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2016 Tournament Bracket


Printable Tournament Bracket Here:


 

marchvegas_bracket_2016
 
 

[MARCHVEGAS] – noun 1.March to Vegas” symbolizes the humanistic tendency to march, migrate, or advance as a deliberate or organized body in a habitual manner back to Las Vegas. 2. Marriage of March Madness and Las Vegas, especially during tournament time. 3. The “MARCHVEGAS 4-day™ Holiday” (March 17 – 20, 2016) – Sign the Petition.

 
 

2015 Tournament Bracket


Printable Tournament Bracket Here:


 

marchvegas_bracket_2015
 
 

[MARCHVEGAS] – noun 1.March to Vegas” symbolizes the humanistic tendency to march, migrate, or advance as a deliberate or organized body in a habitual manner back to Las Vegas. 2. Marriage of March Madness and Las Vegas, especially during tournament time. 3. The “MARCHVEGAS 4-day™ Holiday” (March 19 – 22, 2015) – Sign the Petition.

 
 

The Dance

March Madness begins on Selection Sunday March 15th.

MARCHVEGAS, March Madness, Las Vegas & 4-day Holiday Schedule

 

Selection Sunday:

March 15th
 

First Round aka “Play-In” Games:

March 17th & 18th
 

MARCHVEGAS:

March 19th – 22nd (March Madness, Las Vegas, 4-day Holiday, and brackets begin).
 

Sweet Sixteen & Elite Eight:

March 26th – 29th
 

Final Four:

April 4th
 

Championship Game:

April 6th
 
 

[MARCHVEGAS] – noun 1.March to Vegas” symbolizes the humanistic tendency to march, migrate, or advance as a deliberate or organized body in a habitual manner back to Las Vegas. 2. Marriage of March Madness and Las Vegas, especially during tournament time. 3. The “MARCHVEGAS 4-day™ Holiday” (March 20 – 23, 2014) – Sign the Petition.

 
 

MV 2015

 
MARCHVEGAS is March 19-22, 2015. Believe in a 4-day Holiday.™

march_vegas_2015

 

Things To Do for MARCHVEGAS 2015.

 

1. Aria

Race & Sports Book: 100-seat race and sports, 90+ televisions. Basketball viewing party at Deuce Lounge and for groups. VIP section and elevated luxury booths are also available.

Nightlife: Deuce Lounge, Haze, Gold Boutique, Lift Bar, and Lounge.
 

2. Bally’s

Race & Sports Book: 256-seat race and sports book, 150 televisions, and 11 big screens.

Nightlife: Drai’s After Hours, Indigo Lounge and Sully’s.
 

3. Bellagio

Race & Sports Book: 5,600-square-foot race and sports book, 38 medium screens, 7 large screens. Basketball viewing party at Lily Bar and Lounge.

Nightlife:The Bank, Hyde, Lily Bar, Petrossian Bar, and Starting Gate.
 

4. Caesars Palace

Race & Sports Book: 250-seat race and sports book, 12 televisions, and 6 big screens. Basketball viewing parties at PURE, Carmine’s inside The Forum Shops and the Man Cave (check for pricing).

Nightlife: Apostrophe Bar, Cleopatra’s Barge, Fizz, Galleria Bar, Nobu Lounge, PURE, Seahorse Lounge and Shadow Bar.
 

5. Cosmopolitan

Race & Sports Book: 43-seat race and sports book, 20 screens with variable configurations, 4 big screens, and mobile casino games. Basketball viewing party at The Chelsea.

Nightlife: Bond, The Chandelier, Marquee night/day club, Queue Bar, and Vesper Bar.
 

6. Flamingo

Race & Sports Book: 100-seat race and sports book, 63 televisions, and 6 big screens.

Nightlife: Bugsy’s Bar, Carlos & Charlie’s Bar, Lobby Bar, and Margaritaville.
 

7. Golden Nugget

Race & Sports Book: 100-seat race and sports book, 59 televisions, and 4 big screens.

Nightlife: Bar 46, Claude’s Bar, Gold Diggers, International Beer Bar, and Rush Lounge.
 

