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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Must See Sports – Fifth Weekend of March 2014

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 4-4
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 23-20
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 0-0

Baseball is back. The Final Four will be decided. It’s a great weekend to be a sports fan!

Thursday, March 27

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

South Regional Semifinals

(11) Dayton Flyers vs (10) Stanford Cardinal

Stanford has demonstrated the potential to get hot and it is happening. Dayton has no consistent scorers and nobody to step up and stop Stanford’s post game. The Flyers’ 15 minutes are up.

Advantage: Stanford

(4) UCLA Bruins vs (1) Florida Gators

UCLA 6’9” point guard Kyle Anderson(15 PPG, 7 APG, 9 RPG)  has been a BALLER. He has helped lead this year’s surge at UCLA. Kyle Anderson, meet Scottie Wilbekin (13 PPG, 4 APG, 2 StlPG) and Coach Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators and their lockdown defense.

Advantage: Florida

West Regional Semifinal

(6) Baylor Bears vs (2) Wisconsin Badgers

I never know which Wisconsin (and which Sam Dekker – 13 PPG, 6 RPG) is going to show up. Too often, this season, when the Badgers have been riding high, they unexpectedly nosedive. The Bears, after a rough start to the season, have been on fire, winners of 12 of their last 14 going back to mid-February. Equally important, I can expect the physical, aggressive Cory Jefferson (14 PPG, 8 RPG) to show up for Baylor. Wisconsin’s only chance is if they can bottle Jefferson up.

Advantage: Baylor

(4) San Diego State Aztecs vs (1) Arizona Wildcats

Don’t expect a lot of scoring in this game. San Diego State employs a ball attacking defense. The problem for them is that teams at the level of the Arizona Wildcats tend to be prepared for their brand of attack and protect the ball better. In addition, I think Arizona’s game in the paint trumps that of the Aztecs. In a low scoring game, I think that is where the difference lies.

Advantage: Arizona

The Sweet 16 round is when things get real. 1
Friday, March 28

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Midwest Regional Semifinals

(11) Tennessee Volunteers vs (2) Michigan Wolverines

The Vol stops here.

Advantage: Michigan

(8) Kentucky Wildcats vs (4) Louisville Cardinals

This is the biggest game of the coming weekend, including the regional finals. It is also in the toughest region. I think the winner of this game eventually advances to the Final Four. The John Calipari vs Rick Pitino storyline gets people’s attention. But I think the difference is the experience of the defending champion Cardinals over the much younger, cross-state rival Wildcats.

Advantage: Louisville

East Regional Semifinals

(7) Connecticut Huskies vs (3) Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State is outstanding on paper and if this game were played on paper, I would expect them to win big. However, big players make big plays to advance their teams in March. UConn point guard Shabazz Napier (18 PPG, 5 APG, 6 RPG) has been playing out of his mind of late. I like Connecticut’s momentum over Iowa State’s consistency in a minor upset in this game.

Advantage: Connecticut

(4) Michigan State Spartans vs (1) Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia has been one of the best teams in the country all year. Michigan State seniors Keith Appling (12 PPG, 5 APG) and Adreian Payne (17 PPG, 7 RPG) have sniffed and almost tasted a championship in the past two seasons, coming up short. Sophomore Gary Harris (17 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 StlPG) is the catalyst who could get MSU and Coach Tom Izzo over the hump.

Minimally I expect it to get them to the Final Four. Virginia is a low scoring team without a strong offensive post presence. This feeds right into the Spartans’ strengths.

Advantage: Michigan State

Gary Harris may be the missing piece in Michigan State's championship puzzle. 2
Saturday, March 29

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Regional Finals

To be decided by the winners of the Regional Semifinals….

Sunday, March 30

Major League Baseball

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 0.00 ERA) – Dodgers vs Andrew Cashner – Padres

Although the regular season started last weekend in Australia for the Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday will kick off the MLB season, stateside.  The Dodgers dominates the Padres and the National League West last year and that domination will continue into Sunday.

Advantages:  Game – Dodgers, Series – Dodgers  

Ryu and the Dodgers are out to finish what they started last season. 3
Tuesday, April 1


Houston Rockets at Brooklyn Nets

The Nets went from a catastrophic start to the season to chasing down the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division title. Still, with Kevin Garnett (7 PPG, 7 RPG) out of the lineup and Dwight Howard (19 PPG, 12 RPG, 2 BlkPG) coming to town, these scales tip toward the Rockets.

Advantage: Rockets   

If Garnett can get back to the Nets' lineup healthy before the playoffs, there could be some interesting second round games in the Eastern Conference. 4

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