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LCB Hoops Picks: NCAA Championship Game

April 5, 2010

With the NCAA tournament down to the last two, we do our best to give you the winner before it happens. So make the jump to get our views on how the tournament has played out and our picks for the biggest college hoops game of the year.


Langston: All game long we were told how good of a citizen Da'Sean Butler has been in Morgantown. He spends his free time giving back to the community, will graduate on time with spectacular grades, and had played well enough to earn second team All-American honors while putting himself in the minds of NBA scouts. Yet with a few minutes to go all we see is him writhe with pain as Huggins cries out "They don't foul, they don't foul." After his departure his team would lose any momentum halting their dance this close to the championship, and now his NBA career may be in doubt due to a torn ACL. It's just plain sad to see him end his career as Mountaineer this way and from what we've learned, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. So here's to you Da'Sean, you deserved a better ending than this and we hope you get it.


Berndon: This subject has come up before, but I'm kind of wavering on my stance on the potential expansion to a 96 team tournament next year. In theory, it's great because it means more chances for upsets, more chances for buzzer beaters, more Gus Johnson and Bill Rafftery etc. But in thinking about it a little deeper, I think it's going to make the regular season a little less meaningful, and I hate thinking about that. There's going to be some really bad teams like UNC and UCONN this year that had no business making the dance, yet despite underachieving and playing below their talent, they'll get the chance to play for a championship. I'm willing to give it a chance, but right now I'm 50/50 as to whether or not it's going to be good for the game.

(1) Duke v. (5) Butler @ 9:21 on CBS:
Langston: Butler hasn't lost this year and en route to the championship game has taken down Syracuse, K-State and Michigan State. They have the most talented player on the floor in Gordon Hayward, home-court advantage, an emerging star in coach Brad Stevens, and a concussed big man. Duke has the big three, the history, the easy route, one of the best coaches in sports, and seem to be hitting their stride at the right time. So who wins? I want to say Butler for obvious reasons, but I don't see it happening. Duke holds an advantage in almost every category. The only spot Butler may hold an edge is the Hayward-Singler match-up, but even that's debatable, as Singler is just as tall and athletic. Duke 64, Butler 52.

Berndon: We're now down to two. Here's hoping that the following words will work as a jinx akin to anytime an announcer talks about how good a free throw shooter is, only to have said shooter clang the ball off the iron. Duke is going to win this game. The teams that Butler has shut down cannot match Duke's shooting from the perimeter. I see the game playing out much like the one against West Virginia, where even if one of the big three is off, the other two will be hitting. Even if they can't make anything from the outside, Nolan Smith has shown that he can get to the basket almost anytime he wants all tournament, and I don't think Butler has anyone to stop him. Zoubek will dominate Howard, concussion or no concussion. Duke wins, CBS is happy, and I will countdown the days until Duke-UNC next season. Duke 71, Butler 62.

18 comments:

LDUTheCoach said...

Finally after 62 games, Cinderella stories and buzzer beating heroics we finally have our final set.. and who in their right mind had Duke vs Butler… man Butler is such a great story but they definitely have their hands full (not that they haven’t done it before).

This game is a toss-up though the way Butler is playing and if you want a in depth preview and prediction go to: http://www.lionsdenu.com/march-madness-2010-national-championship-preview-prediction-vs-butler/ … I really hope Butler can do it, but its going to be SOOO tough.

Singler, Scheyer and Smith are so good, they score so many points in Dukes victory.. at one point they had 57 of the Blue Devils 69 points.. Insane, I can’t wait for the madness to begin Monday night but I am not looking forward to it ending… best tourney EVER!

April 5, 2010 at 1:52 AM
Teach said...

Did Vitale just make a comment?

April 5, 2010 at 11:36 AM
Iceman, AD said...

Yes, yes he did.

April 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM
Iceman, AD said...

Also, I would like to debate the "Duke has had an easy route" opinion. The first two rounds, sure, easy enough. But Purdue, Baylor, and WVU? I don't think so. I would have happily taken UNI off of Kansas's hands any day.

April 5, 2010 at 11:52 AM
Deckfight said...

i know there has been some "discussion" about brian zoubek in these parts, but he totally almost screwed it up last night. Hayward handled him a few times, both offensively and defensively...he threw that crazy pass over the halfcourt line, the ball went off his foot, and then the missed 2nd free throw. (why, why, why miss it???)

Even though Plumlee is a pretty highly ranked prospect (one of them is at least), he's enough of a Duke kid to stick around...why plumlee didn't start more games towards the end of the season makes no sense.

