Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Austin Region First-Round Previews

Duke vs. Delaware State- Another practice game for an ACC squad. Sean Dockery should be able to test his MCL against an overmatched Delaware State bunch.

Stanford vs. Mississippi State- Whoever made this pairing should be kicked off the selection committee. Nobody wants to watch this game. However, it what is a fairly evenly matched game, Mississippi State has Lawrence Roberts, while Stanford has a lack of scorers since Dan Grunfeld was lost for the season due to injury.

Michigan State vs. Old Dominion- This is a trendy upset pick, although I can't see it happening. Michigan State is loaded on the perimeter, and Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach. Alex Loughton and Isaiah Hunter form a formidable duo for Old Dominion.

Syracuse vs. Vermont- I wish Vermont played a team like BC instead of the Orange, whom the Catamounts match-up terribly against. Taylor Coppenrath and TJ Sorrentine are a great mid-major duo, and this could be coach Tom Brennan's last game (he is going to retire following the season). Emotions run amok in this contest.

Utah vs. UTEP- Another game that is a popular upset pick. However, this one is very plausible. Andrew Bogut may be one of the best centers in the country, but he really has no one else to help him carry the load. Filberto Rivera is an excellent passer, and Omar Thomas is a prolific scorer. Utah's defense will have to keep them in the game.

Oklahoma vs. Niagara- Niagara may have the best mid-major scorer in Juan Mendez, who is a lock for a 20-10 game every night. However, Oklahoma thrives in the paint with Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout. The Sooners were on a roll until a loss in the Big 12 Tournament. The bracket in this sub-region should open up to their advantage, though.

Cincinnati vs. Iowa- One of the best games in the tournament matches up two teams that could make a run if they win here. The Bearcats are tough inside with Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell, one of the best combos in the country. Iowa counters with a scoring trio of Jeff Horner, Eric Haluska, and Greg Brunner. If Cincinnati hits their outside shots, they should win. That a big "if", though.

Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky- That's pretty clever for the committee to match-up two teams with "Kentucky" in their name. However, Eastern Kentucky does not have the personnel to stay with the Wildcats for more than a half.

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