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LCB Hoops Picks: March Towards Indy

March 23, 2010

For the better part of this season in college hoops, we have picked two games that are must see television. However, March Madness offers a little more than the typical Saturday. So, for the tourney , myself and Berndon will share a thought or two and finish by giving you our regional picks and the teams we see making the trip to Indianapolis.

Langston:  Through the long history of men's basketball in Knoxville, no team has made it past the sweet sixteen. Hell, they've only been to the sweet sixteen five times and four of those were in the last decade (three in the last four years). There was the 2000 game against Ed Cota, Jason Capel and UNC where they blew a late seven-point lead. There was the 2007 game, where they blew a twenty point half-time lead against Greg Oden, Mike Conely and Ohio State. Then, in 2008, there was the blow-out at the hands of Rick Pitino and Louisville. All this losing on the first two days of the second weekend has created a ceiling for the Volunteers, one that could be broken this weekend against Ohio State. Clay Travis would have you believe that all of these trips to the sweet sixteen have made Bruce Pearl the greatest coach in UT history. I'm not so sure, Mears .712 winning percentage over 15 years is remarkable, but it's debatable. However if he wins just one game this weekend, he will be in a class all his own and probably earn himself a street sign on campus, which is one of the highest rewards you can receive in East Tennessee. 

Berndon: One very miniscule problem with March Madness is that when you pick a team to advance relatively far in your bracket, and if said bracket is still for the most part not shot to shit, you face an ethical dilemna of potentially rooting for a team that you may not like. And by not like I mean they are your favorite teams' arch nemesis and you would not stop smiling for a solid week just thinking about their players and coach crying after they tasted defeat. This is the dilemna I face right now with a reasonably famous team from a school in Durham, NC. I picked Duke to make it to the Final 4, and I'm in a position to win both pools I'm in. This means that I will be torn between pulling for Purdue to continue Duke's recent tradition of folding in March, or pulling for me to earn some money and the feeling that the copious amounts of college basketball I've watched these last couple of months has in some way paid off other than having three people on my facebook actually check out my stuff when I link the site on my status updates. So I will probably be happier if Duke loses, but if they keep winning and allow me to feel intelligent for picking them, then I'm ok with that as well.

Sweet Sixteen Picks:
(1)Kentucky v. (12) Cornell: This is the most intriguing game of all the sweet sixteen, as the teams are complete opposites. Kentucky, a public school rich in basketball history. Their success is built on star freshman, who are just merely biding their time until this June's NBA draft. Cornell, you ever heard of it? Their success is built on their group of seniors (all eight of them) in the midst of a once in a lifetime opportunity, and likely the last time most of them will play competitive basketball. I just hope the intrigue lasts a little longer than just the opening minutes. Kentucky 81, Cornell 68.

(2) Kansas State v. (6) Xavier: I've been doubting Kansas State all season long. Maybe it's because of the "fear the beard" campaign,  their fiery coach, or their emotional play. I just can't allow myself to get on board, why start now? Xavier 79, K-State 75.

(1) Duke v. (4) Purdue: I picked Purdue to lose to Siena in the first round, thanks to Hummel's torn ACL. I was obviously wrong but I still think Purdue is on borrowed time. It's only a matter of time before their seasons over, so why not against the team who's road was the easiest? Duke 67, Purdue 64.

(5) Michigan State v. (9) Northern Iowa:  Northern Iowa shocked the World, busting brackets everywhere, managing to hold off Kansas for pretty much the entire game, sewing it up with one of the ballsiest shots in recent memory. Now they get to play a team which has failed to play to their potential all season long and that will be without their best player. It's just too perfect. UNI 66, MSU 61.

