1. Maryland’s gonna have a tougher time with Houston than people think — but not because Houston’s all that great. Maryland was a VERY good team at home this year and a BARELY good team on the road. And all of their stinkers came away from home. And as we saw on Friday night against Georgia Tech, if Vasquez doesn’t have his chakras lined up, the Terps struggle. I think Maryland wins, but it won’t come easy.
2. There will be a lot of Middle Atlantic bellyaching about Duke getting their #1 seed and an apparent half-a-cakewalk to the final 4, but let’s all remember they did go 16-3 in the ACC this year and won the conference title on Sunday. I know we love to hate ’em, but they had an outstanding season.
3. Richmond will beat Villanova in round 2.
4. Virginia Tech can bark all they want but they lost to Miami twice – including the conference tournament – and didn’t beat anyone worth a hoot in non-conference play. In fairness, they didn’t even PLAY anyone non-conference wise. That’s the price you pay when you try to powderpuff your early schedule.
5. There are a lot of good teams in the tournament and only one GREAT team (Kansas). That’s why it’s so hard to put these teams into their seedings and match them up.
6. Siena will be everyone’s sexy “bracketbuster” pick to beat Purdue in round one.
7. Watch the 5 seeds (Butler, Temple, Michigan State, Texas A&M) — one of them will have a chance to play for the Final Four.
8. Morgan State needs to make their game with West Virginia into a 25-minute game. Slow the pace, get the ball to Thompson down low. West Virginia isn’t a high-powered offensive team but they have a lot of energy and can wear you down over 40 minutes. For the Bears to make it a game, they need to defend well and shorten the game.
9. Evan Turner is the best college basketball player in the country. Of course, you already knew that.
10. No one is talking about Kansas State. They’re very good. I believe in them, as you’ll see in a few minutes.
11. If Georgia Tech figures out how to inbound the ball and Favors actually tries for 40 minutes, the Jackets could be a tough out. But they’ll probably lose to Oklahoma State in the first round.
12. Did Mississippi State really lose the SEC Final by one-tenth of a second? Wow.
13. Vanderbilt should be sweating their first round battle with Murray State.
14. Here’s my completely off the radar screen, “you never know it could happen” Final Four: Kansas, Butler, Marquette, Baylor.
15. Here’s my official “on the record” Final Four: Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Duke — Kansas beats Kentucky in the championship game.