8. Hard Rock Hotel

Race & Sports Book: 68-seat race and sports book, 6 HD projectors, configurations vary, 10 VIP seats, Cantor Gaming, mobile casino games. Basketball viewing party at The Joint.

Nightlife:The Ainsworth, Body English, Center Bar, Luxe Bar, and Vanity (get it up, get it up).
 

9. Hooters

Race & Sports Book: 10-seat and race and sports book, 20 televisions, 1 big screen, and pool bar.

Nightlife: N/A.
 

10. Luxor

Race & Sports Book: 110-seat race and sports book, 128 televisions, and 5 big screens. Basketball viewing party at Tacos & Tequila and Public House (free entry).

Nightlife:Aurora, Evening Call, Flight, High Bar, LAX, Liquidity, and Savile Row.
 

11. LVH

Race & Sports Book: 350-seat race and sports book, 28 giant screens, 1 behemoth of a big screen.

Nightlife: Eighth Pole Bar, Plaza Bar, SpaceQuest Bar, Tempo Lounge, and Zen Lounge.
 

12. Mandalay Bay

Race & Sports Book: 300-seat race and sports book, 84 televisions, and 17 big screens.

Nightlife: Bikini Bar, Eye Candy Sound Lounge, Foundation Room, House of Blues, Minus 5 Ice Lounge, Mix Lounge, Mizuya Lounge, and Orchid Lounge.
 

13. MGM Grand

Race & Sports Book: 104-seat race and sports book, 94 televisions, 54 big screens and VIP skyboxes. That’s a lot of 4’s.

Nightlife: Beacher’s Madhouse, Centrifuge, Hakkasan, Lobby Bar, Rouge, Tap Sports Bar, West Wing Bar, and Whiskey Down.
 

14. Mirage

Race & Sports Book: 269-seat race and sports book, 40 televisions, and 10 big screens, . Basketball viewing party at Rhumbar.

Nightlife: 1 OAK, Revolution Lounge, and Rhumbar.
 

15. Monte Carlo

Race & Sports Book: 140-seat race and sports book, 18 televisions, and 1 big screen. Basketball viewing party at Double Barrel Roadhouse.

Nightlife: Brand and Diablo’s.
 

16. New York New York

Race & Sports Book: 40-seat race and sports book, 45 televisions, and 24 big screens. Basketball viewing party at the Sporting House.

Nightlife: Coyote Ugly, Nine Fine Irishmen, and Times Square Bar.
 

17. Palazzo

Race & Sports Book:600-seat race and sports book, 100+ televisions, 1 large big screen, 1 large projection screen, and Cantor’s mobile gaming. Lagasse’s Stadium viewing party.

Nightlife: N/A.
 

18. The Palms Hotel

Race & Sports Book: 93-seat race and sports book, 33 televisions, big screen configurations vary, Cantor Gaming, and mobile casino games.

Nightlife: Ghostbar, Moon Nightclub, Scarlet Bar Social, and the View.
 

19. Paris

Race & Sports Book: 265-seat race and sports book, 221 televisions, and 11 big screens.

Nightlife: Chateau Nightclub and Beer Garden, Gustav’s Bar, Le Cabaret Lounge, Le Central Lobby Bar, and Napoleon’s Piano Lounge.
 

20. Planet Hollywood

Race & Sports Book:50-seat race and sports book, 30 televisions, 42 medium screens. Basketball viewing parties at Cabo Wabo inside Miracle Mile Shops. Hoops on the Mezz, packages available.

Nightlife: Heart Bar, PBR Rock Bar, and Cabo Wabo Cantina.
 

21. Red Rock Casino

Race & Sports Book: 206-seat race and sports book, 40 televisions, and 1 gargantuous big screen. Includes VIP section.

Nightlife: Rocks Lounge, Onyx Bar, and Lucky.
 

22. Rio

Race & Sports Book: 170-seat race and sports book, 99 televisions, and 6 big screens.

Nightlife: Flirt Lounge, I-Bar, and VooDoo.
 

