However, I’m just gonna go with a hunch that UCLA might pull out a win here.
First guess: I have a hard time putting a number on this due to my lack of familiarity with this MVSU program, but I’ll guess UCLA 75 MVSU 45
On paper, it looks like Texas A&M should win this game. But then again, on paper, it looks like A&M shouldn’t even be playing in this game, and instead should be matched up with
Across the court, the Aggies will run into a team that makes the most of the talent it has. BYU fields a balanced offensive team, with a strong inside threat in Plaisted, several players who are threats to connect from deep and an excellent ball-control point guard to tie it all together in Murdock.
In the end, that disconnect between the players at each point guard position may well be the difference in this game.
First guess: BYU 75
These may well be two of my favorite teams to watch in this year’s tournament, and unfortunately for one of them and the rest of us, one of them will be going home before the fun has even really begun.
Drake is, of course, one of the great stories of the season, surprising everyone to win a tough Missouri Valley Conference pretty handily, starring a former walk-on at point who was awarded the MVC player of the year despite average less than 10 points per game, Adam Emmenecker. Emmenecker is a consummate point-man, distributing the ball, playing excellent defense, hustle all over the floor and doing all of the little things to help his team succeed. The rest of the Drake squad is littered with your typical Valley players: excellent defenders, deadly perimeter shooters and interior grinders.
The Bulldogs will run into some stout competition in this first round game, however.
This game is really almost too close to call. There may be a little more athleticism on the
Bah! I guess I have to pick one of ‘em. Let’s say Emmenecker makes an amazing diving save of a ball just about to go out of bounds, saves the ball in to Leonard Houston who hits a
First guess: Drake 73
Well, let’s get this out of the way real quick:
Speaking of points: whoo-wee have we got a matchup at the 1-spot? A.J. Price vs. Brandon Johnson? Now that is just going to be fun to watch. Price may be a bit better defender, and that could be the difference here. If Price, and Wiggins, his backup, can slow Brandon Johnson down, the entire Torrero offense could slow.
UConn is clearly the deeper team in this matchup, made all the more confident in their depth after midseason suspension to guards Dyson and Wiggins made Calhoun dig a little deeper into the bench, and with some good success, I might add.
USD will keep this closer than many suspect, but the Huskies will lean on them and wear them down as the game goes on.
First guess: UConn 70
Purdue vs. Baylor
There will be times in this game, where there will be eight guards on the floor at once , but despite that, don’t think that these two teams play similar styles. Baylor is going to run up and down the floor, throw up three pointers by the barrel and try to outquick a Boilermaker squad. Purdue on the other hand is going to defend the perimeter, run a lot of motion and scrap and fight their way to the finish line.
Neither of these teams has a whole lot of experience, and while there is some size here and there, that is almost besides the point.
Baylor will definitely have a harder time getting clean looks from the outside against this Purdue defense, but they also have guys that can slash into the lane and create scoring opportunities through penetration. Purdue meanwhile is made up of guys at seemingly every position that can step outside and hit a 3, as well as some bigger bodies that can flash in the lane against the ever-present Baylor zone and create medium-range opportunities.
This will be another eminently exciting 1st round matchup and both teams have the ability to pull this one out. Perhaps the difference will be the excellent team FT shooting by the Baylor Bears?
First guess: Baylor 72 Purdue 71
Perhaps the key to this game is the health of Drew Lavender’s ankle. He injured it about a month ago, and he clearly has not been the same since, and as a result, the Musketeers have not been the same either. Throw in a tough match-up against a quick point guard and if Lavender’s ankle has not improved in the last week, Xavier could be in trouble.
Now, that being said, despite the fact that
First guess: Xavier 75
Joe Alexander is one of the hottest players in the country, and will probably be checked by a serious underachiever on the defensive end in Chase Budinger. Budinger has the athletic ability and the body to be a very good defender, but he has been consistently taken advantage of on defense throughout the season. Assuming that doesn’t change this week, Alexander will get his and it will be up to the rest of the Wildcat team to contain the rest of the Mountaineers.
Jordan Hill is another key for
Get ready for a three-point barrage.
First guess: Duke 88