Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Washington, D.C. Region Preview


Did the committee make a mistake and switch the overall #1 seed Duke with Connecticut? It sure seems that way, given that the Huskies have what seems like a cakewalk to the Final Four. Tennessee is the worst #2 seed in years, North Carolina is a very young team, and Illinois simply does not have that many weapons. And that is only the Top 4 seeds. None of the Top 13 seeds in this region won their conference tournament, meaning there are a couple of slumping teams in D.C. On top of that, the four teams that many bracketologists would say had the worst at-large profiles of anyone in the field are in this region. By far, the worst region.

Favorite: Connecticut. Is there anyone out there that is objectively picking against the Huskies to reach the Final Four? The Huskies are the most talented team in the country and have up to six or seven future pros. Marcus Williams is the best point guard in the nation, while Rudy Gay has the ability to take over a game. Hilton Armstrong and Josh Boone anchor the post, while Rashad Anderson is an excellent long-range shooter on the wing. Denham Brown can score and Jeff Adrien is a very good rebounder. However, this team is not without their flaws. They tend to take plays (or games) off and don't focus for 40 minutes. UConn seems to only dominate when they want to. They can't be lackadaisical and complacent for any games in the Big Dance.

Contenders: North Carolina, Illinois. The Tar Heels improved as the season went on, and have the potential to reach the Final Four. Tyler Hansbrough is one of the best big men in the country, and works harder than anyone. Reyshawn Terry is a very good scorer, while David Noel is versatile and athletic. Bobby Frasor is a solid point guard. If the backcourt steps up, UNC will make some noise. Illinois is flying under the radar somewhat as they head into the NCAA Tournament. Dee Brown and James Augustine form one of the country's best inside-outside combination. Moreover, several role players play big parts. Brian Randle is a very good all-around player, while Rich McBride is a solid shooter. With the defense that the Illini play, they can take teams out of their game.

Sleepers: Washington, Michigan State. No Tennessee anywhere? No, I'm trying to find when was the last time they played defense. Moving onto legit teams, Michigan State has the potential to make an Elite Eight run. The Spartans always seem to play well in the NCAA Tournament and Tom Izzo is an excellent coach. Moreover, they have one of the best trios in the country in wings Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager, and big man Paul Davis. If Drew Neitzel plays solid at the point guard position, Michigan State will make a run. Washington is a team that no one is talking about. I'm not sure why. Brandon Roy is one of the best players in the country, and he can do it all. Bobby Jones is a versatile forward, and Jon Brockman and Jamaal Williams are solid down low. Mike Jensen and Ryan Appleby are good shooters. What's the problem? They have a freshman point guard, Justin Dentmon. If he doesn't show his inexperience, the Huskies could pick up some wins.

Mid-Major to Watch: Wichita State. The Shockers are the most dangerous team out of the Missouri Valley Conference, and they also received a very friendly draw. Seton Hall might be the inconsistent team around, and Tennessee is as bad as any #2 seed you will ever find. They have a balanced starting five, led by a quality frontcourt. Paul Miller was the MVC Player of the Year, while Kyle Wilson and P.J. Couisnard are also solid up front. Sean Ogirri is an excellent three-point shooter.

Top Five Players (only one per team):
1. Brandon Roy, G, Washington
2. Tyler Hansbrough, F, North Carolina
3. Rudy Gay, F, Connecticut
4. Maurice Ager, G, Michigan State
5. Dee Brown, G, Illinois

1 comment:

  1. I think you should give more respect to Tennessee.I mean look what they have done. I think if Tennessee can get their shooting going they can hang with anyone in this bracket