Tuesday, March 08, 2005

 

Big East Breakdown

Its time to break down the boogie down in the Garden. Chas from the PittSportsBlather has his predictions up on Yoni Cohen's site. Lets see what we’ve have this week.

Wednesday

2 p.m. (ESPN) #8 West Virginia vs #9 Providence
The worst match up that West Virginia could have received in the first round. Even though WVU beat Providence twice they were both by 6 points total. I think Tim Welsh’s squad has more confidence than early in the season and thinks they can do some damage this week. I was very disappointed how WVU came out and played against Seton Hall. If WVU starts like that again it’s going to be a long day. Ryan Gomes and Donnie McGrath have something to prove this week. PC 71 WVU 68

7 p.m. (ESPN) # 7 Georgetown vs #10 Seton Hall
I think this is the rout of the day. Jeff Green, Brandon Bowman, and Roy Hibbert will be way too much for Seton Hall to handle inside. I don’t want to hear about Andre Sweet or John Allen. Those two aren’t big enough to match up with the Georgetown front line. If Ashanti Cook plays decent, this will be a rout. I don’t like the way Justin Cerasoli has played and I think Kelly Whitney takes himself out of the game with fouls. Georgetown gets back on the bubble. G’town 77 SHU 62

9 p.m. (ESPN) #6 Notre Dame vs #11 Rutgers
Notre Dame has to have this game. No excuses. Rutgers’ big men held tough in South Bend last week. Torin Francis better show up. If Quincy Douby and Ricky Shields get hot it could be a barn burner in the Garden. I think Chris Thomas wills Notre Dame to a win in a game that’s too close for comfort. ND 73 RU 67

Thursday
Noon (ESPN2) #1 Boston College vs #9 Providence
I wonder if BC will complain about playing at noon in an empty MSG like they cried about everything else this week. Hey Gene, if it meant so much to you to SHARE the Big East title, why weren’t YOU at Rutgers? Hypocrite. I’ll try to not let my utter disdain for BC cloud my judgment here. Jared Dudley and Craig Smith will cause huge problems for Providence in this game. The Friars need Randall “don’t call me Mr.” Hanke and DeShaun White to play big in this game. If Hanke and White can help offset the BC frontline, Gomes can do his thing, and Donnie McGrath can hit some shots, PC can pull the upset. Unfortunately that’s too much to ask. I hate to do this, but
BC 72 PC 65.

2 p.m. (ESPN2) #4 Villanova vs #5 Pittsburgh
The best game of the day. It’s too bad this game gets buried at 2 in the afternoon on a Thursday. I don’t know why this game isn’t scheduled at 7 because in theory the 4/5 game is the best of the game, but I digress. Villanova creates the biggest match up problems of any team in the Big East. Allan Ray, Mike Nardi, Randy Foye, and Curtis Sumpter can all take their man off the dribble and shoot the three. I see two major problems for Pitt in this game. 1) Which Chris Taft shows up? They need more of the Taft that played against ND and less of the Taft that played the rest of the year. 2) Can Pitt score enough in this game? If Nova gets hot will Pitt be able to match them in that time frame? ‘Nova can light it up and I don’t think Pitt can catch up. I like what Jay Wright has done. ‘Nova 78 Pitt 74

7 p.m. (ESPN2) #2 Connecticut vs # 7 Georgetown
UConn absolutely annihilated Georgetown last week and I don’t see how the Hoyas can stay within shouting distance. I guess the only way would be for Hibbert, Green, and Bowman to keep UConn off the glass and for Bowman to go crazy. Even if they do that I don’t think they can contain Marcus Williams. This looks like the rout of Day 2. UConn 81 Georgetown 67

9 p.m. (ESPN2) # 3 Syracuse vs #6 Notre Dame
Finally the Orange takes the Garden floor. Syracuse waits the longest to make an appearance in the tourney. Just like WVU got the worst break of day one with PC, ND gets a bad draw with SU. I truly believe ND would rather play UConn or BC in this game. Let’s take a look at Chris Thomas’ numbers against SU. 1-7 record, 27% from 3, 27% from the field, 12 points a game. He has the same mental lock that Gerry McNamara has against UConn. Hakim Warrick will eat the ND frontline alive in this game. ND will try to bump and bang Warrick but it won’t be enough. Chris Quinn and Colin Falls will keep it close, but Warrick is the difference. SU 71 ND 64

Friday
An early Christmas gift for ESPN with two huge games on Friday night.

7 p.m. (ESPN) #1 Boston College vs # 4 Villanova
I think Pitt would destroy BC in this game, but they won’t be here so let’s make the case for ‘Nova. The Wildcats will cause the same problems for BC. Too quick on the perimeter. I know BC will play their match up zone, but they tend to leave perimeter guys open in the zone. BC can go stretches without scoring and if that happens in this game they could be down 15 before they know it. I may have my BC hatershades on but I don’t like BC in this tourney. ‘Nova 68 BC 64

9 p.m. (ESPN) #2 Connecticut vs # 3 Syracuse
The third installment of this rivalry which is quickly becoming one-sided. For SU to win this game they need two things to happen. 1) Terrence Roberts and Daryl Watkins have to absolutely stay out of foul trouble. Its bad enough when you’re out talented on the front line, but when two of your guys are in constant foul trouble you have no chance. 2) GMac has to show up. This is getting ridiculous. He has to play with heart and desire. He has to take the game to Marcus Williams. He needs to drive and not settle for jump shots. I think UConn will be sweating this out because Warrick gives them fits, but UConn is too hot. UConn 76 SU 73

Saturday
Championship

9 p.m. (ESPN) #1 Connecticut vs #4 Villanova

This would be the most intriguing match up of the tournament. You have the quickness of Villanova against the muscle of UConn. ‘Nova will spread the court and try to take the Huskies off the dribble. When the ‘Nova guards drive and UConn helps they’ll be able to kick out for open 3’s. UConn will try to pound Nova on the inside. In the end I think Marcus Williams and Denham Brown neutralize the UConn guards better than Jason Fraser and Will Sheridan neutralize the Husky forwards. UConn 79 Nova 73
Comments:
Here's the problem for a deep run by Villanova. Curtis Sumpter's knee. Can it really take back-to-back games? If Sumpter isn't able to go or is limited, it really hurts 'Nova. They aren't particularly strong inside, but crash the boards well.

Not an issue for the Pitt game. I figure Sumpter will play all 40 minutes if he has to. More for the next round and even after that.
 
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