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Rock M Roundtable!


Yet another week without a full cast--Beefy is still sunnin' it up in Mexico, so somebody else will have to fill the Bob Bummer role.

1 - Who wins, Mizzou or Memphis?  Can Roburt Sallie keep up his hot shooting?  What about Kim English?  Who guards Tyreke Evans?

2 - Who wins, Kansas or Michigan State?  What will be different about this game than what happened on January 10?

3 - Who wins, Oklahoma or Syracuse?  OU handled Michigan's zone quite well--will it be the same with 'Cuse's 2-3?  Is it possible to simultaneously like Syracuse for Jonny Flynn while disliking them for Eric Devendorf?

4 - Of the 1-seeds, who will have the most trouble in the Sweet Sixteen?

5 - So uhh, spring football...anybody paying attention?  Thoughts?

Doug: 1 - Who's "Roburt"? At the moment, I'm inclined to pick Memphis. They're a very good running team, and I think that will allow them to get through the Missouri press with a fair amount of ease. I do think it'll be close, under 10 points, but it will also be high scoring in the end.

2 - What will be different, or what has to be different? What has to be different is Sherron Collins cannot turn the ball over 8 times, Cole Aldrich must get more than 1 offensive rebound, Matt Kleinmann cannot play 3 minutes. For the game, I think Collins is rising to the occasion on the big stage like no one expected. I'm pretty sure he and Aldrich will perform well against Michigan State, if KU can get double figures from at least two of these guys: Tyshawn Taylor, Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar or Mario Little, I like KU's chances. They need a 3rd and 4th scoring option to keep the Spartans' defense honest.

3 - The question will be, how close can Griffin muscle his way to the basket in the paint. If he can work inside, the Sooners have a chance. I am curious who's going to guard Devendorf on the other end, but I did here he's close to getting a technical if he mouths off after hitting a 3 this weekend.

4 - Pitt has not looked like the world beaters a lot of people described them as, and Gonzaga could hit the 3 well enough to be a scare into North Carolina... but really, the obvious choice is Louisville. Ha ha. I'll pick Xavier to pull the Pitt upset.

5 - Um... yeah... oh, KU had to cancel their pre-spring game open practice scheduled for a couple of weekends ago because of the weather. So... there.

The Boy: You THINK you caught a misspelling...but you are incorrect...

Doug: Huh... look at that. I knew I should have expected at least one name with weird spelling in any college basketball game.

Michael Atchison: If ever you needed evidence of Beef’s lack of faith, remember that he planned a vacation during the sweet sixteen.

1 - I don’t know who wins, and because I don’t know, how about I just say Missouri?  Somehow I doubt either Sallie or English continues to radiate the atomic heat from the first weekend.  As for who guards Evans, I suspect that rather than using their conventional press, the Tigers will throw a lot of different looks at him to try to confuse and surprise him.  I expect Tiller, Taylor and Carroll all to guard him at times, and I’d also expect a lot of traps to come from nowhere.  Guys like Safford and Ramsey will have a role to play there.

2 - Michigan State and Kansas seems like a complete toss-up.  In thinking about Missouri and Kansas, my mind wandered to my depleted retirement account.  Kansas is like being heavily invested in two stocks (Collins and Aldrich).  If they perform, the sky is the limit; if they don’t, the whole thing tanks.  Missouri is like being diversified.  Any one part can have a bad day, but it all evens out.  In other words, if Collins and Aldrich perform, Kansas wins.  If they don’t, Kansas doesn’t.  Here’s a guess that they do just enough.  Kansas 77, MSU 74.

3 - Crocker and Warren really need to be big for OU.  I suspect they won’t be big enough.  Syracuse in a close one.

4 - I think Carolina has the toughest matchup.  Gonzaga has five or six guys who can stand toe-to-toe with the Heels.  Heytvelt is good enough to neutralize Hansbrough.  We’ll see what Pargo can do with Lawson.  In the end, Carolina’s real edge is probably its bench.  They pull away late.

