And it comes down to this...a final few scouting opps before the dance as NCAA Conference Tourneys wrap up. The HQ takes a look at potential prospects.
1:00 PM - Vanderbilt vs. (1) Kentucky - You know how Duke's so reliant on 3-point shooting (and it let them down yesterday?) Well if the Blue Devils are Exhibit A, Vandy is probably Exhibit B. The club is led by inside/outside scoring threat Jeffery Taylor, but also relies heavily on sweet-shooting guard, John Jenkins and it's these two I'll be keeping an eye on tomorrow.
We've talked KY quite a bit of late, and know the usual suspects to watch out for, but Vandy's duo could easily find themselves in next year's first round too, especially Taylor, who I think much like Ryan Anderson, will end up being a steal for a team if he's selected later on. He's more athletic than you think, can work inside and out, and reminds some of get this...none other than Morris Peterson.
He and Jenkins have to put in a top performance today to knock off the Wildcats, who by the game look more and more likely to waltz to the NCAA Championship.
1:00 PM - (17) Florida State vs. (4) North Carolina - It's funny but was I was typing that UNC should dominate North Carolina State yesterday, I wondered if a) I was jinxing the team and b) if the absence of John Henson was maybe going to be a bigger issue than I expected. Indeed it was and it took a sequence of suspect non-calls and NC State decisions at game's end for the Heels to advance.
Today they face a much tougher test I'd argue as while NC State gave the Heels a run, the Seminoles are a much bigger, athletic and experienced club, and should really test UNC's mettle.
That said I'm looking to Harrison Barnes once more today. He was pretty solid yesterday for his club, but it was Kendall Marshall winning the game down the stretch, and I'm still looking to see Barnes take over a match in key moments. Florida State today provides the perfect opportunity.
3:30 PM - (7) Ohio State vs. (8) Michigan State - And now we have a real heavy-weight match. This represents a revenge opportunity for the Spartans, who gave the game away last time they met Ohio State, as well as both clubs best chance to gain a number one seed entering the tournament. I'll expect battle today royal thank you.
Ohio State features Jared Sullinger of course, who has been tearing it up again of late. Michigan State features the smaller but no less important Draymond Green. Green might be undersized for the 4, and not a true 3 either, but he just gets the job done, and I think he finds himself a long career in the NBA off some lucky team's bench. He reminds me a bit of former UCONN stud Jeff Adrien, but Green has a better two-way game, something his team will need today to beat the Buckeyes.
From a Raptors' perspective, Sully is the one most fans will be keeping an eye on, especially in terms of how he gets position and gets his shot off. His size has never been a question but his ability to get off the same type of shots in the NBA that he does currently is, so it's something to make note of when evaluating potential fit for the Dinos.
Also, check out wing DeShaun Thomas too. He's played well in the conference tourney and has the athleticism, size and scoring ability to find a spot in the NBA.