Ebs’ Hot Takes: March Madness, Arizona, Middle Tennessee, Zags-Vandy, Kevin Huerter, Syracuse


WILKES-BARRE, PA – March Madness.

It’s finally here!

And while I admit I’m disappointed Syracuse won’t get its opportunity to run the table once again, I’ll have to settle for a No. 1 seed in the NIT. But enough about the Orange. I’ll come back to them later.

It’s time to talk about the teams in dance. Here’s a fresh set of Ebs’ Hot Takes, March Madness style.


Arizona’s about to win it all. They don’t call the Pac-12 the conference of champions for nothing.

I’m calling my shot now. Arizona and UCLA will each find themselves in Phoenix with the Wildcats as the last ones cutting down the nets.

I’m a night owl, so I had the chance to catch the Pac-12 tournament the past few nights and Arizona impresses the heck out of me. Is there a hotter team in the country? The Wildcats beat UCLA and Oregon in successive nights to take home the crown.

The West is a pretty soft region. I love the Wildcats’ chances.

Middle Tennessee is about to make another splash. Remember when the Blue Raiders were a 15 seed and took down Michigan State last year? Well, they’re back and better than ever.

Led by Giddy Potts, Reggie Upshaw and Arkansas transfer Jacorey Williams, and combining for more than 47 points per game, Middle Tennessee has a favorable draw that could lead to a Sweet Sixteen berth.

The Blue Raiders don’t have to worry about Syracuse this year either.

I’m stuck on the Gonzaga-Vanderbilt second-round matchup. This could be Mark Few’s best team yet, and the Zags have beaten some really good teams. With wins against Arizona, Florida and Iowa State, it’s hard not to be impressed.

However, Vanderbilt is red-hot. With three of their final six wins coming against ranked opponents, the ‘Dores can play with anyone.

I just don’t know.

Remember the name Kevin Huerter. Maryland has a favorable bracket until the No. 6 seed has to play Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen.

This gives America a full weekend to learn Kevin Huerter’s name. The freshman sensation has been masterful for the Terrapins this season.

Deadly from the 3-point ark, Huerter makes an impact without scoring 20 points a night. This is Melo Trimble’s team and he’s along for the ride.

Syracuse deserved a spot in the tournament. Look, I get it. Syracuse was 2-11 away from the Carrier Dome and struggled out of the conference.

But ESPN’s Jay Bilas put it best, “When they say anybody can win on a given day. How many given days did you had? Syracuse had more given days than anybody at the end  of the line and last year that got rewarded.” Syracuse had six, Wake Forest had two, Kansas State had two, and USC had one.

Heck, Wake Forest lost to Syracuse head-to-head and had a worse ACC record.


Hey, if you think all three of those teams are better than Syracuse I can live with that. But when you try and tell me you have a problem with their non-conference schedule and then in the next breath talk about an entire body of work it doesn’t make sense.

Last year the big thing was top-50 wins. Syracuse has more top-50 wins than any team in the bubble. The inconsistency from year-to-year drives me nuts.

Oh well. Maybe next year.

Come back tomorrow for Ben Whitney and please follow us on Twitter at @ByDJEberle & @MeetTheMatts, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

With the NCAA Tournament starting Tuesday, I felt that last year’s edition of One Shining Moment deserved to be the video of the week. Here’s to hoping this year’s edition is just the littlest bit like last year.

Facebook Comments
Share Button

Filed in: DJ EberleFeatured
Tagged with:

About the Author ()

DJ Eberle: The youngest of our team, DJ is also the largest. Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native used OT for Western New England University – until he graduated in May of 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he’s a regular on Rugby Wrap Up – his dad played rugby with The Matts. His cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. As for baseball and basketball, it’s the Yanks and Atlanta Hawks. Follow him on Twitter: @ByDJEberle.

  • Dick V

    I agree on the Diaper Dandies of Arizona, Baby!

  • Nick Erbocker

    Any of these teams could beat the Knicks or Mets. Pathetic.

    • Sad but true. Are there any our their that still don’t fault Carmelo?

  • DJ, we have a problem with their non-conference schedule. [breath]. And let’s talk about an entire body of work!

  • GrindingAx

    It’s been TWENTY years since the PAC 12 has won. (Arizona in 1997) . Dominated by ACC and Big East. This will not change this year. Carolina or Duke/Villanova winner take the title.
    Syracuse should have never left the Big East.

    • Villanova is playing Villanova? That doesn’t seem fair.

      • GrindingAx

        Reacted fast…I edited with ten seconds

    • DJ Eberle

      It could very well be a Duke v. UNC final, but I really like Arizona this year. UCLA is really good too.

      Why? They’ve been pretty good since they left. A Final Four appearance, finished second in the ACC in 2013/14 and they were ineligible one year. Not too shabby. Plus, they’re not a catholic school.

      • GrindingAx

        UCLA will not make the sweet 16. Big East has no mandate on being a Catholic School. Butler is not a Catholic School. Arizona is the only PAC 12 who maybe sees the final four

  • Buddy Diaz

    How about those Michigan Wolverines!

    • DJ Eberle

      They truly are an incredible story.

  • Bear Down

    This is the year of the Wildcat…hopefully the AZ kind. Villanova and Kentucky are the other “Wildcat” cousins and the only one that’s a reach to win it all is Kentucky. Arizona is one of the youngest teams in the country but most versatile and Villanova is the most veteran. I don’t see Nova going back to back.

    Duke and NC will lose prior to the Final 4…they have gotten too comfortable with losing this year. And who doesn’t want to see that douche Grayson Allen having a hissy fit on the bench after Duke loses.

    Anyone but Duke…..

    Bear Down!

  • Phil Knight

    Not sure why my Ducks aren’t getting any love. Only loss fully manned was to UCLA. Has a Danny Manning-type player that can carry an entire team with Dillon Brooks.

    • GrindingAx

      They lost their Big Man Boucher.

  • AngryWard

    I knew that you wouldn’t be able to help yourself and would have to whine a little about Syracuse. They were 18-14. As a Minnesota Golden Gophers fan, trust me when I say that 18-14 is the kind of record that gets you invited to the NIT.

  • benwhit

    I’m glad you covered the tournament. I need to learn about more names than Kevin H – already forgot the rest.

  • Junoir Blaber

    Cuse were robbed as usual! Great call on MTSU!

Back to Top