points last night—the player who can most take over a game in this Tournament. Thanks to Georgetown’s early loss, Tennessee got to face Ohio in Round 2 and dispatched them fairly easily after struggling against San Diego State. But the fact that the Volunteers haven’t played a good team yet should make anyone wary of their ability to contain Turner.

The Pick: Ohio State  Continue reading

Tim’s Thursday Picks

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I’m 36-12 in this NCAA Tournament; last time I checked that’s 75 percent. That means you can take three of these four picks to the bank. Which one doesn’t come through? Well, that’s the beauty of the Tournament, isn’t it?

1. Syracuse vs. 5. Butler

Original: Syracuse over Butler

What I’ve Learned: The Orange are just fine without Arinze Onuaku, and the Bulldogs continue to survive with Matt Howard in foul trouble. Howard has been in foul trouble in just about every big-time game Butler has played all season, and the Bulldogs responded on Saturday by going small and matching Murray State’s athleticism. The problem is, they can’t afford to go small against Syracuse, even if the Orange don’t have Onuaku. Howard needs to stay on the floor and be a presence inside; it wasn’t too long ago he was Horizon Player of the Year and the standard for old-fashioned, interior fundamentals—a mantle usurped last weekend by Omar Samhan. In order for Butler to win, Howard needs to demand attention on the block, Gordon Hayward needs to announce his presence on a national stage with a 20-10 kind of game, and Shelvin Mack and Co. have to shoot lights-out from the perimeter. I can see two of those things happening, but not all three.

The Pick: Syracuse Continue reading