Ncaa 2009 Final Four Predictions: North Carolina, Uconn, Villanova And — Maybe — Kansas

The NCAA tournament opening day always brings anticipation, hopes for upsets, and last-minute bracket work. Jake Trantin’s played a lot of football for us and we’re going to move him to middle full time.
In a successful night for the Big East, nine players from the conference were selected in the 2009 NBA Draft. Just three years ago, 11 players from the Big East were selected, but this year marks the second highest total since the draft moved to two rounds.

They couldn’t, leaving some gaping holes on a roster that won’t start getting filled until after next Wednesday’s start of free agency. “I have no idea who’ll be our point guard,” admitted team president Ed Stefanski, who plans to open talks with free agent Andre Miller at that time. “but we drafted a kid with a big, big upside.

Watch out for the West Coast Conference champ, which will be either Gonzaga, a name we’re all familiar with, or Saint Mary’s, a name you’ve heard but not in basketball. SM owns the tiebreaker with a win over the Zags, and will be in prime position for the easier path later. They also have a win against a top-25 school, whereas Gonzaga is 0-4 against that category. Whoever wins the automatic bid will receive decent seeding, and possibly a favorable game. I think Saint Mary’s has a shot to be playing more than two halves.

For the first-team selections, the Big East coaches (who could not vote for their own players) named Notre Dame senior forward Luke Harangody (who was also tabbed as the preseason Player of the Year); Cincinnati senior guard Deonta Vaughn; West Virginia senior forward Da’Sean Butler; Georgetown sophomore center and reigning Big East Rookie of the Year Greg Monroe; Villanova senior guard Scottie Reynolds; and the 6’6″ Hayward (a tie in the balloting created six positions).

On the CAA South: “You try to just become as good as you can be. You know you’re going to be challenged, you know that’s going to be happening so you have got to get better in preseason. I mean we’ve got to play Virginia in the first ballgame so we’re going to have to be pretty far along when we play that one. But we just prepare to try to be as good as we can be and you understand you’ve got to develop depth. You can’t just expect one guy to do it all the time. You’ve got to develop depth and you’ve got to understand what your strengths are and work on them.

I’m picking the Pac-10 champion, whether it be the Bruins or the Cardinal, and then the fourth goes to Kansas. After all, the Jayhawks only two losses are to current ranked teams.

Kurz gave Villanova the lead again, 47-46, with a three point play at the 1:06 mark. After Nova’s Siobhan O’Connor hit a pair of free throws to push the Wildcats lead to three points, Seton Hall sophomore Ebonie Williams sank a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 49-48 with 15.8 seconds left. In between two pairs of free throws by O’Connor was a traveling call on Williams which essentially ended any hopes Seton Hall had.

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