Monday, March 31, 2008

North Carolina Marches On

North Carolina moves on to the Final 4 in San Antonio with a 83-73 victory over Louisville on Saturday. Lets take a look at what stood out from the stat sheet and if my keys to victory were true.

For North Carolina to win:
They have to get Tyler Hansbrough going earlier than they did against Washington State
Result: Hansbrough had a monster game with 28 points and 13 rebounds giving steady production throughout.
Need good bench production from guys like Danny Greene
Result: Greene had 11 points off the bench. Alex Stephenson had 4 points. Quentin Thomas had 2 assists. Carolina had 5 scorers in double figures
Force turnovers into transition points
Result: The Tar Heels forced 19 Louisville turnovers.

For Louisville to win:
Make someone else besides Hansbrough beat you
Result: Hansbrough had 28 points and 13 rebounds. Next closest scorer was Wayne Ellington with 13
Keep UNC off your boards defensively
Result: UNC had 13 offensive boards
Slow it down and make the Heels play 25 seconds on defense in the half court where they can have lapses.

Result: Louisville preferred to run with the Heels leading

Other Notes:
David Padgett had just 6 points on 1-5 shooting. The Kansas transfer was clearly out played by Hansbrough. Players who transfer for playing time reasons rarely come up big with the new school.

Carolina was 18-21 from the FT line.

The 'Ville had 5 blocks on the evening. North Carolina 0.

Looking ahead...
Roy Williams get his what he didn't want and that is a match up with his old team Kansas. Won't sting like it would have a few years ago because Williams did not coach any of these Kansas players. I personally was not as impressed with Kansas as other people have been. I have heard numerous radio interviews before the Sweet 16 where coaches are asked to name a team other their own who has the best chance to win it all and nearly all of them said Kansas. I don't see it right now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

North Carolina-Louisville Prediction

East Region Final
Charlotte, NC

1. North Carolina vs 3. Louisville

My Louisville scouting report
My North Carolina scouting report

For North Carolina to win:

They have to get Tyler Hansbrough going earlier than they did against Washington State

Need good bench production from guys like Danny Greene

Force turnovers into transition points

For Louisville to win:
Make someone else besides Hansbrough beat you

Keep UNC off your boards defensively

Slow it down and make the Heels play 25 seconds on defense in the half court where they can have lapses.

North Carolina Louisville line:
North Carolina is the favorite in this game and should be. The line opened with UNC as around a 5 point favorite, but has been moving towards -6 indicating a lot of money being place on the Heels. The line has Carolina at about 2.5 to 1 to win which is a very large line considering Davidson was just over 2 to 1 dog against Wisconsin. The line has to look very favorable for Louisville backers.

This will be the best team North Carolina has played all year. The Tar Heels will have the crowd in their favor, but Louisville will bring a lot of fans as well. It will be interesting to see how North Carolina plays in a tight game since they have not had one in this Tournament winning all 3 games by 20+ points. I think North Carolina has too much depth, offensive balance, and the best player in Tyler Hansbrough. I like the Tar Heels to win this one in a nail-biter 84-80.

Pick: North Carolina

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tennessee Louisville Preview and Pick


East Region
Charlotte, NC
2. Tennessee vs 3. Louisville 9:40 PM
Louisville Scouting Report:

The Cardinals look very similar to Tennessee except that Louisville is maybe not quite as deep, but they have more size. Louisville has great balance between their frontcourt and backcourt. They like to shoot 3's with Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith, and Edgar McGee. On the inside, David Padgett and Derek Caracter are potential double double guys..

Tennessee Scouting Report:
The Volunteers are a fly by the seat of their pants team. They are going force turnovers with their press; force turnover on out of bounds; get break out points and 3 pointers; will have defensive lapses; and struggle in the half court at times. I thought Bruce Pearl had a great quote regarding this year vs last year's team. He said last year they were more dangerous, but this year they are better.

For Louisville to win:
Louisville needs to harass Tennessee's guards in the backcourt and limit the Volunteers points in transition. Louisville prefers to go outside to inside so they need to hit their outside shots early to open up the inside where they have a size advantage.

For Tennessee to win:
The Volunteers need to play better defense than they have in the first two rounds. If Tennessee gets bogged down in the half court then they have to get Chris Lofton open looks off of screens.

As soon as the bracket came out I loved this matchup in the Sweet 16. You have two coaches full of personality and closets of unusual suits. You have two teams who love defensive pressure. Louisville has been playing some of the best basketball in the Tournament blowing away their first two opponents while Tennessee labored for a while against 15 seed American and need OT vs Butler. I like Louisville in a nail biter. This will be the best Sweet 16 game.

Pick: Louisville

Tournament: 12-3 (75%)
Season: 92-34 (73%)
SEC: 42-17 (71%)

North Carolina Washington State Preview and Pick


East Region

Charlotte, NC

1. North Carolina vs 4. Washington State 7:10 PM

Washington State Scouting Report:

Remember the days with no shot clock? The Cougars would love to go back to those days. Washington State is as happy as pig in s&*t just walking the ball up, setting some screens and getting a good look for Derrick Low or Kyle Weaver. This team finished 3rd in the Pac 10 and only allowed 75+ points 3 times this year.

North Carolina Scouting Report:

Roy Williams wants his crew to run. And when they have the game at a break neck pace he wants them to run even more. Tyler Hansbrough is the engine that makes Carolina go. The junior is all over the court grabbing boards, loose balls, and fouls on the defense. PG Ty Lawson looks to be at full strength as well, which will aide UNC's up tempo style. If the Heels have a weakness it is that they can have lapses on defense.

For Washington State to win:

They absolutely must slow the pace to a crawl. If they can shoot a high percentage then that will limit UNC's fast break opportunities going the other way. Low and Weaver need to have big games from the 3point line.

For North Carolina to win:

Push the tempo and make WSU play out of their style. Hansbrough is going to get his so other players need to step up like Wayne Ellington, Lawson, and Danny Greene.

Washington State got swept by the two teams finishing higher than them in the Pac-10 (they lost to Stanford 3 times). Their best wins are USC, Baylor, and Gonzaga. North Carolina has more talent, is playing fantastic, and will have nearly a home court in Charlotte. Throw in that Wash State has to fly cross country and I like the Tar Heels to win by double digits.
Pick: North Carolina

Tournament: 12-3 (75%)

Season: 92-34 (73%)

ACC: 50-17 (75%

Monday, March 24, 2008

Looking Back...Looking Ahead

Just some ramblings from the weekend that saw us go from 64 to 16 and leave just 1 team each from the ACC & SEC. Let me know if I am dead on or way off base with these comments.

