Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bracket Breakdown - East & South

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Tip back a green beer or ten while you fill out your bracket and read the breakdowns below of the East and South brackets. See yesterday’s post to get the breakdown of the Midwest & West.

And a reminder – get your entry in for The Sports Addict 2010 Bracket Challenge. See the details on the right edge of the page. It’s free to enter and you can win free gear from your favorite college team and some Sports Addict swag.

My official bracket with thoughts on every game along the way will be posted Thursday morning before the first game tips off. I am one of those people that waits until the very last minute to fill out my final bracket. I want to consume as much information and knowledge which is guaranteed to make me outthink myself and finish in the bottom half of the pool. It is as much of a sure thing as someone getting thrown out at Augusta for heckling Tiger on the first day of The Masters. Anyway……..on to the East & South breakdowns. (by the way, while I was writing this, Ben Sheets just gave up another 5 hits and 3 runs. Really Ben? 10 batters faced and not one out for the A’s on Monday? Ouch.)


Theme Song: “Happy For The Rest of Your Life” by Jimmy Soul
The song is an oldie, but a goodie, and if you don’t recognize it by name, here’s a link with lyrics on youtube. It will be stuck in your head the rest of the day. The key lyrics – “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife. So from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.” Now I don’t subscribe to the theory – as evidenced by my wife who is way better looking than I deserve – but the song is appropriate for this bracket. If you’re going to pick a team from this bracket to win the tourney, you are most likely going to be a fan of rugged, “ugly” basketball. Stingy defense, and physical play will be all over the bracket with West Virginia, Marquette, Wisconsin, Temple and Cornell. Add to that the immature play of Kentucky and the sloppy uptempo games favored by Texas, Clemson and Missouri, and you have the potential for some unattractivegames. As the song says, if you’re marrying your bracket to one of these teams, “Though her face is ugly, her eyes don’t match, take it from me she’s a better catch.”

Katy Perry (talent to bust out): West Virginia (#2 seed)
The Moutaineers are as hot as any team in the country after their Big East tournament championship. They have proven that they can win close games and Da’Sean Butler has made his case as the most clutch player in the country. West Virginia also have the leadership of veteran Bobby Huggins, who would love nothing more than to follow “One Shining Moment” with John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (feel free to put this on in the background while you read about them) The Mountaineers also have a favorable half of the bracket with the weakest #3 seed in New Mexico and their toughest matchup before the regional final might come in the second game against a high-scoring Clemson or Missouri team.

Scarlett Johannson (best stats): Texas (#8 seed)
The Longhorns started the year 17-0, and finished 24-9, but their stats are over the entire season. They have the 5th highest scoring average of any team in the tournament, and were 3rd in the nation in rebounding margin – outrebounding their opponents by more than 9 per game. In addition, Texas has the dynamic scoring, but horrible free-throw shooting Damion James on the wing, a player who has the potential to carry a team if he gets hot. They have a tough draw if they can get past Wake Forest and do battle with the top-seeded Wildcats, but they have size in Dexter Pittman to match up with DeMarcus Cousins and their own highly regarded freshman point guard in Avery Bradley.

Elisabeth Rohm (underappreciated): Temple (#5 seed)
She can’t exactly be considered ready to break out considering she really hasn’t done much (outside of a handful of Heroes episodes) since 2005 when she left Law & Order, but in my humble opinion, she is very underrated. Smart, talented and capable of bringing the heat. Temple is not exactly an unknown, having won the regular season and tournament titles in the Atlantic-10, yet no one really knows anything about the team. Did you know that their coach, Fran Dunphy has taken teams to the tournament 11 times (he's been at Temple since 2006)? Granted, he is 1-11, but still. This team plays ferocious defense and should be able to handle everyone’s favorite upset pick, Cornell, in the first round. They finished 4th in the country in lowest field goal percentage allowed, and more importantly for us, they had the 3rd best record in the country against the spread at 22-11-1.

