Tag Archives: West Virginia Mountaineers

Sweet and Elite

Wow. What a slew of games that we saw last week as a 1 and a couple of 2 seeds fell in this NCAA tournament. Villanova, Duke and Louisville all packed their bags early, heading back to their schools disappointed and ashamed.

Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan all have crashed the party and they did it in both dramatic and convincing fashion. We also have a clash of the titans in the south region, as seeds 1 through 4 all made it to the Sweet 16.

So let’s break down these sweet 16 games, and I will also give you my new picks for the final 4, since I had Duke in my final, my bracket is a bit busted. Here we go, let’s start up in the East.

654915236.jpgEAST

(8) Wisconsin vs (4) Florida

This is a great game that we would see in the Capital One Bowl during the college football season. Wisconsin led by Seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have brought Wisconsin back to the big time with their play in the first two games.  The Badgers have beaten Virginia Tech in a close one, and upset Villanova by 3 in a thriller.

Florida beat ETSU by 15 then smoked Virginia by 26. The Gators have been led by Junior forward Devin Robinson. Robinson has been a big time player for the Gators in this tournament. It’s an awesome matchup, and a tough one to pick. But I like Wisconsin in this one, that Senior leadership of Nigel Hayes is what will do it.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.11.15 AM.png(7) South Carolina vs (3) Baylor

I had neither of these teams in the Sweet 16, my matchup was USC-Duke. Boy I was wrong. Let me say this, I am not a Baylor Bear believer, but Jonathan Motley has been a force this year for the Bears. He is making me contemplate changing my mind about them. Baylor walked by NMSU by a bunch and squeaked by USC by 4.

South Carolina smoked Marquette by 20, and then took out Duke by 7. The Gamecocks led by Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, had plenty of scoring in their game with Duke. The Gamecocks had 5 fellas in double figures, 4 with fifteen points or more. I like South Carolina, they’re coming off the impressive win against Duke, and I think if Thornwell gets hot early, then it will be a long night for the Bears.

So the Elite 8 game would pit (7) South Carolina vs (8) Wisconsin, let’s stick with the Badgers to the Final 4. Hayes and Koenig led them back to the kingdom and they’re back as one of the prime teams in the Big 10.

EAST WINNER: (8) WISCONSIN

655329402.jpgWEST

(4) West Virginia vs (1) Gonzaga

Gonzaga is in this game because the NCAA didn’t want them bowing out early again. That game against Northwestern was officiated horribly . I think Bob Huggins will coach West Virginia and put Gonzaga coach Mark Few’s mind into a pretzel. The duo of Jevon Carter and Nathan Adrien are what will put the Mountaineers over the top in this one. The Zags aren’t as good as people think they are. If I am wrong, I will admit that. But give me WVU and convincingly.

654271336(11) Xavier vs (2) Arizona

I give Xavier all the credit in the world. They have beaten elite teams night in and night out. The Musketeers first took out Melo Trimble and Maryland then Dwayne Bacon and Florida State, now they get Arizona led by Allonzo Trier. Arizona has blown out North Dakota and slipped by St Mary’s. But this game could be a big one, if Xavier plays to their true potential, then I think they put up a fight. But then again, led by Trier and Lauri Markkanen, the Wildcats could blow this game into the stratosphere and it’ll be over at halftime. I like Arizona by at least 10.

My winner of the Elite 8 game of WVU and Arizona is going to be Arizona. I think Nathan Adrien will get into foul trouble early, and that could crush the hopes of WVU. They’ll close the deficit but Trier and company will be just too much.

WEST WINNER: (2) ARIZONA

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.13.26 AM.pngMIDWEST

(5) Purdue vs (1) Kansas

Kansas may be the most complete team in this region with Frank Mason and Joshua Jackson. Jackson has had big tournament with big play after big play. Kansas should get their first true test with the Boilermakers on Thursday night.

Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards are the duo who I think could give the Jayhawks their toughest match-up in the tourney thus far. Swanigan has at least a double-double a game and Edwards has dropped 20. This could mean Landon Lucas and Devonte Graham will need to be huge for the Jayhawks.

Who’s my pick? I like Kansas by 7 or 8, much closer game than the 2 previous match-ups for Kansas, but I do reserve the right to say if Josh Jackson heats up early, this one could be a double-digit blowout.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.14.35 AM.png(7) Michigan vs (3) Oregon

This game is the biggest one in the career of Dillon Brooks. This game is the legacy game I think for the guard. Brooks and company will face a Michigan team that will have overcome basically every obstacle in their way.

But do the Ducks have someone that can stop Moritz Wagner? I don’t think so, it will be one of those big man on one side and a guard on the other side games. Brooks got help from the other guard Tyler Dorsey against Rhode Island, and he will need all the help he can get in this one. Michigan on the other hand has won a majority of their games in the second half, if they wait that long, they will be blown away. I just flipped a coin and I like the Ducks by 2.

I think Kansas walks out of the Midwest. They boast way too much firepower. Jackson and Mason will eat the Oregon duo alive.

MIDWEST WINNER: (1) KANSAS

654641386SOUTH

(4) Butler vs (1) UNC

I won’t lie, I think this game comes down to the possible match-up of Kelan Martin for Butler and Justin Jackson for UNC. I think Jackson is most likely the most underrated player in the entire country and Kelan Martin is the most unnamed good player in the country.

Butler needs Martin to take over this game from buzzer to buzzer.  Then again, the starting five that UNC trots out is arguably the best in the nation. After a scare from Arkansas, I don’t think the Heels fool around with Butler, and escape with a 5 or 6 point win.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.16.17 AM.png(3) UCLA vs (2) Kentucky

The rematch we did not think we would get to see. Bruins vs. Wildcats was a thriller earlier this season, with the Bruins leaving Rupp Arena with a win. The Monk-Fox tag-team will have to be at its utmost best from start to finish. This could be the game of the tournament, a true matchup of stars that could give us another rematch. My big pick was Kentucky and I’m sticking with it. The Cats win by 8 as Lonzo Ball has an off game, and TJ Leaf gets into early foul trouble.

I am sticking with Kentucky, no other way to put it.

MIDWEST WINNER: (2) KENTUCKY

 

 

Advertisements

Inside 50 Days

We are now inside 50 day until selection Sunday. To the common man, that’s just a gentle reminder. But to a guy like me, it’s a day I have circled and highlighted on my calendar.

Selection Sunday is in my opinion, a national holiday, and is one of the best days of the year. There are some teams that I know are legit 1 seeds, then there are teams with resumes worth noting that could get the top seed or even a 2 or 3 seed. This year’s field is one of the most unpredictable, which makes me happy as a clam. It’s going to be an exciting March to say the least. So let’s look at some teams who I think will be a top 3 seed.

Here are a couple notes I have about the 1 and 2 seeds thus far. I am projecting a couple things with them. For the fourth and final one in each one of the groupings, I have created a group called “The CUSP”. Meaning they are on the edge of being a 1 or 2 seed.

1 Seeds:

during the game at Allen Fieldhouse on January 4, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas.

  • Kansas: Bill Self and the Jayhawks are a perennial 1 seed choice. It seems like these fellas are in this position every season. In fact, they’ve won 12 straight Big 12 regular season titles, and 7 of those regular season titles have transferred into Big 12 Tourney Titles. With just 1 blemish on the record thus far this season, the Jayhawks look to be locking up a 1 seed once again this season.

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 9.37.19 AM.png

  • Villanova: The reigning champs look as good as ever. Jay Wright’s team looks poised to make another run at the crown. Josh Hart looks like one of the favorites for the Wooden Award as well, as he averages 19 points a night. An interesting matchup with Virginia coming up could really bolster that résumé for the Wildcats. If they do win that matchup, then I will say this, Nova could really take over that number 1 overall spot.