North Carolina looked really, really good against Arkansas. This team looks like it is rounding into top form at the right time. Charlotte will be just as much of a home court for the Heels as Raleigh was. Washington State will provide an interesting contrast as they want to slow the game to a crawl - Roy Williams frequently mentions the break neck pace he wants his offense to run.
North Carolina posts

Tennessee survives the first 35 minutes with American and then has to go 40+ against Butler to survive. I like Tennessee's depth, but they have not played extremely well in their first two games. E! Channel will have Joan Rivers critiquing Bruce Pearl's and Rick Pitino's attire in Charlotte.
Tennessee posts

Duke is starting to lose its luster. They don't have near the talent they did 5 years ago. The best player on this team would not even be in the top 8 for any of Krzyzewski's championship teams. I think Duke recruits get a bump in rating because they are Duke recruits - much like Notre Dame in football. The Blue Devils have not gone after the top flight players in recent years due to the NBA early entry effect.
Duke posts

Kentucky played valiantly with limited talent this year. If Patterson comes back then this team should be back next year in the Tournament. If not, then Gillespie will need to significantly raise the talent on this team and fast. UK fans are not known for the patience. I think Patterson is gone.

Clemson had a great season come to an abrupt end with about 5 minutes to go as they could not make a shot down the stretch against Villanova. Losing Booker and Mays to foul trouble really hurt them.

Miami was probably one of the better teams in the nation that got no pub this year. How did Frank Haith not win coach of the year after being picked last in the preseason? Give them 5 more minutes against Texas and it is anybody's ball game.

Georgia simply ran out of gas against Xavier. If Felton starts out poorly next year then his job security will be questioned again. Oh well, back to spring football practice.

All I remember about Vanderbilt's NCAA Tournament was how Shon Foster compared Siena to Auburn during a press conferene earlier in the week. The Commodores lost by 20.

I was really pulling for Miss State on Sunday. Maybe it is because they followed my advice and fouled Memphis like crazy.

Arkansas ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday that it didn't even see in Tennessee this year.

And how about de facto ACC member Davidson! You will see two of the best coaches in the country on Friday when Bob McKillop goes up against Wisconsin's Bo Ryan.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NCAA Second Round Previews - Sunday

East Region
Raleigh, NC 5:20 PM
1. North Carolina vs 9. Arkansas
First Round Review
Mount St Mary's wanted to run with North Carolina and the Tar Heels licked their chops; UNC cruised to a 1st round win. Arkansas kept Indiana at arms length after about 10 minutes of back and forth. Swingman Sonny Weems had 31 points in dispatching the Hoosiers.

For Arkansas to Win:
They have to play their best game of the year. They need a shooting performance like they had against Indiana on Friday (54% FG, 47% 3PT, 79% FT). Defensively, they have to keep Hansbrough off the boards as much as possible.

For North Carolina to Win:
Keep doing what you do. Feed Hansbrough the ball inside. Push the ball on defensive stops. Use your superb depth.

I like North Carolina in this game. It is essentially a home game for them and Ty Lawson is finally back 100% and in the flow of the offense.
We get the first ACC-SEC match up of the Tournament and this one looks to be in the ACC's favor.
Prediction: North Carolina
East Region
Birmingham, AL
2. Tennessee vs 7. Butler 2:30PM
First Round Review
American gave Tennessee a pretty good game for about 35 minutes on Friday before the Vols pulled away. Butler dominated South Alabama for the final 25 minutes in cruising to a 20 point win. The Bulldogs made 15 of 28 three pointers.

For Butler to win:
Butler needs to slow the game and force Tennessee to execute in the half court offensively
consistently. A 3 point effort like on Friday would help too.

For Tennessee to win:
Don't look at the jersey; Butler has a better record than you and has beaten teams from BCS conferences. The Vols need to push the tempo and get easy buckets to let their potent press set up.

This looks to be one of the best games of the second round. Many think Butler is better than a 7 seed. Tennessee comes at you in waves with their press and 3 point shooting. I think Butler hangs tight, but the tide swings to the Volunteers in the final 5 minutes.
Prediction: Tennessee

Midwest Region
Little Rock, AR
2. Texas vs 7. Miami 2:15 PM
First Round Review
After being down for most of the first half, the Hurricanes roared back in the second half behind Jack McClinton's 38 points to defeat upstart St Mary's. Texas led OVC Champion Austin Peay the entire way en route to a 20 point win. PG DJ Augistine dished out 8 assists and AJ Abrams led the Longhorns with 26 points.

For Texas to win:
The Longhorns need to play defense like they did on Friday allowing the Austin Peay Governors just 29% shooting from the field. Texas needs to have someone other than McClinton beat them.

For Miami to win:
Miami needs Jack McClinton to have a repeat performance on Sunday. The Hurricanes need to get to the free throw line as where they are one of best in the Tournament at the charity stripe. Texas gave Austin Peay 21 FT on Friday.

I like Texas a lot in this bracket. Miami will play struggle to hang tight in the first half and Texas' lead will grow to double-digits in the second half.
Prediction: Texas

Midwest Region
Little Rock, AR
1. Memphis vs 8. Mississippi State 4:45 PM

First Round Review
Memphis let UT-Arlington hang around for about 5 minutes before putting them in their place. Miss State fought from a 10 point deficit to tie with 10 min to go. From there the Bulldogs dominated down the stretch led by Charles Rhodes 34 points inside.

For Memphis to win:
The Tigers need to take advantage of the one on one mismatches they will have in the half court. Memphis will have to rely more on their guards as Mississippi State is very strong inside defensively.

For Mississippi State to win:
Use all of their fouls. Miss State can go 10 deep if need be and they will need to put Memphis at the line as much as possible - no easy baskets. Jamont Gordon will have to play better than his 2-14 shooting performance against Oregon.