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw (best matchup): #6 Marquette vs. #11 Washington
The country singers just seem to fit well together, and while they rarely make the tabloid headlines, they always look good at the awards shows. This match up with Marquette and Washington is a perfect pairing of teams that are led by perimeter players (even though Lazard Hayward is the power forward, he’s 6’5” and gets by on pure effort in the paint) and squads that have been playing better as the season went on. The Golden Eagles have played more close games than anyone in the country and a tough battle will be exactly what Buzz and his team expect.


Theme Song: “Funk Soul Brother” by Fatboy Slim
The first time you hear the song, you kind of get into it, feel the beat and are into it. Then after you hear it a couple times, it’s starts to really annoy you and eventually the thought of the song makes you want to punch Fatboy Slim. The South bracket is very much like that. When I first saw Duke as the top seed, I knew I would have my bracket to pick an upset team to make the final four. Then the more I looked at the bracket, the more I realized that there are not any teams I’m comfortable backing to get to the Final Four. Before the pairings came out, I had pegged 12 teams as potential Final Four teams, and of those 12, only one is located in the South (Villanova). Annoying. (since I find Fatboy Slim annoying, I decided to thow a picture of Christopher Walken up - he was in the video for "Weapon of Choice" so it's related. And Christopher Walken is like Mike Tyson, just adding them to any situation makes it inherently funny. Are pigeons funny? No. But if you have a reality show with Mike Tyson racing pigeons? Pure Gold, Jerry.)

Salma Hayek (talent to bust out): Baylor (#3 seed)
If nothing else, Baylor is a story you want to get behind. They are coached by the brother of Bryce Drew, the Valparaiso NCAA tournament hero, and are a talented group. Like Salma, they have a pair of dominating features, which for the Bears means their backcourt of LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter. They have proven their ability to win in the rugged Big 12 in addition to nonconference wins over Xavier and Arizona State. The Bears do not have any tournament experience, so it will be tough for them to beat an experienced team like Villanova or Duke later in the tournament. However, they will have the advantage of playing those teams in Houston, much closer to their home and likely a stadium dominated by their fans.

Kelly Brook (best stats): Duke (#1 seed)
Duke is the most annoying team in the tournament. They have the stats to be a #1 seed, and potentially the #3 overall team. They are 29-5 and won the regular season and tournament ACC championship. They are the top offensive team according to Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency stats. They are third in the country in defensive 3-point field goal percentage. They have the 3rd best point differential of any team in the bracket, beating their opponents by an average of over 17 points per game. Yet despite the great stats, you can’t take them seriously as a title contender, can you? They have an experienced backcourt with Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, and an all-around player in Kyle Singler who can get hot and be almost unstoppable. Does that mean they will advance to the Final Four?

Yvonne Strahovski (underappreciated): Old Dominion (#11 seed)
Strahovski is the girl from that awful show “Chuck” where she plays a spy and probably saves the world from bad guys on a weekly basis. She is the only redeeming quality of the show. Much like Old Dominion is the only redeeming quality of Colonial Athletic Association conference. ODU has the advantage of playing a Notre Dame team that is confused whether or not they want to play their 2-time All-American, Luke Harangody or not. Since Harangody got hurt, the team shifted to a slower paced game and has been successful with him coming off the bench. That slower style is preferred by the Monarchs, and may play right into their hands. The biggest thing holding ODU back from being a lock in this game is their horrid free throw shooting, which is typically needed down the stretch to put away an upset.

Rihanna & Matt Kemp (best matchup): #7 Richmond vs. #10 St. Mary’s
Should I try to make the case of them both being a matchup of someone from the west coast with someone from the southeast (assuming you can say Rihanna’s hometown in Barbados is very-south-very-east?)? Nah – I’ll just say it’s a matchup of two midmajors, which would be a pretty good description of both Rihanna and Kemp’s celebrity status. Richmond is getting the most attention the program has gotten since they beat Syracuse as a #15 seed in 1991, primarily due to the play of their guards Kevin Anderson and David Gonzalvez paired with the shooting of Ryan Butler. St. Mary’s finally got over the hump of beating Gonzaga, so the fear is whether they are happy just to be included in the tournament.

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