Elite Eight: South and Midwest breakdowns
On March 19, ESPN launched SportsCenter Particular: Faculty Basketball’s Biggest of All Time, a 64-player bracket celebrating one of the best males’s and ladies’s gamers ever.ESPN writers and commentators will present day by day roundtables and predictions because the bracket advances by means of March 31. Right here, writers Jeff Borzello, Andrea Adelson and David Hale break down the Elite Eight within the South and Midwest Areas.Elite EightSouth Area(5) Carmelo Anthony vs. (3) Magic Johnson — VOTE HEREMidwest Area(12) Stephen Curry vs. (2) Michael Jordan — VOTE HEREWhat surprises you most concerning the Candy 16 outcomes out of the South and Midwest Areas?Jeff Borzello: I am not completely shocked that Magic beat Kevin Durant, however the margin was eye-opening. Magic and Michigan State received a nationwide championship, however Durant’s one season in school was spectacular on a person degree. He received the Picket Award in 2007, turning into the primary freshman to ever win that award, and swept the Nationwide Participant of the 12 months awards that season. Magic did not win Participant of the 12 months in both of his school seasons. Magic was a greater playmaker and had a extra well-rounded stat line, however Durant averaged 25.Eight factors and 11.1 rebounds as a freshman. These are absurd numbers. May you make the case for Magic? Positive. However by that vast a margin? I used to be stunned.1 RelatedAndrea Adelson: I actually thought Zion Williamson would have a shot right here contemplating the best way the voting went down within the bracket earlier than he acquired to his matchup in opposition to Anthony. Let’s be actual: He ought to by no means have gotten previous Christian Laettner. The voting did show to be shut, and I’m glad the voters remembered how terrific Anthony was within the NCAA event at Syracuse excess of what they see within the right here and now: Williamson, the transcendent famous person on the rise, whereas Anthony is on his millionth (or is it billionth?) NBA crew. Shifting Anthony into the Elite Eight was the appropriate name certainly.David Hale: Any time you have got real legends (Wilt, The Admiral) or modern-day superstars (Durant, Williamson), it’s kind of shocking after they take an L from the followers. Nonetheless, I am not too stunned by these outcomes. Who’s going to argue with Magic or Jordan? Anthony received a title. Curry is arguably probably the most profitable underdog in tourney historical past. Maybe probably the most shocking factor about these outcomes is that it wasn’t slightly harder for the voters to determine, with solely the 8-12 recreation proving to be tremendous shut ultimately.These two matchups are about two legends from the NBA’s halcyon period (Magic, MJ) in opposition to two of this technology’s stalwarts (Melo, Steph). Are you able to make a persuasive case for both of the youthful guys over the all-time legends?Borzello: Give me Melo over Magic. Each gamers received nationwide championships, which has helped get them this far within the event regardless of neither successful the Picket Award. Here is why I give the sting to Anthony: He did it in a single season. Magic went to 2 NCAA tournaments and wasn’t nice within the first one. Within the 1978 NCAA event, Magic averaged 11.zero factors and shot 10-for-36 from the sphere. Melo had one probability and fully dominated the ultimate three video games of the NCAA event. His three stat traces within the Elite Eight, Last 4 and nationwide title recreation: 20 and 10, 33 and 14 after which a ridiculous 20-10-7 line to win all of it. He was unguardable. Like I mentioned above, I used to be stunned Magic dominated Durant by such a large margin. Possibly the voting public will disagree once more, however I might decide Melo over Magic.Adelson: I grew up within the NBA’s halcyon period, and with no NBA crew of my very own to root for as a baby, I turned an enormous Lakers fan due to Magic. I discovered every little thing there was to find out about him, and fairly truthfully his affect on school basketball goes past championships and NCAA event appearances as a result of he proved huge guys did not must be pigeonholed into big-guy roles. I might make the case for Curry in opposition to nearly anyone not named Michael Jordan (or Magic Johnson for that matter). He had probably the most memorable NCAA event performances in current reminiscence, however successful a nationwide title has to rely for one thing on this ballot, so it is onerous to justify his case based mostly on that alone.Hale: Put Curry up in opposition to anybody else and also you might need a genuinely powerful name. Certainly, recency bias may really play in his favor. However in opposition to Jordan? Nah. It has been twenty years since he performed an NBA recreation and 40 years since he performed a event recreation, however Jordan is each bit as related to youngsters at the moment as he was again then. Certainly, Curry cannot even rely on successful his dwelling state of North Carolina, as Jordan has that lined too. Within the different bracket, although, Anthony deserves severe consideration. No, he did not blossom into the NBA famous person that Johnson did, however his lone season at Syracuse was breathtaking, and his dominance within the event belongs on the brief checklist of genuinely legendary performances. And pretty much as good as Magic was in successful a championship, the story is absolutely extra concerning the matchup with Larry Fowl than merely about one participant’s dominance. In fact, I went to Syracuse too, so I am fully biased right here. Melo will get my vote. Magic ought to most likely get yours.Prediction time: Who advances to the Last 4 out of those two matchups, and who’re you voting for?Borzello: Given the earlier voting habits, it is doubtless going to be Magic vs. Jordan. Two of the best gamers within the historical past of the game going head-to-head within the Last 4. However I might decide Melo and Jordan to advance. Curry’s run to the Elite Eight might be brisker in everybody’s thoughts than the opposite three guys on this facet of the bracket, however he isn’t beating Jordan. And I detailed my case for Carmelo above — his mixture of particular person dominance and a nationwide championship in his lone season has few friends in school basketball historical past.Adelson: Regardless that recency bias has decided the winner in lots of of those matchups, I might be shocked if Magic and Michael fail to advance. They’re my picks. Recency bias goes out of the window in terms of them, and as nice as Anthony was at Syracuse and Curry was in main Davidson additional than anybody might have imagined, it’s onerous to beat two gamers who had been legends — in school and the NBA.Hale: Magic vs. Michael. Leaving Curry and Anthony on the chopping room flooring feels completely not possible, however who’s arguing with advancing two of the best basketball gamers — possibly THE two biggest — to ever play? Nostalgia and a great underdog story make for compelling circumstances for Curry or Anthony, however neither of them might be on basketball’s Mount Rushmore. Magic and Michael belong.