Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Madness Q&A With Dr. Moon

Q: Why should I read this? Do you even know what you’re talking about? I thought you were into NFL, not college basketball. How much college basketball do you even watch?

A: Over the last couple months I’ve watched
  • Enough college basketball to know what I’m talking about
  • Enough college basketball that I am considering putting some of the sportsbetting bankroll into play this month
  • Enough college basketball that I am embarrassed to say how much.
Q: Who are your favorite players this season?

A: Sadly four of my favorite players (Stephen Curry and Bryant Barr from Davidson, Patty Mills from St. Mary’s, and Booker Woodfox from Creighton) did not make the tournament. Still though, we have

The All-Moon Team:
G Eric Maynor, VCU
F Alfred Aboya, UCLA
F Matt Howard, Butler
F Gary Wilkinson, Utah State
F DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh

Q: How about Villains?

A: Anyone from Duke is always a safe choice here…but they’re not as odious as usual. Jon Scheyer might be the most annoying now that Greg Paulus is riding the pine.

The Bad Moon Team
G John Scheyer, Duke
G Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
G Eric Devendorf, Syracuse
F Earl Clark, Louisville
C Dexter Pittman, Texas

Q: Moon! You’re a big Pittsburgh fan – you must be picking them to win it all, right?

A: Sadly I have watched enough Pitt games to know they have several disturbing weaknesses –
  1. When DeJuan Blair (who I think may actually be the best player in college) gets in foul trouble they struggle
  2. Levance Fields is a wonderful passer but can’t put the ball in the basket
  3. They don’t play the kind of defense we're accustomed to from a Pittsburgh team
  4. They go through lulls of bad ball movement where they don’t get a quality shot for extended periods of time
  5. They don’t get up emotionally to play mediocre teams
I won’t be picking Pitt to win it all but I do like their draw and am salivating over a potential regional final vs Duke.

Q: Is this the year a 16 seed finally beats a 1?

A: It’s ridiculous to predict it but it’s not inconceivable this season. The 1s are not nearly as good as they were last year, the 16s are not half-bad…UConn (who should have been a 2 seed) is matched up against a fired-up Chattanooga squad which starts five seniors…Pitt lulls for extended periods of time…again it’s ridiculous to predict it but there is the possibility of a 1 going down this season – and when it does happen, it will be unforgettable.

Q: What do we really know about Memphis? They haven’t lost a game in 2009 but they haven’t played anyone either – why should we believe Memphis will be able to win against this caliber of competition?

A: Because when you watch Memphis, they are as good or better than anyone. Trust me, this team is sick. Nobody else is playing defense like this. Also, Memphis is coached by a man who a) recruits and b) is not an idiot - a rare convergence in college basketball. Memphis is not as good as last year, but then nobody is close to as good as the four #1 seeds that made the Final Four last year.

Q: Moon – I lost my bankroll betting favorites in the conference tournaments. Now I’m down to one last bet. I’m looking for a darkhorse national champion pick to salvage my ‘roll – who’s my best bet?

A: Wake Forest at 44:1. They are as talented as anyone.

Q: Hey Moon – I have only five dollars left in my Bodog account after getting pwned by BlueFlare and crusher3000…I’m just gonna bet it all on some random long-odds team to win it all…who should I go with?

A: Marquette at 130:1.

Q: Arizona made the tournament!? What a load of bull! How could Arizona make the field with two road wins??

A: First off, Arizona actually looks pretty competent when you watch them. They have NBA talent. Second, if you watched them down the stretch, they compiled “quality losses” – narrow road losses to good teams like Washington and Arizona State. Arizona may not have won many games on the road, but they proved they could play with tourney-caliber teams away from home.

Q: So who is the worst at-large team in the tournament?

A: My vote would be for Maryland. The Terps lost the following games:
  • Gonzaga by 22 (neutral)
  • Georgetown by 27 (neutral)
  • Morgan State (home)
  • Duke by 41 (road)
  • Clemson by 29 (road)
  • Virginia (road)
Maryland is in the tournament because of their quality wins. A closer look at those wins –
  • Michigan State by 18 (neutral) in a game the Spartans were missing two starters
  • North Carolina 18 days after losing to the Heels in Chapel Hill. I’ve studied these situations where a team gets a second shot at a team they recently lost to, and they usually win the second game or at least fare much better. Squeaking out a must-win over an unmotivated UNC team at home is not super impressive to me.
  • Wake Forest (neutral) in the ACC Tournament. I watched this game – Gary Williams severely outcoached Dino Gaudio…Wake had no idea how to deal with Maryland’s zone…Maryland had lost to Wake at home ten days earlier…honestly this game was less about Maryland than it was about Wake being incompetent in slow situations.
Then when you look at all the middling games Maryland lost –
@Miami, @FSU, BC, Wake – you realize their “big wins” were more a result of having so many opportunities than their actual ability.

