March Madness preview

Our Canadian boys pick their favourites in American university sport

The CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) season might be over, but our neighbours down south still have one of the biggest basketball tournaments in the world left to play.

Uniter staff members Jo Villaverde, Kevin Chaves and Mike Collins, along with the man who picked Kansas to go all the way last year, Marko Bilandzija, chime in with their favourite teams and players to watch for during March Madness.

Marko is on the Tar Heel bandwagon

On Feb. 11, 2009, the Duke Blue Devils realized how much damage a Tar Heel could do. In fact, the effect was so powerful that it left a deficit of 14 points.

The domination that this team has brought to the league time and time again has nothing to do with cool names, but with the talent of the players and coaches.

This year, not even Kansas will stand a chance against the awesome power of Tyler Hansbrough’s 21.3 points per game.

Whether the ball is scored from the inside or beyond the arc, the likes of Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and Deon Thompson, along with their superstar Hansbrough, will stop at nothing until they hoist the trophy.

Kevin thinks it’s the year of the Cardinals

The winner of this tournament will come out of the Big East with the favourite being Connecticut; but I am not counting out Louisville.

Most teams win with their players but coach Rick Pitino will lead these quiet killers and take them to the top. His starting line-up players are underrated because of his “spread the ball” philosophy.

Earl Clark and Terrence Williams each average over 10 points and just fewer than 10 rebounds every time they are out on the court, while Samardo Samuels plays a great accent role.

If Louisville doesn’t win, then it will be UConn. Plus, if the Arizona Cardinals can make it to the Super Bowl finals, why can’t the Cardinals from Louisville make it far in this tournament?

Long live Cardinals!

Mike believes the Huskies will be the top dogs

The University of Connecticut Huskies are dominant year in and year out in the NCAA, and this year is no different.

A number two seed with a record of 27 – 2, they’re featuring a dominant set of posts in Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet (who both have season average double-doubles in points and rebounds) and a fantastic point guard in A.J. Price.

On top of offensive fire-power, Thabeet averages 4.5 blocks per game, making the key totally his house.

Expect Connecticut in the Final Four.

Jo thinks all other teams reek, root for Jodie Meeks

I’m not even picking a team. I’m picking Jodie Meeks.

Meeks is the best player in the NCAA. Forget Tyler Hansbrough, forget Stephen Curry, I’m all for Meeks.

Jodie has shot for 0.430 percent behind the arc (Curry only has 0.382) and has earned 25.1 points per game (Hansbrough only has 21.3). Meeks does it with a much worse supporting cast than the other two.

Tennessee tried everything to cover Meeks, the Oscar Robertson trophy candidate, but he still posted an incredible 54 points against them this year.

The kid that wears Michael Jordan’s 23 will fly high this tournament and he is the player I’m watching. I don’t even care about the rest of the Kentucky team.

Although it is very unlikely Kentucky will win, if they do Meeks should get to take the trophy home as he will carry his team through the tournament.

Published in Volume 63, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 12, 2009)

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