2011 NCAA Pre-Tourney Honors

  • Player most likely to have a “Bill Walton” Moment:

Jared Sullinger-Ohio State

I probably shouldn’t post a picture of the guy I’m picking to have a Bill Walton like game of domination, singing Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus… but whatever. For those of you that don’t know what Bill Walton moment I’m talking about though, prepare to get educated. Although he was on one of the best teams ever (in the midst of what would be an 88-game winning streak), Walton decided to assert himself as the best collegiate basketball player in the world in the 1973 NCAA Championship game against Memphis State. He went 21-22, scoring 44 points in what ended in a route for the UCLA Bruins. Wow. That’s 95%. I can see Sullinger pulling off something similar (not in the champ. game though because I didn’t pick them to get there…), just because of the way he treats all opponents like that 3rd grade bully we all hated back in the day. He won’t do it Friday against the play-in game winner, since that game is already over, but against teams like George Mason, Villanova, Kentucky, or West Virginia, watch out. The 6’9, 280, Freshman of the Year bruiser is always a threat to explode for a 30 point, 20 rebound game.

  • Team most likely to try on George Mason’s Cinderella slipper:

Richmond Spiders

Kevin Anderson and the Spiders may have a little more celebrating to do this March

If John Jenkins of Vandy is off Thursday, the Richmond Spiders will be off and running. If John Jenkins of Vandy scores 30 Thursday, I still think the Richmond Spiders will be off and running. A team seeded way below their actual talent level, they fit the cinderella mold. An experienced team that’s been here before, a stud point-guard in Kevin Anderson (who may be the best point in the nation), and a legit NBA prospect that can shoot the ball with the best of them in Justin Harper; this team will be hard to stop. The fact that their predicted match-ups aren’t THAT tough (Vandy plays the awkward SEC slow it down style, and Louisville has been over-achieving all year) also helps them out. A-10 Tourney Champs, a record of 14-2 in their last 16, and I wide open Southwest region, I think the Spiders have a really good shot of getting at least to the Sweet 16, if not further.

Jimmer Fredette-BYU

Yes, he is also the guy that’s most likely to snap and score 180 points in a game. Throughout the season, he’s been absolutely insane, bringing BYU recognition for something other than being mormon. But couldn’t you see him breaking down after losing? He has to go to the NBA next year where he’ll probably just become another Morrison or Redick (if he’s lucky) so this is his last chance to shine. The fact that his team probably had an Elite 8 run in them if not for the Davies honor code thing, is also sad. Sad, but this may provide awesome comparison clips of who cried harder. The Heat need a say in this as well, we know Lebron/Bosh/Wade can cry with the best of them.

Anyone on the Fighting Illini Basketball team

Ready for the dance my ass. I came into this season expecting the Illini to at least compete for the Big 10 title, at least win 23-25 games, at least beat UIC!?! Yeah, I didn’t get any of those. My expectation of at least a Sweet 16 run also seems like fantasy at this point. What let downs. Losses to UIC, Indiana, Northwestern, and an embarrassing showing in the Big 10 Tourney (Where they blew a 12 point lead with less than 8 minutes remaining) have led them to be the underdogs in an 8-9 game against UNLV and former coach Lon Kruger. This comes after being preseason favorites (along with Ohio State) to win the Big 10. Demetri McCamey refuses to step up when his team needs him, Jereme Richmond can’t shoot from further than 6 feet out, and Mike Tisdale is Mike Tisdale…bad. I can’t wait to see who gets to blow this game for the Illini.

So there you have it. A couple NCAA Tourney things to look out for. As for picks, here are mine:

Final 4:

Duke vs. Syracuse

I really think Kyrie Irving makes that much of a difference (I originally had them losing in the Sweet 16). I don’t have OSU up against them just because I think Kentucky will be able to match up with them, tire Sullinger out, and the Buckeye’s will panic from there.

Kansas vs. Wisconsin

That’s my biggest bracket shake up. The Badgers in the Final 4. I don’t think Pittsburgh is that strong, and I think this Wisconsin team is the best it has been in years. Also, other than Pittsburgh (barring a Belmont first round upset), who is there to stop Jordan Taylor and the Badgers?

Championship Game:

Kansas vs. Duke… Winner Duke

Kyrie Irving. Yes, I like him that much. Him along with a very, very experienced Duke roster that proved us all wrong last year, I don’t see why not.


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