I have Memphis as the weakest 1 seed in my bracket. Miss State has the inside play to match Memphis, but they cannot match the Tigers athleticism on the perimeter. Memphis will keep the Bulldogs at arms length for most of the second half.
Prediction: Memphis

Friday, March 21, 2008

Duke West Virginia Second Round Preview

If Thursday was not eventful enough for you then I hope you didn't miss Friday's upsets and buzzer beaters. Two SEC teams were knocked out on Thursday while two ACC teams are hoping to join Duke and Miami in the second round tonight.

West Region
Washington DC 2:10PM
2. Duke vs 7. West Virginia
First Round Review
The Blue Devils needed a late bucket from Gerald Henderson to fend off the pesky Belmont Bruins 71-70 on Thursday night. Duke was down with under 30 secs to go until Henderson drove coast to coast for a layup and the lead. A half court heave by Belmont fell to the left and Duke survived (I saw a ML with Belmont at +3500). West Virginia kept Arizona at arms length all night despite Joe Alexander being held to 14 points. The Mountaineers had four scorers with 14 or more and shot 51% from the field in beating the Wildcats.

West Virginia Scouting Report
The Mountaineers are led by F Joe Alexander who has scored 22 or more 5 of his last 7 games. West Virginia likes to shoot the 3 and was deadly on Thursday night hitting 11 of 19. West Virginia is not a very big team and usually goes just 8 deep. West Virginia needs to be shooting the ball to have a good chance to win because they are not a slashing or pound inside offense.

What Duke has to do to win:
The Blue Devils need to play better man to man defense especially on the perimeter. Belmont took Duke off the dribble too many times and got to the hoop with relative ease. Duke needs to be hitting its threes and get the early first roundhouse punch. Duke plays much better when it gets a lead early and can control the tempo.

Listening to Coach K's post game press conference he said this team did not overlook Belmont. If that is really true then Duke could be looking at a very tough game against West Virginia. The Mountaineers like to shoot from outside just like Belmont but will play much more half court offense. I think Duke is too reliant on the 3 point shot and is fading down the stretch. It is only the second round and I am already picking against my bracket! Isn't the Tournament great?
Prediction: West Virginia

NCAA Tournament Coverage Maps

Anybody else want to know what games you are going to get on Friday? NCAA Tournament Friday Coverage Maps

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NCAA First Round Spread Analysis

I used the spread from USA Today to do some analysis on them to see if there is any value in particular games. I sorted by the favorite seed ascending and spread for that game descending. If you go by seeding then Davidson is the biggest gamble to win their opening round game as a 10 seed. 9 seeds Texas A&M and Kent State are also favored but historically 8-9 games have gone 50/50.

The first break in seed to spread ratio is at 3/4 where 4. UConn is a bigger fav than 3. Xavier. The bettors feel that 6. Marquette is 2 points safer vs Kentucky than 5. Drake is against Western Kentucky. And finally Butler blows away other 7 seeds and would second amongst 6 seeds with their 4.5 spread over South Alabama.
For my money, I like Marquette at -5.5 and Arkansas at +1.5 as my two favorites of the day. Here are my Thursday and Friday picks.
SeedFAVSpreadDOGSeed 2
1UCLA32Miss Valley16
1MEMPHIS25UT Arlington16
2TEXAS15.5Austin Peay15
3LOUISVILLE12.5Boise St14
4CONNECTICUT10.5San Diego13
4PITTSBURGH9.5Oral Roberts13
4Wash St9Winthrop13
5NOTRE6G. Mason12
5DRAKE3.5W. Kentucky12
6OKLAHOMA1.5St Joes11
7BUTLER4.5So Alabama10
7Miami0St Marys10
8Miss St2Oregon9
9Kent St1.5UNLV8

ACC & SEC Tournament By Round
I have done the first round games for Thursday and Friday for each team in the ACC & SEC. Now I peer into the crystal ball for how each team will fare in each conference for the entire NCAA Tournament by round of elimination.

First Round
14. Georgia
11. Kentucky
8. Mississippi State

Second Round
9. Arkansas
4. Vanderbilt
7. Miami

Sweet 16
2. Tennessee
5. Clemson
2. Duke

Elite 8

Final 4
None (
North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Texas)

Championship Game
North Carolina loses to UCLA 74-68

I may change my picks game by game later, but this is how I am filling out my bracket.

If you are looking for a great statistical method to pick the games. Check out this Engineering Professors page from Georgia Tech. Professor Joel Sokol uses Linear Regression Markov Chain to pick the Tournament. He was written up in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ESPN last year for his success in picking games.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NCAA Tournament First Round Previews Friday

East Region
Raleigh, NC 7:00
1. North Carolina (32-2) vs 16. Mt St Marys (18-14)
The Mount Saint Marys Mountaineers survived the opening round game in Dayton beating Coppin State on Tuesday night. The "Mount" as it is called finished 4th in the Northeast conference and plays good defense but struggles rebounding the ball. Tyler Hansbrough should have a feast inside.
Prediction: North Carolina

Raleigh, NC 9:30
8. Indiana (25-7) vs 9. Arkansas (22-11)
The Hoosiers received a lower seed than expected at 8, but I think the committee was looking at the Indiana team now as opposed to the team with Kelvin Sampson. Since Verizon's best customer got canned, Indiana is just 3-3 with losses to Big 10 bottom feeders Penn State and Minnesota. Indiana is led by probably the 3rd best freshman in the nation, Eric Gordon, on the outside and senior DJ White on the inside.

Arkansas made the SEC Tournament finals cementing their bid after finishing second in the SEC West regular season. The Hogs are led by the inside play of Sonny Weems and defensive stopper Stephen Hill. The Razorbacks were just 2-5 coming into the conference tournament down the stretch. G Patrick Beverly who oddly enough leads Arkansas in rebounding will likely match up against Gordon on defense.

I don't really like either of these teams, but I like Indiana less. They have not played the same since Sampson left and I wonder where this team's focus is right now.
Prediction: Arkansas

Birmingham, AL 12:15
2. Tennessee (29-4) vs 15. American (21-11)
This is American's first NCAA Tournament appearance and it will be a short one. A familiar face to ACC fans leads American - former Virginia coach Jeff Jones. Bruce Pearl was mad when Tennessee got ousted from the SEC Tournament and he was made when they got a #2 seed in North Carolina's bracket while Memphis got a 1. I would not want to play Tennessee when their coach is mad.
Prediction: Tennessee

Midwest Region
Tampa, FL 9:40
5. Clemson (24-9) vs 12. Villanova (20-12)
If you look at seeds, you could discern Villanova as the last team in. The Wildcats finished 9-9 in the Big East good enough for 8th place. 'Nova is led by PG Scottie Reynolds who leads a mostly freshman cast. Jay Wright rotates a good group of 8 players who like to shoot from outside primarily. Villanova played to about their current level down the stretch after losing 5 in a row in late January.

