Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NCAA Tournament: Pod Preview

#3 Wisconsin vs. #14 California State-Fullerton: the Badgers will tip off against the Titans of Cal State-Fullerton at about 8:40 pm (Central) on Thursday night. So you don't need to take the day off of work in order to see Wisconsin play! (Operative word being NEED, of course. Go ahead and do it anyway. I am.)

With any luck, baseball power CSF won't be much of a challenge on the hardcourt for UW. They're not going to get much of a preview here. They've made it to the NCAA tournament just once, in 1978. And guess what? That year they made it all the way to the Final Four. They were the Big West champs this year, and they boast a 24-8 record -- but those 8 losses include defeats at the hands of Pacific, Wright State, Central Michigan, and two to UC-Santa Barbara. CSF was a midmajor team that avoided scheduling major powers and as such wasn't much of a punching bag. They did put up a fight against St. Mary's, the ten-seed in the South, leading by five in the second half until the Gaels came into their own and wound up taking over en route to a ten-point margin of victory. Nittany White-Out is doing the cheering-for-the-conference thing and has compared Cal State-Fullerton to Wisconsin:

This is an easy game to predict. Wisconsin has a knack for slowing down fast-paced offenses ... 70 would be a good benchmark for CS-Fullerton to aim for. Unfortunately for them, 70 against Wisconsin’s defense would be like running into a brick wall blindfolded. Mark it down. A blowout unwatchable game for the Badgers in Round 1.

#6 USC vs. #11 Kansas State: Much has been written about this matchup. As Colin Cowherd stated yesterday on his occasionally-decent radio show, it's good TV: Mayo vs. Beasley. Two mercenaries who could be commanding NBA money at this time next year. (In Mayo's case, of course, since he's at USC there's a chance he's pulling in an NBA-style salary right now. But that's neither here nor there.) I know next to nothing about this matchup, but you ought to read what people who might have some idea what they're talking about with regard to this matchup. As an added bonus, here's a piece on a hypothetical matchup between Wisconsin and Kansas State.

My bracket says: Take the favorites through the entire pod. UW to the Sweet Sixteen via two school from SoCal.