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Who Will Cut Down the Nets?

March 20, 2003 Featured No Comments






Bar Room Bicker – Who will Cut Down the Nets?

by Nicholas Lozito, Jimmy Spencer, and Andria Wenzel

Andria Wenzel — Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Two years ago, Matt Doherty bolted from South Bend for the University of North Carolina in hopes of winning a national championship for one of the most storied programs in men’s basketball history.

Too bad he didn’t realize the real story was right there in Indiana, the home of basketball itself.

Kind of ironic that now it’s Mike Brey — Doherty’s successor — who could be standing at the top of the ladder snipping the nylon on April 7 alongside seniors Matt Carroll and Danny Miller and sophomore Chris Thomas.

Did Doherty know he was letting go of arguably the second-best point guard in the college game? Well, while Doherty is reveling in the NIT, Brey has one of the most reckless and unpredictable players in Thomas – just the kind of story that March Madness loves to embrace.

If Notre Dame can return to their early-season form, when they recorded wins over Marquette, Maryland, Texas and Pittsburgh, they have as good as chance as any to make it to the finals.

Statistics don’t matter now; all that matters are the last second lay-up that left Tyus Edney in infamy, and a timeout that has left Chris Webber in shame.

For Thomas, Carroll ‘n company — the time is now.

Jimmy Spencer — Texas Longhorns

The team with the best point guard in the nation will also be the last standing in the 2003 March Madness Tournament.

The third-ranked Longhorns will run through the field of 64 by way of their 5’10” elusive sophomore point guard T.J. Ford, who will change the course of games with his speed and skills. His ability to drive the lane is unmatched by any, and his improved jumper will give Texas the edge over other top ranked teams.

Center James Thomas averaged a double double and is the top rebounder in the Big 12. In addition, deadly perimeter shooter, shooting guard Brandon Mouton has the capabilities to put any game away from behind the arc.

Texas’ substantial depth gives them an edge over most tournament teams and can call on several players to give them scoring off the bench.

The shocking Big 12 Tournament loss to Texas Tech served as a reminder that none of the 64 teams are unbeatable. Arizona was knocked off by UCLA, Missouri dropped Kansas, and Texas dropped Oklahoma.

But in a wide-open 2003, the Longhorns provide the best mixture of shooting, defense, depth and determination. And no one can stop T.J. Ford.

T.J. Ford might be leaving for the NBA next year, but he’ll join his new lottery team with an NCAA championship.

Nicholas Lozito — Syracuse Orangemen

The Orangemen are the most talented team in the country.

Carmelo Anthony is a lock for freshman of the year and an-all-American contender. Power forward Hakim Warrick is the most athletic big man in the nation, while Kueth Duany brings senior leadership. Freshman sharp-shooter Gerry McNamara can light it up from anywhere on the court and Graig Forth’s 7-foot interior presence give Syracuse the best starting five in the tourney.

The only thing holding the Orangemen back is their lack of experience. Coach Jim Boeheim will have to get this team, which starts four underclassmen, on the same page heading into their first round game with Manhattan.

While Syracuse is capable of blowing out any team in the country, they also have the capability of falling apart. But in the tourney, talent prevails. And the Orangemen have a whole lot of talent.

Not only does Syracuse (located in upstate New York) not have to play any further than Boston until the final four, but they are also placed in the region with the weakest No. 1 seed — Oklahoma.

Nicholas Lozito, Jimmy Spencer, and Andria Wenzel are Hoopville Staff writers living in Sacramento.

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