2004 NFL Free Agency

2004 NFL Football Free Agency Review

What an amazing off-season in the National Football League. Some of the leagues best and most recognizable players will be putting on new uniforms this August. The Buccaneers dis-banded their Super Bowl defense, losing John Lynch and Warren Sapp to the AFC West. Both of these players are on the downside of their career, but they are winners, and will contribute in a major way to their new teams. The Vikings added Marcus Robinson which makes their WR tandem nearly impossible to defend. Antoine Winfield will bolster their defensive backfield, an area of need for Minnesota. We also saw maybe the biggest deal in the history of the NFL when the Redskins sent Champ Bailey and a 2nd round pick to Denver for ballyhooed running back Clinton Portis. People will pay close attention to the performance of Portis and Tatum Bell, the RB whom Denver drafted with the second pick they acquired from the Redskins. Portis will not have the benefit of a great offensive line in DC, so it should be interesting. Many of the off-season acquisitions will go a long toward determining how their teams perform this season.


Significant Signings and Their New Team

Jeff Garcia, Browns, QB– Will be interesting to see if one the worst offensive lines in the game can protect him.

John Lynch, Broncos, S– See below

Jesse Armstead, Panthers, LB– Armstead is getting old, but he can still play.

Garrison Hearst, Broncos, RB– Great locker room guy. Could get 100-150 carries.

Ian Gold, Buccaneers, LB– If he has recovered from ACL tear, he is a steal for the Bucs.

Marcellus Wiley, Cowboys, DE– Great pickup by Parcells.

Troy Vincent, Bills, CB– Will take over for Winfield.

Antoine Winfield, Vikings, CB– Great, great addition for the Vikings.

Grant Wistrom, Seahawks, DE– Solid get for the Hawks here.

Shawn Springs, Redskins, CB– Will he ever play like he did in college? The Redskins and Dan Snyder’s wallet hope so.

Marcus Robinson, Vikings, WR– Could flourish playing opposite Moss. Injuries have been a problem.

Walt Harris, Redskins, CB– will compete for a starting spot but will probably be the nickel back for the Skins.

Warren Sapp, Raiders, DT– Too old? Come on, he’ll help the Silver and Black’s defense right away.

Robaire Smith, Texans, DT– Bolsters Houston’s defensive line.

Duce Staley, Steelers, RB– This guy can run.

Dez White, Falcons, WR– Has great talent, now he has a quarterback who can get him the ball.

Bertrand Berry, Cardinals, DE– see below

Thomas Jones, Bears, RB– began to show flashes last season of the talent that made him a first round pick by the Cardinals

Eddie George, Cowboys, RB– Parcells did it once with Otis Anderson who was 29 when he gained over 1000 yards for the Giants. Cowboys fans hope this veteren pickup will be enough to get them over the top in the NFC east.

The two most intriguing teams of the off-season were by far the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos who completely overhauled their rosters in hopes of returning to their glory days.

The Washington Redskins started the off-season off with the announcement that Joe Gibbs would return as head coach. His teams were dominant in the eighties and nineties, with stifling defenses, a grind it out running game, and well timed play action passes. Snyder and Gibbs quickly acquired the running back they so coveted when they sent Champ Bailey to Denver for budding superstar Clinton Portis. The Redskins then added Shawn Springs and Walt Harris to fortify the corner spot left vacant by Bailey, and drafted Sean Taylor out of Miami with their first pick in the draft. While the pick angered Kellen Winslow, Gibbs and company made the right decision. Taylor should become a perennial pro bowl safety in the league. Michael Barrow was added to the linebacking corps and Cornelius Griffin along the defensive line.

The Denver Broncos have been plagued by an average defense since John Elway’s retirement and prior. After acquiring Bailey, the shut down corner the franchise has never had, they added John Lynch who will bring tremendous leadership to the defense. The Broncos also resigned Al Wilson, who is the heart and soul of the entire team. They lost Bertrand Berry, who lead the team in sacks last season, to the Cardinals, but held onto Reggie Hayward who is a similar player. Keep an eye on Luther Ellis, who has not played for two seasons due to injuries. When healthy, he is a terror along the defensive line. Ellis could the steal of the off-season. Denver drafted DJ Williams of Miami who has unlimited potential at outside linebacker, but Denver’s recent first round selections have been anything but exceptional. Williams should change that, and they’ll need him to right away. He should start from the get go in Denver, a team in need of solid linebacker play after the loss of John Mobley and Ian Gold.

