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Competitors are playing for $2500, bragging rights, and a high draft spot in next year’s NBA lottery. Here’s some notes from our Offical Sprudge.com Bracketology Institute to help you dominate your office pool:
*Laila Ghamberi has fierce inside game. Expect competitors to run a conservative zone-and-1 defense to try and neutralize her in the paint. Shot distribution will be key here, but if Laila gets hot from 3-point range to counteract the inside pressure, she’ll be tough to stop.
*Jordan Barber is among the most consistent free throw shooters in the game. If he’s able to drive inside and draw fouls, the contest is already over. If the competition is able to force Barber to take shots from outside the paint, he’s beatable, but you have to keep your hands off of him inside the elbow. Guy is just money from the line.
*Alex Negranza plays with passion. Watch to see if he settles into a rhythm; if he can work through the pressure, Negranza is a safe pick to make the Sweet 16.
* Matt “Lights Out” Dark is our “Lock of the Week” to upset in the early rounds, and advance deep into the tournament as a 14 seed. Bet against him, and prepare to have your brackets busted.
* Brothers Chris and John Giannakos could square off in the Sweet 16, just one of the many fascinating subplots in this year’s tournament.
*Another 14 seed worth watching out for is Melissa Harris, squaring off against Sua Hong in the 8:45am Friday competition. Expect a heated battle in what is essentially a “pick ‘em”, despite the disparity in seeding. Even money goes to Harris.
* Sarah Dooley, “The People’s Champion”, is poised to make a deep run into this year’s tournament. Media-types are salivating over a potential Sweet 16 showdown between Sarah and Andrew Milstead, who competes this year to cement his multi-year run of regional dominance. Unless there’s an upset in the works, Dooley v. Milstead is shaping up to be THE epic battle of Day Two.
* Sleeper Watch: this could be the year of mid-major high seeds blowing the door wide open. Watch for Hiroyasu Shido (11), Marissa Hernandez (13), Wayne Liu (11) and Karen Krueger (13) to make things interesting for their higher-seeded opponents in the first round, and don’t be afraid to pick any of these Cinderellas to make runs into the later rounds.