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 9.37.54 AM.png

  • UCLA: While the Bruins lost a home contest the other night to Arizona, I love their chances to take a 1 seed. Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford are two names to watch, especially come tourney time. They are an awesome duo to watch. They, along with TJ Leaf and Isaac Hamilton average over 30 minutes a night, so you know the bench could be a factor if they get into foul trouble. But with a stud like Ball, anything is possible.

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 9.38.35 AM.png

  • The CUSP: In my honest opinion, the final 1 seed could come down to 3 teams. Those 3 teams being Kentucky, Baylor and Gonzaga. My gut feeling says if the Zags stay unbeaten, then they get the 1 seed. But if they drop just 1 game and Kentucky wins the SEC, the Wildcats get it. Baylor is in trouble since they have Kansas and WVU in their conference. I am sorry but whenever Gonzaga a 1 seed, they get to the Sweet 16 and lose. Give the Kentucky Wildcats and the best player in the country, Malik Monk, the 1 seed.

2 Seeds:

Embed from Getty Images

 

  • North Carolina: The Tar Heels, in my honest opinion, is the team that has underachieved this season. They lost Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, who were the top guys last year. Justin Jackson looks to be coming into his own, and with the addition of Theo Pinson, who missed a majority of this season, the Heels look poised to make a run. Kennedy Meeks is a guy who just doesn’t do it for me; he needs to step up big time. And I really think if you can get the young freshman Tony Bradley going, the Heels could even steal a 1 seed. But I like them at the 2 for now.
Embed from Getty Images
  • Creighton: 1 loss on the season for the Blue Jays. Wow is the word I describe them with for their start. I think Coach Mac has something special in guard Marcus Foster, who averages 18 a night. This kid is a game-breaker and reminds me of guards who have single-handedly taken their teams to the promise land. If they can somehow beat Nova again, maybe that run goes even further. Coach Mac has something great over there and something that could continue to be great for years to come.
Embed from Getty Images
  • Arizona: Now you’re probably saying, “Jack are you pulling my leg with this?” I most certainly am not. The Wildcats look legit now that Allonzo Trier is back. Trier was once said to be done for the year due to a suspension. But after he won his appeal, the Wildcats took down UCLA in Triers opening contest and he scored 12 points. Is Arizona back? I think so.
Embed from Getty Images
  • The CUSP: There are plenty of teams that you could make the argument for in this position. I like two teams in this spot right now, those being Florida State and West Virginia. Bob Huggins and WVU look really good, and are looking like they have the goods to go deep. Florida State, in my opinion, is a sleeper. The Seminoles will go as far as Dwayne Bacon will take them, he’s an future star but if he can be stopped, then the Noles are in trouble. For the Moutaineers, a lot more will be needed to be done to stop them. They have somewhere in between 8 and 10 guys who will go out and give it their all. That depth will get Bob Huggins deep into the tourney.

I leave out such teams like Oregon, Duke and Louisville. Oregon is going to miss Dillon Brooks a lot, he takes them to the elite level. Without him, they look very shaky.

Duke needs to figure it out, and everyone needs to get off Grayson Allen’s back. They have a kid in Luke Kennard who can take them places like Allen once did.

Lastly, Louisville needs Quentin Snider to step up, if he doesn’t then the Cardinals are done for. Too bad Damion Lee is a Boston Celtic, that kid would have elevated them into the top 5 and even the top 3 conversation.

So if you have any questions, comments or concerns, tweet at me @jcorsi11 or throw something in the comments. But until next week, stay handsome my friends.

 

A Top 4 Disaster

I was wrong about last week. I was very very wrong. I did not see the teams ranked 2 through 4 going down.

Embed from Getty Images

 

A major shakeup in the top 4 will occur. I totally expect that Ohio State and Louisville will climb inside the top 4. Ohio State will most likely be the number 2 team with Louisville taking the third slot. Now for number 4, I think we see Michigan take that spot. I say that because the Wolverines lost by a point on the road, so they clearly, in my opinion, could still be undefeated. Then at the 5 spot, I would pivk Wisconsin. That is based off the fact that Clemson and Washington both lost games at home. Honestly, Clemson should drop from 2 to 7 or 8, they should not have lost to Pitt. Making Washington ranked 6th, but what do I know.