5 - I have no thoughts about spring football, but I have another point to make about hoops.  This is based on my own casual research (which could be wrong), but let’s just call this the Salty Sixteen, because there’s nothing sweet about it.  There are eleven active coaches who have won a national championship, and seven of them (Krzyzewski, Calhoun, Williams, Izzo, Self, Boeheim, Pitino) are left in the field, and they have combined to win 10 of the last 18 titles.  Of the nine other coaches, six have been at least this far before (Calipari, Wright, Anderson, Miller, Dixon, Few).  Of the other three, one possesses the national player of the year, one is at a school that has won the title in relatively recent memory.  The other is Purdue, and Painter has been this far as an assistant.  This is as good a 16-team tournament as you could imagine.

The Boy: 1 - I'm very reliable.  If it's a game Missouri is supposed to win, I become more and more worried as the game approaches.  If it's a game Missouri's not supposed to win, I get more and more defiant and optimistic as the game approaches.  Therefore, right on cue, I'm liking Mizzou's chances more and more, but who knows if that's actually relevant or just me becoming defiant.  I know about Tyreke Evans, I know about Dozier and Taggart, I know about Anderson's high assist totals, I know about Roburt Sallie's ridiculous shooting last weekend...but I'm all about positive spin right now, so I keep hovering around two things: 1) Memphis is 5-3 against major conference teams this year, and 2) Memphis averaged 15 turnovers a game against "real" competition (as defined here).  I'm sticking with my Memphis 75, Missouri 73 prediction just because I'm all for maintaining the reverse jinx, but this could be a fun game.

2 - The thing about Sherron Collins' performance against Michigan State was that he not only had 8 turnovers, but he also had 8 assists.  He was MAJORLY forcing the issue, and sometimes it was successful, sometimes not.  He'll have to take chances again if nobody else besides Aldrich is stepping up.  It's worrisome to me that everybody not named Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins shot 6-for-22 against Dayton with 6 assists and 12 turnovers.  I do think this should be a VERY good game, but I've been ranking State high for a while, so I'll stick with MSU for now.  Then again, I initially had West Virginia in the Elite Eight, so I know absolutely nothing.

3 - If OU's guards play well, they can very easily win this game.  But I simply don't trust them at this point.

Did I just pick all three Big 12 teams to lose?  I'm an awful homer.

4 - In the end, I'm almost thinking UConn might have the toughest game.  UNC could struggle, but in the end they still win most one-on-one matchups, so I think they end up winning by 10-12.  Pitt struggled, but I think they still match up very well with Xavier--what XU does well, Pitt does better--and I'm COMPLETELY aboard the Sam Young bandwagon right now.  In Sam I trust.  He looks older than Greg Oden, and he's unstoppable when Pitt needs points.  What's not to like??  UConn has a unique matchup with Purdue--two good defensive teams who are defensively good in completely different ways--and while I think UConn will win, if Purdue gets hot they can beat anybody.

5 - Funny how much difference a year makes.  A year ago today, my links post was all about baseball and spring football.  I had to link to a Simmons column just to make some sort of basketball reference.  Today, I can honestly say I've spent about a total of 20 minutes thinking about spring football.  As soon as the basketball season ends for Mizzou, I will switch gears entirely, but until then, it's an afterthought.

Michael Atchison: It wasn’t until my book was almost to press that I realized that it’s “Dwyane” and not “Dwayne” Wade.  Caught that just in the nick of time.  Also Doug, please note the “hear”/”here” distinction.  Just sayin’ . . . .

Doug: Man... tough crowd hear.

