Post-Gazette sports reporter Paul Zeise blogs about the world of sports, and Pittsburgh sports in particular, with an assist from Seth Rorabaugh and his Morning Links. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulZeise and Seth @emptynetters.
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"The ball is tipped, and there you are...."
Oh wait, that is for AFTER the tournament.
For now - the early games are underway and the Pitt game is coming up shortly. I wil be updating this blog throughout the game and the day - but we can use this ------ the comment section below ----- as sort of a running chat type deal all throughout.
Give me your thoughts, your picks, complain if you must, tell me what you see and what you want to see.....
As for the rest of the day here are some things to look for in the games:
I once had a coach from a smaller conference team tell me the worst nightmare for a team like that is when they see the NCAA Tournament brackets come out and they see the name "Michigan State" as a first-round opponent. I think Valpo is already seeing that. He said simply put - Michigan State doesn't take a single possession off, they defend hard as heck and they pound the glass and you really have to beat them but before that you better be able to match them physically. He said some other teams - like North Carolina or Indiana or some of the Big 12 teams -- you watch film and see a number of examples of possessions they are taking off and that gives you hope that if your guys can play hard and play fast you have a chance to pull an upset or at least get late into the game with a chance to win.
The other early game right now - Bucknell-Butler - is really just going to be an ugly, unwatchable in some ways, game as both teams are grinders and will try to grind it out. I don't expect this Butler team to make a long run as the Bulldogs aren't as good defensively as they have been in the recent past.
OK, that's it for now, let's get it started - in Pitt-Wichita State -- it will be a typical ugly, grinder game as both teams value defense and rebounding. I think Pitt should be OK in this one but the Shockers do have a couple of kids who can score so the Panthers have to avoid letting one of them have that "breakout game".
THis is a much better matchup for Pitt than Gonzaga because what Wichita State does well - rebound and defend -- is in Pitt's wheelhouse and the Panthers clearly can play against a team like this. The Zags, however, can score and run great offense and those teams have given Pitt problems in the NCAA Tournament.
It will be interesting to see Steven Adams today playing against a true 7-footer who can block shots and I am interested in seeing how it affects him.
Discuss.......And I'll be back maybe at the half and then in the second half:
My prediction --- Pitt 62, Wichita State 57
Let's hear what you think.....
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