Monday, March 22, 2004

Mandel's March Madness


Mandel's March Madness

Stewart Mandel at CNN - SI (Sports Illustrated) now prognosticates predicts that Duke and Connecticut will meet in the semifinals and that the winner of that game will be the national champion this year.

Maybe.

Connecticut has been very impressive against weaker teams but has had some problems with good teams. They are simply too inconsistent to be national champions. If they make it to the semifinals, they have to beat Vanderbilt first, and then they will have to beat Syracuse, presuming Syracuse beats Alabama. Given the way the tournament has gone this year and this season, nothing is so certain as upsets, so watch out.

In fact, we think that either Pitt and Oklahoma State will make it to the finals and that one of those teams will win. But if outsiders such as Nevada or Xavier win, would we be surprised? Not really. It has been that kind of season. If Illinois shoots against everyone like they did against Cincinnati, no one will beat them. If Georgia Tech plays the kind of team basketball they are capable of playing, they could win. Wake Forest is very strong. Maybe Texas is finally getting it together, and maybe St. Jospeph's really IS good. Anyone who can knock of Kentucky, is a force to be reckoned with, so look out for UAB, up against a Kansas team that keeps moving forward, where no one expected them to be this far. Did we miss anyone - sure, Vanderbilt might play perfect basketball the remainder of its games and win. Alabama might be the most unlikely champion playing above its abilities, and, always a possibility, even Syracuse could repeat as national champion, even without Anthony Carmelo. So, even if the pick is right, it would still be luck.

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