The 2012 NCAA Tournament brackets were announced Sunday evening and for those who may not have went to a college who made the tournament or are just looking for a local team to root for, here are the New York State teams that are dancing this year. These are the realistic expectations for each team and some noticeable players to watch.
Iona Gaels 25-7
Things You Should Know: Iona is the best scoring team in the country. Yes that’s what I said. Iona comes in averaging an NCAA high 83.3 points per game led by standout point guard Scott Machado. The Queens native and Metro Atlantic Conference player of the year, Machado is averaging 13.6ppg, 5rpg while leading the country with 9.9apg. Machado is projected to be a second round draft pick and this tournament can really make or break his draft stock. A team with this much offensive firepower is dangerous in a single game elimination tournament. The Gaels could possibly be a sleeper team with the ability to win more than one game in this year’s tournament.
Players To Watch: #3 G Scott Machado, #1 F Mike Glover, #2 G Lamont Jones.
LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds 25-8
Things You Should Know: LIU is the only representative from NYC in this year’s tournament. On the court LIU actually comes in as the 3rd highest scoring team in the country at 81.9 points per game. Spike Lee attended their conference title game. While there is no future NBA talent on the team there are plenty of solid college players. Watch out for the Northeastern Conference player of the year, Julian Boyd who is averaging near double-double numbers with 17.4ppg and 9.5rpg. I hope all the native New Yorkers such as myself will be rooting for LIU although they stand no chance against number one seed Michigan State.
Players To Watch: #42 F Julian Boyd, #15 G Jason Brickman, #1 F Jamal Olasewere.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies 20-11
The Bonnies are lead by A-10 Conference player of the year and projected second round draft pick Andrew Nicholson. Nicholson at 6-9 and 240lbs has been a force recording 25, 19 and 26 points in the Bonnies conference tournament games. St. Bonaventure will face Florida State, in their first game of the tournament, who are equally hot winning six in a row and the past two against Duke and UNC respectively. It will be tough for the Bonnies to win the game and will need a huge effort from Nicholson to remain competitive and have a shot.
Players To Watch: #44 F Andrew Nicholson, #11 G-F Demetrius Conger, #43 F Da’Quan Cook
Syracuse Orange 31-2
The Syracuse Orange bring in possibly the deepest team into this years NCAA Tournament. With no player averaging more than 14 points per game, guys like Kris Joseph, Dion Waiters, Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine can take the game over offensively at any time. With contributions in the front court from C.J. Fair and Fab Melo and with a spark off the bench from James Southerland there should be no stopping Syracuse in this tournament. Syracuse looks to have a road where they should be able to get at least to the Elite 8 and possibly win the championship. It will be interesting if this year’s team can put it together or will they falter in the tournament much like they did in the Big East tournament. A National Championship might help the Orange faithful forget a little bit about the whole Bernie Fine fiasco.
Players To Watch: #32 F Kris Joseph, #20 GBrandonTriche, #3 G Dion Waiters.