Wisconsin is another questionable selection…I don’t like how a team like the Badgers that has been proven to be mediocre can get in ahead of an unknown with a high ceiling (St. Mary’s).

Q: What team do you know absolutely nothing about?

A: BYU. All I know is they’re not allowed to play on Sundays.

Q: What other random teams do you like?

A: Cornell, because my brother goes there. And Robert Morris, cause they’re campus is in Moon Township, PA. As ridiculous as this sounds, most pools are won picking teams using this sort of strategy.

Q: How are you going to deal with no more Erin Andrews in your life?

A: By reminding myself Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale are not part of my life anymore either.

Q: Remember that dude on Wisconsin who looked exactly like Chris Rock? Any celebrity look-alikes in this year’s tournament?

A: The best match I can come up with is Ohio State’s Jon Diebler and The Wire’s Leo Fitzpatrick.

Q: Who has the best name in the tournament?

A: That’s easy – Chief Kickingstallionsims of Alabama State.

Q: Who are the maniacs? Who are you afraid to bet on or against?

A: Teams that are dangerous to your bracket whether you write them down or not:
7. Texas
6. Tennessee
5. Arizona
4. Clemson
3. Boston College
2. USC
1. Wake Forest

Q: Who blew their wad in the conference tournament?

A: Obviously Syracuse…picking Missouri gives me pause…Ohio State and Tennessee are either “peaking” or “spent” depending on your point of view…and USC, while talented, might not be there emotionally.

Q: Who’s flying under the radar, ready to make a splash?

A: The Mountain West teams (Utah and BYU) have fared rather poorly in the tournament in recent years – they are not getting any respect but I couldn’t tell you if this is deserved or not. UCLA has been playing good offensive ball but got a bad draw…nobody knows much about Dayton…and Washington could make a charge out West.

Q: Will you be organizing a pool this year?

A: Yes. Trying to decide between $500 and $1000 entry. Let me know.

Q: I loved watching George Mason and Davidson! Who’s the George Mason of 2009?

A: Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of good choices here…possibly VCU (who beat Mason to win the Colonial conference tournament)…Butler is good but will have to beat North Carolina in Greensboro to get to the Sweet 16 …North Dakota State might be capable of winning a game or two…Cleveland State and Portland State have draws that give them a chance…Stephen F. Austin gets an overrated and overconfident Syracuse team in round one…really any of these teams can win. The difference between a (14) and a (3) is just not that big this year.

Q: So you’re saying expect upsets?

A: Yes. Expect upsets at every level. It should be a wild ride.

Q: Do you have some youtube clips to get us fired up for March Madness?

A: Of course!


Blogger miah said...

Dang. Nice post. I loves me some March Madness.

I'm looking forward to the blog about the possibilities of a Cutler-less Broncos as well. At least he might still be in the ol' Blue and Orange...

9:40 AM  
Blogger Spencetron said...

Great post. As I told you before Arizona should not be in the tournament because they choked down the stretch, essentially losing two must win games (ASU and Cal) and still got in. That being said they are extremely dangerous and I am overjoyed that The Streak has reached 25 years. If they can recreate the magic which overtook them after Chase got his face stepped on they can make the Sweet 16. Jordan Hill gets no respect, yet cannot be stopped by anyone but himself. I don't care if Utah has a 7'2" Australian down low, no one can slow him down. I think Louisville is gonna win it all, with Gonzaga as the dark horse.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

$500 to try to win back what that missed D-Rose free throw (and other mistakes in the last 2 min) cost me:)

Am I going to see you in 2 days? I assume not, but would be fun.

12:52 AM  
Blogger gaamblor said...

moony, email me if you do a pool, its on my lj

i usually watch a ton of hoops i've watched 0 tip to buzzer games this season so i'm a lock

1:06 AM  
Blogger 81trucolors said...

My god that post must have taken a while. Erin Andrews is amazingly hot.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Wayner said...

Excellent post, Moon. Nothing mentioned about Okla or Ks. Either one on your possibles list? Lots of stuff I agreed with - Like Stephen F. Austin, Butler and, yes, watch out for Dayton.

My upset special in the first round: Utah St over Marquette (without James I think are sitting ducks).

What's up with all those spots for mediocre Big Ten teams like Minn and Wisc.

It is going to be a wide open tourney this year!

11:20 PM  
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