Friday, March 19, 2010

The Madness Contines...Bay Area Included

Please, set down your bracket and walk away. Your bracket is busted! Now, you can sit and enjoy the absolute Madness that has occured through these first 32 games with much more to come. And for those who were in the HP Pavilion on Thursday, as I was, you were front and center for it. Pandemonium!

Just a few notes, for those who said the Pac-10 was a weak conference this year, it looks like Cal and Washington have proved them wrong. Both looked extremely good in their 1st round games, Cal pouncing early and never looking back, and Washington with a last second lay-in to upset Marquette.

To maybe some surprises, the Bay Area has represented. St. Mary's had a convincing win against a Richmond team who some thought could go to the Sweet 16. But the big story was the introduction of Omar Samhan to the nation. Samhan had 29 points and 12 rebounds and was dominant in the paint, but kicked it up in high gear in the 2nd half to put away Richmond.

St. Mary's next opponent is Villanova, who struggled in their 1st round game beating Robert Morris in overtime. Villanova is a guard-heavy team led by Scotty Reynolds. This is an advantage for St. Mary's because they can match up with Villanova's guards, while having the big man Samhan in the middle fighting with a Villanova player (probably Antonion Pena) who will not compare to Samhan's size and bulk. This could prove to be a big upset if St. Mary's can pull it off, as they are riding a high and Villanova is a little low right now coming off a 1st round overtime win that shouldn't have been even close. Tune in for that one on Saturday.

For the Cal Bears from Berkeley, they were impressive against Louisville on Friday night. They jumped out to a 12-0 lead, then increased it to 18 before winning by 15 points. It was convincing and Jerome Randle continued to show that he is a star and can run that team to it's full extent. Next up for them is top-seeded Duke. It will be tough for the Bears to play like they did against Louisville, as Duke is fundamentally sound with the ball and capitalizes on every mistake you make. I see a far better chance of St. Mary's upsetting Villanova than Cal upsetting Duke, but you never know with the Madness that we have seen so far.

One team that I like is Washington. After seeing them first-hand on Thursday, I have no idea how they did not win the Pac-10 or how they got an 11 seed in the Tournament. They are an extremely talented team with Isiah Thomas running the point and the tall and lanky "Q-Pon" Quincy Pondexter down low. They are quick up and down the floor and rise well above the rim. I see no reason why they cannot beat New Mexico on Saturday and maybe even West Virginia down the road.

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