until Texas vs Kansas

Wednesday, March 16


Drew's Tourney Thoughts

It all starts tomorrow. These are without a doubt the best three weeks in sports every year and I think the next four days are the best four days in sports. 64 teams to just 16 in a mere 96 hours. Love it. I will attempt to break it down region by region. As always comments appreciated.


In my opinion this is the second toughest region. The committee did top seeded Illinois no favors by placing senior filled and tourney tested Oklahoma State in their region. This region also features always dangerous and immensely talented Arizona and Big East regular season champ, Boston College.

The Pick: Illinois. The Illini have to travel only to Indianapolis and then back to Chicago, where they just took the Big 10 Conference Tourney crown. The trio of Head, Brown, and Williams is unmatched in college basketball. I can’t stand the weak Big 10 but it is tough to pick against a one loss team.

Top Contenders: Oklahoma State and Arizona. OSU rode a Big 12 tourney title to the Final Four last year and could easily do it again. They only lost Tony Allen from last year’s squad. Look for Lucas and the Graham brothers to go far. If they cut down the nets, does Eddie Sutton retire? I think so. Arizona has more athletic ability than maybe anyone else in the game. They have a top notch coach and a prolific offense featuring Salim Stoudemire, the best shooter in the country outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Can any team win without playing defense though? Doubtful

Sleeper Pick: LSU. The Tigers have been hot lately with only an overtime loss to Kentucky in the last few weeks. Tough inside, but may not have the guard play.

Upset Pick: St Mary’s over Southern Illinois.

Top Seed Heading in Wrong Direction: Boston College. Lost four of final eight after starting 20-0 and lost quarterfinal game in Big East Tourney.

Oh yeah: Texas is in this region as well. The Horns got a tough draw, a first round matchup with WAC champ, Nevada and a potential second round game with top ranked Illinois. Sorry Digger, this will not be Texas’ year.


This is by far the weakest region. Washington is the weakest number one seed and Georgia Tech may be hot but they are still inconsistent. Yes Louisville deserved a higher seed but winning the CUSA doesn’t mean what is used to. Oh yeah it never meant much. Region also hosts slighted Wake Forest and Chris Paul, the best player in the country, and the mystery from out west, Gonzaga.

The Pick: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have done it all year long. They have the best two guard backcourt in the country with Paul and Justin Gray and get inside dominance from Williams. Wake was a number one seed until Shelden Williams tipped in a missed free throw in the ACC final. They are the easy pick here.

Top Contenders: I guess Washington. I haven’t been impressed with Georgia Tech all year. Louisville seems to play to the level of their opponents and has trouble scoring at times, not solid attributes for March success. Gonzaga plays much better in the tourney as the underdog. They still haven’t figured out how to play as a favorite. The Huskies had an outstanding season out west when no one was watching. I had them correctly seeded on Sunday afternoon. They are led by the best player under six feet tall, Nate Robinson, but, like Arizona, don’t play enough defense to win it all.

Sleeper Pick: Georgia Tech. If they play like they are capable, they can beat anyone. I just wouldn’t bet on them putting it together too often.

Upset Pick: UCLA over Texas Tech. Sorry Bobby Knight, I hate to pick against you. I think your boys may run out of gas after impressive and long Big 12 tourney run.

Top Seed Heading in Wrong Direction: Pacific, lost long conference winning streak in finals to Utah St.

Oh yeah: Winthrop, Gonzaga’s first round opponent, holds the nation’s longest winning streak, 18 games.


This is by far the toughest region. UNC is the obvious top seed, but Kansas still holds the number one ranking in the computers, Florida just won the SEC tourney, and UConn is number one if we just measure up side.

The Pick: UConn. This is the best rebounding and shot blocking team in the country. Defense and guard play wins championships and the Huskies have both. Williams, Anderson, and Gay dominate the backcourt while Boone and Villanueva control the glass. Yes, a backup player was just suspended and Anderson is still nursing an injury. But I expect Jim Calhoun to have this team ready for another deep run.

Contenders: North Carolina and Kansas. UNC has been great all year and was most impressive in a late season road win vs Connecticut. But they have been a little inconsistent lately struggling with Clemson and losing to Ga Tech. They never seem to play with much intensity outside of games with Duke. And they are lead by the wrong man. Roy Williams, not McCant’s mood swings, provides the biggest flaw to Carolina’s tourney chances. Kansas was great early but is only 5-5 in their last ten games. Langford is injured. They have made deep runs the last three years, but won’t in 2005.

Sleeper Pick: Villanova. They have wins over Kansas and Boston College and are 8-1 in their last nine.

Upset Pick: I like NC State, but I’ll take Ohio. The MAC tourney champs get hot Florida in round one. But the Gators have underachieved all year, save the last seven days and usually bow out early.

Top Seed Heading in Wrong Direction: Charlotte. Three game losing streak, all by double digits.

Oh yeah: I would love to see a Roy Williams vs. Kansas game but it seems unlikely.


I get to see the games. Yep, ordered my tickets last year and got them in the mail a few weeks ago. This region could feature some huge matchups down the road. Duke is the top seed and my favorite team, but they have overachieved all year. Sean Dockery is supposed to be back for the tourney after tearing his MCL. But even with him, Duke is thin and very thin up front. They finished the second Maryland game with three guys I’ve never seen before after suffering severe foul trouble. Any foul trouble to Williams or an off shooting night by Redick dooms them.

The Pick: Syracuse. Much like a few years ago, things appear to be falling into place. The zone is working. Warrick is dominating the low block and McNamara has remarkably found his shooting touch. They will roll into Austin with the Big East tourney title and tons of confidence.

Other Contenders: Duke and Oklahoma. I love Duke but they are not a Final Four team. I would be shocked to see them in St. Louis. Oklahoma looked like the hottest team in the country before falling to Bobby Knight and the motion offense in Kansas City. Can they regroup? I think so. Kentucky is not a serious contender to anyone who has seen them play.

Sleeper Pick: Michigan State. They were playing so well after a mid season loss to Illinois but suffered an inexplicable loss to Iowa in the Big 10 tourney. They are huge up front and dominate the glass.

Upset Pick: Definitely Iowa but also possibly UTEP. The Miners are hot, WAC tourney champs hot. That isn’t that impressive but they could still surprise Utah in round one.

Top Seed Headed in Wrong Direction: Kentucky. SEC tourney blowout to mediocre Florida squad doesn’t bode well for tourney. They have no stars on the team and have trouble scoring points. That said, I can’t see them exiting this weekend.

Oh yeah: Does the committee try to remake Duke-Kentucky every year? When was the last time it worked? Once again it doesn’t seem likely.

Comments welcome. Post your picks now on ESPN. Group: Longhorn Jokers. Password: hornsblog.

Hook Em

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