My first piece of advice for the first day of tournament is to make sure you have a great internet connection. Get online at cbs.sportsline.com and watch as many games as you possibly can. Chances are that CBS is going to put a #1 vs. #16 game on your television set. So, avoid that crap, get online and watch any game you can. The hard part now is picking which game to watch. Most of the time more than one game will be exciting to watch, but I’m going to give you the one game in each time slot you should watch over all the others.
Skip Work/Class to Watch
12:30 SOUTH REGION: #12 vs. #5
I’ve said it in earlier posts and I’ll say it again. Christmas comes early in March in the form of Dionte Christmas. From what I’ve seen, a good number of people have picked Temple to upset the Spartans. Well, if you did or did not, glue your eyes to your computer or tv because this game is going to be a dandy. Temple is the hottest team in a very deep A-10 and Michigan State has really struggled away from East Lansing, but never ever count out a Tom Izzo coached team. Drew Neitzel, the white kid on the court for the team in green, can really light it up from the outside. If Michigan State can survive this one, then they can really give other teams problems.
My Winner -Michigan State
SECOND BEST – 12:20 West Region: #14 Georgia vs. #3 Xavier
2:55 MIDWEST REGION: #9 vs. #8
Luckily, this game starts about 30 minutes after Kentucky and Marquette, so you can get some of that fabulous game before this one. I picked this one over that game because this is a game between two mid-majors nobody has really seen. That usually makes for an exciting game. We got a glimpse of UNLV last year when they marched to the Sweet 16. It’ll be tougher this time around with Kansas waiting, but Kent State should also be a formidable opponent before the Jayhawks. The Golden Flashes have handled other mid-majors in the tournament like George Mason and Saint Mary’s, so this matchup of mid-majors will be a good one. Two players to watch out for are Wink Adams for UNLV (16.4 ppg) and Mike Scott for Kent State (13.1 ppg and 6.2 rpg). However, I think the Runnin’ Rebels have too much firepower for Kent State.
My Winner – UNLV
SECOND BEST – 2:30 South Region: #11 Kentucky vs. #6 Marquette
Phenoms in Prime Time
7:10 MIDWEST: #11 vs. #6
Sit down, have some dinner, and watch this game between two freshman sensations, Michael Beasley and O.J Mayo>>>>. Actually, I’ll be watching Maryland and Syracuse in the NIT second round at this time. Just kidding. It’ll be on the television, but I will pay very, very, very little attention to that game with this game one on. Lost in all the hype of these two freshman is another standout freshman for USC, Davon Jefferson. At 6’8, he’s tall, athletic and electric. He gives Mayo the help that Beasley really lacks. USC is a much deeper and more exciting team full of young, exciting talent. Taj Gibson is another key player for the Trojans who is am athletic, big body (6″9, 225 lbs) down low. Put Jefferson and Gibson on the inside with Mayo and Daniel Hackett on the outside, and you have a team that Kansas State will have trouble matching up with. But Beasley certainly has more than enough talent to his team on his back and pull off the upset.
My Winner – USC
SECOND BEST – 7:25 West Region: #9 Texas A&M vs. #8 Brigham Young
9:40 WEST REGION: #10 vs. #7
Yea, nobody goes to bed at 9:40. Some old people do. And this game is in the West, so most people out there will be eating dinner actually. But then again, who in the West is really reading this? In fact, is anybody reading this? Anyway, on to the actually game. Many people, including myself, loved what they saw out of the Mountaineers in the Big East Tournament. I know Erik liked them so much, that he actually has them winning the whole tournament. Arizona’s spot in the tournament has been questioned by many. Some people thought that it’s in-state rival, Arizona State should have gotten in because the Sun Devils beat them twice. However, the Wildcats are in the tournament and they are an extremely dangerous team. People forget that injuries and the loss of Head Coach Lute Olson really took a toll on this team. Arizona’s standout freshman, Jerryd Bayless (20 ppg)>>>>>, was hurt for part of the year and it’s hard for any team to overcome an injury to its best player. Point Guard Nic Wise was also hurt for part of the year and without two key guards, the Wildcats really struggled with a record of 3-8. Well, both are back for the tournament and the Wildcats are a team many are overlooking. This is a very dangerous, young team that can handle West Virginia, but if they are going to do so, they must find a way to slow down WVU’s Joe Alexander. The Wildcats have had trouble with big men this season, in particular with the Lopez twins from Stanford, and it won’t be any easier containing Alexander. He averaged almost 17 points per game this season, but really stepped it up in the Big East Tournament with 68 points in three games. I feel that many people have West Virginia, more so than Arizona, advancing into the Sweet 16, so the outcome in this game can eliminate one of somebody’s Sweet 16 teams.
My Winner – Arizona
Second Best – 9:50 East Region: #12 George Mason vs. #5 Notre Dame
I’ll be back tomorrow to give you the best games to watch for Friday. Until then..
Enjoy the first day of the tournament. This first weekend really makes the tournament what it is.