Saturday, March 3, 2007

Big XII Predictions, 3/3

Well I missed two games this week...can't say I was surprised about missing the Baylor game, though the ISU-NU game proved once again that you never know what you're going to get out of the bottom 8 teams in this conference. I thought ISU was toast and NU was clicking...and naturally ISU won on the road.

So what do we have this weekend?

Texas at Kansas - It's weird that the biggest game of the weekend's happening at 11am on Saturday, but whatever. You really don't ever know for sure what you're getting from Texas either--if Augustin is comfortable and Abrams is making open 3's, then they could win a national title. If only one of those things is happening, they could make the Sweet 16, assuming Durant is clicking. If neither of those things are happening, then they'll bow out in the NCAA First Round even if Durant scores 45. Kansas, however, has been frighteningly steady over the last month or so, so I've got to play the odds here. KU by 8.

Nebraska at Colorado - History in the making here. Before the season, when Ricardo Patton announced that he was quitting at the end of the season because he didn't get a contract extension, my one thought (without looking at the schedule) was "Well...he just clinched a 6-20 season." Of course, CU had 28 games scheduled, and 27 is the standard minimum, so 6-20 was going to be pretty tough to pull off. But then the UC-Davis and TCU games were cancelled due to Mother Nature inflicting some wrath, and suddenly CU enters their final regular season game with, you guessed it, a 6-19 record. I'll be super pissed if CU wins this game. Honestly, CU showed some fight against MU the other night, so a win in Patton's last game is probably 50/50 (80/20 if he gets the same kind officiating that Dan McCarney got in his final game...sorry...bitter). But hey, fate has worked in my favor so far with this one. NU by 5.

Oklahoma State at Baylor - My last chance to get that whole "Baylor can jump up and bite someone" statement correct. And fate's once again working on my side, since it was obviously fate that made Mario Boggan half-assedly headbutt Cartier Martin late in an easy OSU win Tuesday night. So you know what pick I have to make. BU by 3.

And yes, half-assedly is a word. It's in a Barenaked Ladies song, therefore it truly exists.

Oklahoma at Kansas State - You know Jeff Capel will have his team playing pretty tough, but you have to figure that, with KSU's NCAA resume starting to crumble to the ground, they're going to play tougher. KSU by 6.

Mizzou at Texas A&M - After a none-too-impressive home win against Colorado, I'm not totally sure why I think Mizzou's going to put up a really strong fight today, but I do. They're not going to win or anything, but I think this is going to be a tight game. MU's not scared of a tough road environment (they played better on the road against NU, KU, CU, and ISU than at home...and maybe KSU too), and ATM might be at least a smidge off their game after losing their chance at the Big XII title. But Law IV's too clutch, and ATM's just a little too big for me to pick a big upset here. ATM by 6.

Texas Tech at Iowa State - No idea how this game got the prime time slot, but oh well. Texas Tech always has quite a bit to play for, and while Hilton Magic has been a bit inconsistent this year (needless to say, there wasn't a lot of magic going when they got whomped by Mizzou there). They're still 4-3 at home in conference, and Tech is 2-5 on the road, so it's still pretty hard to pick against them there. But I'm going to. Tech by 1.

And while we're in the mood for predictions...

Today's Conference Tourney Finals:

Atlantic Sun
1 East Tenn St vs 2 Belmont - Being that ETSU tried really hard to lose to both 8-seed Stetson and 4-seed Lipscomb while Belmont (Mizzou's Bucknell...sort of) has coasted, I'm going with Belmont by 8.

Big South
1 Winthrop vs 6 VMI - I'm an upset junkie. I want every conference tournament to implode. I wanted the Evansville/Drake winner to win the MVC tournament (Drake beat Evansville, then quietly bowed out to, and I'd be excited to a scary degree if VMI were to beat Winthrop, especially since a) VMI has basically played like a really really poor man's early-'90s Loyola Marymount, and b) this would probably mean the Big South would get 2 teams in the NCAA tourney. However, Winthrop seems about 20 points better than everybody else in the league, and even though VMI has polished off the #2 and #3 seeds in the tournament already...well, Winthrop hasn't lost a game to a Big South team all year...why would they start now? Winthrop by 17.

Ohio Valley
1 Austin Peay vs 2 Eastern Kentucky. I'm thinking this will be the best of the Finals games today. Let's Go Peay swept both games from the Colonels this season, and I've decided to break out college hoops cliche #1239: It's hard to beat a team 3 times in one season. Unbeatable logic there. EKU by 1.

1 Davidson vs 3 College of Charleston. CofC broke up my dream of getting two SoCo teams in the NCAA's. I think if Davidson would have beaten Appalachian State in the finals, ASU had enough of a resume to sneak would have been really close, anyway. I can't figure ASU gets in after their 2-pt OT loss last night. And to punish CofC, I'm picking Davidson by 14.

UPDATE: Two things: First, I almost forgot to post how the Big XII tourney bracket would look if things shook down the way I outlined above. Second, I should go ahead and make my pick for Monday night's OSU/NU game to make everything complete.

Oklahoma State at Nebraska - I was prepared to take NU, no questions asked, until they lost to ISU. Now I really don't know. Thinking about matchups, though, OSU has Boggan (assuming he plays) and Kenny Cooper, and they should at least do a competent job against Aleks Maric. The slight OSU homer is coming out in me here, but if Boggan plays, I say OSU by 5. (If not, NU by 6, but I haven't heard that Boggan's not playing, so we'll go with the former for now.

And that makes the standings...

1. Kansas 14-2 (27-4)
2. Texas A&M 13-3 (25-5)
3. Texas 12-4 (22-8)
4. Kansas State 10-6 (19-10)
5. Texas Tech 9-7 (20-11)
6. Missouri 7-9 (18-11)
7. Oklahoma State 7-9 (21-10)
8. Iowa State 6-10 (15-13)
9. Oklahoma 6-10 (15-14)
10. Nebraska 6-10 (17-13)
11. Baylor 4-12 (14-15)
12. Colorado 2-14 (6-20!)

So the Thursday matchups would be...

8 Iowa State vs 9 Oklahoma
5 Texas Tech vs 12 Colorado
7 Oklahoma State vs 10 Nebraska
6 Missouri vs 11 Baylor

And the Friday matchups would be...

1 Kansas vs ISU/OU
4 Kansas State vs Tech/CU
2 Texas A&M vs OSU/NU
3 Texas vs MU/BU

...which would be pretty bad for Mizzou, who matches up way better (in my opinion) with ATM than Texas.