23. South Point

Race & Sports Book: 320-seat race and sports book. 40 televisions, 40 big screens, 2 x-large screens. Basketball viewing party (Free admission).

Nightlife: N/A.
 

24. Treasure Island

Race & Sports Book: 152-seat race and sports book, 23 televisions, and 10 big screens.

Nightlife: Dance Hall & BBQ and Gilley’s Saloon.
 

25. Wynn

Race & Sports Book: 195-seat race and sports book, 40 televisions, and VIP lounges.

Nightlife: Tryst.
 

*Check back for prices and changes as they occur.
 
 

[MARCHVEGAS] – noun 1.March to Vegas” symbolizes the humanistic tendency to march, migrate, or advance as a deliberate or organized body in a habitual manner back to Las Vegas. 2. Marriage of March Madness and Las Vegas, especially during tournament time. 3. The “MARCHVEGAS 4-day™ Holiday” (March 19 – 22, 2015) – Sign the Petition.

 
 

UConn Wins National Championship With 60-54 Win Over Kentucky

UConn 2014 Champs
by EDDIE PELLS
 

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Coaches and players left them. Others told them to go away.

The guys who stuck around at UConn ended up with the last laugh and a pretty good prize to go with it: The national title.

Shabazz Napier turned in another all-court masterpiece Monday night to lift the Huskies to a 60-54 win over Kentucky’s freshmen and bring home a championship hardly anyone saw coming.

“You’re looking at the hungry Huskies,” Napier told the crowd and TV audience as confetti rained down. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us.”

The senior guard had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, and his partner in defensive lock-down, Ryan Boatright, finished with 14 points.

The victory comes only a short year after the Huskies were barred from March Madness because of grades problems. That stoked a fire no one could put out in 2014.

Napier kneeled down and put his forehead to the court for a long while after the buzzer sounded. He was wiping back tears when he cut down the net.

“I see my guys enjoying it,” Napier said. “That’s the most special feeling ever.”

UConn (32-8) never trailed in the final. The Huskies led by as many as 15 in the first half and watched the Wildcats (29-11) trim the deficit to one with 8:13 left. But Aaron Harrison, who pulled out wins with clutch 3-pointers in Kentucky’s last three games, missed a 3 from the left corner that would’ve given the Cats the lead. Kentucky never got that close again.

One key difference in a six-point loss: Kentucky’s 11 missed free throws — a flashback of sorts for coach John Calipari, whose Memphis team blew a late lead against Kansas after missing multiple free throws in the 2008 final. The Wildcats went 13 for 24. UConn went 10 for 10, including Lasan Kromah’s two to seal the game with 25.1 seconds left.

“We had our chances to win,” Calipari said. “We’re missing shots, we’re missing free throws. We just didn’t have enough.”

Calipari said he decided not to foul at the end “because they’re not missing.”

In all, Calipari’s One and Doners got outdone by a more fundamentally sound, more-seasoned group that came into this tournament a seventh-seeded afterthought but walked away with the program’s fourth national title since 1999. They were the highest seed to win it all since Rollie Massimino’s eighth-seeded Villanova squad in 1985.

Napier and Boatright now go down with Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen and all those other UConn greats. This adds to the school’s titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011.

“When they say Ray, Rip, Ben, Emeka, Kemba — they’ll soon say Shabazz,” said their former coach, Jim Calhoun, who was in the crowd along with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and a father-and-son team whose dance to the “Happy” song got huge applause when played on the big screen at AT&T Stadium.

The crowd was cheering for UConn at the end.

A short year ago, the Huskies were preparing for their first season in the new American Athletic Conference after being booted from the Big East and not welcomed by any of the so-called power conferences. Calhoun, who built the program, left because of health problems. And most damaging — the NCAA ban triggered an exodus of five key players to the NBA or other schools.

Napier stuck around. So did Boatright. And Calhoun’s replacement, Kevin Ollie, figured out how to make their grit, court sense and loyalty pay off.

“It’s not about going to the next level, it’s not about going to the pros, but playing for your university, playing for your teammates,” Niels Giffey said. “And I’m so proud of all the guys on this team that stuck with this team.”

