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SportsPower Picks

Posted by Trish18 on Mar 3, 2009 10:16:01 AM

March Madness is just around the corner. Follow along with us as we track the teams and reveal who will make the field of 65 in Men’s Div. I hoops on the March Madness predictor. Here’s how our favorite bloggers see things shaping up as we head into the NCAA tournament: on why Duke Could Win the National Championship:'s Gary Parrish continues to rank Duke as a Top 10 team. Gary's readers continue to send him hate mail for not hating on the Blue Devils.


Who is right? Parrish, without a doubt. Not only are the Blue Devils one of the nation's best clubs, but Duke also deserves significantly more national championship consideration than the Blue Devils have received to date.


Gary is right to praise Duke's body of work. The Blue Devils are 12-5 against the RPI Top 75 and haven't lost to a team outside the RPI Top 50. More importantly, the Blue Devils are also the only team in the country that ranks in the Top 12 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Duke is the country's sixth most prolific team on offense, averaging 1.17 points per possession, and seventh most stingy team on defense, allowing opponents only 0.88 points per possession.


Who besides Duke may cut down the nets in April? Connecticut, North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, and BYU. (Ok, maybe not BYU). All five clubs (the Cougars included) are among America's 20 most efficient clubs on both offense and defense. with a look into the ACC:


The ACC has had a ton of upsets this year and there are two schools of thought about the strength of the ACC this year. Either you think this conference is so good that anyone can win on any given day or it is a conference that is overrated and not nearly as strong as the rankings.


North Carolina has been the favorite in all future books to win it all since the end of last season. If its possible for a team to be a little disappointing with only 3 losses this would be the case. Only one of there losses is to another top ranked team. Consistent defensive lock down play has been the problem in all of there losses this year. Definite #1 seed and will get to play pretty close to home first four games. Don't think they have enough depth in the back court to win 6 in a row. Final four for this team but no further.


Duke has had a very nice year and even though they still lack the inside presence they only have 5 losses and if they win out would split the conference title with UNC. Coach K has this team trying to avenge early losses the last two years in the NCAA tournament. This team looks like a #3 seed for this year’s big dance. Another 2nd round loss is a high probability. 2nd round games verse a #6 seed from a power conference like the Big East Syracuse or Pac 10 team like Stanford would give this team fits. No sweet 16 for Duke for third year in a row.


Wake Forest has been a welcome surprise for the ACC this year. Teague has been unbelievable and will be up for conference player of the year. This team is extremely hard to play against with there length and athleticism at all positions. This team is going to finish strong and end up with #2 seed come March Madness time. Love there chances to win it all will need Teague to keep up his scoring and play making. Definitely think they could beat any team out there and will be a force to at least the Final Four.


Boston College has beat both Duke and UNC this year but have also lost to Harvard. Very inconsistent team that can struggle to score when PG Rice is not hot from the field. Will get in due to there huge wins against the top two teams in the league but not a fan of a team that plays in spurts. Most likely will be a #9 seed that gets pounded first game.


Six ACC teams are for sure in for Craig but have three teams on the bubble with a chance to earn there berth: Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Miami Fl.


YahooSports blog, The Dagger, on Georgetown’s chances this year:


This year, way, way before any basketball was played, we anointed the Big East the Best Conference Ever™. That included Georgetown and Notre Dame, two teams that were supposed to be as good as any in their conference. They were supposed to challenge for the Big East, to push the conference over the top, to help get some insane number of bids so we all could say, yep, look at that Big East. Best Conference Ever™. After the bad loss to Louisville at home, it's official now: Georgetown is not that team. The Big East is not that conference.


Georgetown isn't improving. They're not regressing, either. They're just playing ... OK. And even if the Big East isn't as good as we said, even if our expectations for the now top-heavy conference were way too high, even if the only people who still think that way are named "Bob Huggins" -- OK basketball doesn't cut it in that conference. You have to be good. The Hoyas, conclusively, are not.


Andy Katz on why Oklahoma could be considered the best team in the country:


1. The Sooners have the best overall player and inside player in Blake Griffin;

2. Opposing defenses have trouble deciding who to lock down on the perimeter with the capability of three 20-plus point scorers in Willie Warren, Tony Crocker and Austin Johnson;

3. The Sooners added a sixth starter-quality player in Juan Pattillo in midseason, a wing who can defend multiple positions and can be a double-digit scorer off the bench.


The Final Word with an inside look into what the March Madness selection is all about:


The selection exercise was the most eye-opening, incredible experiences I've had in my relatively short career as a member of the sportserati. It was a glance into the overwhelming responsibility that these 10 people have every March, with millions of dollars and the interest of an entire nation on the line. But be sure of this: there was very little basketball in that room, and even less poetry. For a game that features the pure simplicity of propelled ball up into a raised goal, followed by the placid swish, that's plenty ironic.

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