Doug's Sunday picks

Oklahoma won the Big 12 Conference tournament and has been on roll through the NCAA Tournament. But the Sooners will meet their stiffest challenge against Syracuse. To the displeasure of Kansas's coach Roy Williams, Texas received a No. 1 seed that bumped KU down to a No. 2. Texas will face Michigan State in the other regional final. Neither Big 12 team will have an easy time advancing to the Big Easy.

 East Regional Final (Albany, NY)

No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Syracuse
In its match up with Syracuse, the Sooners face their most difficult opponent in the tournament. Difficult because the Orangemen play a number of zones designed to limit the effectiveness of perimeter shooters and to prevent penetration, two of the Sooners strong suits. Hollis Price is already limited with a groin pull and was held to 12 points by Butler. Ebe Eri came off the bench to pick up the slack and pour in 25, but OU will need that and more to get by Syracuse. The Orangemen will have difficulty matching the Sooners' physically. Johnny Gilbert has been an offensive threat inside and freshman sensation Kevin Bookout gets his points inside and out.
Oklahoma will have problems with Syracuse's all-everything freshman, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is simply too big and too athletic for anyone to guard one-on-one, thus the Sooners will probably double Anthony. For the Orange to come out on top, they will need Gerry McNamara and Kueth Duany to step up big.
This game is simply too close to call. My hunch says to go with the Orangemen, after all they do have the homecourt advantage of playing in Albany. However, I'm going to stay with the Sooners.

South Regional Final (San Antonio, Tex.)

No. 1 Texas vs. No. 7 Michigan State
The Longhorns received a huge game from Brandon Mouton and James Thomas to send UConn home. Thomas will be a very difficult matchup for Paul Davis or Aloysius Anagonye, and TJ Ford is simply a tough assignment for any human.
For the Spartans to be successful, Alan Anderson and Chris Hill, a 40 percent three-point shooter, must hit their perimeter shots and open it up for Davis inside. Maurice Ager also needs to keep Ford out of the paint and that's next to impossible. Go with the Longhorns.

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