Milwaukee, Wis. — James Anderson is known as Big Game James on merit. He had 31 points against Baylor, 30 against Kansas State, 28 against Texas, 27 against Kansas and Texas A&M. All of those opponents were invited to the Big Dance. Tonight Anderson will play against Georgia Tech.
Tech has a bevy of big defenders to run at Big Game James — Iman Shumpert, Glen Rice Jr., D’Andre Bell. The Jackets have had success against big-time guards in the past fortnight, essentially defusing Greivis Vasquez (15 misses in 21 shots) and Jon Scheyer (nine misses in 13 shots) in the ACC tournament, but they were helpless against Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney (32 points, nine assists) in the regular-season finale. So what I’m saying is: This could go either way. How’s that for analysis?
I see it going Tech’s way, though, for a basic reason: Oklahoma State starts one man taller than 6-foot-6. The Cowboys list their lineup as having four guards and one forward. Villanova tried this back in 2006 and reached the Midwest Regional final, whereupon it was undone by Joakim Noah and Al Horford of Florida.
I’m not saying Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors are the equal of those splendid Gators as collegians, but they’re pretty darn good. If neither Tech big man gets into foul trouble — and fouling shouldn’t be a concern, given that the biggest Cowboy averages 8.3 points — Tech should win. But there’s one caveat:
The Jackets had a similar size advantage against Louisville in Round 2 of the 2005 NCAA tournament and were so overwhelmed on the perimeter by Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean that it mattered not one whit. Rick Pitino coached those Cardinals. Travis Ford, who coaches these Cowboys, played under Little Ricky at Kentucky.
On that sobering note, we’ll open tonight’s live chat. But I want to sound a word of warning: The Verizon card isn’t working very well in the Bradley Center — Bradley’s luck, as it were — and I’m not disposed to pay the NCAA $16.50 to use the wireless. So this could be slow going. But we’ll do our best in these trying times, and I’d be obliged if you’d join me.