honoluluadvertiser.com

Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCAA hoops: East Region analysis: Kentucky, Texas give bracket a frosh feeling


By Blair Kerkhoff
McClatchy Newspapers

Freshman are supposed to feel NCAA Tournament pressure. This bracket will let us know.

Top-seeded Kentucky is led by perhaps the nationís top first-year men in John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.
In their second-round game, the Wildcats could meet Texas, which according to some services, recruited the nationís top class of Avery Bradley, Jordan Hamilton and JíCovan Brown.
Clearly, the Wildcats have had much greater success, running away with the Southeastern Conference and surviving Mississippi Stateís upset bid in the conference title game Sunday.
Texas has been one of the nationís most puzzling teams, one of a handful in the gameís history to be ranked first and then fall completely out of the polls in the same season.
The eighth-seeded Longhorns will take on another mysterious team in ninth-seeded Wake Forest, which looked formidable at times this season but has lost five of six.
Texas will have to contain Al-Farouq Aminu, the only player in the Atlantic Coast Conference to average a double-double this season.
On the bracketís other half, second-seeded West Virginia played so well in winning the Big East tournament it drove coach Bob Huggins to tears. DaíSean Butler is now the gameís new Mr. Clutch after game-winning baskets in the conference tournament semifinal and title games.
And in a piece of bracketing structure that selection-committee chairman Dan Guerrero said couldnít be avoided, two Big East teams could meet in the Sweet 16 with Marquette on the Mountaineersí side of the bracket.
Itís also true in the South Regional with Villanova and Notre Dame as potential Sweet 16 opponents.
In the East, New Mexico will try to make it a moot point. The third-seeded Lobos are the lone wolves from a nonpower conference among the top four seeds.

BEST MATCHUP

No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 10 Missouri
Tiger, Tiger burning bright, or so not so bright lately, which may make this a close game. Clemsonís Tigers have lost three of five, and Mizzouís Tigers have dropped three of four.

UPSET SPECIAL

No. 12 Cornell over No. 5 Temple
Using top-ranked Kansas as a barometer, Cornell came within an eyelash of ending the Jayhawksí long home floor winning streak, and the Owls melted down against Kansas on their home floor.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Kentuckyís John Wall
Itís Wall, the nationís most dynamic guard, if itís not the Wildcatsí DeMarcus Cousins, perhaps the nationís top big man.