(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Before Jerold Wells Jr. posts his picks later on this week, I wanted to have a little fun and rank the Sweet 16. It’s crazy that despite all the criticism the NCAA has had to deal with, two brackets have the top four seeds intact and the other two have the top three still bangin’. I guess they got it right huh? Could this be the second year in a row the top 4 seeds get to Final Four?
All times EST
East and West games played on March 26. Games start at 7:27 and 9:57 pm in East and staggered twenty minutes later in West.
Midwest and South games played on March 27. Games start at 7:07 and 9:37 pm in Midwest and staggered twenty minutes later in South.
East Region in Boston, Massachusetts
#1 seed Pittsburgh Panthers vs. #4 seed Xavier Musketeers, followed by # 2 seed Duke Blue Devils vs. #3 seed Villanova Wildcats.
West Region in Glendale, Arizona
#1 seed Connecticut Huskies vs. #5 seed Purdue Boilermakers followed by #2 seed Memphis Tigers vs. #3 seed Missouri Tigers.
Midwest Region in Indianapolis, Indiana
#1 seed (overall) Louisville Cardinals vs. # 12 seed Arizona Wildcats, followed by the #2 seed Michigan State Spartans vs # 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks (defending champs).
South Region in Memphis, Tennessee
#1 seed North Carolina Tarheels vs. #4 Gonzaga Bulldogs, followed by #2 seed Oklahoma Sooners vs. #3 seed Syracuse Orangemen.
Here’s how I rank ‘em.
1. Louisville Cardinals–Terrence Williams is top flight security of the world Craig…not just the city, but the world Craig. He will shoot your eye out kid, bang on you, dish you a nice shiny that he’ll also steal on the defensive end and grab every Mo Malone in sight. Defense, defense, defense plus threes for your ass. Louisville is scary and if their press is effective, game over.
2. Connecticut Huskies–Front line defense plus Price shooting equals almost unstoppable. The two previous times Coach Calhoun missed tournament games, they won it all. Hasheem Thabeet is like seven twelve and wipes everything, Stanley Robinson will bang it on you in reverse from the foul line and Jerome Dyson is the best assistant a head coach could have. What worries me is they haven’t had a decent opponent yet.
3. Pittsburgh Panthers–Levance Fields has been at Pitt for like 15 years. Dude has grey hairs and shit. His squad is battle Big East tested like their remaining conference look-a-likes. Dejuan Blair is a monster who sleeps under your bed at night…chasing you down before you run and turn off the light. Sam Young eats up everyone who is in front of him trying to play D. Pitt has never beaten a team seeded higher than six in the tournament. Hmmm.
4. Memphis Tigers–This team deserved a number one seed and they will prove it to you. Get ‘em Reke! I want to see if this team can finish. Coach Cal keeps ‘em going and going with his team self demoralizing style but who can argue with 27 straight? UNLV of the new millennium. Memphis will get after it with crazy athleticism.
5. North Carolina Tarheels–Tywon is a beast and Wayne Ellington is my mans but they ain’t winning it all folks so stop…just stop. Too light in the ass down low. The ACC Conference is way overrated.
6. Villanova Wildcats–Playing at the Wachovia Center put some Broad Street Bully in them or like AG likes to say…made them “Supa Tough!”. Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson go hard every trip up and down. Pretty boy Jay Wright plugs ‘em in and out and please don’t sleep on Corey Fisher.
7. Syracuse Orangemen–Everything you need to win a title–plus a sick zone. Paul Harris is a strong safety playing behind two bigs, shooters everywhere with no conscious and the indescribable Jonny Flynn–who has biggest heart left to go along with his Hall of Fame coach’s mind.
8. Michigan State Spartans–Every senior who has played under Izzo has made it to the Final Four. Sorry Jemele, I just can’t speak on them Flint boys like that. Damn.
9. Oklahoma Sooners–Blake Griffin and uh….Blake Griffin. What else? To their credit, it looks like they made the right decision in giving Jeff Capel the job huh? I just don’t think they shoot well enough as a team.
10. Missouri Tigers–Mike Anderson learned from the best and 40 minutes is still hell. Great passing team. Memphis and Missouri will be the most entertaining contest this weekend. Don’t get up, ya might miss something.
11. Duke Blue Devils–See #4…without Lawson and Ellington. Henderson is nice but NC and Duke are nothing more than ambassadors for the sport…and that ain’t a good thing.
12. Kansas Jayhawks–You think this is low? So what. Dude, Cole Aldrich is getting trip dubs. ‘Nuff said. Sherron Collins is a leader among men and Bill Self is one of the best coaches left, but the Jayhawks are too damn young.
13. Xavier Musketeers–Sean Miller played for Pitt and threw the pass that Jerome Lane made glass. Why do cats take charges? I know his grand kids will look at him funny. The ball bounced off his dome and everything. Anyway, Sean Miller is one of the best player coaches in the land and will have his squad ready for his alma mater but I just don’t see it happening. He’s building something nice there though.
14. Arizona Wildcats–Coach Pennell is looking to pull a Steve Fisher and still won’t get the job. NBA talent all over the floor. St. Mary’s who?
15. Gonzaga Bulldogs–Jeremy Pargo is another one of those cats who has been around since LeBron was playing with marbles and scribbling on his Momma’s walls with fat crayons. Josh Heytvelt is do everything and the rest of the Zags come at you in patient and disciplined waves. They are not just glad to be here. Will not be surprised if they rise to the occasion and upset the Heels.
16. Purdue Boilermakers–Every team in the Big Ten was suspect besides Michigan State. Nothing to see here. They will be terribly out rebounded against UConn.
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