Friday, March 09, 2007

Round 3 - the semifinals

OK, so I called for three upsets in the quarterfinals. I got two. That's not bad. I'm 6-1 in this tourney so far. Tomorrow's games are as follows;

1:40pm - Ohio State (1) vs. Purdue (5)
Ohio State laid the smackdown on Purdue twice this season already, but Purdue is a much better team than those scores represent. They beat the daylights out of Michigan State, 62-38, so I'm not ready to overlook the Boilermakers. Most pundits have already placed Purdue in the big dance, but the Boilers know that this win would seal the deal. They'll be playing with some intensity. Ohio State, meanwhile, will be in the Thad Matta "pedal to the metal" mode all day, and I do not expect to see any letup from the Buckeyes.

Carl Landry was kept in check both times Ohio State beat Purdue (16 and 13 points), and that will have to be done again for OSU to make the title game.

Over and over again today we heard about how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season. then we beat Michigan for the third time this season. I expect the announcers Saturday to repeat the same mantra again and again, and I expect Ohio State to again beat a team for the third time in a season.

405pm - Wisconsin (2) vs. Illinois (6)
Wisconsin must be thrilled to not have to play Michigan State, having seen the Spartans three of the last four games. They'll be even more thrilled to see Illinois, who left the court around 1130pm EST after an exhausting overtime win Friday night. They'll have to take the court again after wearing themselves out just 16 hours earlier. That, coupled with a much better Badger squad will lead to a victory for Wisconsin.

Illinois' only hope is to take serious advantage of the absence of Brian Butch. Shaun Pruitt went for 19 points and 14 rebounds when Butch played against the Illini last time out...what will he do without the strong junior posting up against him? My guess is he'll have a huge day, but it won't be enough.

It'll be an Ohio State-Wisconsin rematch on Sunday afternoon, and BOTH teams will leave Chicago with #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

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