Faceoff: Louisville will win it all
Matt Hamilton, Staff Writer:
My mother keeps telling me, “Matthew! Quit sitting around and do something with your life. Why do you need both TVs on at the same time?”
Some people just do not understand the significance of March Madness, a month-long celebration of basketball. If only I could pay this much attention to school.
Now we’re reaching the home stretch and my bracket is all but shattered. Blame it on the Cinderellas (I’m talking to you, Florida Gulf Coast). It was never my favorite Disney movie anyway. Indiana was my original champion, but apparently Syracuse and its 2-3 zone had other plans.
I have a good feeling, however, about this second chance. I get a 25 percent chance of winning, which is much better than one in 68 (1.5 percent). So who will I cast this ever important vote?
Louisville looks really, really good. After losing Kevin Ware to the most gruesome injury ever seen by these innocent eyes, Louisville decided to trounce Duke and give me no chance at winning my pool. Louisville is a powerhouse and Wichita State is not.
I’ll give the Shockers some credit. Their defense is suffocating and they defeated Gonzaga and Ohio State. However, those teams are not on the level that Louisville is. Louisville 83, Wichita State 67.
Did I mention Syracuse’s zone being the best thing to happen to defense since James Naismith created the game? Syracuse has a real shot at winning since it’s seen Louisville before, but it won’t make it.
Trey Burke all day, every day. Michigan runs through its leader, and it has worked out so far. The Wolverines were once the best team in the country, and they are headed in that direction again. I love Syracuse, but Michigan is hot. Michigan 71, Syracuse 64.
Louisville versus Michigan is an intriguing game, full of offense. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva will be running wild all over the court, and Burke will be dropping three pointers like they were lay ups. The deciding factor in this game surprisingly will be defense.
Which team will have enough defense? The answer is Louisville. With Dieng down low and the two superstar guards on the perimeter, the Cardinals will be able to contain everyone not named Trey Burke.
I should have picked it to begin with, but Louisville will take the crown this year. Louisville 85, Michigan 80.
Jeff McDonough, Staff Writer:
Suddenly the NCAA Tournament field of 68 has dwindled down to the Final Four. In the first weekend, the 13-seeded La Salle Explorers impressed by going from First Four to Sweet Sixteen, but were overshadowed by 15-seeded Florida Gulf Coast University, who made an unprecedented run to the Sweet Sixteen themselves. In just its second season as a full Division-I school, the Atlantic Sun Champion Eagles, who were coached by former Johns Hopkins standout Andy Enfield, put double-digit beatdowns on both Georgetown and San Diego State. The more unbelievable thing about this story is that the school opened for classes in August of 1997. Surrounded in the bracket by universities steeped in centuries of tradition, this institution is no older than a high school sophomore. While they are one of the best Cinderella stories in tournament history, their style of play in less reminiscent of an overmatched underdog and more akin to the AND1 Mixtape Tour, which has earned them the nickname “Dunk City.”
The upset of the tournament’s second weekend was the 9-seeded Wichita State Shockers reaching the Final Four after defeating Ohio State. The Shockers had already pulled a major upset in the first weekend by knocking off top-seeded Gonzaga. They are one of only five teams in history seeded ninth or lower to make the Final Four since seeding began in 1979. They are joined by 4-seeds Syracuse and Michigan, marking just the third time that three teams seeded fourth or lower have made the Final Four in the same season. Syracuse’s last Final Four appearance came ten years ago when Carmelo Anthony led them to the only national championship in school history. Michigan’s last appearance was twenty years ago with the legendary group known as the Fab Five.
We have already been provided endless intrigue with these remarkable storylines, but history shows that when we get further into the tournament the propensity for upsets significantly decreases. In fact, no team seeded lower than third has won it all since 1997. So despite my love of upsets, overall No. 1 seed Louisville is still my favorite to win it all. They responded admirably after the gruesome leg fracture suffered by Kevin Ware during their game against Duke on Easter Sunday. I expect them to continue rolling to a championship. But as this tournament has shown and my bracket will tell you, anything can happen and I don’t know anything.