Overall a busy offseason for a lot of players and teams. These changes should make for a 2004 in which some players re-invent themselves and help their teams reach new heights.

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2004 NFL Draft Winners and Losers


2004 NFL Draft Winners and Losers

This season’s draft helped some teams much more than others. Here’s my thoughts on the biggest winners and losers from the 2004 NFL draft.

The Biggest Winners

Arizona Cardinals
– Larry Fitzgerald is going to be a superstar in the NFL. They now have a formidable receiving corps. Karlos Dansby was a steal in the second round as was DT Darnell Dockett in the third. All three of these players have chances to be very special in the league. And don’t forget their “pickup” of Denny Green – a great coach.

Denver Broncos
– Denver filled their needs well on the first day of the draft. DJ Williams will help the linebacking corps right away, and could develop into a top level defender. Tatum Bell is another home run type back, who is thicker than Portis and equally fast. He must demonstrate an ability to run between the tackles better than he did in college. Darius Watts could become a quality number two wideout provided he can stay healthy.

Detroit Lions
– Imagine Roy Williams and Charles Rogers in three years? The Lions are now loaded at the skill positions on offense. Kevin Jones is an upgrade at running back. Teddy Lehman is a quality linebacker who is simply a winner. Now they need to bolster both lines and this team will start making some noise.

San Diego Chargers
– The Chargers scored with their trade that sent Eli Manning’s rights to the Giants. They still added Phil Rivers who may end up being better than Eli. They drafted eleven players overall which bodes well for a team in need of playmakers. Some of the better picks were Michael Turner, Dave Ball and Carlos Joseph of Miami.


The Biggest Losers

Kansas City Chiefs
– In a draft loaded with WR’s, the Chiefs failed to add one before the 4th round. We like Sammie Parker but he is very similar to the guys they already have. Really no difference makers at all in the draft for the Chiefs.

New York Giants
– What were they thinking? This team has more needs than Quarterback. They also gave the Chargers their first pick next year, which looks like it will be a good pick. Jessie Palmer may be the starter this season, which is not good news for Giants fans.

Indianapolis Colts
– I like Bob Sanders, but he does not fill a need for the Colts. Really not one selection I really like for the Colts.

Cleveland Browns
– The Browns only had six picks and Kellen Winslow will be a damn good NFL tight end, but Garcia will have a had time throwing to him on his back. They desperately needed O lineman and did not draft one until the fifth round. They also could have used some help at linebacker.

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2004 MLB Baseball Preview Part I

2004 MLB Baseball Preview
Part I

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The 2003 MLB season was one of the greatest of all time, ending with a surprising World Series win by the upstart Florida Marlins. Who will forget Pudge’s play at the plate to beat the Giants in the NL Divisional Series or Steve Bartman’s play in the NLCS? How about Aaron Boone’s homerun to shock the Red Sox in game 7 of the ALCS? Those are just some of the memories from the 2003 season. This year promises to be amazing as well, as many of the games top players have switched uniforms. How their former teams plug those holes may have more of an impact than the superstars who left town. Below is the first in a two part series that will get you ready for opening day.

Baseball presents players with the one of the best opportunities (maybe THE BEST) for big time profits over the course of the season. I will be tracking statistics, weather patterns, and umpires throughout to give you the edge on your bookmaker all season long. I will follow this PART ONE PREVIEW with a look at the rookies who will have an impact on this season. I will also pick my top teams in certain statistical categories, which are important when wagering on baseball games.


1) New York Yankees – Maybe the best lineup ever assembled. Sheffield, Giambi, AROD, Jeter, Williams, Posada, and Godzilla? If Brown, Vazquez, and the bevy of offensive superstars can stay healthy, they could win 120 games. Hmmmm. Ridiculous.

2) Boston Red Sox – Certainly upped their rotation but will it be enough? The Red Sox / Yankee match-ups will be some of the most entertaining games in some time. Many of their hitters had career years a year ago. If Pedro and Schilling can avoid long stints on the DL, and David Ortiz, Bill Meuller, and co. can reproduce their offensive output of a year ago, this team could be special. Lots of questions, though, for such a ballyhooed team.

3) Chicago Cubs – This pitching staff is very, very good. The staff may allow them to compete with the Yankees, or any other team, come October. Prior will start the season on the DL but it should not matter much as this rotation is six deep.