Clemson drew a lot of praise for making it to the ACC Tournament final and playing UNC tough for a third straight time. Now it is on to the first NCAA Tournament any member of this team. This team is very balanced with five guys averaging double figures. Their strength is inside on the boards with James Mays and Trevor Booker. When they look outside, G Cliff Hammonds and Terrance Ogelsby provide legitimate 3 point threats. Defensively, Clemson likes to press and force turnovers. Like any pressing team, they are prone to breakaways and good PG play on defense.
This is another chic upset pick, but I am not all that impressed with Villanova. You are matching the #8 team in the Big East vs #3 in the ACC. I like Clemson to advance.

Prediction: Clemson

Tampa, FL 7:20
4. Vanderbilt (26-7) vs 13. Siena (22-10)
The Saints were the winners of the MAAC regular season and conference tourney. Siena is led by their two forwards Alex Franklin (15.2 ppg) and F Edwin Ubiles (17.3 ppg). They have an impressive win over Stanford back in November and also beat Boise St. The lost to Cornell, St Joes, and Memphis where they were blown out by the Tigers by 40. Siena went 8-2 down the stretch of the season.

Vanderbilt was bounced in the 2nd round of the SEC Tournament after finishing up a 26-6 regular season where they did not lose in the non-conference. Their non-conference schedule included wins over Georgia Tech, South Alabama, Wake Forest and MAAC member Iona. Vandy did struggle away from Nashville this season though. Kevin Stallings has had success recently in the NCAA Tournament and the Commodores have one of the best inside/outside combos in the tourney with Shon Foster, Alex Gordon, and AJ Ogilvy.

This has been a popular 13 over 4 pick, but I don't see it. Vandy is tournament tested and can play half court offense well. Siena doesn't have the 3 point shot to equalize the talent difference.

Prediction: Vanderbilt

South Region
Little Rock, AR 7:25
8. Miss State (22-10) vs 9. Oregon (18-13)
The Oregon Ducks as a 9 seed was another surprise considering they were thought to be a bubble team on Sunday with 13 losses. The Ducks made it to the Elite 8 last year and love to play a wide open offense with guards Malik Hairston and TaJuan Porter as catalysts. Oregon finished 5th in the deep Pac 10, but didn't really have any signature wins on the year outside of beating Stanford at home in January.

Miss State admits now that they did not take their SEC semifinal game seriously knowing Georgia had already played once that day. They better take it seriously from now on or else an SEC West title is all for naught. The Bulldogs are superb on interior defense with Jarvis Varnado blocking shots and Charles Rhodes on the boards. On the perimeter, Jamont Gordon and Ben Hansbrough (Psycho T's little bro) give Rick Stansbury's team a solid outside threat.

Miss State has much less to travel for this game than Oregon and will likely have many more fans. If Oregon is hot from the outside, then I like their chances. I find it troubling of how Miss State took Georgia lightly just 2 wins away from a possible SEC Tournament title knowing Tennessee was out. I will take Oregon in this one.
Prediction: Miss State

Little Rock, AR 12:30
7. Miami (22-10) vs 10. St Marys (25-6)
St Mary's finished 2nd in the three bid West Coast conference challenging Gonzaga for the crown nearly all year. The Gaels beat #5 seed Drake way back in November and also beat Oregon while losing to Texas and Kent State. St Mary's wants to grind it out in the half court and let F Diamon Simpson work inside.

Miami is back in the NCAA's after a 6 year drought and will be looking for just its 4th NCAA win all time. The Canes like to play inside out meaning they like to get the post game working and then kick it out for 3's. Miami is one of the best at shooting FT and they make it a point to get to the line.

I have heard many pick St Mary's in this game. I can see the Gaels being a fashionable pick because they are from the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga who is the godfather of mid majors, but I like Miami because they have multiple options on offense and are very good from the FT line.
Prediction: Miami

Season: 82-31 (73%)

NCAA Tournament First Round Thursday Preview

South Region
Anaheim, CA 2:30 PM
6. Marquette (24-9) vs 11. Kentucky (18-12)
By now we know all about Kentucky and how they were revived from the dead after a terrible non-conference season and then going 12-4 in the SEC. The Wildcats will be led by a senior backcourt in Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford. Kentucky will want to slow it down and play half court basketball and allow their guards to go one on one.

Marquette finished 6th in the Big East and made it to the Big East Tournament semifinals. Marquette burst onto the national scene in 2003 with a guard named Dwayne Wade against, oddly enough, Kentucky in the Elite 8. The Golden Eagles are very similar to Kentucky in that they heavily depend on their guards for offense. Jerel McNeil averages just under 15 points while his backcourt mate Dominic James hands out close to 5 assists a game. Marquette faired pretty well down the stretch losing to Georgetown by just 2 and making it to the Big East semis. Every team they lost to this year is in the NCAA Tournament except Syracuse. Their best win of the year was back in December at Wisconsin but they also have wins over Notre Dame at home and Villanova on the road.

This game will be won by who can control the tempo. Marquette wants to push the ball and create turnovers; Kentucky wants to play half court and get into one-on-one mismatches. I like the way Marquette is playing down the stretch better than Kentucky.
Prediction: Marquette

West Region
Washington DC 12:20 PM
3. Xavier (27-6) vs 14. Georgia (17-16)
How bout them Dawgs? Georgia is fresh off winning 4 games in 4 days after winning just 4 games all season in the SEC. To put even more perspective on this streak, Georgia went 37 days at one stretch this season winning just 1 game. The Bulldogs want to play half court basketball much like Kentucky, but they like to use their size inside as well. Georgia is led by senior PG Sundiata Gaines who is Dennis Felton's floor general. SG Billy Humphrey is your classic slasher while inside Albert Jackon and Dave Bliss provide a good post presence on offense and defense.

