NCAA Basketball

2011 College Basketball March Madness Preview: Southwest Reigon

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A is for “Abromitis”

No, it’s not a fungal disease, it’s the last name of Notre Dame forward Tim Abromitis. Ben Hansbrough gets almost all of the attention for Notre Dame, but I really think Abromitis is the key to their team. The senior from Unionville, CT averages 15 ppg, 6 rpg, and shoots 42% from three point range. He’s 6-8, which presents match-up problems for opposing defenses because if you put a smaller defender on him he can shoot over you, or if you choose to put a big on him he can put it on the deck and drive to the bucket. Again, Hansbrough gets the publicity, but in my opinion, Abromitis is equally as important.

B is for “Boston University”

The 16th seeded Terriers have no chance against Kansas, but don’t feel bad guys. You made the tournament, get a trip out to the always beautiful in March Tulsa, Oklahoma, and most important, the Red Sox should be really good this year. All things considered, not too bad.

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C is for “Chris Wright”

The senior guard for the Hoyas was having a strong season averaging 13 ppg and 5.4 apg, but he broke his non-shooting hand late in the season and Georgetown immediately went in the toilet. They lost their last four games and really struggled to score in all of them. In fact, their highest point total in those final four games was 62 points in a 17 point loss to UConn in the Big East tournament.

Georgetown says Wright will play in the NCAA tourney and if he does, the Hoyas could win a game or two. If he does not, then I don’t see them winning one.

D is for “Demetri McCamey”

The senior guard for the Fighting Illini has had a fine year statistically with 14.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 6.1 apg with a fine 2.1 assist to turnover ratio. However, he’s been in conflict with coach Bruce Weber, his work ethic has been called into question, and he is prone to poor decisions at crucial moments. If Demetri is on his game and plays up to his potential, Illinois can be a dangerous team. If he isn’t, I see the Illini losing first round.

E is for “Ed Hightower”

I love Big Ed Hightower. I wish they would allow him to ref every game in this region, and tournament for that matter. A lot of people don’t like Big Ed because they feel he is way to demonstrative with his calls, but I love this cat. Basketball is entertainment and anything that adds to the entertainment value, I’m all for it. Keep doing what you’re doing Big Ed!

F is for “Faried”

Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried is a strait beast on the backboards. In his career, Faried has grabbed a total of 1643 rebounds. The man refuses to let anyone else get rebounds and will present a big challenge to Louisville’s post players. And for those who think Faried just ate up small time competition in the Ohio Valley Conference, against Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Kenneth went for 15 points and 12 rebounds. He also dominated Florida with 20 points and 18 rebounds. The kid is legit.

G is for “Go Cards!”

What? They’re my squad, I want them to win.

H is for “Horrendous”

Which is exactly how I would characterize the job the Selection Committee did. Get a clue you bunch of…

I is for “Idiots”

See what I did there?

Idiots is exactly what the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee members are. IDIOTS!!! In all honesty, I have no real issue with their performance in terms of seeding the Southwest region, but the committee’s overall body of work this year is still worthy of them being called idiots.

J is for “JaJuan Johnson”

Purdue’s All-American power forward, and reigning Big Ten POY, gets my vote for best player in this region. This kid is 6-10, athletic as hell, and is extremely fun to watch. JaJuan averaged 20.5 ppg and 8.2 rpg and was a huge reason why Purdue performed as well as they did, even without Robbie Hummel. If you don’t watch Purdue, I suggest tuning in to their games, Johnson is a phenomenal player and liable to make a highlight reel play at any time.

K is for “Kevin Stallings aka Kevin Malone from the Office”

The man’s actually a good coach, but I’m sorry, the resemblance is just uncanny!

L is for “Leadership”

This is what you need in March Madness. Whether it’s a fifth year senior or a true freshman, a team cannot make a run without solid leadership. In this region, several teams such as Notre Dame, Purdue, and Richmond, just to name a few, appear to have strong leaders and that will be a factor in their team’s performance. Teams without strong leaders (Illinois?) tend to not go far this time of year.

M is for “Mike Brey”

The head coach of the Fighting Irish has perhaps his best team since arriving at South Bend in 2000. The Irish have the 2 seed and a sharpshooting, senior laden squad that has the ability to make a run at the Final Four. However, Brey’s teams have underachieved in the NCAA tournament. By my count, his tournament record at Notre Dame is a very marginal 5-6, with his best run being a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2003. With this team, he needs to do better than win the opener and lose in the 2nd round.

