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Best Sweet 16 matchups

This is the calm before the storm, a chance to unpack and repack, pay some bills and reintroduce myself to my wife. But before I leave for St. Louis tomorrow night, I'm looking at which team fits the profile of last year's Florida squad. When you consider the course of the season, the similarities between 2006 Gators and one team this year is just uncanny. I'll save that for tomorrow's paper. We won't have another George Mason this year, but we might have another Florida.

Here are the round of 16 games I'm most looking forward to, in rank order:

Kansas-Southern Illinois
Texas A&M-Memphis
North Carolina-USC

Here is my ranking of the final 16 teams:
Texas A&M
North Carolina
Ohio State
Southern Illinois

By Eric Prisbell  |  March 20, 2007; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Next: This year's Florida


I swear to God, if you say Oregon is this year's Florida I will scream. The teams are completely different, who is Florida's inside presence? Did Florida beat it's first round foe by only two? Is Florida entirely dependent on jump shooting? Please, please do not say Oregon is this year's Florida.

Posted by: Chris | March 20, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

In the rush to crown someone "this year's Florida," everyone seems to forget that there is no "last year's Florida" unless UCONNvict lays an egg v. George Mason.

So maybe we should be figuring out who is "this year's UCONN?" That may pave the way for this year's Florida.

Posted by: leafblower | March 20, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Dan but that TV appearance last night was awful! Some of the most awkward moments in TV history. They youtube stuff has got to go. And tell Mike that Darryl Dawkins wants his shirt back.

Posted by: eric, baltimore | March 20, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Eric. Appreciate it.

Actually, a trusted colleague told me almost immediately after the show that it was a 0.7 on a scale of 1-10, so it'd be hard for you to crush me worse than that. I figure once we get down to 0.3 or 0.4 I'll get the boot, and then I can get back to my favorite pasttime, which is worrying about how bad this Bog is.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | March 20, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Stenberg, you appear to have misunderestimated the UT Vols chances. The regular season meeting was a 2 point game in columbus, look for a very competitive matchup in SA.

Posted by: Mikey | March 20, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse


Eric really gave it to you rough man. I would not say you were that bad, but it was not good. Here is a suggestion. Update the Wardrobe. You got to get some new clothes. How about a suit, but don't wear a tie. You clothes reeked of nerd, no offense. J Campbell looked good, you should do something similar. But don't wear anything like the other bald guy on the set with you. He looked like the 50 y/o at the bar trying so hard to fit it, but just looks like a douche. Tell him to put a T-shirt on under that shirt, no one wants to see all that chest. Good Luck

Posted by: Dbonics | March 20, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow, tough audience. I saw part of the show last night and didn't think it was THAT bad. (Sorta backhanded compliment, I guess.) But I loved Mike Wise's ridiculous shirt for its ridiculousness. Seems to me like it fits his personality perfectly, right? :-)

For you Dan, I think Dbonics might be right, the sweater + collared shirt look, a la Jason Campbell, is not a bad one. Or a suit would be fine too, sure, you could wear a tie or not, as you like (though honestly the tie does usually look sharper, as seen in any "best-dressed Wizard" contest you care to look at).

PS, getting fired from television and coming back to full-time worry about the Bog may be a worthy goal, but from what your editor said, it sounds like he's hoping to keep you on TV as long as possible. :-)

Posted by: Josh | March 20, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Before Selection Sunday, I never would have considered that North Carolina would be entering the tournament as underdogs but that is what the media has turned them into. It seems to me that reporters are discounting the Heels based more on the fact that it's the trendy storyline this year than reality. Everyone is so hyped up about Georgetown, who pretty recently lost to a team that didn't even make the NCAAs (all Carolina's losses made the tournament) and had a tough time with a Boston College team that North Carolina beat twice - including a massacre in the ACC Tournament. Georgetown's a super talented team no doubt, but I don't see why it's easier to find a Duke fan that thinks Henderson's foul was intentional than it is to find someone picking UNC over G-town. Florida has only 1 fewer loss than UNC, with two of those losses to teams not in the tournament this year. UCLA got pummeled in their conference tournament and barely survived a comeback from Indiana on Saturday. I haven't followed Texas A&M much so I can't comment on that and well, kansas is pretty good. I know that UNC has underperformed at times, but they won both the ACC regular season and the conference tournament and have simply been playing excellent basketball since their last loss - on the road - to Georgia Tech. I'm not saying they're guaranteed champions but I can't understand why no one except frigging Dick Vitale is willing to give them any credit in the postseason this year.

Posted by: Rachel | March 20, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow, someone is reaching pretty hard for disrespect.
There are a lot of people predicting North Carolina to make the final four, most of the electronic bracket systems (from, yahoo and others) have UNC as receiving the highest percentage of picks from the east region. There are also a number of experts out there who have picked UNC: Gottleib, Mandel, Doyel, Cohen, Kellogg, Packer . . . Georgetown is trendy upset pick, but North Carolina is still the favorite and if that matchup happens, the line from Vegas will prove it.
As for saying North Carolina is superior based on who they lost to, that is just silly, it is all about matchups, if UNC played the 2-3 zone like Syracuse, then Georgetown would barely have a chance, but the fact is their style of defense is the perfect matchup for Georgetown, just look at all of the backdoor chances Michigan State could have had on Saturday if they had held onto the ball.

Posted by: Chris | March 20, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse


Good news! I did not see the TV appearance. See, 98% of the population has no idea what the earlier comments are about.