Xavier won the A-10 regular season but faltered in the conference tourney. They are led by PG Drew Lavender who almost led the Musketeers to a second round win over Ohio State last year. Xavier relies on a balanced offense where 6 guys after double figures in points. Before the loss to St Joe's last weekend, Xavier had not lost since Jan 16 at eventual A-10 tourney champ Temple. They played Tennessee tough earlier this year losing by 7 at home and beat Indiana, Virginia and Auburn convincingly. This is tournament tested team itching for a deep run after coming up short last year.

If these two had played on Monday, then I would have given Georgia a very good shot in this game. They had all the momentum and were playing great. Now they have let their tired legs set in and have to rekindle that fire from a weekend ago. I think you are more likely to see the Georgia team of old instead of last weekend's because of the layoff. I like Xavier to hold seed and move on.
Prediction: Xavier

Washington DC 7:10 PM
2. Duke (27-5) vs 15. Belmont (25-8)
The Belmont Bruins won the Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament to earn their third straight NCAA Tournament bid. Belmont played played some teams from big conferences this year and won at Cincinnati and Alabama. The Bruins lost by 41 at Xavier who is the closest team to Duke they played.

This should be an entertaining game as Belmont made more 3 pointers than any team in the country and you know Duke loves to shoot the 3. Duke has too much talent and coaching and should cruise relatively easily but not a typical 2-15 blowout though.
Prediction: Duke

Season: 82-31 (73%)

Monday, March 17, 2008

General Bracket Observations


Tennessee is the 2 seed in the North Carolina's bracket who was tabbed as number one overall. This means Tennessee is considered the weakest of the 2 seeds. Kind of hard to fathom for a team with the #1 RPI rating and the highest RPI since Duke in '99.

Memphis gets a #1 seed. Tennesssee gets a #2. I think the Vols beat Memphis at Memphis just a few weeks ago. So much for head to head wins. See Arizona and Arizona State (Sun Devils swept the Wildcats).

Kentucky made it in. Who would have thought that after home losses to Gardner-Webb and San Diego.

Georgia as a 14 has to be the lowest ever for a team from a power conference.

North Carolina is the number 1 overall seed in the tourney. The Tar Heels are a 1 seed for a record 12th time. UNC's last 3 national championships all came as 1 seeds.

The number 1 RPI conference, the ACC, only gets 4 teams in. The Big East gets 8, Pac 10 6, SEC 6. Big 12 5. Billy Packer asked several questions to the head of the committee about this. Good for Billy for being an ACC homer. Interesting note that the ACC did not have a member on the selection committee.

Virginia Tech becomes the first team in ACC history since the Tournament was expanded to 64 to not get in with a winning conference record.

The committee put high seeds with nearby teams in the first round together like Georgetown and UMBC. This is to help generate tv interest in the games especially in major markets where viewership has been dropping.

Also with tv in mind, the committee made some interesting matchups like USC vs Kansas State - a battle of the top 2 freshman in the country before they head pro.

Indiana as #8 seed seemed a little low. I think the committee doesn't have much faith in the interim coach and his performance so far and seeded them based on that.

Oregon went from bubble to a #9 seed. I guess two Elite 8 appearances in the last 7 years helps out.

Temple finished 2nd in the A-10 and won the conference tournament beating St Joe's. Temple gets a 12 seed, St Joe's gets an 11 seed.

How about the Baylor Bears. After all they have been through in the last 5 years. Scott Drew should be coach of the year hands down. And CBS waited til the last pairing for Baylor to get in.

Tuesday: Preview ACC & SEC Thursday games
Wednesday: Preview ACC & SEC Friday games

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Georgia Arkansas Preview


W2 Arkansas vs E6 Georgia 3:30 CBS

Previous Meeting: UGA (Home) 82-69
In the only meeting of the season, Georgia dominated Arkansas with Billy Humphrey's 24 points. Georgia shot 51% from the field and 46 on 6 of 13 from 3 point land. Look.. it does not really matter what teams seeds are or who is more tired, Georgia simply has enough momentum to stop global warming right now. After all this tournament has seen why wouldn't the Bulldogs win.

But seriously, I think this game comes down to tempo. Arkansas likes to get up and down while Georgia would rather grind it out in the half court. The Razborbacks must get the loose balls that Georgia has been getting all tournament. I look for Sundiata Gaines to have a big game after his career looked to be over twice in the same day. Fouling out vs Kentucky and then suffering a hip pointer and fouling out again vs Miss State. Gaines leads Georgia to an improbable NCAA Tournament bid

Prediction: Georgia

Season: 80-31 (73%)
SEC: 37-16 (73%)
- I made an earlier mistake in the SEC record quoting the ACC record instead.

North Carolina Clemson Preview

#1 North Carolina vs #3 Clemson 1:00 PM Raycom/ESPN
Previous Meetings: UNC (Away) 90-88 OT
The first time these two met the Tigers led nearly the entire game and thought they had it locked up with a 7 point lead and 2:30 to go, but Wayne Ellington hit a 3 as time expired to keep UNC undefeated at the time. Clemson did a very good job defending Tyler Hansbrough holding the junior to just 12 points.

UNC (Home) 103-93 2OT
Clemson had never won in Chapel Hill and it looked like with 3 minutes to go and an 11 point lead the Tigers would end their 52 game losing streak at North Carolina. But North Carolina made a furious comeback and overcame Clemson in 2OT. Hansbrough finished the game with 39 points and 13 rebounds.

Now onto the ACC Championship for the third meeting. The Tigers are making their first appearance on Sunday at the ACC Tournament since the early 60s. As aforementioned, Clemson has had a tough time against UNC in the state of North Carolina going 0-53 in Chapel and having just 1 win within the Tar Heel state against the Tar Heels all time. It has been said Roy Williams does not put a ton of stock in the ACC Tournament, but I think with his team in the finals he will come out with everything he has.

Keys to the Game:
1. Can Clemson contain Hansbrough?
They did the first time around with Mays and company hassling the junior all night. If Hansbrough is off, UNC loses their main weapon and safety valve on offense.
2. Tempo
Both of these teams like to play fast and furious. Which team's pressure will be more effective and get those easy break away baskets.
3. Free Throws
Last time out, North Carolina made 31-36 free throws. Clemson was 1-7. The Tigers cannot allow that kind of discrepancy again and must take the ball to the basket to draw fouls.

