Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NCAA Hoops:Kentucky and Missouri Hot? Maybe Not

How will Kentucky and Missouri fare in the NCAA tournament? Maybe not as well as you think.

Consensus has NCAA tournament top seed Kentucky rolling over the competition and claiming the national championship. History, though, tells us that's not going to happen.

No question this is the best team in the country, teeming with pro-calibre-talent, like ridiculously skilled Anthony Davis, who could be an NBA star right  now. Against top-flight opposition, like North Carolina, Louisville and Kansas, Kentucky's defense went into shut-down-mode. But there's cause for concern in two areas. Possibly wizard point guard Marquis Teague just might succumb to freshman jitters or maybe the Wildcats, who don't play strong half-court offense--the scheme of choice in the NCAAs-- are vulnerable to an exceptional defense. This team is beatable, which an inferior Vanderbilt team proved in the SEC tournament. So careful wagering on Kentucky.The best team doesn't always win the national championship.

Also, be wary of  Missouri, the No.2 seed in the west. This offensive powerhouse is a popular Final Four pick. That's because some bettors look for dazzling offensive stats and look no further. This is a squad full of sharpshooters, including Marcus Denmon and sixth man Michael Dixon, with a nearly 50% accuracy rate. They can outshoot anybody. They can also, if they're cold, shoot themselves out of games. Their most worrisome weakness, though, is their lack of interior height. A tall team can give them fits.  Look what happened with Kansas Statte, which whipped the Tigers twice, decisively outrebounding them. If the Tigers don't have the ball, their offensive skills don't do them any good.