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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Looking at the NCAA Tournaments ahead...






WEDNESDAY @ CARDINAL COUPLE:


-Who will win the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament?


-How will Pitino's Cards fare in the Men's Tournament?


-The Side Line Reporters Tournament down to eight.


Can't bear to watch as your bracket picks fall apart on opening day of the NCAA Tournaments? Fear not, the staff of CARDINAL COUPLE is here to help you pick winners and blow the competition away with your prowess, skill and foresight. Yeah, right...Anyway, we have some observations on both tournaments. Not your thing? Go do Sudoku or stand on your head in the hallway. Bye, bye...now. Take care, then. Close the door behind you...we're talking hoops here today.


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The standard observation from many when looking at the NCAA Women's Tournament is that it is basically a four team event with UConn holding a slight advantage. WE won't deny that Baylor, Stanford, UConn and Tennessee are the prohibitive favorites to roll out of their regional game unscathed and gather in Indy...but, just for the fun of it...WE'RE going to offer (4) teams that might spike the punch and break up the party.


-Notre Dame. The Irish are well balanced, disciplined and shoot well. They ended up in Tennessee's region...who we feel is the weakest of the four top seeds. Wouldn't surprise us if Muffett McGraw's Irish end up in Indy..they do face the possibility of facing always dangerous Oklahoma in the Sweet Sixteen, though.


-DePaul. The 3rd best team in the BIG EAST, which means they probably would have won just about any other conference title out there. Bruno's Demons can turn up the "d" and have skill and depth at guard...which is important this time of year. Tough luck ending up in UConn's region and they do have a probable tilt with Duke in the Sweet Sixteen. Don't dismiss DePaul.


-Xavier. They can rebound with anyone and score inside at will. Their path to the regional finals starts at home, too. A pesky Louisville team, who they beat earlier in the year might try to stumble them up on the way to Seattle, and Kentucky or Stanford might challenge them for a Final Four berth. We can see them marching a long way..if Louisville doesn't whip them.


-Kentucky. Yeah, the Wildcats. Some say that Victoria Dunlap is...pound for pound, inch for inch...the best player in women's college hoops. Whether she can gather a few 'Cats around her and make a run in the regionals is speculative...but if they get by Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen, look out Indy.


David Watson weighs in on the women:


If it is to be the #1 seeds advancing to Indy, then so be it. They've done a good job beating up on each other during the regular season. Stanford beats UConn, UConn beats Baylor, Tennessee wins over Stanford, Baylor beats Tennessee. I will concede that the road to Indy looks like these four schools. I will not rule out, though, that upsets could develop. Here's four potential games that could send one or more of the "fabulous four" home early and grumbling.


-West Virginia vs. Baylor. Mike Carey's Mountaineers are a solid, battling bunch. It's Liz Repella's senior year (finally). Madina Ali is a boards monster. This is one worth watching.


-Stanford vs. UNC. I'm picking the Tar Heels to send UK home and meet up with Tara Vanderveer's Cardinal. UNC plays in argueably the second best conference in WBB. Hmmm.


-Notre Dame vs. Tennessee. The Irish have about 30 weapons on their squad. They could get tripped up by Miami or Oklahoma on their march to the Great Eight. If not, beware Vols.


-Connecticut vs. DePaul. I know, the Huskies handled them in the regular season. DePaul has to find a way past Duke to see Geno again. Bruno vs. Geno. Make it so. UConn isn't that deep.


Whatever transpires on the road to Indy, the fate of Louisville should be determined in Cincinnati. If they can get past a dangerous Vanderbilt team (#10 seed is way too low for them) and find a way to beat Xavier on Xavier's court, then pencil the Cards in for a Great Eight date with Stanford. Even better, hope that Kentucky beats Stanford and it is Cats vs. Cards for a Final Four slot. You gotta believe. You gotta want it. I'll be at the Final Four waiting to see the Cardinal Bird and the Lady Cards. I might even sell Paul my other ticket.


Maybe he'll send Sonja instead. Ooh-rah!


(David Watson has absolutely NO chance of spending a weekend in Indy with my wife. I, however, would probably go if he promises to take me somewhere other than Wendy's to eat and works in a trip to Broad Ripple...)


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So, how far do you have Louisville going in the NCAA Men's Tournament? It's a popular debate around the taverns and office spaces as tournament time gets closer. We looked at the three CARDINAL COUPLE staff bracket selections we have so far...(Paul, Sonja and David) and came up with some interesting differences. Bill the Goat, Co-Co and Tommy Boy haven't made their picks public yet. We're pretty sure Bill has eaten his already, Co-Co stole my selections and is trying to sell them on E-bay and Tommy Boy probably won't have a bracket sheet. After all, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and he won't even be cognizant that basketball is being played...

-Paul has a feeling about Pitino's bunch this year and has them winning then whole thing. Remember, this is Paul were talking about and he hasn't won a bracket contest (or finished in the top twenty) since Nixon was President. His final four is: North Carolina, Duke, Pittsburgh and Louisville. The Cards and Duke in the final. What was that old Aerosmith song? Dream On, Dream On...Still, you gotta admire the lad's spirit and loyalty. We like the fact that Rick starts out with More Head. (groan.)


-Sonja is a bit more logical. She takes Kansas to the championship. Her Cardinals are bowing out to the Rock, Chalk, Jayhawks after beating Morehead and Richmond. The Sonja Final Four is: Connecticut, Ohio State, Kansas and Pittsburgh. Kansas holding off UConn in the final game. She's busy packing as we speak to go to San Antonio...where she's sure the Cards will be on March 25th. Love that Riverwalk!!! (Hope she likes Greyhound, too. I'm not driving her there.)


-David is a BIG EAST fan...we all know that. His Final Four of Louisville, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and West Virginia, though, is simply ridiculous. He has the Cardinals falling to the Huskies in the championship. This one is suitable for bird cage liner...David also picked Belmont over Wisconsin, Akron over Notre Dame, St. Peter's over Purdue and Memphis over Arizona. Sometimes, we wonder about the boy...


We went to a site called the Blindfold Bracket and did a sheet. This is where you're not given the name of the team but a descripton of them, their strengths and weakness and such. It's a lot of fun and based on what we filled out there...we came up with a final four of Ohio St., San Diego State, Florida and Notre Dame. Notre Dame beating San Diego State in the final. You can try it at http://www.wsj.com/ It's the Wall Street Journal's web site and you have the scroll down a bit to find it...but click it and see how you do...A second try gave us Kansas, Texas, Ohio State and Wisconsin...with Kansas the Champ. HOO-BOY!


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Andrea Kramer blew past Rebecca Lobo in the final match of the first round in the Sideline Reporters Tournament. Lobo claimed foul and limped back to the UConn locker room. That means we're down to the GREAT EIGHT. Your matchups are: Erin Andrews vs. Heather Cox, Tony Siragusa vs. Allison Williams, Alex Flanagan vs. Pam Oliver and Eamon McAnaney vs. Andrea Kramer. We're going to give the contestants a few days off and continue the matches on Tuesday.
(Heather Cox, pictured here...will have her hands full with a tough Great Eight matchup against the Queen of Sideline Reporters Erin Andrews. We think 'Cox can post up inside, though and score.' (SMH). Action resumes Tuesday, March, 22nd. )

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