(1) Syracuse v. (5) Butler: There's no way Butler wins this game, even if Arinze Onuaku doesn't come back. The Orange has looked almost unstoppable at times, especially when they took apart a pretty good Gonzaga team. Butler squeaked by Murray St. Wesley Johnson has gotten back on track, and they will get Matt Howard in foul trouble having to deal with Rich Jackson, Kris Joseph, and Johnson. Cuse 79, Butler 65

(2) West Virginia v. (11) Washington: With the recent development of Truck Bryant breaking his foot, this game just got a lot more difficult for DubV. Will Joe Mazzula be able to handle Isiah Thomas and Venoy Overton all by himself? I still think the Mountaineers still have too much up front for Washington to handle. It should go down to the wire, but I still like WVU to win a close one. WVU 64, Washington 62.

(2) Ohio State v. (6) Tennessee: Three Sweet 16's in four years is nice. It might even make Bruce Pearl the best coach in Tennessee's history. But it won't be enough to get a win here. UT has more depth, but they don't have Evan Turner. Nor do they have anyone on the level of Ohio St's other two best players, William Buford and David Lighty. All three are versitale performers who will give the Vols fits. Ohio St. 75, UT 66.

(3) Baylor v. (10) St. Mary's: I really want to go with St. Mary's here. They've become a sentimental favorite with a bunch of Austrailian dudes, a white guy who just drains improbable three's, and a low-post threat who's been described as "someone who looks like he doesn't take his shirt off at the beach." That being said, Baylor survived a pesky ODU squad, and I don't think St. Mary's can stop either LaceDarius Dunn or Tweety Carter. Baylor moves on, 73-68.

Final Four:
Langston: (1) Kentucky, (1) Duke, (2) Ohio State, (6) Xavier
Berndon: (1) Kentucky, (1) Duke, (2) Ohio State, (2) Kansas St.

14 comments: said...

Yahoo! Sports has a game for you if your bracket is busted. It's called Second Chance Tournament Pick 'Em. You can learn how to register for this game at:

March 24, 2010 at 4:08 PM
Deckfight said...

i of course picked kansas to win, but OSU was always an interesting choice. i think cornell can handle kentucky; i think it's time for Demarcus Cousins' Chris Webber moment. This is the time.

i'm thinking (or hoping) Coach K has something left in the bag to make Duke relevant again, in a sense be king of the ACC once more. i don't like cheering for guys named Thad, so go duke.

March 24, 2010 at 10:10 PM
Teach said...

The UK-Cornell game was a disappointment, but the others last night were pretty solid to fantastic. I'm hoping butler knocks off kstate

March 26, 2010 at 4:59 PM
Russ said...

Xavier/Kansas State was incredible. Gus Johnson's heart couldn't have handled another OT.

March 26, 2010 at 6:26 PM
Langston said...

The Xavier-K St. match-up was a hell of a game, and it seemed like a video game with some of the threes Xavier was hitting. I really thought my upset final four pick had their road paved. Hopefully tonights games can match last nights.

March 26, 2010 at 6:28 PM
Teach said...

btw, Mike, is that UT pic big enough? It looks like a damn poster

March 26, 2010 at 7:30 PM
Langston said...

Its a new style of pop-art I have been working on, I call it popaganda.

March 26, 2010 at 9:33 PM
Langston said...

Also, how bout dem Vols?

March 26, 2010 at 10:02 PM
Teach said...

at least you didn't say volaganda

March 26, 2010 at 10:04 PM
Iceman, AD said...

Tangentially, how much can Bruce Pearl benchpress?

March 27, 2010 at 12:50 AM
Langston said...

I know you were kidding, but 285.

March 27, 2010 at 10:18 AM
Iceman, AD said...

The fact that you know that, Langston, is both comforting and awkward. Pearl is a beast. This leads me to the following question; how much can Butler's head coach bench? Maybe 25 pounds?

March 27, 2010 at 1:21 PM
Langston said...

Thanks, I'll take that as a compliment.

As for Brad Stevens, he actually refers alternatives exercises to weight lifting such as speed walking and jazzercise.

March 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM
Iceman, AD said...

Apparently he's also a big fan of Yogalates.

March 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM

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