So now for my picks last week, I went 3-2. I caught the upset bug, but hey, it’s time to move onto this week.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Let’s start on Thursday night. Yes, you are reading that right, Thursday Night Football will belong to the college game. Louisville travels down to Houston. This game should be AWESOME. Greg Ward Jr. vs Lamar Jackson. I am in awe, and totally forgot that these two teams will play each other. There may be 1000 points scored in this game too because both teams like to score so I am shaking in excitement.

Embed from Getty Images

 

An extremely interesting matchup is Washington State visiting Colorado. If we go back to my preseason conference predictions, I have both of these teams with a combined 6 wins. So this is a shock to me. What makes it even more exciting is that they both stand atop their Pac-12 divisions. WSU is undefeated and Colorado has a single loss. Also, the Buffalo’s cannot afford another loss. The Washington State passing attack could really exploit the Buffs in this one since they’re ranked 2nd in that category in the nation.

622863520

The big prime time game is Oklahoma traveling to Morgantown to take on West Virginia. The Mountaineers once controlled their own destiny, but now sit 5-1 in the Big 12. Oklahoma was my preseason pick for the Big 12 and they sit atop the division at 7-0, after starting out 1-2 in overall play. Baker Mayfield will be the story of this game. As he goes, so do the Sooners. If Mayfield can control the ball, and lead a stealthy attack, the Sooners should win this game. Joe Mixon running the ball could be a big problem for WVU as well, so he gets going too then it will be game over.

MY PICKS (Rankings go along with the AP Poll)

LOCK: (6) Wisconsin over Purdue

(20) Washington State over (12) Colorado

(3) Louisville over Houston

(8) Oklahoma over (10) West Virginia

(16) LSU over (21) Florida

That’s it for this week, keep on being handsome everyone.

 

CFP Contenders and Pretenders

Week 5 is now and the books and more questions, or prayers, have been answered. This was a huge week for the landscape of college football and giving us a better understanding of who is a pretender and who is a contender in this year’s college football playoff race. The committee is quietly waiting in the wind for November 1st to release the first college football playoff ranking, but it is never too early to speculate what they might be thinking. What we learned last week is Stanford can’t win the big game, Clemson still rules the ACC, and the Michigan vs. Ohio State game in late November will decide everything. So let’s see who the contenders and pretenders are for this year’s college football playoff.

Contenders:

Embed from Getty Images

SEC:

Alabama: Roll Tide is rolling once again and there is no surprises about that, Nick Saban and the boys are cruising to an SEC west title once again. They haven’t faced there toughest opponents just yet, but based on everything I have seen they will win out and get into the playoff as the number 1 seed. Bama puts up plenty of points and smothers opponents constantly on defense. Their kryptonite the last few years has been Ole Miss, and the Tide took care of them already this season. I hate Alabama with pure passion, but we’ll be seeing them in the playoff.

Tennessee: The Volunteers are flying high after a huge last second Hail Mary victory over Georgia last week, and the Vols have had Lady Luck on their side all year. To me Tennessee was a pretender before last week, but Josh Dobbs is balling out so far this year, and as long as he keeps it up Tennessee is on the fast track to the SEC title game against Alabama. The reason they aren’t a pretender still is because anything can happen in a title game. Alabama will probably beat Tennessee by 28+ but you just never know.

Embed from Getty Images

ACC:

Clemson: First and foremost I am still shaking from Saturday’s game against Louisville. Clemson put on an absolute show in the second quarter to get themselves to a 28-10 halftime lead, and I was well aware it wasn’t over. Louisville fought back aggressively in the third to regain the lead 36-28, but Dabo rallied the boys for the fourth quarter and led them to a 42-36 victory in Death Valley. Clemson was supposed to be this good and they are finally playing like it again. A tough road test in Tallahassee in a few weeks stands between Clemson and the ACC title game, assuming no slip ups from here on out, but let’s all knock on some wood.