They were one step ahead of Kentucky all night, holding off furious rally after furious rally.

Kentucky’s biggest push started when James Young (20 points, seven rebounds) posterized Amida Brimah with a monster dunk to start a three-point play and trigger an 8-0 run.

In the middle of that, Boatright, who shut down Harrison’s twin brother, Andrew, most of the night, twisted his left ankle while receiving an innocuous-looking pass from Napier. He called a timeout. Got it worked on and came back out.

“I’ve got a lot of heart and I wasn’t coming out,” Boatright said. “We put in too much work all year for me to give up on an ankle sprain.”

Napier and Giffey made 3s on UConn’s two possessions after the timeout, and that one-point lead was back up to five — fairly comfortable by this tight, taut, buzzer-beating tournament’s standards.

The big question in Kentucky is what will happen to all those freshmen. Julius Randle (10 points, six rebounds) is a lottery pick if he leaves for the NBA. Young and the Harrison brothers could be first-rounders. The big question is whether they’ll want to leave on this note.

“I think all these kids are coming back, so I think we should be good,” Calipari deadpanned, getting big laughs.

He called his group the most coachable bunch he’s ever had. They were preseason No. 1, a huge disappointment through much of this season. They were seeded an uninspiring eighth for the tournament and came on strong in time for a run to the final.

But they got outdone by a team on a different sort of mission — a team led by Napier, who stuck with the program even though he knew the 2012-13 season was for nothing but fun.

But what fun 2013-14 turned out to be.

Napier was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player and he earned it on both ends of the court, keeping a hand in Aaron Harrison’s face most of the night and holding him to a 3-for-7, seven-point, no-damage night.

He could also shoot it a bit — including a 3-pointer in the first half when UConn was having trouble dissecting the Kentucky zone. The shot came from about 30 feet, right in front of the edge of the Final Four logo at Center Court, or, as Dick Vitale put it: “He shot that one from Fort Worth.”

They felt it back in Storrs, where they could be celebrating another title shortly. The UConn women play for the national title Tuesday.

If they win, it will be the first sweep of the titles since 2004. The last school to do it: UConn, of course.

For more….

 
 

Power couple Kentucky, UConn to decide long-shot title

Championship Game
By Jimmy Burch
 
ARLINGTON — Based on program pedigrees, college basketball historians would not be surprised by a Kentucky-Connecticut matchup in an NCAA title game in a typical season.

But this is 2014, a season far from typical for two programs that have combined to win 11 national championships.

Kentucky (29-10), the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region, dropped a regular-season game to South Carolina (14-20), which finished 13th in the 14-member SEC. UConn (31-8), the No. 7 seed in the East Region, lost both of its regular-season meetings to SMU, an NIT participant, and also fell to Houston (17-16), which did not play in any postseason tournament.

Yet the two power programs meet at 8:10 Monday night, warts and all, for the right to cut down the nets in AT&T Stadium and be recognized as the NCAA national champion. For the foreseeable future, Kentucky (29-10) and UConn (31-8) will be the answer to a trivia question that might stump lots of college basketball fans:

Which teams were the longest long shots, based on tournament seeds, to meet in an NCAA championship game?

The Wildcats and Huskies, with a combined seed total of 15, have played their way into that distinction. UConn is the first No. 7 seed to play for an NCAA title since the seeding process began with the 1979 tournament. Kentucky can join Villanova, the 1985 champion, as the only No. 8 seeds to win a championship. No team seeded higher than Villanova has won an NCAA title.

How surprising is this title-game matchup of power programs experiencing also-ran seasons before catching fire in March Madness? Consider: Among the 11.01 million brackets in ESPN’s tournament challenge, only .00016 of 1 percent (1,780) had Kentucky facing UConn in the title game.

According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, Kentucky began the tournament with 40-1 odds to cut down the nets at AT&T Stadium, the same venue where the Wildcats fell to Baylor 67-62 in a Dec. 6 contest. UConn was given 100-1 odds.

Yet both schools arrive with a 50-50 shot to collect another national title. Kentucky has won eight. UConn has won three. That is quite a twist from last season, when neither school made the NCAA’s 68-team bracket.

