Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3/24: Do You Know Your Sweet 16? Part 4 - MIDWEST REGION

This was supposed to be the easy lock bracket, every analyst had Kansas emerging from this bracket, and that just made sense to all of us. However, Kansas is not one of the four left standing in this bracket. Instead we have:

- A team led by the likely National Player of the Year
- A team playing in their third consecutive Sweet 16, one of only two teams currently, and coming off a National Title game appearance
- A team led by a coach who wears unusual attire, and has painted his chest for other university events
- A team that knocked the overwhelming national title favorite to get here


Ohio State Buckeyes


Pre-tournament: 27-7 (17-4 Big Ten) Big Ten Tournament Champions
2010 Tournament Wins: 68-51 vs UC-Santa Barbara, 75-66 vs Georgia Tech
NCAA Tournament History: 26th appearance, 45-24 record, 10 Final Fours, 1 title
Deepest Tournament Run: National Champions - 1960
University History: Founded in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College
Notable Alumni: comedian Richard Lewis, Olympian Jesse Owens, General Curtis "Bombs Away" LeMay, coaching legend Bob Knight
Basketball Venue: Value City Arena at The Jerome Schottenstein Center, opened 1998, capacity 19,200, The Daily Show taped in arena (only college to have show taped on campus)

Their Story: They are led by the best player left in the tournament, since Kentucky's John Wall is a freshman I really can't give him that title, in Evan Turner. If this were purely given to the best team with the best player then this region would go to the Buckeyes, but it isn't.

Up Next: vs Tennessee - Friday at 7:07 PM

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Michigan State Spartans


Pre-tournament: 24-8 (14-5 Big Ten)
2010 Tournament Wins: 70-67 vs New Mexico St, 85-83 vs Maryland
NCAA Tournament History: 24th appearance, 7 Final Fours, 2 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: National Champions - 1979, 2000
University History: Founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan in 1855
Notable Alumni: actor James Caan, actress Carol Duvall, NFL OL & "Human Penalty Flag" Flozell Adams
Basketball Venue: Jack Breslin Student Events Center, opened 1989, capacity 15,085, floor is floor on which Spartans won 2000 title (had shipped in and installed)

Their Story: Michigan St started the season with a fair amount of expectations and coming off a less in the 2009 national title game vs UNC. Down the stretch it appeared Michigan St was heading straight off the map with injuries and inconsistent play, but here they are. Tom Izzo is one of the most consistent tournament coaches in the game today, so expect his team to be ready to play. Don't count out another Final Four for Izzo.
Up Next: vs Northern Iowa - Friday 9:37 PM

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Tennessee Volunteers


Pre-tournament: 25-8 (13-6 SEC)
2010 Tournament Wins: 62-59 vs San Diego St, 83-68 vs Ohio
NCAA Tournament History: 18th appearance, 15-18 record, 0 Final Fours, 0 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: Sweet 16 - 1967, 1981, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010
University History: Originally Blount College in 1794
Notable Alumni: author Alex Haley, former MLB manager Phil Garner, radio personality Paul Feinbaum, NFL QB Peyton Manning, former football coach Phillip Fulmer
Basketball Venue: Thompson-Boling Arena, opened 1987, capacity 21,000, court named "The Summit" for legendary Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summit

Their Story: Tennessee had some expectations heading into the season, some expected Kentucky to not be this good and for the Vols to win the SEC. Then Tennessee had to kick their best player off the team following off the court ugliness. They followed up that with a win over top-ranked Kansas. Tennessee seems the team that can beat anybody in the country when on their game, but it's sometimes hard to tell if they'll be on their game.
Up Next: vs Ohio St - Friday 7:07 PM

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Northern Iowa Panthers


Pre-tournament: 28-4 (18-3 MVC) Regular Season and Tournament Missouri Valley Conference Champions
2010 Tournament Wins: 69-66 vs UNLV, 69-67 vs Kansas
NCAA Tournament History: 6th appearance, 3-5 record, 0 Final Fours, 0 titles
Deepest Tournament Run: Sweet 16 - 2010
University History: Originated as Iowa State Normal School in 1876
Notable Alumni: NFL QB Kurt Warner, NFL C Brad Meester, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Basketball Venue: McLeod Center, opened 2006, capacity 7,018, replaced UNI-Dome as home of UNI Basketball

Their Story: It should be noted that Northern Iowa has been on the radar a little in recent years. They have been int he tournament and they've played some ESPN Bracket Buster games. So it's not as if you've never had a chance to watch the school most famous as the alma mater of Kurt Warner. Then it happened... Northern Iowa defeated the pre-eminent favorite to win it all as they beat Kansas. Now all eyes will be on them, because they are a team to be reckoned with from here on out.
Up Next: vs Michigan St - Friday 9:37 PM

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