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Full Deck of Cards

March 15, 2009


About ten hours away from selection sunday, I sit here trying to digest all of the conference tournament games that have taken place over the last few days.  This is arguably my favorite college basketball weekend of the year.  Watching four big east games in a row on espn is always a treat, especially when the games are played at MSG.  The icing on the cake was that six overtime thriller between the Orange, and Huskies a couple nights ago. The Big East is the toughest conference, and saying this, I believe that Louisville and Pittsburgh will be facing off in the finals, if they are on opposite sides of the bracket.  The Louisville Cardinals will win the national championship due to their great defensive press.  Defense wins championships, and when a team causes 23 turnovers a game, they are tough to beat.  This is especially the case when Rick Pitino is at the helm.  Pitino basically made the 3 point shot popular while coaching at Kentucky in the mid 1980s.  The Cards have a full deck, as Jerry Smith, Preston Knowles, Terrence Williams, and Andre Mcgee can all hit the three at any point in a game.  The unsung hero for Louisville is definitely Plainfield, New Jersey native, Earl Clark.  The 6-9, 225 pound machine has a promising future at the next level.  He drains fourteen footers like its another day at the office, and his ability to drive to the hoop and create plays for others with such ease is fascinating.  Besides the fact that Louisville won the Big East tournament, and that they played in the toughest conference in the nation this year, they have that “it” factor.  The last two games of the big east tournament sum up what the Cardinals are all about.  Trailing by eight against Villanova, and Syracuse, Pitino must be doing something right at halftime.  The Big East Champs completely dominate the second half of games.  This has been a common occurrence all season, as the Cardinals defensive pressure fatigues opponents.  On the offensive side of the ball, Williams, and Clark lead an explosive offense that have an array of great athletes that are intelligent ball players.  There are many teams that could take down Louisville.  If Ty Lawson was healthy, I would be picking UNC to win it all.  However, toe injuries for point guards are a major cause for concern.  Florida state defeated the Tar Heels in the semi finals of the ACC tournament yesterday.  Without Lawson playing, they were an entirely different team.  Danny Green and Wayne Ellington were forced to try and do to much.  The Uconn Huskies were my pick to win the national championship, that is until Jerome Dyson got injured, and is now out for the remainder of the season.  The biggest threat to the Cardinals is going to be Pittsburgh.  Pitt lost in the second round to West Virginia in the Big East tournament.  I am not saying that they lost purposely, but I guarantee you the Panthers had last year’s tournament on their minds.  After winning the 2008 Big East Championship, Pittsburgh got knocked out in the round of 32 by Michigan State.  The Panthers have too much talent not to make the final four this year.  Rest won’t be an issue, and the big 3 of Fields, Young, and Blair should be an equation that equals success.  If Louisville and Pittsburgh are on the same side of the bracket, I am going to predict that the Tar Heels will be making it on the other side.  Lawson will be playing, 100% healthy or not.  His presence on the floor alone will help the Heels go to the final four.  After selections are made in a few hours, it will be a lot easier to dissect my final four predictions.  Until then…  



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