Kentucky coach John Calipari spent Sunday downplaying the significance of the less-than-stellar seeds that have served to motivate players on both teams.

“After your first game, even if you’re highly seeded, every other game’s hard in this tournament,” said Calipari, who stressed that both schools were undervalued by members of the NCAA selection committee. “I don’t think we were an eighth seed. I don’t think Connecticut was a seven seed. But that’s where they seeded us.”

Because of that starting point, Calipari said both schools “had one more hard game than some of the other teams had” in advancing through the tournament bracket. But both teams have thrived while setting a precedent unseen in this tournament in 38 years. Monday’s matchup marks the first time since 1966 that two teams will play for an NCAA title after both failed to make the tournament the previous season.

The opportunity intrigues UConn guard Shabazz Napier, one of three seniors who were part of the program when the Huskies won the 2011 national title.

“We all play the game of basketball to compete against the best. This is one of them games,” Napier said. “We put our jerseys on the same way they do. We all believe.”

Both teams have history on their side. UConn is 3-0 in NCAA championship games, including title-clinching triumphs in Houston (2011) and San Antonio (2004). The Huskies could complete a Texas Trifecta with a victory in Arlington.

Kentucky, 8-3 in NCAA championship games, has a Texas Trio working in its favor. Three of the Wildcats’ five freshmen starters played high school basketball in the Lone Star State (forward Julius Randle, guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison). Randle, a Dallas native, called it “just amazing” to have an opportunity to claim an NCAA title in front of family and friends in his home state.

“To be here and playing on the final day means a lot,” Randle said. “If we are the champions, it will be because we did it together, played hard and trusted each other.”

A Kentucky triumph also would underscore the surprise nature of this title run. An NCAA champion must win six consecutive tournament games. Kentucky’s longest winning streak this season is five. But that streak is active. So, too, is the hunger of UConn’s seniors to bookend their college careers with another NCAA title in Texas.

“We certainly have much more experience on this team,” forward Niels Giffey said, comparing the current Huskies to the 2011 title team. “We have good team chemistry. This whole group has been through so many down periods that I think we really worked hard for this.”

In Monday’s title game, only one thing is certain. A team that has experienced its share of down moments will enjoy college basketball’s ultimate high: cutting the nets as a national champion.

For more….
 
 

Final Four in North Texas Showdown: Kentucky vs Wisconsin & Connecticut vs Florida

 
Final Four

by Chris Dufresne
 

The road to Final Four was pockmarked with controversial calls and video reviews. But in the end, Florida vs. UConn and Kentucky vs. Wisconsin feels right.

Three referees and a technician huddled at the scorer’s table late Sunday afternoon and determined, after a lengthy review, that next week’s Final Four in North Texas was set.

Utilizing information culled from hundreds of cameras set up at games around the country over two weeks, the NCAA confirmed the schools moving on as Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky.

The NCAA also announced the MVEI (most valuable electronic instrument) of the Elite Eight was the replay monitor.

Somehow, though, it all worked out . . . sensationally.

The officials got out of the way long enough to allow enough scintillating action to permeate down to the stars who did not wear stripes.

No botched “block-charge” call or 18-minute final minutes (Tennessee vs. Michigan) could keep the college kids from doing what they do best every March.

And that is to provide unscripted and unparalleled drama.

Kentucky earned the last Final Four prize Sunday when freshman Aaron Harrison hit a three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in Indianapolis to lift the Wildcats to a 75-72 win over Michigan.

That followed Connecticut’s knockout win over Michigan State (Sorry, Mr. President) in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

A day earlier, in Memphis, Florida outlasted die-hard Dayton and Wisconsin edged Arizona in Anaheim overtime.

From sunup Tuesday on the first day of the tournament, to sundown Sunday 12 days later, there were seven overtime games played and 10 other games decided by three points or fewer.

Warren Buffett played us all for suckers, knowing there was no chance he would have to pay anyone a billion bucks for a perfect bracket.

Whatever you thought of the NCAA committee’s seeding two weeks ago, these Final Four pairings will go well with almost any wine.

