For the first 6 days that I have been posting these predictions right about the tipoff game of the first game of the day. Today's is being released earlier than usual, because my wife wants to go to see the matinee showing of the Food Fight Hunger Games. My gut tells me that in making predictions 2 hours before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes prior, I will throw off my exceptional groove that led me to four correct picks last night, and 75% accuracy through the first 56 games. However, I did eat a spinach, cheese and onion omelette this morning (made it myself... ladies), so I'm probably going to get everything predicted exactly.

Since we are in the Elite Eight, I have decided that final scores will not be sufficient amount of predictions, so I will also give one offbeat prediction for each of today's games- here they are:

  • Louisville over Florida 67-62 [BONUS PREDICTION: At least 2 pictures of Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan from their Providence days will be shown during the course of this broadcast.] Making this pick worries me for two reasons that are one and the same: I've been foolishly picking against The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit for the last two games, and while I feel that picking against them will assure their victory today, I am nervous that picking them to win will assure they lose. Florida is playing well, but I think Marquette played a 'B+' game in the Sweet 16 (at best) and prior to that, the Gators really hadn't faced anyone. Donovan is an elite coach in college hoops, but Pitino has his guys playing scrappier than anyone in the country, with their defense propelling them to 7 straight wins. I expect more offense in this one than in the Michigan State-Louisville game (101 combined points), but defense will steal the show in this one.
    **Not at all the way anyone could have predicted this game to go- Florida was as hot as Alba in the first half, knocking in 8 three-pointers and leading 41-33 at the break; but Louisville played the defense we've come to expect for the last 3 weeks to close out the game, winning it on an 18-3 run, 72-68. I never would have guessed that the Cardinals would have given up more than 40 points in any half, never would have guessed that they could have snuck by with Peyton Siva playing only 26 minutes before fouling out, never would have guessed that they would have won while being outshot from every part of the floor except the free throw line, never thought they would have won the game while being outrebounded by five. Both teams had solid ball control, as Florida only turned the ball over 13 times, but Louisville's handling was astonishing, giving it up only 6 times in the entire game. Pitino's defense shocked Florida in the second half, and the Gators were 0-9 from deep in the final 20 minutes. Pitino called it, Florida outplayed Louisville, but defense in the end wins it; like I said, Louisville is the scrappiest team left in the tournament, and their defense carried them to it. As for my bonus prediction, it did not come to fruition- the Pitino/Donovan relationship was certainly discussed, but there were not as many pictures as there should have been. I'm not adding the bonus predictions to my track record though, they're just for show, and subsequently, I'm 1-0 for the day, 1-0 for the round, 43-14 overall, 75.43%**


  • Ohio State over Syracuse 71-63 [BONUS PREDICTION: Cameras will not capture Jim Boeheim smiling during this game more than twice.] I shall again say it: Ohio State is the best team in the country if they play their best game. Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas will put the inside of Syracuse's defense to the test, this is the first game Fab Melo's absence will truly hurt them. The Orange have incredible depth and arguably the best guard core in the country, but Aaron Craft has shown an ability to disrupt the perimiter prowess of every team they've faced this season. Also, despite my appreciation for Pinocchio, er- Jim Boeheim, Thad Matta solidified his place in my, "People to never stop respecting," list, thanks to an article I read this week. Final note on this game: Buckeyes vs. Orange is one of the worst nickname match-ups ever.
    **Ohio State battled foul trouble (though far less than syracuse), but still managed to maintain general control throughout this game. The first half was pretty back and forth and after a strong second half run, Syracuse made a run of their own, making this a nail-biter with about five minutes to go, but when Ohio State followed the game plan I expected, they seemed to have no real issues. That game plan is taking it down low to the Melo-less 'Cuse. Sullinger had a man's game, leading all scorers with 19 points, Lenzelle Smith Jr. hit big shot after big shot and finished with 18, and Deshaun Thomas added 14 points and 9 rebounds. Smith's shots weren't necessarily in the paint, nor were all of Thomas' but it was evident that Syracuse did not have an answer for Ohio State down low. When the Orange made their second half run, it was because the Buckeyes stopped pounding it down low. How well that offense will be against either Kansas or North Carolina will be left for a later discussion, but for Ohio State's defense (and occasionally offense) to get them past the likes of Gonzaga, Cincinnati and Syracuse shows a definite contender who is not to be trifled with- just the fact that they are now in the Final Four should show that anyway. I was off in my margin of victory prediction by a single point, as Ohio State won 77-70; thus I was only off my total margin of victory for the two games by a total of two points. #Winning. Confession: My entirely disliked DirecTV went out with two minutes to go in the first half (I watched the 2nd half on my computer), so I was not able to keep an eye on Boeheim the entire time, but I certainly saw him smile once because he couldn't believe a call against his team. I am going to assume this was the only time a smiling Boeheim was captured by cameras, so my bonus prediction was correct as well. 2-0 for the day, 2-0 for the round, 44-14 overall, 75.68%**

Six straight correctly predicted outcomes, and one point off the margin of victory in both of today's Elite 8 games suggests greatness... I may only be a semi-expert, but I am on a roll. Stop back in tomorrow to see if that roll gets buttered. In the meantime, here is Ohio State partying like a Final Four team should.

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