I've been trying to figure out how to approach an NCAA Tournament preview and, well, I can't think of anything. I blame some of this on the fact that the University of Florida isn't involved for the first time since my first year of enrollment in said university. Think about that, thats a long damned time for a school that had no previous basketball "tradition" and is quite an impressive accomplishment for Billy Donovan and Jeremy Foley. To say nothing, of the two consecutive national championships that have recently been won by Florida. However, all that shit means nothing this year. The young Gators were a thorough and complete disappointment late in the season and, frankly, I don't expect it to change tonight in the NIT against San Diego State. I'll watch and I'll root hard because I think a long NIT run would be extremely beneficial to this young and somewhat fragile (from a long term perspective) team, but I won't root quite as hard as the last ten years. That's the truth.
You know why? Because the NCAA Tournament is the fucking show. It's my favorite sporting event and these next two days are my favorite sports related days of the year. With that in mind, I'm going to break down each region...one at a time. I'm only doing the first round picks, because that's all we're getting for the next two days. Since we're proudly working with an east coast bias, we'll start in the East.
UNC vs. Mt. St. Mary's: I wish that guy who got kicked out of Virginia for stabbing somebody still played at MSM. I think he'd do a great job guarding Hansbrough.
Indiana vs. Arkansas: John Pelphrey's hair is fucking ridiculous. This things a blowout.
Notre Dame vs. George Mason: Nobody's talking about this but Luke Harangody vs. Will Thomas is one of the best individual first round matchups. I'm picking the white guy, of course.
Washington State vs. Winthrop: The Bennett family is certainly skilled at coaching a winning style of basketball, but good God is it boring. The sooner Wazzu loses the better for all of us, but it ain't happening here.
Oklahoma vs. St. Joe's: Blake Griffin is freak. He's an NBA power forward right now. I'll take him and go against the unexplainable love for St. Joe's.
Louisville vs. Boise State: First round games in Boise are awesome, its in the rules. Unfortunately first round games involving Boise St. suck. Expect to see a 20 point Cardinal win and 30-45 minutes combined of announcer love for David Padgett. Really guys? David fucking Padgett?
Butler vs. South Alabama: I wish that South Alabama had ended up with a different draw because they ain't winning this game. Butler gave Florida all they wanted last year and I think they're going deep this year.
Tennessee vs. American: David Aldridge went to American. Did you know that? Well, now you know half as much about American as I do. I'm sure we'll both learn more together as Tennessee shoots them out of the damn gym.
Now, its time to move on the worst place on earth...the Midwest, naturally.
Kansas vs. Portland St: Every time I watch Kansas I hope that JaRon Rush will come stumbling out onto the court like Shooter in Hoosiers. Maybe this is the one...Jayhawks.
Kent St. vs. UNLV: The Runnin' Unibrows don't have enough talent to beat an underrated Kent St. team.
Clemson vs. Villanova: I like Clemson. I mean, I really really like Clemson. They're deep, they're athletic and Oliver Purnell is an extremely underrated coach. But did you know their starting PG (Hammonds) shoots 43% from the line? That's positively Gottleibesque. It doesn't matter against a one dimensional Nova team though.
Vanderbilt vs. Siena: Not sure why, but I think Siena's gonna knock off a Vanderbilt team whose record doesn't show how inconsistent they were all year.
USC vs. Kansas St: The Wildcats aren't that good outside of Walker and Beasley. Tim Floyd's a great defensive coach who I think will slow them down. OJ Mayo and Davon Jefferson are the freshmen moving on here.
Wisconsin vs. Cal St. Fullerton: Have you seen Bo Ryan do the Soulja Boy? Now you have, Badgers.
Gonzaga vs. Davidson: I'm taking Davidson here against my better judgement. I think they're weaker than last year's team inside but Gonzaga's not exactly known for bullying people so I'll side with my memories of Dell Curry's mustache.
Georgetown vs. UMBC: I guarantee that the bigs at UMBC are saying the same things about Roy Hibbert as Geoff at the Wheelhouse does. Just like when Geoff says it, it won't matter a bit. Hoyas.
Oh yeah...special thanks to Blogger for all the technical assistance. I'll be back tonight with the South and the West.