Clemson is coming off a big win over Duke and will have a lot of momentum. Anyone who is not a North Carolina fan will likely be rooting for the Tigers in Bobcat Arena. I have a feeling that Clemson had two really good chances to beat Carolina and failed on both. I don't think they have that chance a third time. I like North Carolina to win the ACC title.
Prediction: North Carolina

Season: 80-31 (73%)
ACC: 43-16 (73%)

Georgia Mississippi State Preview and Prediction

E6 Georgia vs W2 Mississippi State 8:30 (approx)
Previous Meetings: Miss State (Home) 60-49
The Georgia Bulldogs' improbable SEC run continues as they are now just 2 wins away from an automatic bid after dispatching Kentucky in OT. However, they are now at a clear disadvantage having already played an OT game earlier in the day while Miss State sat and watched with 24 hours of rest. In the first meeting way back in January, Miss State has 9 blocks and an 18-2 in the 2nd half to lead to victory. UGA does not have great depth usually going just 8 deep. I look for Georgia to come out strong in the first four minutes, but after that first TV timeout their legs could them. Miss State should be able to wear down Georgia in the 2nd half and cruise into the finals.
Prediction: Mississippi State

A little sidebar from the end of the Kentucky Georgia game. Billy Gillespie was very upset at the charging no call on UGA's Albert Jackson. The announcers got into a debate regarding the call and whether or not refs swallow their whistle at the end of the game. I personally do not think it should have been called a foul because Jackson was not gaining an advantage at 94 feet from the basket. I do agree with Tim Brando that some refs call the last minute of the game differently than the first minute of the game and that is wrong. The game should be called the same the entire 40+minutes. I think inconsistency is the main frustration players, coaches, and fans have with basketball refs.

Season: 79-29 (73%)
SEC: 37-15 (73%)

SEC Tournament Moves to Georgia Tech

E6 Georgia vs E2 Kentucky 12:00 PM
The Georgia Kentucky game postponed last night due to weather/facility issues has been rescheduled for today at Noon. This game and the rest of the SEC Tournament will be played at Georgia Tech just up the road. As you can see from the image, Tech's coliseum does not hold nearly the amount of the Georgia Dome and per the SEC only families and working media will be allowed inside. "Catlanta" will now take to the streets! See my preview of the game here.

E1 Tennessee vs W2 Arkansas 6:00 PM
Previous Meetings: Tenn (Home) 93-71
Both of these teams will have a longer layoff than anticipated due to the rescheduling of games. Tennessee dominated the only meeting of the year way back in January. I would think Arkansas is in the NCAAT now, but a win over Tennessee would definitely put them in. I think Tennessee had their big scare of the SEC Tournament against a lesser team yesterday. For Arkansas to win, they need to make this a half court game and force the Vols to run a half court offense. Having a 7 footer like Hill in the middle becomes very important in the half court, but not so much in transition. However, I like Tennessee's depth and 3 point shooting to overtake Arkansas in the second half and win.
Prediction: Tennessee

Georgia/Kentucky Winner vs W1 Mississippi State 8:30 PM
As soon as the Georgia/Kentucky game ends, I will have a preview up of this game.

I imagine the SEC and Georgia Dome officials do not feel the Georgia Dome is safe for 30,000+fans today or tomorrow to play the games. Phillips Arena where the Hawks and Thrashers play is right next door and likely sustained damage as well and has an event tonight. Another storm front will be moving through Atlanta today and you could see the wind blowing into the Dome last night after the storm hit during the Alabama/Miss St game. There is a lot of damage downtown around the Dome and there is still some confusion whether or not it was a tornado or not. Check here for news and pictures related to the storm. I can only tell you from here in Midtown Atlanta that it was raining very hard, windy, and then started hailing. Then all of a sudden the rain stopped, the hail stopped and it got real quiet all of a sudden.... almost like the center of the storm was passing over.

Season: 79-28 (74%)
SEC: 37-14 (74%)

ACC Tournament Saturday Previews

#1 North Carolina vs #4 Virginia Tech 1:30 PM
Previous Meetings: UNC (Home) 92-53
So far the ACC has held form regarding the top seeds advancing to Saturday. North Carolina destroyed Virginia Tech earlier this year in Chapel Hill. It is hard to blow out a good team in a conference tournament and I expect a close game. I like North Carolina's rebounding ability in this game and that was a big reason for the Hokies win over Miami. North Carolina is challenged for 35min, but pulls away at the end.
Prediction; North Carolina

#2 Duke vs #3 Clemson 4:00 PM
Previous Meetings: Duke (Home) 93-80
Many thought when these two teams met back in January that the Tigers would give Duke a strong run for their money, but the Blue Devils controlled most of the game keeping Clemson at arms length. Duke hit 24 FT and Clemson turned the ball over 20 times in the only meeting of the season. Both teams cruised to relatively easy victories on Friday night, but Clemson will have the shorter turnaround to Saturday afternoon. This one will come right down to the end and I like Duke's experience at the point guard position and their FT shooting - setting up a third go around with North Carolina for the ACC Tournament title.
Prediction: Duke

Season: 79-28 (74%)
ACC: 42-15 (74%)

Storms Postpone Georgia Kentucky


I would imagine the Georgia Kentucky game will be played first in the day with the winner playing Mississippi State later in the afternoon. Check for the latest info.

Friday, March 14, 2008

ACC Tournament Second Round Previews

#9 Florida State vs #1 North Carolina 12PM
Previous Meetings: UNC (Away) 84-73, UNC (Home) 90-77
The Seminoles took control early vs Wake Forest on Thursday and never let go. They will face a well rested Tar Heel team who looks to be rounding into top form with NCAAA tourney time just around the corner. The Heels will have too much inside play from Tyler Hansbrough for FSU to overcome. North Carolina cruises to Saturday.
Prediction: North Carolina

#4 Virginia Tech vs #5 Miami 2:30 PM
Previous Meetings: Miami (Away) 74-71
This should be the best match up of the day pitting two teams who were thought to be "football only" additions to the ACC a few years back. The Hurricanes won the only game this year in Blacksburg, but it was Virginia Tech who secured the #4 seed and the first round bye. Miami should be in, but VT probably needs a win or two to help their cause. Sometimes having already played a game can be helpful to that team especially early in the game. I like Miami in this one.
Prediction: Miami

