ACC Tournament Final
Duke vs. Boston College 12 Noon CST ESPN
These two only met once this season. Duke won at Boston College 83-81. There was a big no foul call on Shelden Williams at the end of the game that seemed to spur the anti-Duke media coverage over the last two months. Duke is obviously led by two All America players, JJ Redick and Shelden Williams. Redick seems to have found his jump shot in Greensboro after some off shooting games to end the season. Williams is a force down low but prone to foul trouble. The very thin Blue Devils will be playing their third game in as many days.
BC has flown under the radar this season, but they are a solid basketball team. The forward combo of Craig Smith and Jared Dudley is unmatched in the ACC. Smith and Dudley were huge in their semifinal win over North Carolina. The combo will be matchup problems for Duke.
Josh McRoberts has had brilliant games but not the breakout season most expected. His defensive skills will be tested. Duke is also plagued by the lack of a third scorer. In the first meeting, Redick and Williams combined for 49 points. Greg Paulus and McRoberts are cable of double figures in scoring but haven't done so consistently. Duke will need a good game from DeMarcus Nelson if they are to take yet another ACC Tournament title. Unfortunately, Nelson is hampered by a nagging ankle injury.
Prediction: The Duke freshman play like first year players and BC's inside game is too tough. BC wins 75-70.
SEC Tournament Final
Florida vs. South Carolina 12 Noon CST CBS
Bubble teams gather round. A South Carolina win could burst the bubble of teams like Seton Hall, Florida State, Alabama, Texas A&M, Michigan, and countless other mid major clubs. The Gamecocks have won three games in three days taking out Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Florida has already lost twice to South Carolina this season and will be looking for revenge. UF has now won four straight games after dismantling regular season champ LSU late.
The Gators have the ability to score inside and out. They are led by sophomore Joakim Noah, Taurean Green, and Corey Brewer. On a given night, Florida is capable of beating anyone. They, like most teams, are particularly successful when they play defense and score easy points off their defense. The Gamecocks will try to limit Florida's transition points and keep the game in the 60s.
Prediction: Florida heads into the NCAAs rolling. Bubble teams can breathe easier. UF wins 72-68.
Big 10 Tournament Final
Ohio State vs. Iowa 2:30 PM CST CBS
The Buckeyes have an outside shot at a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. It is a real long shot given this final will end just minutes before the pairings are announced.
The Buckeyes survived a semifinal scare over Indiana while Iowa won by five over the underachieving Michigan State Spartans. OSU has won seven straight and 11 of their last 12. Iowa beat OSU in their only meeting of the season 67-62 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have won four straight and six of their last eight.
Points have been difficult to come by in Indianapolis this weekend. If either team gets hot, they could win going away. OSU can kill you from the outside or with Big 10 Player of the Year Terence Dials inside. They had a terrible game shooting the three in the semifinals. I don't expect back to back cold shooting performances. Iowa has as much experience as any team in the country. Senior forward Greg Bruner can score inside and out and senior guard Jeff Horner is a scoring point guard with a terrific jumper.
Prediction: OSU shoots better from three and survives, 62-58.
*Big 12 Preview coming soon.