Thursday, March 27, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008 Tournament Matchups
This happens sometimes. A higher-seeded team becomes and underdog due to inconsistent play and/or injuries. Tennessee has suffered through both. Guard Chris Lofton, usually the Volunteers' first scoring option, has been ineffective in his first tow games of the tourney and the team has suffered. Lofton scored in single digits against both American and Butler. The Vols finally prevailed in the second round game with Butler, but were forced into overtime.
Not to worry. Though Louisville is rock-solid, especially in their full court pressure, the Vols have more weapons all over the floor and should find themselves with plenty of transition opportunities. The Vols will move on with their best game of the tournament. They shoot better from outside than the Cardinals and from the foul line. They look like 3-5-point winners.
(7) West Virginia -1 vs. (3) Xavier
Here again, a lower seed as favorite. But, this time, it's because the Mountaineers beat Duke, which is considered, by some, to be quite an accomplishment. That assessment is dubious. Xavier should clamp down on West Virginia's flow offense and turn on the after-burners in the second half. Xavier is likely to run away with this and win by double digits.
(1) North Carolina -8 1/2 vs. (4) Washington State
Unlikely to see the Tar Heels derailed by the Cougars. Washington State is a nice team, but they were only the third best in the PAC-10. They are likely to find Carolina's inside game much too talented and difficult to contain. Tyler Hansbrough may add tourney MVP to his likely college Player of the Year honors, and his run to greatness begins right here. Carolina should win and cover.
(1) UCLA -12 vs. (12) Western Kentucky
Easy picking for the Bruins here. Western Kentucky's Hilltoppers will make this interesting for about the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the Bruins will finish them off with a flurry. UCLA should win handily, though that dozen-point spread is probably a canard. Take the Hilltoppers and hope they can hang in single digits, losing with honor to the delight of the smart betting crowd. LA suckers get taken down big time here.
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