That said, would put Kansas-Butler lower b/c Jayhawks looked dominating and I think they will win easily. OSU-Tenn higher, best chance for a 1 seed to lose. Georgetown-Vandy higher, we will see either the return of Hoyas to the Elite 8 or else Vandy - Vandy! - with a shot at the Final 4.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

What a surprise, Prisbell did the stupid story comparing Oregon and Florida while failing to mention a few other things that are not similar, Oregon was coming off of a terrible previous season, while Florida was coming off of another solid, NCAA year. At least Jerry Palm brought some sense to this by saying how stupid it is to be looking for this year's version of last year's teams.

Posted by: Chris | March 21, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Do people even watch the games when they say things like "Oregon could be this year's Florida"? The ONLY reason this has come up is b/c both weren't ranked before their seasons in question and both were no. 3 seeds. Otherwise there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Oregon will even sniff Atlanta, much less the national championship.

As for somehow arguing that UNC is disrespected, please. Vegas prefers them, KenPom prefers them, ESPN Sportsnation prefers them. Though there may be reason to worry. It turns out (surprise!) that the ACC was vastly overrated this year.

Posted by: Tin Lizzy | March 21, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh please thelast thing the ACC is is overrated. The only overrated conference we have to deal with is the Big East where the best team Georgetown, lost to a crappy Duke. Therefore, Georgetown would be seventh of eighth in the ACC, but first in the Big east. Obviously this means the ACC is better.

Besides, the Tourny committee did everything in their power to screw the ACC. First no Florida State because they didn't want a conference besides everyone's precious Big East to ever get 8 bids. That is the ONLY reason Florida State did not get in, and nobody wants to say it.

Second, the Committee tried to give every ACC team a bad draw in an attempt to make them look bad. Davidson should have been a 10 or 11 seed but they gave them a 13 so they could try to get Maryland knocked off early, they just forgot how amazing the Terps are. Its just that in the end their plan worked because my Terps were so tired after taking care of Davidson that they couldn't keep it up for Butler.

Posted by: ACC Rules | March 21, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Texas A&M-Memphis should be a good watch, especially if Texas has one of their off days offensively. And as much as I like this year's Pitt program and hope to see two Big East teams advance, they've been too spotty in the late season: I think UCLA will take it. As far as Georgetown-Vandy goes, Byars is going to determine whether or not the game is worth watching. If he's on, then Hibbert had better not be off.

Posted by: jmc89 | March 21, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

ACC Rules, its fine to love your conference, but when you get SEVEN teams with the following seeds--1, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10--you're supposed to get a lot more than one team in the Sweet Sixteen. In fact, a 4 seed or higher is SUPPOSED TO BE in the Sweet Sixteen, your Terps and the extremely overrated Cavaliers both flamed out early. No one, and I mean NO ONE expected the brilliant ACC to have only one Sweet Sixteen team. And don't forget Duke providing one of only two upsets in the first round.

Let me explain this in very simple fashion for you:

Multiple ACC teams did not go as far as their seed (i.e. their RATING) suggested that they would.

That my friend, is the literal definition of something being "over" "rated".

Posted by: Tin Lizzy | March 21, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Tin Lizzy...

That might make sense if everything was even to begin with, but it wasnt. Like I said, the Tournament Committee tried to screw the ACC. Trying to put ACC teams in matchups that would be unproportionally hard on the ACC. All you have to do is look at two of the matchups they created, Duke-VCU and UVA-Albany. They made them play the conference champions from two pretty good mid-major conferences in the America East and the CAA. The conferences that produced Vermont and George Mason in recent impressive experiences.

I say with the vendetta the Committee had to screw us that it is impressive. The reality is that the ACC is far and away the best conference in the country and everyone is just jealous.

Posted by: ACC Rules | March 21, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

There are two easy ways to measure a conference: top to bottom or success out of conference. Success out of conference can leave out the bottom teams in many conference. I still think the ACC is a top conference if not the top conference. The tournament is all about match-ups. Some of the ACC teams were dealt bad ones early. The PAC-10 is maybe the third best conference. Some have said the Big East is overrated. I still believe some of their teams were underseeded and for the year, the conference as a whole was underrated. Yes, at the end of the regular season it was Syracuse this and Syracuse that and we saw a couple of dreadful UConn games, but that's what you get with a four-letter network contract. The SEC has a couple good teams and some horrible teams. Florida is not my favorite team in the SEC. The Big 12, next. The Big-10 could get the overrated conference of the year award if you ask me. I know the ACC/Big-10 challenge doesn't mean much now, but would it hurt to win a few those? The Big12 has a couple of quality teams. There are several good non-BCS programs sprinkled around the country. I had more of a problem with the locations than the actual seeding this year. Seeding doesn't mean too much to me anymore, although I'm sure it affects the teams some. I was actually glad to see Texas-A&M beat Louisville.

Posted by: sitruc | March 21, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow ACC Rules...I guess the sky must really be falling over there in ACC country for you to actually suggest (with a straight face) that the committee set out to screw your conference by handing out 7 bids and high seeds. The MVC should have such problems! When you're the best conference in the land and you're given super high seeds it's pretty much impossible for the matchups to be disproportionate. Teams from the ACC (or any power conference, frankly) are supposed to make it to the second weekend as 4 and 5 seeds. Fact = 6/7 ACC teams went down and only two were truly underdogs (BC and GTech). That pretty much says it all about the strength of the conference this year.

Have Duke and Maryland really fallen so far that we should feel sorry that they had to face (cough) VCU, (ahem) Davidson, and (honk) Butler on a neutral floor? Stop whining and root on the Tar Heels. Heck, root for Clemson in the NIT - the way things are going they look to be the last team standing.

Posted by: Churchwell | March 22, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

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