Michael Wilbon: Analyzing tonight's NCAA matchups
While most of your NCAA men's basketball brackets are flat-out busted because you went chalk-city and picked Kansas to reach the Final Four, my bracket is just fine, thank you.
I took Ohio State/Syracuse/Kentucky/Baylor (two No. 1s, a No. 2 and a No. 3) and there's no need to change now. Given the parity in the tournament (actually, in all of college basketball) this season no result should be a surprise, even if the three remaining No. 1s are eliminated in the round of 16.
Here's what I've got for tonight:
West Virginia having to play without point guard Darryl Bryant could be impossible to overcome, especially since Washington has one of the tournament's better point guards in Isaiah Thomas. But I'm going with Dean Smith's theory, that a good team can play great once without a key player. This is that game. Even though the Big East has been a Big Disappointment so far in the tournament, I'll take West Virginia over Washington. ...
This whole Jocks vs. Eggheads theme has become so annoying, and lazy. What, Cornell doesn't have jocks? Anybody who thinks those kids aren't terrific athletes is likely locked into an agenda that is too bigoted to even acknowledge. Cornell is hitting 43 percent of its three-pointers in this tourney, which should make for a high-scoring game against a Kentucky team averaging 95 points the first two games. ...Cornell will be a huge emotional favorite for most of the nation. Kentucky will win the game.
Like Cornell, Butler's players could go and start just about any place in the country, whether or not you've heard of them. Butler's not only good enough to beat Syracuse but could win the entire tournament. And the Orange is going to miss Arinze Onuawku. Still, Syracuse has the best inside player, Wes Johnson, and the best perimeter player, Andy Rautins, and that will be enough to advance. ...
Kansas State beat Xavier during the regular season by 15 but K-State, played that game at home. Xavier had better rebound better or the result will be the same. The deeper we get into a tournament the more I like the best player on the floor and in this case that's Xavier's Jordan Crawford. I'm taking Xavier in OT. ...