February 24, 2005
My 16 cents
I was watching the Wisconsin-Michigan State basketball game, and at halftime they were demonstrating how the teams were placed in the tournament. As a demonstration they used the guy's top 16 in order to do it (I think it was Fran Fraschilla but I'm not sure). It may have been then most horrible top 16 I've seen. All I have to say is that the ESPN people are so east-coast biased it's not even funny. So in an effort to counteract their negative karma in the world of Top 16's I'm gonna balance it out with my own semi-expert list:
2. North Carolina - the top 2 are easy
3. Oklahoma State - With John Lucas at guard and Eddie Sutton coaching, this is a dangerous team. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they are the team with the best chance of beating Illinois, based on their coach and their style of play.
4. Boston College - Much better than some people give them credit for. Their two losses were close and on the road against quality teams. Should be a number one seed, barring any late-season collapse.
5. Kentucky - I'm still not sold on these guys, I mean they only put up 59 against a Waine Simien-less Kansas.....at home. Still they're 12-1 in a power conference. We'll know more after they play Alabama.
6. Wake Forest - Chris Paul and Justin Gray are still damn good. If Erik Williams ever gets going, these guys could be great.
7. Arizona - Even with a Pac-10 that's a bit weak, these guys still have some talent. Salim Stoudamire is one of the best players in America. Their early season loss to Virginia raises some eyebrows, but I'm willing to forgive them for now.
8. Kansas - This team is a bit inconsistant. If you get good Kansas then look out. If you get bad Kansas, then they're going to lose to a good team. The only thing about this team: Bill Self's high-low offense can get really predictable if he's not careful.
9. Louisville - When Freddy Garcia and company are firing on all cylinders they have the ability to beat anybody. A Louisville-Illinois game in the elite eight could be really fun to watch, both teams can run and score.
10. Michigan State - Alan Anderson is playing really well for the Spartans, and it looks like they finally found a point guard in Maurice Ager. Good, solid team, and with a good coach like Tom Izzo, these guys could do some damage. In fact, I would love to see these guys knock off one of the big three from the ACC just to shut Dick Vitale up.
11. Gonzaga - Ronny Turiaf is a legitimate All-American. Their two conference losses were both on the road and against the top 5 in the West Coast Conference. That they beat Oklahoma State and Washington proves they have the talent to be ranked this high.
12. Utah - Andrew Bogut is the man down low. Utah proved they could play with the big boys in football, and I think they stand almost as good a chance in basketball to play with the top teams from power conferences
13. Duke - I don't think they deserve to be this high, but they are 20-4 in a good conference. However, with Sean Dockery out, they may not be deep enough to win their second game in a weekend like they'd need to do in the tourney.
14. Washington - They have the athletes to beat top teams. They just need to be sure to always play their best.
15.Alabama - To be honest I don't know a lot about this team, but they played some damn good ball early that I saw and they've had a good run in the SEC. After they play Kentucky this weekend, we'll all know more.
16. Pacific - I am firmly behind these guys. They beat very good Nevada and UTEP teams, plus they played Kansas tough in Kansas. I would not want to see these guys in my region if I was anyone else on this list.
This list is subject to change in the next few weeks, but as it stands now, the top four seeds in each region would be, in order(Chicago Region Winner plays Albequerque Winner in Final Four and Syracus Winner plays Austin):
Chicago: Illinois, Kansas, Louisville, Pacific
Albequerque: Boston College, Kentucky, Utah, Duke
Syracuse: North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan State, Alabama
Austin: Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, Gonzaga, Washington
This Leaves us with a Final Four of Illinois vs. Boston College/Kentucky and North Carolina vs. Oklahoma State (OSU-Gonzaga rematch in the elite eight anyone?)
When this exact scenario comes out on March 13, just remember where you heard it first, ok