Friday, March 26, 2004

Well, I went 2-2 in last night's predix, with Pitt and 'Cuse letting me down. So, what of tonight's games, as we finish paring the Sweet 16 down to an Elite Eight?

(3) Texas vs. (7) Xavier, 727pm: The X-men are certainly streaking at just the right time, winners of 15 of their last 16 (including an upset of St. Joe's in the A-10 quarters, and an upset of Mississippi St. in the round of 32 last Sunday). But can they hang with the oh-so-deep 11-man rotation of the Longhorns? I think the tandem of Royal Ivey and Brandon Mouton will be just a little too much for the Musketeers, though I doubt Texas will rout.

(1) Duke vs. (5) Illinois, 957pm: Ooh, this is why we love this game. The regular-season best from the ACC and Big Ten square off in a major matchup. Illinois pounded a good Cincy team in the second round, while Duke's yet to be challenged. They'll be challenged tonight, for sure. The Illini are playing as well as anyone right now, and Duke, while tough, can be beaten. If Dee Brown can turn this into an up-and-down-the-court contest, you've gotta favor IL. I think he will, so I do. Upset.

St. Louis
(4) Kansas vs. (9) Alabama-Birmingham, 710pm: With the top two seeds in this region (Kentucky and Gonzaga) both out, it seems a lot of folks are picking the Jayhawks to sweep into San Antonio. Not so fast, my friend. UAB's pressure defense - and guard Mo Finley specifically - could give KS fits. And remember, this is not your Dad's rock, chalk, Jayhawk team: they lost to Richmond at home this season (nothing against the Spiders, mind you). They'll have a definite advantage playing so close to home, but UAB won't be ruffled. Kansas may be ready for 39 Minutes of Hell, but not 40. Glass slippers for everyone!

(3) Georgia Tech vs. (10) Nevada, 940pm: ...and then there's this year's ultimate Cinderella (did anyone pick them this far in their brackets?!). Can the Wolf Pack keep the clock from chiming midnight once more? I'd love to see it, but I think that GA Tech's defense will manage to keep a lid on NV guard Kirk Snyder. It'll be closer than you think, but the Yellow Jackets move on to Sunday.

At this point, I don't think it matters so much, however, as I expect OK St. and UConn to be playing for all the marbles on April 5th. But that doesn't mean I won't be watching - shut yo' mouth!

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