Monday, January 12, 2009

A Two Pack For Monday

This is why it's called Big Monday:

Texas at Oklahoma
The Big XII champion looks very much in line for a number one seed right now, and this game could mean a lot down the road in determining who that team is. If that isn't enough incentive for the Sooners (the current Big XII one seed), their six straight double-digit losses to the Longhorns, including three last season alone, certainly should be. Those numbers aren't too encouraging if you're an Oklahoma fan, but if the Sooners' streak is going to stop, it very well might be tonight. Blake Griffin is on a double-double tear (he has six straight) and he's had some help - underrated freshman gaurd Willie Warren is averaging 21 points per game over his last five and Tony Crocker has scored in double figures in seven of nine. More good news for Oklahoma: A.J. Abrams is struggling (he's been held under 10 points in four of his last five) and the Longhorns are 1-2 on the road this season, with the lone win coming against a much less athletic Wisconsin team. The bad news? Damion James has picked up the slack for Abrams, averaging 16 points and 10 boards over his last five, and Texas comes in as the slightly more battled-tested team. In the end, expect a first-to-60 slugfest between these two, and expect the Sooners to eek out a one or two possession victory.

Notre Dame at Louisville
The enigmatic Cardinals (have they finally righted the ship?) picked up the biggest win of any Big East team last week in beating Villanova on the road. Now they return home for a pair of games this week that could send their seed up or down in a big way. The Irish visit tonight, and then the top-ranked Panthers come to town on Saturday. ND, meanwhile, has a brutal week itself; after tonight's game, they head to the Carrier Dome for a showdown with Syracuse this weekend. If the Cardinals want to extend their current win streak to four, they'll certainly need to contain Luke Harangody better than they did last year, when he scored 40 points and had 12 boards against them at Freedom Hall. Some of that responsibily will fall on Louisville's Earl Clark, who is coming off a week that saw him score 22 against South Florida and post a double-double (14 points, 11 boards) against the Wildcats.

Also receiving votes: Davidson at Appalachian State


Bryan said...

B101, no need to be sorry on my account =) I would have picked Duke over FSU myself. The thing concerning me is FSU's lack of offense. FSU has clearly shown against top competition that they can play good defense (It helps to be the biggest team in the country), but I am at a loss to explain their lack of offensive output. I don't know if it's the way Hamilton is trying to coach them with his half court "motion" offense (which never seems to have much motion in it), or just that the players aren't executing it properly. It's probably somewhere in the middle, but after watching FSU for numerous years under Hamilton, I've seen very little offensive improvement, and to me that's a very big reason why many people are dissatisfied with coach Ham's performance. I'd love to get your thoughts!

Bracketology 101 said...

You're right, Bryan. You can't teach height, but you can teach an offensive system. And whether it's Leonard Hamilton's fault or the players' fault, they need to do more on the offensive end than they did against Duke. On every possession, it seemed like their strategy was to dribble along the three-point line (with no one else moving) and then either drive or put up a bad shot. It was an ugly, slow-motion system and if the 'Noles are going to get a bid in a stacked ACC (they are holding on to one right now) that is full of high-powered offenses, they are going to need to make a lot of changes. Their defense can only be counted on so much.

Paymon said...

I advocate for a 3-pack including the second half of the 4-hour "24" special. JACK IS BACK!

On a more serious note, I don't think the Big XII champion is in line for a #1 seed and do not think it will be the case, because neither Texas nor Oklahoma have shown a lot in their travels.

The way I see it, the #1 seed will look something like this in no specific order.

ACC #1
ACC #2
Big East #1
Big East #2 or Big Ten #1

The Big XII champ won't be far behind, but behind enough to merit a #2 seed (unless UT or OU goes 14-2 or better in conference, which they will not).

Bracketology 101 said...

Let's make it a five pack and DVR "How I Met Your Mother."

The Big XII champ is in no way guaranteed a one seed, but whoever it is (Oklahoma or Texas) has an easier road than Michigan State does out of the deeper Big Ten.

There are some brackets out there right now (Lunardi) who have 2 ACC and 2 Big East teams on the one line. There's no way that happens; the committee won't favor two leagues that heavily no matter how strong they are. The line will probably look like this come March, with Oklahoma having the edge right now:

2 ACC, 1 Big East, 1 Big Ten/Big XII


2 Big East, 1 ACC, 1 Big Ten/Big XII

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Anonymous said...

Texas comes guild wars 2 keyin as the slightly more battled-tested team. In the end, expect a first-to-60 slugfest between these two, and expect the SoonersDiablo III gold to eek out a one or two possession victory.