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Armstrong: Five thoughts including his Final Four picks

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Jack Armstrong
3/18/2013 4:14:25 PM
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March Madness is upon us!  Catch all the action on TSN and TSN2, starting this week. It should be fun.      

1. MY FINAL FOUR PICKS: Louisville, Indiana, Georgetown & Ohio State. Do yourself a favour, pick something different from me and you'll probably have better luck!!  My champ is Indiana. Tom Crean's team has impressed me all season. Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are legit.

2. CANADIANS IN THE TOURNAMENT: Over 30 Canadians this year in the dance with so many others that didn't make it that are playing Division 1 ball.  The future of Canadian hoops is on the upswing and I'm thrilled to see the growth of the sport and the quality of the players being produced.  Lots of attention will be focused (rightfully so) on Anthony Bennett (UNLV) and Kelly Olynk (Gonzaga) -- both of them will be NBA first round picks. Another guy that is a Gonzaga teammate of Olynk is Kevin Pangos (Newmarket, Ont). He is a terrific guard who can really shoot it (.425) from 3-point range. Taking and making the 3-point shot has become a huge component in today's game. He's a guy that could get on a roll if you don't get to him and challenge his shots.  Love the energy he brings and will be a huge piece for the Bulldogs as they try to justify their No. 1 seed.

3. DWYANE WADE (Heat): Awesome on Sunday vs. the Raptors. He had nine assists and didn't even take a three in the game.  Everything was pull-up jumpers and explosive drives to the rim.  Love his heart and toughness.  There are times he gets overshadowed by LeBron James but man oh man, he's a really special talent.  A joy to watch compete.

4. KYLE LOWRY (Raptors): Simply put, he needs to play a lot better. Organization has invested lots in him and they've got to be wondering what's up with his inconsistent play. Risk/reward guy on defence and his passing/decisions need to get sharper. Numbers look pretty good on paper but that's just paper. He's a talented guy, we all know that, yet there are times you watch him play and he's a non-factor and you scratch your head. On Sunday vs. Miami was one of those days.  I didn't expect him to be a great player for the Raptors but I did expect him to be consistently good, and I emphasize consistent and on many nights a very good player.  His play is uneven and has to be of a higher quality. He was brought here to be better than the player he's playing like right now.  He's capable and I'm confident it will come around. Opportunity is here in Toronto for him to be 'The Guy' at the point guard spot for years to come. He has to seize the moment… every single game, not just sometimes. Excellence is a habit.

5. NCAA HOOPS-REFEREE'S: A little thing to watch in the tournament is the composition of the three-man crew working the games. Usually, referee's get to work at least a handful of games together in the same Conference during the season and they know each other's style.  Many times in the tourney you have crews of guys that have never met or even worked with the other two guys on the crew.  It makes for tense moments for coaches and players early in each contest trying to figure out the style of the whistle for that particular game. Just something to keep an eye out for.  The lack of familiarity can changes things a bit.

Kevin Pangos  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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