If you think that West Virginia is going to beat Xavier tonight, then we can be friends.
I actually picked Xavier (beating Duke) when I filled out my bracket. The two main reasons I think I left WVU out of this equation:
1.) Bob Huggins is just one of those people I look at and hate for no apparent reason. I don't think we'd be friends in real life.
2.) I was still bitter about Joe Alexander handling UCONN in the Big East Tournament.
Alexander put up 34, and made Conn's Stanley Robinson look like a herb, in WVU's dismantling of the Huskies. And Alexander has been on blistering tear ever since.
Most recently, he scored 22 in the Yokels upset of Duke. And we have reason to believe that the Alexander of late (20+ points in six of his last eight games) will show up tonight against Xavier.
At 6' 8'', 200+ pounds, and whiter than a Trader Joe's Wine Shop, does Joe Alexander have NBA potential?
NBA Draft Express has him going #18 in the first round of this year's NBA Draft, ahead of such notables as Stanford's Robin Lopez, Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts and UCONN's Hasheem "Good Riddance Thabeet.
NBA Draft.net doesn't have him getting picked this year, presumably because they don't think he'll come out (a definite possibility). They compare Alexander to Tom Gugliotta on his profile page, and they have him listed in the top-10 (#6 overall) picks in the 2009 draft.
In terms of build, he's best compared to his vanilla compatriots Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love. Alexander has shown evidence of a more superior outside game than Hansbrough and Love, but he definitely (without question) gives something up to these other two phenoms in terms of post play.
On a side note, you throw the Lopez brothers into the mix, and we're looking at one of the finest white boy drafts that I can remember. And as soon as I figure out how to do it without coming off like an overt racist, I'll post about this.
Call me a sucker for being too high on a guy's recent performance, but is Shane Battier or Tayshawn Prince too high of a ceiling for Alexander?
I think if a team spent a first round pick and got that in return, they'd consider it a success.
To be fair, before this season Alexander averaged just over 10 ppg. I also can't help but be reminded another recent West Virginian who had a late season surge and a gutsy NCAA tournament performance - Mike Gansey - who saw himself go undrafted in 2005.
However, if I'm Alexander, I'd come out now while the stock is high and hope I get hooked up with a competitive team where there's less pressure and more room to grow. Plus with Kevin Love inevitably going much higher in the draft, he shouldn't have to worry about shouldering too much of white doofus burden.
At the risk of sounding overly conservative, I think Alexander becomes a formidable six-man in the NBA.
Great article from the NYT's Pete Thamel on Alexander