4) Anaheim Angels – Free Agent acquisitions of Colon and Guerrero were coups. Can Glaus and Erstad rediscover their All Star form of earlier seasons? If so, the Angels could shock everyone and represent the AL in October.

5) Houston Astros – Addition of Petite and Clemens bolster their rotation, but I do not like the trade that sent Wags to the Phils. Lidge and Dotel must deal with the consistent late inning pressure of closing. If they succeed, so will the Astros.

6) Seattle Mariners – The loss of Sasaki will hurt this team’s bullpen but they are still very tough. The rumored deal for Griffey may be just that but if that deal does go down, their offense will compete with the Angels and Yankees for the best in the AL. Another big question for the Mariners is Freddy Garcia. Will the real Freddy Garcia please stand up?!? Rich Aurilia is a stud and a huge addition in terms of leadership for the Mariners. Randy Winn in an upgrade over Cameron in center. The Mariners will be a major player in the West.

7) Philadelphia Phillies – Addition of Billy Wagner is huge for the Phillies. Can Pat Burrell resurrect his once ‘can’t miss’ offensive prowess? Can Bows keep the clubhouse together? Good questions in my opinion. Only time will tell.

8) San Diego Padres – My pick in the NL West, the Padres have dramatically improved themselves for the opening of their new ballpark. The return of Trevor Hoffman will help the bullpen while David Wells can still pitch. Keep an eye on Khalil Green. If he can hold up defensively, it will dramatically increase the Padres chances.

9) Minnesota Twins – The Twins will remain formidable this season. Their young nucleus remains in tact, and the arrival of rookie catcher Joe Mauer has everyone in the Twin Cities smug about their Twins. They should win the Central once again this season and bow out early to one of super power AL clubs.

10) San Francisco Giants – Many questions surround the Giants offense after losing gold glove winner, Jose Cruz and team leader Rich Aurilia in the off-season. The G-Men however, always seem to find a way, and I would not be surprised if it happens again in 2004.

11) St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals offense will once again be tough with Rolen and Pujols in the middle of the order. The big question with the Cardinals is will Reggie Sanders and Bo Hart produce. Sanders is with his 1,000th team, but has been productive at every stop along the way. Hart overachieved in 2003, but must continue to to soften of the blow of Fernando Vina’s departure. The return of Woody Williams will bolster their starting pitching. Health has been the main dagger for the Cardinals the last couple of seasons. If this team can stay healthy, they’ll give the Cubs and Astros all they can handle in the Central.

12) Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays possess a great young pitching staff centered around Cy Young winner Roy Halladay. The addition of Miguel Batista and Ted Lilly will help the rotation as well. The key to this team will be the production of Eric Hinske, Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanatto. If those three players have nice offensive seasons, the Blue Jays will have a nice year.

13) Oakland Athletics – The A’s still have a premium starting rotation but may struggle to score runs at times this season. Inking Chavez is big for this team, but they’ll need production from unproven players to match the win totals of previous seasons.

14) Arizona Diamondbacks – A real sleeper team in the NL West. I love the addition of Richie Sexson who was just waiting to become a legitimate superstar but was hindered by the bad lineup in Milwaukee. Randy Johnson needs to return to form for this team to be serious contender.

15) Atlanta Braves – Still a nice ball club, but they have lost a ton of offensive and pitching production from their dominant teams. JD Drew will have to have a great year for the Braves to have a shot at the Wild Card. Smoltz could go at the trade deadline.

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1) Milwaukee Brewers – Gone is Richie Sexson, the only ray of hope left in the organization. The keys to the offense are left to Geoff Jenkins who may be hurt by May and youngster Lyle Overbay. Ben Sheets will be asked to lead this staff. He was highly regarded earlier in his career but his stuff has just simply never panned out. UUUGGGHHHH!

2) Pittsburgh Pirates – Anytime you’re depending on Jose Acevedo and Jose Mesa to shut the door on opposing teams late in games, you know you’re in dire straits. Such is the outlook for the 2005 Pirates. Oh yeah, and Chris Stynes isn’t going to win many ballgames for you either. This team looks very bad on paper. I feel sorry for the folks in Pittsburgh.

3) Texas Rangers – The Rangers will be back soon enough, but I doubt Soriano will be anything but a K machine with his new team. They still have no pitching. Kenny Rogers is projected to be the ace, which shows just how bad this pitching staff is projected to be. Like the Rockies, they will score runs with Brian Jordan, Brad Fullmer and Soriano, but it will not be enough this go around.

