College Basketball Experience Tournament Preview

by Andrew Force | November 23rd, 2008

Florida (2-0) versus Syracuse (3-0) will be a nice early-season tussle. Both teams believe 2009 will mark a return to the NCAA Tournament. For different reasons these recent NCAA Champions missed the Big Dance last year.

For ‘Cuse, the two-year hiatus stings even worse.

Two of the nation’s finest point guards provide the source of renewed faith. Florida runs out Nick Calathes, while Jonny Flynn bounces the orange for Syracuse.

Two starters, Calathes and Chandler Parsons played together in the Florida State Final Four every single year of high school. These super sophomores need only improve their D. Last year the defense played by the C + C Music Factory was a “Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm.”

A weak body (Parsons) and slow feet (Calathes) allowed SEC opponents to shoot a steamy 45% from the floor.

Syracuse center Arinze Onuaku, the “Nigerian Hulk” will test the improved physical strength of Parsons.

Flynn certainly plans on attacking Calathes off the dribble. Look for Florida to hide NC on Eric Devendorf. If Devo re-discovers the bravado Boeheim remembers, then this matchup will define the game.

Kansas (2-0) ball handler Sherron Collins has recognized the gravity of the moment. The proud Jayhawks’ family needs him to take charge and he is doing just that.

The Chicago product crammed 18 points into his first half against Florida Gulf Coast. He has poured in 60% of his shots early in the season and is finally allowed to dominate the ball in this his junior year.

Washington (2-1) is a one trick pony this year. Jon Brockman is being touted as a National Player of the Year Candidate. Though unrealistic, the expectation reveals his importance to the Huskies. He leads them in points, rebounds, and effort.

For any human to dump in one-third of the team’s scoring and yank down one-fourth of his team’s rebounds defies comprehension.

Washington will lose but only because Brockman can’t make his fellow Huskies mush.

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  1. John Says:

    @ Andrew. I may be a little partial seeing as how I am a Florida fan, but I think the Gators will win this tournament simply because the defense is a lot better than it was last year, and while it was against Toledo and Bradley, at least we didn’t schedule cupcakes like Le Moyne, Florida Gulf Coast and UMKC. I think sometimes Calathes gets lost in the shuffle of outstanding point guards, but I would argue that he is in the Top 10 point guards in the nation. I was also impressed with how much Werner’s offense has come along. If someone can step up at the center position, I can see this team making the Sweet 16. This game against Syracuse, however, will not be easy. Flynn gets all the headlines along with Devendorf, but I like Harris and Rautins is an essential glue guy. I think Florida wins by 7. I think you are selling Washington a little bit short. Yes, Brockman is the Huskies only major weapon, but Dentmon is solid and Lorenzo Romar is an underrated coach. I picked Michigan to upset UCLA(see my comment on David’s 2K column for evidence of that), so i’ll go the Pac-10′s way in this one and take the Huskies to beat Kansas, I’m not sure how to read the Jayhawks simply because the level of competition was sub-standard. I think Brockman will give Florida fits and might even go for 30, but the Gators improved defense will shut everyone else down and carry them to a 10 point win. I like Syracuse to knock off Kansas in the Consolation Game. Too much offense for the young Jayhawks, although Bill Self’s team will gain loads of valuable experience playing in this tournament.

    As an aside, since you cover the Mid-American conference, I was curious as to who you think can challenge Kent State for the MAC title and who your sleeper is?

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