April 6, 2010 at 8:32 PM
Iceman, AD said...

Deckfight, I don't know if you saw Zoubek's rebounding rate, but he was 2nd only to Dejuan Blair in the last 10 years in offensive rebounding rate and was a monster on the D-glass. I think his contributions were well worth the start. That and he had that senior player swagger by the time the NCAA rolled around. I was pretty happy with his contributions.

April 6, 2010 at 10:44 PM
Russ said...

Duke doesn't win much of anything without Zoubek's emergence down the stretch of the season. He proved the haters wrong, including some Duke fans, and was excellent at rebounding and defending the paint. His defense on Hayward's fadeaway and then grabbing the rebound epitomized his career and how Duke the title this year. Underrated star of this team.

Plumlees time is next year.

April 6, 2010 at 11:30 PM
Deckfight said...

I stand corrected on the season, but don't you think if Duke had lost, there were a few mishaps that could've been attributed to him? Even outside of missing the last free throw.

April 7, 2010 at 4:01 PM
Teach said...

First, I am impressed by Zoubek's emergence--I didn't see it coming--but has there ever been a player who's gotten this much pub for putting up 5 and 7? I'm not trying to bash him; Duke could not have won without him, but I think it's a legit question. Is there anyone else to even compare him to?

April 7, 2010 at 5:21 PM
Russ said...

Coach K told him to miss that free throw, so you can debate whether that was the right decision to make, but Zoubek just did what he was told. As for the ball going off his foot, it was just unlucky and I thought he got fouled on that play but I haven't seen a replay since the game. Honestly this was a bad matchup for Zoubek because of the ability of Butler's Jukes to pull him away from the basket, so he didn't have the quickness to stay out on Jukes, and he wasn't around the basket as much defending and rebounding, and that was a big reason why Butler was in the game down the stretch, and I give Butler credit for neutralizing Duke's advantage. But he made the big play at the end, and that's all that really matters.

As for Brian's post, its more about his play down the stretch than just this one game. And not sure where this "pub" is coming from your talking about. It's not coming from ESPN, as they giving more love to Butler for being a halfcourt shot away from winning than to Duke for actually winning.

April 7, 2010 at 7:07 PM
Teach said...

just search zoubek's emergence

April 7, 2010 at 10:48 PM
Iceman, AD said...

To answer Teach's question: Kris Lang.

April 7, 2010 at 11:05 PM
Teach said...

See, I'm not sure if Lang fits. While Lang did look ridiculous with his mouth guard and chinstrap and was reduced to John Locke in a wheelchair by shin splints, he averaged 14 ppg as a freshman and then dropped to 10.6 ppg. His rebounding hovered around 5 to 6 boards. I guess I'm looking for someone who was given credit for drastic improvement when the only reason the improvement seemed drastic was cause the guy was so terrible prior.

I could see saying that Lang is like the opposite trending Zoubek. His production really didn't drop much, but he was lambasted as a complete failure after '02. In other words, his decline was just as exaggerated as Zoubek's rise.

I feel like they're foils of each other in the sense of marginal professional wrestlers.

April 7, 2010 at 11:15 PM
Langston said...

Who else is excited that Coach Cal is losing 5 players to the draft, with another possibly transferring? Those 6 and the three seniors leaves him with just 4 (maybe 5) players. Is there any way this doesn't end up with him leaving and UK being sanctioned?

April 7, 2010 at 11:45 PM
Russ said...

Brian,

I just realized you were posting Zoubek's season averages and not stats from Monday. You tell me to search articles for Zoubek's emergence and then post his numbers from the whole season? You have to look at what he did from the Maryland game in mid Feb and forward. Without looking it up I would say his averages were 7-8 points a game and 10-11 rebounds a game including being the best offensive rebounder in the country. He his getting pub for those numbers and being the final piece the championship puzzle.

Cal is running an NBDL team and he won't a championship that way. I know its a small sample size, but a freshman has not started on a championship team since the one and done rule was put in. How can you have any team cohesion and chemistry when have complete turnover of the roster every year?

April 8, 2010 at 7:59 AM
Iceman, AD said...

Here's my grand prediction: UK sanctioned in no less than 4 years from today.

April 8, 2010 at 12:35 PM
Teach said...

I just want to see if Cal can have a negative graduation rate.

April 8, 2010 at 6:14 PM
Teach said...

Did the math...since the Maryland game he's putting up 6 ppg and 10.6 rpg.

April 8, 2010 at 6:25 PM

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