4) Montreal Expos – Gone are Vazquez and Vlad. This is the one team out of this bunch that may surprise and make us look silly. Nick Johnson is a stud that the Yanks may regret giving up for years to come, and Carl Everett has been productive for the past couple of years. Pitching remains the biggest question in Montreal, and Livian Hernandez is not dependable ace.

5) Colorado Rockies – The Rockies are depending on Joe Kennedy, Shawn Estes, and Scott Elarton to be effective starters. Umm – Not going to happen. They’ll score lots of runs but they’ll give them up in bunches. This team, believe it or not, needs to unload Helton and Wilson this year while their value remains high.


1) Tampa Bay Devil Rays – This young team is beginning to come of age. Carl Crawford is looking for a breakout year to establish himself as one of the premier leadoff men in the league.

2) Toronto Blue Jays – One of the more underrated starting rotations in baseball. Everyone knows about Halladay but Lilly and Batista can provide quality depth here. Delgado and Wells are as good as it gets at the plate and will generate runs against anyone.

3) Kansas City Royals – A hot start a year ago lead to a memorable season for the Royals. Pitching seems to be the only major question mark for the Royals heading into this season. They’ll have at least three southpaws in their rotation to begin the season, and if Kevin Appier can eat up innings, the Royals will be players once again in the Central.

4) New York Mets – The Mets are my sleeper team in the NL East. They have a nice mix of veterans and youngsters throughout their club. One key here, will be if Mike Piazza can stay healthy and produce from the 4-hole. If so, this team will hang around well into September.

5) Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles made some key additions which should help in the win column. Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro will bring instant offense, and improve the defense right away too.


NL East – Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central – Chicago Cubs
NL West – San Diego Padres
NL Wildcard– Houston Astros

National League Division Series:
Astros over Phillies
Cubs over Padres

National League Championship Series:
Cubs over Astros

AL West – Anaheim Angels
AL Central – Minnesota Twins
AL East – New York Yankees
AL Wildcard– Boston Red Sox

American League Division Series:
Yankees over Twins
Angels over Red Sox

American League Championship Series:
Angels over Yankees

World Series:
Cubs over Angels in seven

Part II – Click Here

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2004 MLB Baseball Preview Part II


2004 MLB Baseball Preview
Part II

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Rookies to Watch

National League

Khalil Green SS, San Diego Padres – The former standout at Clemson is ready for the big leagues. He can flat out hit the baseball. The question remains, is he ready to be a big league shortstop? We don’t think so, as that position generally takes kids some time, but he’ll have an impact this season. Much of the Padres hopes fall on Greene this season. He is a future All Star, but not this season.

Edwin Jackson RHP, L.A. Dodgers – The 6’3” Jackson will man the #5 starter position in the Dodgers staff, and has the stuff to win 15 games from the position. He became the youngest Dodger starter to win his first start last season against the D-Backs. Expect more of the same fro m this hard throwing youngster who is coveted by every team in the game. When the Dodgers were looking for another bat this off-season, everyone wanted Jackson. That is why their offense will be terrible this summer.

Kazuo Matsui SS, New York Mets – Little Godzilla arrives this season in the US from Japan. He is a gifted player who is solid defensively and a good hitter. He will not match his power numbers from Japan but will help the Mets a great deal this season.

American League

Bobby Crosby SS, Oakland Athletics – The only reason the A’s let Tejada get away to the Orioles. Second baseman Mark Ellis’ injury will hurt Crosby’s development in the near term, and the A’s need him to be a defensive gem, which it looks like he’ll be. He will not come close to replacing Tejada’s. He is still a fine prospect with a nice career ahead of him.

Joe Mauer C, Minnesota Twins – Mauer has arrived. The big time home town prospect who was taken in the first round of the Amateur Draft will start the season as the Twins catcher. He has shown maturity already, doing a great job with the pitching staff in spring training. Mauer may struggle at the plate a bit this season, but he’ll turn into a guy that hits 20-25 home runs consistently for the Twins. Combine those numbers with his uncanny athleticism behind the plate and, barring injury, this kid is as can’t miss as they come.

