Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First Round NCAA Tournament Predictions

While many analysts on TV are unfounded in their predictions, I will make a detailed case for every first round matchup.

Florida vs. Jackson St.
As in most 1-16 matchups, Florida will absolutely dominate this contest. Trey Johnson will produce from the perimeter, but it is going to take a miracle for Jackson St. to match Noah and Horford inside.

Arizona vs. Purdue
This is a very intriguing contest. Purdue has played well of late and Arizona has underachieved all season long. Will Zona step it up in their tournament matchup? Zona should defeat Purdue just as beat Wisconsin in last season's tournament. Lute Olsen seems to get his teams to perform their highest in the tournament. Matchup wise, I do not believe that Chris Kramer will be able to contain Mustafa Shakur. His experience and athleticism will be tough for Purdue to contain. Is Teague going to be responsible for Marcus Williams? If so, there is a huge matchup problem for Purdue. Williams has a couple of inches on Teague and superior length. He should be able to use this to his advantage on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Radenovic should give Purdue headaches. He will bring Landry out on the perimeter, opening up the game for the guards to attack the basket. And, defensively, Radenovic is deceptively strong and may be able to thwart some of Landry's efforts. If Landry can bully Radenovic inside, it could be a long game for Arizona. That would open up the perimeter game for Teague. Overall, I think Zona will be able to contain Landry and win this contest- I expect this game to approach or go into an overtime though.

Butler vs. Old Dominion
This is everyone's upset pick. However, I believe that Butler will win this game because of their outside shooting. Butler has something to prove after nationally televised losses to both Wright St. and Southern Illinois. Everyone is calling them a bust and glorifying ODU. While ODU is more than capable of pulling the upset, one has to consider their latest matchup problems. They lost because of George Mason's tremendous shooting spurts. If Butler does not have an off night shooting the ball, I believe that their outside shooting may be too much for Dahi and co.

Maryland vs. Davidson
While some feel that Davidson is going to pull this upset out, I disagree simply because of the vast amount of talent on Maryland's squad. DJ Strawberry and co. are simply too athletic and should play the game at their pace. I do agree with those who state that this matchup will be close. Stephen Curry is quite the shooter and I do not know if Maryland will be able to contain his production without leaving a viable second option open- such as Jason Richards. Inside, Davidson is too young and does not have enough length to contend with Ibekwe and Gist.

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