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Monday, February 28, 2011

Sixers Could Have More Post-season Hope Than Villanova

Six months ago no one would have thought the 76ers would be showing more promise for the post-season than the Villanova Wildcats. In fact, six weeks ago the thought would have been considered crazy. But, at the risk of being told I’m clueless, I think it can actually be argued that the Sixers have a better shot at winning a playoff round than the Wildcats have of advancing in the NCAA Tournament.

Now, everybody roll your eyes at the thought of the Sixers winning a round in the playoffs. After all, that’s not the “hot story” that the media feeds us day in, day out.

The Sixers currently hold the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and would play Miami. While the media genuflects over the Heat every chance they get, that team hasn’t beaten any of the upper echelon teams. I’m not suggesting the Sixers are one of those teams – they’re not. But unless the Heat figure out that Dwayne Wade is their best player, I don’t think they are getting far in the playoffs. That said, the Sixers probably wouldn’t beat them in a series, though the upset wouldn’t be impossible.

More importantly, the Sixers are six games behind Atlanta for the fifth seed. It’s probably too much to hope for with just 23 games left, but it’s conceivable the Sixers catch the Hawks. Right now that would line them up to play Orlando. Call me crazy, but I think that’s a tossup series.

Of course, the revamped Knicks are a half game ahead of the Sixers and could just as conceivably catch the Hawks. Let’s say they both do. That currently would put the Sixers against Chicago. The Bulls are 12-0 against their division, which includes Milwaukee, Indiana, Detroit, and Cleveland – all significantly below .500. I might even favor the Sixers in that series.

Obviously, all of the seedings could change. But I can write about basketball today, or Mark Cuban’s Twitter spat with Buzz Bissinger. For now, I chose hoops.

Remember, my only premise was that the Sixers might have a better chance than Villanova to advance in the post-season. Villanova is getting pounded lately in the Big East, holding a 5-7 record since January 15. They’re still ranked 19th, I’m guessing because they started out so high and the Big East is viewed as the best conference this year.

I’m a ‘Nova fan, and I am whatever the opposite of a bracketologist would be. But simple math says they could be a 5th seed. Can you say 5-12 upset?

I haven’t forgotten about Temple either. They did beat Georgetown, only lost to Villanova by 4, and at least hung around with Duke for a while. The A10 just doesn’t excite anyone. If they get the right matchup, who knows?

I know, I know, it’s a lot of ifs and buts, and I don’t pretend to be a college basketball expert. I know just enough to screw up a pool every year.

But don’t be shocked if the Sixers offer more excitement on the hardwood this post-season than the local college teams.

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