#7 Georgia Tech vs #2 Duke 7:00 PM
Previous Meetings: Duke (Home) 71-58
The Blue Devils won the only meeting this year despite shooting just 2-15 from 3 point land - 21 of 30 from the FT line helped. Georgia Tech has played very well away from Atlanta this year and it was no different in their big win over Virginia on Thursday. For Georgia Tech to win, they have to narrow the FT difference and be able to guard the 3 point line. I expect this to be a very physical game and that lends itself to a Duke advantage at the FT line.
Prediction: Duke

#11 Boston College vs #3 Clemson 9:30 PM
Previous Meetings: Clem (Home) 78-56
Clemson will not get their rematch with Maryland as Boston College won just their 2nd game in the last 14 by beating the hapless Terps on Thursday. If the Tigers can contain Tyrese Rice then they should be able to handle the Eagles.
Prediction: Clemson

Season: 74-26 (74%)
ACC: 39-14 (74%)

SEC Tournament Second Round Previews

E5 South Carolina vs E1 Tennessee 1PM
Previous Meetings: Tenn (Away) 80-56, Tenn (Home) 89-56
The Volunteers invade Atlanta fresh off their SEC regular season title and will face a South Carolina club they have beaten twice most recently last Saturday by 33 points. South Carolina's Dave Odom is retiring after this season and is very likely staring at his last game. The Vols should win this one easily.
Prediction: Tennessee

E3 Vanderbilt vs W2 Arkansas 3:15PM
Previous Meetings: Arkansas (Home) 78-73
Since losing 4 of 5 in the middle of the season, Vandy has ripped off 8 wins in their last 10. Meanwhile, Arkansas has lost 5 of their last 8 and is squarely on the NCAA bubble. The Razorbacks won the only meeting of the year in Fayetteville. I think this one could be the best game of the day and will come right down to the wire. I like Vanderbilt's inside/outside combo to be the difference.
Prediction: Vanderbilt

W5 Alabama vs W1 Mississippi State 7:30 PM
Previous Meetings: Miss St (Away) 66-56, Miss St (Home) 73-66
The Crimson Tide were easily the biggest surprise of day 1 not because they beat Florida but how they jumped out so big early on and maintained the lead the entire game. Miss State will have too much defense for Alabama and will fend off the Tide for a third time this season.
Prediction: Mississippi State

E6 Georgia vs E2 Kentucky 9:45 PM
Previous Meetings: Kent (Away) 63-58, Kent (Home) 61-55
The Bulldogs were able to avenge last weeks loss to Ole Miss in the first round on Thursday in OT. Now they face a "bubble team" in Kentucky (how is a 12-4 SEC team on the bubble?). The Wildcats beat Georgia twice this year, but neither one came easy. The Wildcats Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford have picked up the slack left by Patrick Patterson who is out for the year. The two seniors will carry Kentucky to a third victory over Georgia in Atlanta.
Prediction: Kentucky

Season: 74-26 (74%)
SEC: 35-12 (74%)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ACC Tournament First Round


#8 Wake Forest vs #9 Florida State
Previous Meeting: WF (Home) 74-57, WF (Away) 78-70
The Deacons come into the ACC Tournament limping to the finish after making a run at a NCAA Tournament bid earlier. Florida State got a good win over Miami last weekend and will be looking to avenge two regular season losses to the Deacs. The Seminoles have been an up and down team this year, like most years under Leonard Hamilton. I think FSU is on an upswing right now and wins. Their prize is playing North Carolina in the next round.
Prediction: Florida State

#5 Miami vs #12 NC State
Previous Meeting: NC State (Home) 79-77
NC State has lost 8 in a row to finish last in the conference. Much of the blame has gone to bad PG play and bad chemistry on offense with players bickering over touches and playing time. The Wolfpack have been known to make runs in the ACCCT like they did last year, but they don't have that in them this year. I like Miami.
Prediction: Miami

#7 Georgia Tech vs #10 Virginia
Previous Meetings: GT (Away) 92-82, UVa (Away) 76-74
These two teams split the season series winning on each others home courts with second half comebacks. Georgia Tech has played very well away from home this year including a road win over each team lower than them in the standings that they played (didnt play @ FSU). Virginia had an impressive win over Maryland at home on Sean Singletary's senior night, but who hasn't beaten the Terps as of late? I like Georgia Tech to be able to slow down Singeletary with an improved perimeter defense and improved PG play of their own.
Prediction: Georgia Tech

#6 Maryland vs #11 Boston College
Previous Meeting: BC (Away) 81-78, Mryld (Away) 70-65
The Eagles were hot at the beginning of the ACC, including a win over Maryland in College Park. But Boston College has lost 6 in a row and is just 1-12 in their last 13 games. Maryland is on a cold streak themselves trying to shoot their way out of the NCAA Tournament. Something will have to give in this game between two sliding teams and I like Maryland to pull it together and play Clemson in a rematch of a few weeks ago.
Prediction: Maryland

Season: 70-22 (76%)
ACC: 36-13 (73%)

SEC Tournament First Round

E5 South Carolina vs W4 LSU 1:00 PM
Previous Meeting: LSU (Away) 62-5
LSU has played better down the stretch since the firing of John Brady, including an earlier win over South Carolina on the road. The Gamecocks have one of the better backcourts in the conference led by Devan Downey and Zam Frederick. LSU always seems to fair well in Atlanta in SEC Tournaments/Championships. I like LSU and their new found energy.
Prediction: LSU

E3 Vanderbilt vs W6 Auburn 3:15 PM
Previous Meeting: Vandy (Home) 78-71
Vanderbilt, despite its lofty national ranking, failed to secure a first round bye and now must face a dangerous Auburn team. The Commodores struggled a bit with Auburn at home earlier this year winning by just 7. But Vandy should have too much inside/outside with AJ Ogilvy and Shon Foster for the Tigers.
Prediction: Vanderbilt

E4 Florida vs W5 Alabama 7:00 PM
Previous Meeting: Florida (Away) 90-83
Florida and Alabama have not squared off since way back in January; back when we thought Florida was going to struggle (which they ended up that way but started out the SEC hot) and had no idea Alabama would struggle as much as they did. Florida needs this win desperately to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament. I like Florida in this one with their 3 point shooting ability.
Prediction: Florida

E6 Georgia vs W3 Ole Miss 9:15 PM
Previous Meeting: Ole Miss (Away) 76-62
These two teams just met last Saturday with Ole Miss coming away with an impressive road win. The Rebels also really need this one and at least 1 more win to have a shot at the NCAAT. It seems like Georgia has fallen apart in the second half of the season and is not buying into Dennis Felton's system. Could this mean Felton is on his way out? I don't think so, but a loss here doesn't help. I like Ole Miss to win again.
Prediction: Ole Miss