Best Bullpens

1) Philadelphia Phillies – Billy Wagner, Rheal Cormier, Todd Worrell
2) New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera, Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon
3) Boston Red Sox – Mike Timlin, Alan Embree, Scott Williamson, Keith Foulke
4) Anaheim Angels – Ben Weber, Francisco Rodriguez, Troy Percival
5) Los Angeles Dodgers – Eric Gagne, nuff said in Chavez Ravine.
6) Houston Astros – Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, Brandon Duckworth, Jeriome Robertson

Best Starting Rotations

1) Chicago Cubs – Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Greg Maddux, Zambrano
2) Boston Red Sox – Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe
3) Houston Astros – Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Andy Petite
4) Oakland Athletics – Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Rich Harden
5) Florida Marlins – Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, AJ Burnett, Carl Pavano
6) Anaheim Angels – Jerrod Washburn, Bartolo Colon, Kelvim Escobar, Ramon Ortiz

Best Power Offenses
These teams will blow up for some monster games

1) New York Yankees – AROD, Giambi, Posada
2) Houston Astros – Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Jeff Kent
3) St. Louis Cardinals – Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Reggie Sanders
4) Boston Red Sox – David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Nomar, Jason Varitek
5) Colorado Rockies – Todd Helton, Preston Wilson, Larry Walker, Jeromy Burnitz
6) Anaheim Angels – Vlad, Darrin Erstad, Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus

Best Small Ball Offenses
These teams will be consistent offensively

1) Florida Marlins – Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo
2) Tampa Bay Devil Rays – Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Jose Cruz Jr.
3) Baltimore Orioles – Melvin Mora, Luis Matos, Larry Bigbie, Miguel Tejada
4) Minnesota Twins – Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Cristian Guzman
5) Oakland Athletics – Frank Menechino, Bobby Crosby, Mark Kotsay
6) Seattle Mariners – Ichiro, Randy Winn, John Olerud

Hopefully this preview has gotten you warmed up for a great season. Stay tuned for more analysis all season long.


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2004 NCAA March Madness Tournament Preview

Wunderdog 2004 NCAA Tournament Preivew

March 16, 2004

March Madness Picks

Well, arguably the world’s greatest sports show gets ready to roll this Thursday with one of the most competitive fields in recent history. As many as eight teams have a legitimate shot to win the tournament this season. I’ll follow up this preview release with a sweet sixteen preview next week.

Wunderdog’s Top Four Headed Into Tournament

1) Maryland – No one comes into this tournament as hot as the Terrapins who pulled off on the best three game stretches of all time in last weekend's ACC tournament. In case you missed it, and if you're reading this you did not, The Terps upset Wake, NC State and Duke in three days to win the title. Confidence matters so much in this tournament. If UM gets by UTEP in the opening round, there may be no stopping Maryland.

2) Kentucky – They also enter this tournament on fire having won nine in a row, while also covering in each of those ballgames. They are lead by Fitch and Daniels, and are known for their tenacious defense which is certainly an attribute in tournament play. The only knock on UK is there inconsistency shooting the basketball. They have been known to put together terrible shooting performances this season. If that should happen in this tournament, they could exit earlier than they should.

3) Oklahoma St. – The Cowboys have a very legitimate shot to win this tournament, and they are well coached by Eddie Sutton, and are loaded with talent, led by Tony Allen, Josh Graham, and PG Lucas. They have steamrolled through the Big 12 conference this season, leaving everyone in their dust. Defense will be the key for this team. If they are able to defend well throughout the tournament, they will win the National Championship.

4) Gonzaga – No longer in the underdog roll they relished for so many years. Gonzaga enters with one of the best inside / outside offenses in the country led by Ronnie Turiaf and Blake Stepp. Gonzaga's weakness lies in their half court perimeter defense. If they are unable to stop quicker guards from penetrating, and creating mismatches and foul trouble for their big men, they could also exit the tournament earlier than expected. They'll have a tough time as the tourney goes on and the guards get quicker and quicker.

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Wunderdog’s Top Four teams you've never seen play this season

1) Western Michigan – Could the 26-4 Broncos be my Cinderella pick this year? See below.

2) East Tennessee St. – a very good team, who got unlucky in drawing Cincy in Columbus. A bit more of a neutral court and I think they beat Cincinnati outright.

3) Manhattan – Lead by Luis Flores, the Jaspers have had a terrific season and get the chance for the exclamation point against the Gators. The Jaspers beat Richmond outright earlier this season and nearly upset Syracuse on the road.