ZouDave: 1 - Memphis, unfortunately.  Sallie can, probably won't but can.  English definitely can, and will have to if we want to have a chance.  Evans?  Well I think we'll probably go zone a lot so whoever he happens to run near will be guarding him.
2 - Wow, I have no clue.  I certainly want MSU to win but I can't guarantee that will happen.  Basically, can Collins and Aldrich keep channeling their inner Hinrich and Collison and just carry this team completely?  Because they're obviously doing that.  If they combine for 58 again or whatever it is, they've got a chance.  If either one of them goes cold, their run is over.
3 - Syracuse's defense is better than Michigan's, and there's no doubt about that.  OU can handle a zone pretty effectively because of this one play they run called "Get the ball to Blake Griffin and go play defense."  I think OU will win this game, even though I had them losing to Clemson in the 2nd round.
4 - Louisville would have been my answer, because they haven't looked that good yet, but I don't think they have anything to fear from Arizona.  UConn should handle Purdue.  Pitt has looked pretty good, and I don't think Xavier is that great.  So I guess that leaves UNC with Gonzaga, so let's go with that.  In truth, I don't think any of the 1's have trouble in the S16.  Once it gets to the E8, though...the 1's better all bring their A game.
5 - I'm trying to pay attention but there just hasn't really been any news.  Sounds like Gabbert is proving not only why he was a 5-star player but what a difference that frosh year can make.  Also sounds like we're going to miss Maclin and Saunders a lot, at least until Perry and Alexander are healthy.  I think our offensive line is going to be really good.

The Boy: Yeah, don't underestimate the impact of what could be one of MU's best O-lines in a long time.  That can make a new QB look a lot better than anybody thinks he's going to look...

Ridiculous Matt: 1. Missouri. They like to beat people with speed and athleticism. Luckily for us, the effort of our defense tends to excel against just such parameters. Hate to make an NBA comparison, but it's what I know best, so here we go. One of the things most people don't know about the Spurs defense in their bazillion year title run is it's not just built on having great defenders play great man defense. That's part of it. But the other thing they do very well is take your own style of ball and turn it against you. They've owned the Suns, largely because instead of trying to force them to slow down, they tempted and prodded them into actually going faster, which made them sloppy, which led to easier baskets for the Spurs. Similarly, Missouri can force a young team that loves to get up and down the floor into a wide open style that will cause turnovers and wear them out. Evans is not a great distributor, so I actually wouldn't worry as much about committing one guy to him, especially with as deep as we are. The trap will force the ball out of his hands more, anyway. The key for Missouri is going to be (even more-so than usual) Lyons and Carrol. Carrol Controlling the glass is going to be a big deal against Taggart and Dozier. From there it's going to come down to how the shots are falling. We can't really afford another 7 minute dryspell against this team.

2. Cole Aldrich is clearly better and with Sharron Collins coming on Michigan State rolls. This team nabbed a high seed, got a soft placement, and then landed Dayton in the second round. Reality check time. By the way, if they get Lance Stephenson (heavily rumored to be the favorite), I'm going to hit myself in the head with a sewer cover.

3. OU. Dorf scoring v. Griffin dominance.

4. North Carolina. The ACC is widely overrated and Gonzaga has the guns necessary to push them. I don't forsee an upset in the ones this weekend, though.CHALKCHALKCHALK.


: 1. Memphis wins despite Sallie falling back to Earth a little bit. English is heavily guarded, opening up opportunities for Matt Lawrence to find his stroke again and open up the lane for DeMarre Carroll to get some easy buckets inside. J.T. Tiller draws Evans for most of the day with Zaire sliding over to take him when J.T. is off the floor. When they're both off the floor, I have no idea.

2. I'll stick with Michigan State, even though Kansas is more than capable of winning this basketball game. The big question may be Sherron Collins' FG percentage. You know he's going to take his shots and you know MSU is going to rebound his misses, so if he's off, it could be a long night for KU.

3. Syracuse. Believe in Otto.

4. UNC, only because I think all of the other one seeds match up very favorably with their opponents.

5. Paying attention but can't give you too much detail. Glad to hear about the development of Aldon Smith as a complement to Coulter and Jacquies, and I'm particularly excited to hear about Trey Hobson doing well at corner.

(3 hours later...)


rptgwb: This mediocre roundtable can't mean good things for Thursday. Consider this YouTube video as my attempt to make sure the dreaded Roundtable jinx doesn't come into play:

The Boy: Love the caption.  "That lady sure looks surprised!"