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Is that Smoke? No, Just More Sweet 16 Burning Questions …

March 28, 2014

After giving thanks for another two days of Scoochie, and deliberating the merits of the “March Madness Vasectomy” (Heck to the No!), I have more Burning Questions to ask someone, anyone, please …

(2) Michigan vs. (11) Tennessee, Midwest Regional (4:15pm PST) – Will Tennessee become this year’s version of the 2011 VCU squad that barnstormed their way from the First Four to the Final Four? Despite the seed difference, is this game really the virtual coin flip that the various prediction machines from FiveThirtyEight to the oddsmakers in Las Vegas believe it to be? Can Michigan keep up its torrid three-point shooting (21/45 for 46.7% in two NCAA games) against one of the better defenses left in the field (#15 in AdjD according to KenPom and allowing 33% 3FG in two NCAA games)? Will Tennessee continue to score 80+ points against the worst remaining defense in the Dance (Michigan is #95 in AdjD). Does Michigan have an answer for Tennessee’s Top four leading scorers, the “Four Jays” (Jordan McRae, Jarnell Stokes, Josh Richardson and Jeronne Maymon), or is Michigan’s plethora of three-point shooters (Five Wolverines in their current 8-man rotation average 39.3% 3FG or higher) the unanswerable question of this matchup? Will this game be the offensive outburst yesterday’s Wisconsin-Baylor game promised but failed to deliver? Will I actually get to eat the popcorn this time?

(3) Iowa State vs. (7) Connecticut, East Regional (4:27pm PST) – Can the highest scoring offense left in the tournament (Iowa State averaging 89 ppg in two NCAA games) continue to blitz opponents offensively with the services of Georges Niang and his broken foot? Can Shabazz Napier be the second coming of Kemba Walker and lead the Huskies to the Promised Land once again? Or has Shabazz met his match in the equally clutch Cyclone lead guard DeAndre Kane? Will Connecticut enjoy a virtual home court advantage in Madison Square Garden, 136 miles from their campus in Storrs? Can the survivor of this game actually have a real chance of beating the Virginia-Michigan State winner? Is there any better nickname left in the NCAAs than Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg” (Scoochie is an actual name)?

(4) Louisville vs. (8) Kentucky, Midwest Regional (6:45pm PST) – In what is undoubtedly the marquee matchup of the night – only the fourth time in the NCAA history the previous two champions have met in the Dance – can this battle of the Bluegrass State live up to the hype? Which history is stronger: Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino’s 1-5 record against John Calipari’s Kentucky, or the fact that the Defending NCAA Champion In this case, Louisville) has won the prior three such meetings between successive NCAA champions? Will this rematch of their regular season tilt end up much like Arizona-San Diego State did last night? Or will Cool Hand Luke Hancock (I think that’s his full legal name) come to the rescue again with cold-blooded three pointers at the most crucial times as he has for Louisville in their previous four NCAA games (dating back to last year’s Final Four)? Have Kentucky’s precocious Freshmen come of age and live up to their #1 Preseason ranking, or will they revert back to the incoherent, NBA auditioning squad that resulted in 10 losses? Will Indianapolis be red or blue tonight? Will St. Elmo’s run out of shrimp cocktail?

(1) Virginia vs. (4) Michigan State, East Regional (6:57pm PST) – Will Virginia prove they are worthy of more respect as the ACC Champion and #1 seed than most in the media have given? Is Michigan State, the presumptive MSSM favorite, just getting warmed up? Is Tony Bennett’s pack line defense an unsolvable rubik’s cube (#1 in the country with 55.5 ppg allowed and #5 in AdjD)? Will Virginia’s Evan Nolte have to come off the bench, hit a couple of threes and give Virginia Another 48 Hours like he did in their Round of 64 game against Coastal Carolina? Who on Michigan State will score their career high this time around, with Adreian Payne’s 41 against Delaware and Branden Dawson’s 26 against Harvard already on the board? Is Michigan State even more underseeded than Louisville, or will the MSSM Media Darling, the Fighting Izzos, prove the NCAA Selection Committee had it right?

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  1. Four Things We Know About … Connecticut | Bobby True

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