4) Illinois-Chicago – UIC gets terrific guard play from Cedric Banks and Aaron Carr, and won two tough games away from home against Butler, and Detroit to get here. They'll put a real scare into the Jayhawks in this spot. Boast wins over Eastern Washington and Northwestern this season and their conference is no pushover.

Wunderdog’s Top Five Players

1) Emeka Okafor – Connecticut. When healthy, the best player in the country hands down. Even with back problems, will still be tough for opponents in this tournament

2) Jamir Nelson – St. Joseph's. A great point guard, who combined with Dalonte West, forms the best backcourt in college basketball. SJU's downfall will occur in their frontcourt. Jamir has a great NBA career ahead of him despite his small stature.3) Josh Childress – Stanford. A high riser with serious game. Very similar to a young Julius Erving. I am still waiting for him to come down after his dunk against UW last Saturday. As Bill Rafferty would say, 'come down big fella'. Childress has to be mentioned among the best all around players in college basketball over the last five seasons.

4) Tony Allen – Oklahoma State, not as well known as he should be. A slashing-type player who can flat out score against anyone.

5) Lawrence Roberts – Mississippi State, at the center of the Bulldogs monster season. One of the best big men in the country. This will be his true coming out party.

Wunderdog’s Top Five Players You've Probably Never Heard of

1) Luis Flores – Manhattan. A great scorer for the Jaspers. He gives them a shot against anyone in the tournament.

2) Rafael Araujo – BYU. A huge man with NBA in his future. Has the ability to take over a game by himself. It will be fun to watch he and Warrick go at it down low in the first round.

3) Nick Jacobsen – Utah. One of the best pure shooters in years. He hit the shot that sent the Utes to the tourney on Saturday night.

4) Tim Smith – East Tennessee State. A speedy point guard has ability to take over games by himself. Will be a handful for the lax defense of the Bearcats.

5) Taylor Coppenrath – Vermont. He scored 43 in his first game in over a month last Saturday. If you get the chance, watch him play on Thursday against UCONN. You will not be disappointed.


Wunderdog’s Best First Round Match-ups

Florida vs. Manhattan – This one will go down to the wire. Flores and company have a real good shot at the upset here. UF has been winning some recently, but they have beaten some pretty average basketball teams over that stretch.

Washington vs. UAB – Two teams chalked full of phenom athletes. This will be the most entertaining first round game based on that alone. If you have no had the chance to watch these two point guards, take advantage of it.

Alabama vs. Southern Illinois – The Salukis are good and ‘Bama has had a pretty good season considering their schedule. This is another game where an upset is a very real possibility.

North Carolina vs. Air Force – Two completely different teams. Can UNC maintain its focus against AFA's slow it down style? Can AFA match up with the athletic Heels? This is essentially a home game for AFA in Denver. They'll have the sentiment of 22,000 at the Pepsi Center. This should be quite a game.

Western Michigan vs. Vanderbilt – WMU may be flat out better than the Commodores. This will be a dog fight between tow very good basketball teams. MAC teams have fared very well in the NCAA's in recent years.


Wunderdog’s Best Potential Second Round Match-ups

Texas vs. North Carolina – The match-up everyone in Denver is pulling for. In a market starved for big time basketball, this would be a dream match-up, and a closely contested shootout to boot.

Duke vs. Arizona – When Arizona is motivated, they are one of the best offensive teams in the country. They would be ready to play Duke, who has shown some chinks in their armor recently. If Reddick continues to struggle from outside, the Cats could win this game outright.

Memphis vs. Oklahoma State – Memphis would match up well with the Cowboys in this situation. The only thing we see is that it will be played in KC, which favors the Cowboys.

Kentucky vs. Washington – Should UW get by UAB, this will be a shootout. UW is the quickest team West of the Mississippi and would pose a serious threat to the Cats here.

Nevada vs. Gonzaga – Nevada is a great team out of the WAC. They would give Gonzaga all they can handle here.

Wunderdog’s Cinderella Pick of 2004Western Michigan – the 26-4 MAC champions are led by 6-8 forward Mike Williams. They boast wins over USC on their home court, and road wins against UAB and Arizona State. The Broncos are the real deal and could easily wind up in the sweet sixteen.

Wunderdog’s 2004 Champion Pick is…Oklahoma State – The Cowboys are loaded and have played very good basketball all year long. Lucas can beat you in so many different ways, and they are disciplined on offense and defense. They'll be celebrating in Stillwater, Oklahoma in early April.

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