Yesterday's picks were pretty poor, and for that I apologize. Let's go line by line from yesterday's predictions, and see exactly where I got it wrong. Today's comments are in bold.
Butler vs. Syracuse
Onuaku's not playing, but it doesn't matter (it was hugely important - Rick Jackson looked lost out there). Orange by 15 (Basketball slang for "Butler by 4"). Butler looked good in the second half against UTEP, but they snuck by Murray State in less impressive fashion (this is the last time I ever disrespect Murray State. EVER.). Their only chance tonight is to bomb away, but Cuse's athleticism and length should keep them at bay (their feisty man-to-man D just killed Syracuse, who played terribly despite Butler's pretty awful shooting performance). On the flip side, Wes Johnson is red-hot, and Boeheim's crew look like the unbeatable bunch that dominated the regular season (Johnson had an okay game, but was pretty friggin' far from red hot). They certainly didn't miss Onuaku in the opening weekend, and they won't tonight (ugh, did I have to say it AGAIN?).
Washington vs. West Virginia
Have you noticed that when people talk cinderellas, nobody mentions the Huskies? (Yes, in fact, I have noticed that. Good point. The rest of this paragraph should be dead on.) It's because they're from a power conference, and won that conference's championship. Nobody will be erecting monuments to the Pac-10's strength this season (I was wrong about this, too: Humboldt, California resident Rainbow Bennett, a Vinyasa yoga instructor and Buddhist practitioner, will be constructing a biodegradable abstract sculpture called 'Pac-10 in Ardor' using organic aluminum and range-free chicken fat), but UW still beat a good Big East team (Marquette) in round one, and dominated a supposedly tough New Mexico squad in round two. West Virginia lost their point guard, and everyone wants to ignore that their wins in the Big East tourney were all close, including one against Cincinnati. I'm gonna sack up and pick Washington (my balls are so large). I don't know if it'll come true, but I'm fairly positive this game will be close (when you consider the total amount of points scored in a single season by every team anywhere, 13 points is relatively really close. Science.).
Xavier vs. Kansas State
Xavier is coming off two wins against fairly physical opponents (Minnesota and Pitt), so K-State's supposedly superior strength and athleticism don't worry me (it won them the game, but somehow I'm still not worried...in fact, I just ate a chocolate munchkin donut as if nothing was wrong with the world). I have a feeling that Martin will yell his guys into the ground, and we'll see some player scream back, and it'll be an "incident." (In the history of long-shot predictions that were basically random guesses based on a half-assed analysis of human nature and were completely unnecessary to make, this ranks #7.) Anyway, this game is the hardest to pick. (Correct!) I haven't really seen Xavier aside from their tourney games, and it's hard to read their conference, too; Temple and Richmond lost first round, but the teams that beat them were Cornell and St. Mary's, who both look pretty awesome. And Dayton and Rhode Island are going to the NIT semis, though that little factoid is probably meaningless. (Oh, how young and naive I was! How innocent we were!) Meanwhle, the Big 12 is down to K-State and Baylor. So I'll have to go with my gut, and that particular SOB is saying Xavier by 10. (Call me crazy, but my gut STILL says this one will come true.)
Kentucky vs. Cornell
I would love nothing than for Cornell to win, and I will be rooting for them furiously. I will go nuts every time they make a basket, and fret every time the Wildcats strike back. It would be such an awesome story. That being said, Kentucky is going to drub 'em, and drub 'em good. (Got one!)
Quick other thoughts on last night's games:
*Man, Cornell stunk. How can the smartest team left in the tournament completely shit the bed like that? They weren't even on the radar. They were barely playing basketball. I don't even think Kentucky looked that good. One of the great things about not living in upstate New York anymore is that I didn't have to watch every single second of this game, including the bizarre fouling strategy by the Cornell coach that dragged the ending to excruciating lengths. The other great thing about not living in upstate New York? Getting away from all that sodomy. Yuck!
*Butler plays ferocious, tiring man-to-man, and Kansas State just had to play an exhausting double OT game. Advantage Bulldogs, right?
*West Virginia will probably beat Kentucky. Going back to the Big East tourney, they've now won six tournament games in a row against some pretty good teams. The Wildcats have run off the same streak, but the competition has been far less formidable. I mean, Wake Forest and Cornell are barely basketball teams, and they needed a miracle to take down Mississippi State in the SEC title game (a team that just lost to UNC by 2 in the NIT, by the way). I'm anxious to see how Calipari's crew responds to a physical, gutsy team like the Mountaineers. I don't think they'll have the fortitude to make it through.
On to the important stuff later today! It's a Duke Friday!