Season: 70-22 (76%)
SEC: 34-9 (79%)

Friday, March 7, 2008

North Carolina Duke Preview

North Carolina @ Duke Sat
This is the best rivalry in all of college basketball. Two schools that rank in the top 5 for tradition all time separated by just 8 miles yet worlds apart. The first time these two met this season North Carolina was without their PG Ty Lawson. The sophomore returned last week and has been able to improve each game since comning back. Last time out Duke was on fire from 3 point range with the unlikely hero Greg Paulus leading the way.
Lets get to the keys to the game:
1. Can North Carolina break Duke's pressure?
In Duke's two losses they have not been able to apply the pressure they want in the backcout. The speed of Ty Lawson wil make it difficult for Duke to set up their pressure. If the Tar Heels can break the pressure, they hold the advantage in 1 on 1 and 3 on 3 situations because of their talent advantage from player to player. The Blue Devils especially like to pour it on early and make their opponents play from behind so breaking pressure will be especially important early.
2. Who will win the FT battle?
Both of these teams make a living at the FT line. They rank 1 and 2 in FT attempted on the year in the ACC. Duke has always sought to drive the ball to the basket where they can pick up fouls on the opposition. Tyler Hansbrough is almost unstoppable in the paint because he gets to the line so much.
3. Bench Play
Duke does not have the deepest or the biggest players on their bench. If they get into a rat race early you have to wonder about their legs late in the game. Also, with Hansbrough's inside play the Blue Devils will need bodies to rotate in case of foul trouble. For North Carolina they have to take advantage of their depth and get significant contributions from players like Danny Greene.

I think this one will be another classic in this series. I think North Carolina is playing at about the same level they were in the first meeting, but Duke has regressed a bit since early February. I like the way Lawson has progressed since coming back from injury and I do not think Duke is good enough to sweep North Carolina.
Prediction: North Carolina

Duke North Carolina Line Spread
The money line and point spread will be interesting on this one. Duke is rarely a home underdog, but the Tar Heels who ranked #1 in the country. I think Duke might be an ever so slight favorite at -110 if they even offer a line. The point spread will be +/- 2 points either way. Watch how the line progresses on Saturday. If it looks like heavy action is being placed on one team, then go the other way.

Season: 66-20 (77%)
ACC: 34-12 (74%)

Kentucky Florida Preview

Florida @ Kentucky Sun
After losing a double digit lead to Tennnessee on Wednesday, the Gators last effort for a marquee win will be in Lexington. I find it hard to believe that Kentucky is on the bubble after what they have done in SEC play. The Wildcats have played much better than I thought they would without Patrick Patterson inside. I like the way seniors Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley are leading this team and I think they put on a show in their final game at Rupp.
Prediction: Kentucky

Kentucky Florida line/spread
Kentucky has been very good at home this year while the Gators have struggled on the road. I peg Kentucky at around -220 considering they should win this one around 7 out of 10 times. The Wildcats should win this one by around 8-12 points.

Season: 66-20 (77%)
SEC: 32-8 (80%)

Georgia Tech Boston College Preview

Georgia Tech @ Boston College Sat
Two teams who have largely disappointed this season finish the regular season in what will be a fight for better seeding in the ACC Tournament. Georgia Tech has done a better job as of late with turnovers, but has uncoverd a new achilles heel - offensive rebounds. The Yellow Jackets will likely stick defensive stopper D'Andre Bell on BC's Tyrese Rice who exploded last week against North Carolina. I have to wonder about Georgia Tech's legs playing their 4 game in 7 days. BC started off farely hot and has been ice cold since January. I think the Eagles are due for a win at home.
Prediction: Boston College

Georgia Tech Boston College line spread
BC will be favored being at home around -180. The Eagles look to be 4-6 point favorites.

Season: 66-20 (77%)
ACC: 34-12 (74%)

Clemson Virginia Tech Preview

Virginia Tech @ Clemson Sun
One of these teams is pretty sure they are in; the other one thinks they are in, but a win would ease their nerves. Both Clemson and Virginia Tech will have winning ACC records, but would like 1 more conference win just to cement their status. No team with 9 ACC wins has ever been left out of the NCAA Tournament, but the Hokies weak non conference schedule could put them at risk if other conferences have a lot of upsets in their tournaments. So on to the game...I like Clemson's rebounding ability in this match up at home where they have been very good this year.
Prediction: Clemson

Clemson Virginia Tech line spread
The Tigers should be around -200 on the moneyline and 6-8 points on the spread.

Season: 66-20 (77%)
ACC: 34-12 (74%)

Tennessee South Carolina Preview

South Carolina @ Tennessee Sun
The Volunteers have played some of their worst basketballt this season since beating Memphis a few weeks back,k but have lost just once due to their excellent coaching and ability to adjust. It will be senior day for Chris Lofton who has arguably been the face of Tennessee basketball - other than Bruce Pearl - during this resurgence. It will also be Dave Odom's last SEC regular season game as he is "retiring". Maybe Bruce Pearl will have some sympathy for Odom in his game. Probably not. Tennessee should win this one with relative ease.
Prediction: Tennessee

Tennessee South Carolina line spread
There won't be a line on this one, but if there was I would have to think Tennessee would have to be at least -1500. The point spread should be in the upper teens.

Season: 66-20 (77%)
SEC: 32-8 (80%)

Georgia Ole Miss Preview

Ole Miss @ Georgia Sat
Could this be the final game in Athens for Dennis Felton? More puzzling than Felton's lack of success is what happened to Ole Miss during SEC play. The Rebels were gangbusters in non-conference play, including a win over Clemson, but need a SEC Tournament push to make the NCAA's. Ole Miss got a big win at home this week against Arkansas. Georgia has been very good beating teams they should at home this year. I think this one goes down to the wire. I like Georgia's experience in their backcourt over Ole Miss.
Prediction: Georgia

Georgia Ole Miss line spread
This could be a game where the play all night and nobody gets up by more then 5 or 6 points. UGA should be around a -150 favorite. Georgia should have a spread of around 5-7 points.

Season: 66-20 (77%)
SEC: 32 - 8 (80%)