ACC in NCAA Tourney Breakdown: 2) UNC vs. 4) Kentucky

Posted by Brandon Rink on March 26, 2011 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article

Kentucky/UNC matches up two quality frontcourts. (Per OrangeandWhite.com)

One ACC team remains – can the Tar Heels sweep their two game series with the Wildcats?

(2) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (4) Kentucky Wildcats, 5:05 (EST), CBS, Newark NJ

Coaches Tourney Records: UNC – Roy Williams 57-18 (7-2 in Elite 8); Kentucky – John Calipari – 28-12 (2-4 Elite 8).
Heel That Has to Step up: F Harrison Barnes – It’s time, time for Barnes’ big game to lead to UNC’s advancement…UK’s Josh Harrellson (6′10 275, averaging 15.6 ppg in tourney) has been going off and will bother Zeller and co. in the paint – UNC needs a big one from Barnes.
UNC Has to Stop: Brandon Knight (17.2 ppg, 4.2 apg) – Knight was Kentucky’s most consistent scorer all season, but not so much in the NCAA Tourney. He’s scored 2 against Princeton, 30 against West Virginia and 9 against Ohio State…your guess is as good as mine on his performance against UNC, but I wouldn’t count on a bad one.
What I’m Thinking…: This is a rematch of a game long before these teams were as good as they are now. UNC won 75-73 in the Dean Dome on December 4, 2010 – Zeller put up 27 points and 11 rebounds – UK’s Doron Lamb was the Wildcats’ leading scorer with 24 points. What can you take from that game? Not much.

What’s important is that Kentucky just downed the tourney’s best team (Ohio State) and UNC drilled Marquette. There may not be a better frontcourt matchup in the tournament then UK/UNC, and Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall aren’t too shabby either. Bottom-line, this is game is going to be entertaining – just like the first one. The size of each will affect the other, but I like Marshall and Barnes to attack Kentucky in a shootout win.

Pick: Heels 82-76

ACC in NCAA Tourney Breakdown: 10) FSU vs. 11) VCU

Posted by Brandon Rink on March 24, 2011 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article

Bernard James and the 'Noles are still dancing against a VCU team that has already upset three teams. (Per OrangeandWhite.com)

Will FSU keep their run up against a dangerous VCU team?

(10) Florida State Seminoles vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams, 9:57 (EST), TBS, San Antonio TX

Coaches Tourney Records: VCU – Shaka Smart – 3-0 (0-0 in Sweet 16); FSU – Leonard Hamilton – 5-5 (0-1 in Sweet 16).
Seminole That Has to Step up: F Bernard James – He posted a double-double and led the ‘Noles in scoring against Notre Dame (3 blocks too)….he matches up with VCU’s top big man in 6′9 240 Jamie Skeen on Friday.
FSU Has to Stop: Bradford Burgess (14.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) – Burgess went off on Purdue with 23 points – hitting 8 of his 12 shots (3/4 on 3-pointers) and grabbing 8 boards.
What I’m Thinking…: You know you get to a certain point when you’ve picked against a team in three straight games – wrong in two of the three cases. Am I good luck for the ‘Noles? Should I go with the hot ‘Noles here now? Would I be overlooking another underdog in VCU?

Thinking it out – FSU is the better team when they play like they did against Notre Dame. They will be an imposing defensive force that VCU hasn’t seen up to this point in the tournament. This ‘Noles team has experience that won’t  be phased by the new neutral site experience, where as VCU’s coach and team haven’t been on this stage two weeks in a row. We’ll play it safe with the higher-seeded ‘Noles perilously against VCUpset.

Pick: ‘Noles 64-60

ACC in NCAA Tourney Breakdown: 2) UNC vs. 11) Marquette

Posted by Brandon Rink on March 23, 2011 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article

UNC's size is once again a factor going into the NCAA Tournament matchup with Marquette (Per OrangeandWhite.com)

(2) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (11) Marquette Golden Eagles, 7:15 (EST), CBS, Newark NJ

Coaches Tourney Records: UNC – Roy Williams – 56-18 (9-4 in Sweet 16); Marquette – Buzz Williams – 3-2 (0-0 in Sweet 16).
Tar Heel That Has to Step up: F Tyler Zeller – Once again, UNC has a mismatch in the paint with only one Golden Eagle over 6′10 in Chris Otule who only averages 17.5 minutes per game…with a no. of solid guards for Marquette, Zeller has to be a big scorer Friday.
UNC Has to Stop: G Darius Johnson-Odom (16 ppg, 2.4 apg)– Johnson-Odom has hit right on that points per game in his last 12 games (19 against Xavier and 17 against Syracuse in the NCAAs) among a group of experienced guards.
What I’m Thinking…: The round of 32 brought a scare for the Heels against a team that matched them blow for blow on offense. In the Sweet 16, Marquette isn’t afraid to run with UNC either. Averaging  76.1 points per game (32nd in the nation), the Golden Eagles knocked out West Virginia in the first round of the Big East Tournament before Louisville drilled them 81-56, cruised in a win over A-10 regular season champ Xavier in their opening NCAA Tourney game and held on late (with the help of a questionable backcourt call) against conference foe Syracuse 66-62.

The young Heels have been flirting with disaster ever since the ACC Tourney games with Miami and Clemson – Marquette, a team that’s been hearing all week about how weak the Big East has been, will take advantage of UNC if they let them hang around. That said, UNC’s big men bail them out again and the ACC continues to roll right to the Elite 8.

Pick: Heels 79-71