In one national semifinal, top-seeded Florida plays Connecticut, a No. 7, while in the other, No. 2 Wisconsin meets No. 8 Kentucky.

There are enough angles to convene a geometry convention.

Four Florida seniors, who fell one game short of the Final Four the three previous seasons, finally came to a place of peace after the Dayton accords.

The Gators are back in the last weekend or the first time since 2007, when they won their second straight national title under Coach Billy Donovan.

Florida was happy to cut down the nets in Memphis, but that isn’t the endgame.

“Our goal at the beginning of the year wasn’t to be the South Regional champions,” senior forward Patric Young said. “Our goal was to be national champions.”

As Young climbed the ladder Saturday to take net snippets, he said, he was “thinking about how I wanted to be able to do this again.”

For more….
 

Bracket Briefing: 8 bold predictions heading into the Sweet 16

Sweet 16

by Scott Gleeson
 
AT THE WATER COOLER: Now that most brackets are busted and office pool championship aspirations are blown to smithereens, we can finally stop being surprised in this NCAA tournament.

If only.

There are 16 teams remaining, with eight games Thursday and Friday to decide the Elite Eight. But it’d be unwise to expect the shock factor to discontinue.

AT THE WATER COOLER: Now that most brackets are busted and office pool championship aspirations are blown to smithereens, we can finally stop being surprised in this NCAA tournament.

If only.

There are 16 teams remaining, with eight games Thursday and Friday to decide the Elite Eight. But it’d be unwise to expect the shock factor to discontinue.

1. Florida won’t win it all: The favorite (Louisville) won it last year, and the Gators have looked the part of an overall No. 1 seed in their first two tournament snoozers. But that doesn’t mean Florida isn’t vulnerable. Yes, the SEC has three teams in the Sweet 16, and the ACC has one. Does that mean the SEC is better than the ACC top to bottom? No. It means that there are three strong teams in Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, some of whom had favorable matchups to reach the Sweet 16. And advancing in the NCAA tournament is often about matchups. Which brings us back to the Gators, riding a 28-game winning streak. UCLA will be a tough matchup for Billy Donovan’s veteran team.

Steve Alford’s offense has been highly efficient, and the Bruins have been flourishing since knocking off an equally talented Arizona squad in the Pac-12 tournament title game. Florida’s defense is incredibly frustrating for opponents because of how it stifles the opponent’s flow. The Bruins’ potent offense, spearheaded by 6-9 point guard Kyle Anderson and explosive scorer Jordan Adams, has the ability to counter that. And if Florida’s one-point win against Kentucky in the SEC tournament final was any indication of how the Gators will fare against a high-octane offense, it spells trouble. Additionally, Florida has looked uncomfortable late in some games.

2. Louisville will crumble: The Cardinals cruised through the American Athletic Conference tournament, beating a team by 61 points, and suddenly emerged as a sleeper Final Four pick heading into the NCAA tournament. Yet after two sloppy games, a tough second-round matchup vs. Manhattan and a low-scoring defensive war vs. Saint Louis, it is rather difficult to be confident. The defending champs aren’t nearly as good as they were last year. Last year top catalyst Russ Smith’s job was to score, but Peyton Siva got him his shots as an elite, unselfish point guard.

This year there are much bigger demands on Louisville’s best player, who went a combined 6-for-19 in two games in Orlando. If teams read the scouting report accurately, it goes something like this: Limit Smith, make others beat you. Montrezl Harrell has been a nice replacement for Gorgui Dieng and Luke Hancock has improved since last season, but there isn’t the same depth and point guard Chris Jones doesn’t give Smith the same type of luxury in relieving pressure.

3. Kentucky will be the best-finishing SEC team: The Wildcats’ upset victory vs. Wichita State can seriously be misunderstood. Forget that the Shockers came from a mid-major conference: Kentucky beat a team that was likely to reach the Final Four, with potential to win it all. It appears the Wildcats are coming together. All season, Calipari has been frustrated with the lack of hustle and cohesion. Could those issues be in the past? That seems to be the case.