N is for “No Jim Burr or Tim Higgins”

I cannot make this any more clear. I do not like these two officials and would prefer not see them once during the entire tournament.

It’s not gonna happen, but I’m hopeful.

O is for “Oscar Bellfield”

UNLV’s Oscar Bellfield is one of the more underrated players in this region. The junior guard from Los Angeles is a tough player who averages 11.1 ppg and 3.9 apg. Against Louisville earlier in the year, Oscar drained 4-6 threes en route to scoring 16 points and also grabbed 6 rebounds. He impressed me in that game and I think he’s potentially a guy who could have a big game or two in the tournament.

P is for “Preston Knowles”

Preston will have to be great for the Cards to make a run in this region. Knowles, who recently joined UofL’s 1,000 point club, makes big time shots for the Cards, but I think his play as back-up point guard is the critical element to his game right now. Elisha Justice and Russ Smith simply aren’t ready to handle the point in big spots. Even though Preston looks like he’s going to dribble the ball off his leg nearly every possession, he gets the job done. Preston is known for knocking down shots, but I think for this Cardinal team, his role as back-up point guard is the real key.

Q is for “Quadruple Double”

As in what it would take from every starter on Boston University’s team to beat Kansas. Ain’t gonna happen.

R is for “Rick Pitino”

The man is one of the best NCAA tournament coaches of all-time. We all know Rick is the only coach to take three different teams to the Final Four, but he also wins 73.1% of his NCAA tournament games, including an undefeated record in the Sweet Sixteen. In total, he is 38-14 in the Big Dance and this year’s Louisville team is the type of team he always seems to make a run with.

S is for “Spiders”

The Atlantic 10 tournament champion Richmond Spiders will be a tough out. They went 27-7 for the year, including a 13-3 regular season in A-10 play. The player to watch from Richmond is Justin Harper. Harper is a 6-10, 225-lb center who is a legitimate pro prospect. On the season, Harper averaged 17.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg. The kid is legit and will give opposing teams fits. Look out for the Spiders.

T is for “Texas A&M”

If you’re looking for the proverbial sleeper team, the 7th seeded Aggies are not a terrible choice. I am not saying they are a sleeper team for the Final Four or even Elite Eight, but the Aggies have enough talent to make a run for the Sweet Sixteen. They defend well, have a good coach, and sophomore forward Khris Middleton is going to be a star in the Big XII. Again, I’m not picking them to make the Final Four, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them get to the second weekend.

U is for “UNLV”

The Runnin’ Rebels are a team I don’t think enough people are paying attention to, but they could make a run. Lon Kruger’s team played fairly average to start the year, but finished pretty well. They finished third in the decent Mountain West conference and scored the 8 seed in this region, resulting in a match-up with Bruce Weber’s Illinois squad. I love the Rebs to beat that moron, then give Kansas a run for their money. Also, I hope we have a Jerry Tarkanian sighting at some point, that dude cracks me up.

V is for “VCU”

The VCU Rams got called out by pretty much everyone in the free world for being undeserving of a tournament bid this past Sunday. Because of that, I’m picking these kids to beat USC on Wednesday night and advance to face Georgetown on Friday in Chicago. VCU coach Shaka Smart, who has an awesome name, will motivate his squad and they will play with a huge chip on their collective shoulder.

W is for “Wesley Jenkins”

Wesley Jenkins is a senior guard for 14th seeded Saint Peter’s College. He led the Peacocks to the MAAC tournament title and their first trip to the Big Dance since 1995. Wesley scores 12.8 ppg, grabs 5.0 rpg, and shoots over 41% from three point range. Jenkins will have to be huge if his squad is to pull off the upset against a very tough Purdue team.

X is for “Xavier Gibson”

He’s a 6-11 center for Florida State. He’s not very good, only averages 5.1 ppg and 3.7 rpg, but I needed something for X and now I have it.

Y is for “Yumps”

In between tournament games, or during tournament games, or just any time in general, check out our Yump directory.

Z is for “Zips”

The Akron Zips advanced to the NCAA tournament after a thrilling 68-65 overtime win against Kent State in the MAC tournament final and draw Notre Dame in the opening round. The Zips, seeded 15th, have a tough draw as they face 2nd seeded Notre Dame in Chicago, which is sure to have a lot of Irish faithful in attendance. The Zips finished the year with a pedestrian 23-12 record, but they are hot right now as they have won 11 of their last 13 games. Digger Phelps, look out for the Zips!