Louisville: What Louisville proved to me on Saturday night was that if they win out, which would mean a huge road victory over Houston, they could potentially be a top 4 team in the country by the final college football playoff vote. They need Clemson to lose twice to get into the ACC championship game, so that seems unlikely, but the committee could absolutely put in a 1 loss Louisville team with Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Louisville gained enormous amount of respect from me after Saturday, but better luck next year Cardinals.

Embed from Getty Images

BIG 10:

Ohio State: Need I say more? It just comes with the name at this point, but the Buckeyes are nasty yet again. JT Barrett is having a stellar season and has led OSU to number 2 in the nation to this point. What will get the Buckeyes into the college football playoff? A big win over…

Michigan: A tough road lies ahead with Michigan St, Iowa, and Ohio St all on the schedule but I believe the Wolverines will get to the final week of the season undefeated. And as it is for Ohio State, Michigan needs a win in that huge rivalry game to get into the playoff. I really hope we get those two undefeated for that game.

Embed from Getty Images

Big 12:

Better luck next year!!

Embed from Getty Images

Pac 12:

Washington: I never thought Stanford was going to lose to Washington, let alone that badly, but here we are with Washington as a legitimate college football playoff contender. The Huskies have gotten extraordinary quarterback play from Jake Browning. The Huskies just need to win out and they are in no questions asked, but can they do it?

Group of 5:

Houston: Win out, beat Louisville, and pray to God that Oklahoma wins out as well. Houston can go undefeated but being in the AAC is making it tough for them, time to move to the Big 12. Good luck Houston, you deserve to get in if you are undefeated, but will the committee allow that?

Pretenders:

Embed from Getty Images

SEC:

Texas A&M: The Aggies are good don’t get me wrong, but they cannot beat Alabama, and that is what separates them from the playoff. A&M has a huge home game this week against Tennessee and they could absolutely win that, but being in the SEC west is tough because of the likes of Alabama. I actually see the Aggies winning against Tennessee, but not the SEC west.

Florida: A huge lead over Tennessee wasn’t enough for the Gators to win, so they are out, unless by some miracle they win out and Tennessee loses twice and the Gators beat Bama, good luck to them.

Embed from Getty Images

ACC:

Florida State: 63-20 loss to Louisville and another loss this week to North Carolina, smell ya later Seminoles.

Miami: Plain and simple this team hasn’t really beaten anybody that great and I don’t think they’ll even get to the ACC title game. I believe North Carolina will beat the Hurricanes and then Miami will probably fall off and finish like 9-3 or something.

North Carolina: They must win out and then beat either Clemson or Louisville in the ACC title game, no chance they do both.

Embed from Getty Images

BIG 10:

Nebraska: 5-0 isn’t bad, playing Michigan or Ohio State in the B1G title game is.

Wisconsin: They have the best chance out of the B1G west, but Wisconsin couldn’t beat Michigan last week on a bad day for Michigan. But there is a chance, if they get to the title game anything could happen, but I don’t see it for the Badgers.

Iowa: They lost to North Dakota State, a very good team mind you, but how you going to lose to the Bison at home and expect to beat Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan and then win the B1G title game? Answer is you’re not.

Embed from Getty Images

Big 12:

Baylor: Narrowly escaping Iowa State, real impressive.

West Virginia: Apparently they are 4-0, but who knew.

Embed from Getty Images

Pac 12:

Stanford: We all saw what Washington did to them, that’ll demoralize any team, they’ll lose again, I promise.

Utah: The Utes love having a solid start and then falling off the face of the earth once people start to recognize them. They won’t do anything with their season, maybe win the Las Vegas Bowl over New Mexico or someone stupid.

My playoff prediction after week 5 is Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, and Washington. Who do you have?