A Sweet and Super Sour 16: Friday Night PreviewBy Jhop
Marquette (11) vs. North Carolina (2): 7:15 p.m. on CBS
I have never been such a fan of heinously colored uniforms as I am tonight. I hope those yellow jerseys, brighter than the sun itself, blind the hell out of Harry Barnes and his baby blue-clad amigos. But the Golden Eagles have a big task ahead of them. And I mean that literally. UNC has an NBA-level front court, led by gigantic muppet beasts John Henson and Tyler Zeller. They remind me of Burt and Ernie – obviously, Henson is Burt with his weirdly oblong head and tiny ears and unibrow. Fine, he doesn’t have a unibrow. He is still adorably funny looking. The muppet tag-team is streaky, but extremely effective. It seems like they take turns dominating, and I fear the day when they figure out how to work in tandem. That is, unless they are making bone-headed mental mistakes like the kind that almost killed UNC last weekend. The final minute of the Tar Heels game against Washington was like a comedy of errors. UNC has eked by so far, but eventually their horrendo free-throw shooting and penchant for turnovers will catch up with them. I am hoping it is tonight, but at worse, I am banking on the Elite Eight. Marquette intrigues me. They are unpredictable and scrappy, and they have fought for their place in the Sweet 16. Led by Jimmy Butler on defense, Marquette tormented Xavier and Syracuse into poor shot selection and turnovers. For whatever reason, they remind me of a little band of Lance Thomases, if that makes sense. No mindblowing numbers jump out at you, but somehow they do the dirty work and get the job done. So good for you, Golden Eagles, for being the only Big East team besides Connecticut to keep dancing. That said, they are clearly racist. While the university is 82% white, the basketball team is 93% black – and the one white dude, the one lone cracker? Robert Frozena averaged only 1.9 minutes in 13 games this season. While we do not support hate crimes here, we still have to go with the Golden Eagles tonight. I mean, do not get me wrong, UNC should win this game – they have superior talent, a bitchier fanbase, a little prick for a coach, and a top-three draft pick in Mr. Barnes. It is their game to lose. And they should be totally ashamed and humiliated if they do. How could you ever hold your head high again after going from a preseason All-American to a loser against an 11th-seed? It would an irreparable failure. So, like, no pressure or anything.
Kansas (1) vs. Richmond (12): 7:27 p.m. on TBS
Ever since Roy Williams didn’t give a shit about North Carolina, but then all of a sudden, like a whole 24 hours later, gave many shits about North Carolina, I have had a soft spot for Kansas. They have tremendous history, always put a solid team together, rebounded well from Roy screwing them, and I mean, they are really fucking good this year. And there is no reason whatsoever that they should lose this game. Richmond is fundamentally sound – they play smart basketball, they can all score, and they handle the ball well. If they heat up from long-range, the Jayhawks could be in trouble; they have a 6’10 senior, Justin Harper, who shoots 46.5% from behind the arc, 19th overall in the country. At the same time, the Spiders will not get as many good looks as they have in the past. Kansas plays really solid defense, and even their big men are quick and effective. And as good as their defense is, their offense is even better. They lead the nation in field-goal percentage behind Marcus and Markieff Morris. Don’t you feel badly for the twin named Markieff? And really, Mr. and Mrs. Morris – could you not be even a little creative? Were you that surprised by two children and only had the name “Mark” picked out, so you just went with slightly different versions of it? Even with the naming tragedy, the Jayhawks are destined to win this game. The only thing that could work against them is the actual pressure to, you know, win the game. They are contending with terrifying 10, 11, and 12 seeds; if they don’t make it to the Final Four, they will genuinely never forget the wasted opportunity. Because this should be easier than Miley Cyrus after a couple of Salvia hits. Anything can happen, but it will take a miracle of Barry-Bonds-on-steroids proportions.
Ohio State (1) vs. Kentucky (4): 9:45 p.m. on CBS
This is going to be a great game. And, if at all possible, I would like both teams to lose. Behind Door #1, we have Ohio State, the overall #1 seed which has been dominant in the tourney so far. Jared Sullinger is averaging 17.1 points and 10 rebounds per game; he is a powerful beast. They have Jon Diebler, Aaron Craft, and David Lighty, who are all capable of lighting it up from the field. Seriously, Ohio State is scary good. They are ranked 8th in defensive efficiency across the nation and first in defensive free-throw rate. So, don’t plan on going to the line often and don’t plan on scoring easily. But pencil in some turnovers, because the Buckeyes are going to force them. No means yes in the Midwest? All I know is that Ohio State is capable of making anyone its bitch. So, all in all, Door #2 is probably the better option, right? Wrong. Unless you support slimy con-artists like John Calipari, who may or may not be a documented cheater, spokesman for hair gel, registered sex offender, and social secretary for the AAU. He is the only coach in history to have two Final Fours vacated, and with all of these sketchy one-and-done freshman wizards that he has been signing, Kentucky is bound to eventually be number three. Nevertheless, the Wildcats will be a pretty formidable obstacle for Ohio State. They are big with Terrence Jones and Josh Harrellson, they have a stud in Brandon Knight, and some long-range shooters in Darius Miller, Doron Lamb, and DeAndre Liggins. Kentucky can be the real deal if they are firing on all cylinders, and especially if they establish an inside-outside presence. They have a lot of talent to throw at the Buckeyes – the thing is, it is just not enough talent. Ohio State is a much smarter, more efficient, more experienced basketball team. They have only lost twice, both games on the road to ranked teams; and in each, one player on the opposing team had a crazy awesome night. To have any chance, Kentucky needs someone to take over, put the team on his shoulders, and totally dominate. They also need to slow down the Buckeyes. This has the potential to be an epic game, but common sense says Ohio State is too much for Kentucky in the end.
VCU (11) vs. Florida State (10): 9:57 p.m. on TBS
Sigh, does anyone even care about these bracket-busters? I mean, this is arguably an NIT game. And it is not as much fun to watch Cinderella A knock Cinderella B out of the tournament. So, like? Not that excited about this one. That said, I have no doubt that both teams were seeded worse than they really deserved. VCU crushed Purdue and Florida State owned Notre Dame, both in humiliating fashion. The smart pick is probably VCU, but I am going with my fellow ACC-er in a close one. VCU has Jamie Skeen, but I mean, I am not sure that is something to brag about. They also have a point-guard named Joey Rodriguez, who sounds like a nine-year-old Hispanic kid from the Bronx. Florida State comes from a much stronger conference and is conditioned for tough battles. They turn the ball over a lot, though. Like all the time, on 23.1% of their possessions. They are throwing away an obscene amount of points each and every game. This one could go either way – just expect a tough, sloppy, scrappy game. In the end, someone will claw their way to victory and, one way or the other, a Cinderella is going to the Elite Eight. So that is fun, right? Right. I think.
It is Friday, bitches. Go be the best Golden Eagle fan you can be.
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