Julius Randle is still playing with a tenaciousness that injects life into the team, Andrew and Aaron Harrison are playing smarter and shooting well and the group’s maturity progression is night and day compared to the product we saw in November. There’s never been any question of whether the pieces were there for a championship. It’s always been about how and when those pieces come together.

4. Virginia will beat Michigan State: Here are two words to consider when trying to figure out No. 1 seed Virginia: Unselfish and patient. That’s coach Tony Bennett’s strict offense in a nutshell. Michigan State and Virginia run sagging man-to-man defenses that fluster opponents. And coach Tom Izzo is quick to credit UVa as “one of the best defensive teams in the country” based on the team yielding a nation-low 55.5 points per game. But it’s on offense where the Cavaliers have an edge. That’s not to say Virginia has any player with the same capability as an Adreian Payne or Gary Harris. But there are no me guys wearing navy and orange, and that goes a long way when most offenses have a tendency to get rushed during key spurts of the game. There’s no arguing Michigan State isn’t playing good basketball. But overlooking this Virginia team would be a mistake.

5. Archie Miller will finish as good or better than Sean Miller: Whoa. We said bold, right? It’s a sweet time for Archie and Sean Miller as the brothers are both coaching in the Sweet 16. Needless to say, it wasn’t expected that Archie Miller’s Dayton Flyers would be joining the Arizona Wildcats in the second weekend of the tournament. In order for Archie to finish even or better than Sean, Dayton has to beat Stanford. That’s a winnable game against another double-digit seed. That scenario would also mean Arizona falls to San Diego State in the Sweet 16 or Wisconsin/Baylor in the Elite Eight. Both are possibilities. The Aztecs played Arizona solidly in November when they hosted the Wildcats in San Diego, but doing so on a neutral court might be a little tougher … even though that neutral court will be in nearby Anaheim. And if Arizona advances, Wisconsin is a team that has the offensive weaponry and defensive wherewithal to knock the Wildcats out of the NCAAs.

6. Wisconsin will reach the Final Four: Bo Ryan has one of his most potent, gifted offensive teams that he’s ever coached — led by forwards Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky and guards Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson. That won’t be the key in Wisconsin reaching the Final Four, though. The key is on the defensive end, where the Badgers are always sound. The best offensive teams in this tournament — Creighton and Duke, for instance — are at home watching. The best defensive teams are still playing. If Wisconsin’s Big Ten record says anything, it’s that this offensively gifted squad can win when shots aren’t falling.

7. Shabazz Napier will outduel DeAndre Kane: All right, this one isn’t so bold. The best part about this matchup Thursday is that it will feature the players with the two best individual performances through the first two games. Outside of Doug McDermott, Napier has been playing like the national player of the year. The do-everything guard has 49 points in leading UConn past Saint Joseph’s and Villanova. Meanwhile, Kane has been equally as important to his team’s advancement, shown mostly in his 24-point, 10-rebound performance to lift Iowa State by North Carolina in a come-from-behind victory.

For more….
 
 

Bracket Busted? There’s Still Plenty to Root for During March Madness – It’s Called Life

Adreian - Lacey

by Ron Dicker

This Pair’s Beautiful Friendship Will Fill Your Heart With March Gladness

Sometimes stories emerge during March Madness that force you to put down your brackets and pay attention to what’s really important.

The friendship between Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne and 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth is one of those stories.

They met two years ago when the Spartans visited a hospital where Lacey was getting treatment for neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the nerve tissue. Their relationship has thrived, and they reportedly text every day.

As the Washington Post notes, Payne attended a fundraiser for Lacey, and Lacey, who was Payne’s guest on senior night, helped him cut down the net after Michigan State won the Big Ten tournament.

Now that Payne and Michigan State have advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, the duo’s touching bond continues to move fans. A video posted by the Big Ten Network earlier this month covers Payne and Lacey in tear duct-draining detail (watch above).

“She’s like a sister to me,” Payne says in the segment. “I love him,” Lacey declares.

If your favorite team has been eliminated, you might just cheer for Payne and Michigan State on the basis of the video alone.

For more….
 
 
That’s what its all about.
Ellis Jordan