Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Syracuse Region First-Round Previews

North Carolina vs. Oakland- Oakland has a chance in this game because of Rawle Marshall's ability to pene---oh, never mind; it won't happen this year. North Carolina needs to work out the kinks in their game before the real tournament starts.

Minnesota vs. Iowa State- Both teams were hovering around the bubble for the majority of the latter part of the season. Minnesota has one of the Big Ten's best scorers in Vincent Grier, who can get to the lane on anyone. Iowa State has Curtis Stinson, who is nearly unstoppable when he gets into the lane. The Cyclones may have more weapons.

Villanova vs. New Mexico- Upset alert. A 12 over a 5 has to happen every year; will it be this one? Danny Granger can carry the Lobos, and they also have five double figure scorers. Villanova has a great backcourt with Allan Ray and Randy Foye, and probably have more options than New Mexico. But I'd take a long look at this game.

Florida vs. Ohio- Last year, this game would be a possible upset. This season, it's a blowout. Florida is playing its best ball in years and are not going to fold under pressure this season. Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh are the outside scorers while David Lee is the man down low. Leon Williams is the leader for the Bobcats.

Wisconsin vs. Northern Iowa- Northern Iowa, like UAB, is looking to prove that it belongs in the field. Ben Jacobsen leads a bevy of perimeter scorers for the Panthers. If Wisconsin doesn't guard the arc, they are in for a long day. On the other hand, the Badgers may have the post duo in Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson that NIU does not have the size to match-up with.

Kansas vs. Bucknell- This is a legitimate, but long shot, upset special. Bucknell has wins at Pitt, St. Joe's, etc. and plays terrific defense. Kansas might have too much experience, though. That, and Wayne Simien, should be enough in a first round contest.

Charlotte vs. North Carolina State- Charlotte was a Top-4 seed until they lost three in a row to end the season. They still have Brendan Plavich, who has unlimited range, as well as a great forward duo in Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers. NC State played its way into the tournament, and could win a couple more in the tourney. Julius Hodge can carry the Wolfpack. This should be a great game.

Connecticut vs. Central Florida- Won't be close. UConn is on a roll lately, and could be looking towards a repeat championship. However, this will be the first time they will be playing without back-up point guard Antonio Kellogg, who was essentially kicked off the team on Monday.

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