Friday, March 27, 2009
Speaking of the Big 12, Mizzou straight put it to Memphis. They out-Memphised Memphis and almost blew them out before Memphis made a decent comeback attempt. I really thought Memphis had a shot to go to the title game again. It's a shame that two of the best winners and most underrated players in college basketball, Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson, saw their careers come to an end. Tyreke Evans might have played his last college game as well. He had a great game and is so smooth around the basket, I really hope he comes back next year. I think he will be a 1st rounder if he leaves this year, but if he returns I think he can be a top 5 pick in 2010. I was rooting for Memphis, but I was so impressed with Missouri and their coach Mike Anderson bringing back the "40 minutes of hell" that was successful at Arkansas througout the 90's.
Memphis was same old Memphis, missing Free Throws and open jumpers. I thought that Memphis had a shot to go deep because they reminded me in a lot of ways of the first Florida National Title team of 2006.
This leads me to my top team historical comparison. I compare this years Sweet 16 to a successful team of years past. Most of the teams I have compared them to made it to the Final Four and a few of them won the National Title.
Louisville-1996 Kentucky (National Champion)
Like the Kentucky team, Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino and is led by a great forward combination. Louisville has Terrence Williams and Earl Clark. Kentucky had Antoine Walker and Walter McCarty. The 96 Kentucky team was also led by Senior guard Tony Delk. That Kentucky team was probably the deepest team in NCAA history. Both teams had great guard depth but this years' Louisville team has a better frontcourt. The 96 Kentucky team only lost one game all year, losing to UMass who they later beat in the Final Four, and is regarded as one of the greatest college basketball teams ever. Louisville may not be that great, but they have everything it takes to get Rick Pitino his first National Title since 1996.
Memphis-2006 Florida (National Champion)
This is what got me thinking about this subject. Obviously Memphis will not win the National Title like Florida did, but they do have some great similarities. Both were defensive oriented pressing teams. Both had a good frontcourt duo where either guy could get a double-double any night, Memphis-Dozier and Shawn Taggart, Florida-Al Hortford and JoakimNoah. Both had an athletic defensive lock down specialist, Memphis-Anderson and Florida-Corey Brewer, and both had a great sharpshooter, Memphis-Robert Sallie and Florida-Lee Humphrey. The main difference is Memphis' 6'6 Freshman PG Tyreke Evans and Florida's 6'0 Sophomore PG Taureen Green. Evans was more of a star while Green was more of a facilitator. Florida also had a better bench with Walter Hodge and Chris Richard. In reality the biggest difference was Florida could hit big shots and free throws and Memphis is well Memphis. That's why Florida won the title and Memphis, well you get the picture.
UNC-2004 UConn (National Champion)
One could make some comparisons to UNC's 2005 National Title team, mainly with Tyler Hasborough and Sean May. But this Carolina is much more like UConn's team that was led by Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor. Ty Lawson needs to be as big as Gordon was if UNC is to be successful. Both had/have sharpshooters/slashers on the wings, UNC-Wayne Ellington and Danny Green and UConn-Rashard Andersona and Denham Brown. They also both had/have good frontcourt role players to compliment their star inside. UNC has Ed Davis and Dion Thompson, UConn had Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong and Charlie Villanueva (who was a talented reserve as a Freshman much like Ed Davis is on UNC). As you can see both teams were very deep but relied heavily on star power as well.
Oklahoma-2003 Syracuse (National Champion)
Blake Griffin is the most dominant player in college basketball since Carmelo Anthony. Griffin actually had a much better regular season this year than Anthony had in 03, but Melo had one of the greatest tournament performances by any player ever. Griffin will need to do the same if Oklahoma is to win/have a shot at the National Title. Both teams had great perimeter players around their superstar. But the key to success for Syracuse was the value of a role playing garbage man Hakim Warrick. So really Oklahoma might only go as far as the "other" Griffin, Blake's role playing older brother Taylor. The stars each have their own trademark, Melo had the smile while Griffin has the gameface with the eye of the tiger.
Syracuse-1997 Arizona (National Champion)
In 1997 Arizona had the greatest run to championship ever and is the only team ever to beat 3 #1 seeds in a NCAA tournament. Syracuse is capable of making a similar run and the makeup of Syracuse is very similar to Arizona in 97. Both were/are led by a great young PG, Syracuse-Jonny Flynn and Zona-Mike Bibby. They also both had/have a good inside/outside SF in Syracuse-Paul Harris and Zona-Michael Dickerson. The star in the Final Four for Arizona was Miles Simon who had a very similar size and skill set to that of Syracuse's SG Eric Devendorf. But the key for Zona's run was the play inside by role players A.J. Bramlett and Bennett Davidson. Zona also had a skinny Sophomore coming off the bench by the name of Jason Terry. Syracuse will need their big guys to step up, they proved they can hang with anyone when they beat UConn's frontcourt duo in the Big East tournament. They will need to continue to play well in order to make a run similar to that of Arizona in 97.
Pittsburgh-1999 Duke (Runner-Up)
Not only does DeJuan Blair look and play exactly like former Duke star Elton Brand but this Pitt team resembles the 99 Duke team in other ways. Duke had a stud PG in William Avery, Pittsburgh has stud PG Levance Fields. Pitssburgh's Sam Young is like a combination of Trajan Langdon and Chris Carrawell. Pittsbugh doesn't have a Freshman Duke had in Cory Maggettee, but they have just as much depth. Duke lost to Rip Hamilton and UConn in the 99 National Title game. This Pittsburgh team has already beat UConn twice and could very well end up playing them again or playing Louisville in the National Title game.
UConn-2001 Arizona (Runner-Up)
Speaking of UConn, they remind me a lot of the Arizona team that barely lost to Duke in the 01 National Title. Both had/have a great frontcourt duo with a 7 footer. Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrein, Zona-Loren Woods and Michael Wright. Thabeet may be better and is certainly tougher than Woods ever was,but Adrein and Wright are very similar. Both had/have a great PG and a versatile SF, UConn PG-A.J. Price and SF-Stanley Robinson and Zona PG-Jason Gardner and SF-Luke Walton. UConn's stud SG Jerome Dyson is injured for the rest of the year but it has not affected them yet. Arizona also had a good underrated SG by the name of Gilbert Arenas who waited until after he was a NBA star and after he got an 80+ million dollar deal before getting bit by the injury bug.
Villanova-1996 Syracuse (Runner-Up)
The last time the Big East was this good was back in 1996. The Big East was loaded with star talent everywhere. Georgetown had Allan Iverson, UConn had Ray Allen, Villanova had Kerry Kittles. All 3 of those teams were nasty and were at least a #3 seed. However it was a #4 seeded Syracuse team that was led by Senior John Wallace that went to the Final Four and the National Title game. Dante Cunningham can be this year's John Wallace. With all the talent in the Big East this year, Villanova and its star Senior PF have been overlooked all season long. A win over Pittsburgh will send them to the Final Four. This Nova team is similar to the their Elite 8 team of 2006 led by Randy Foye and the 4 guard lineup, when Cunningham was Freshman who was overpowered by Florida's Al Hortford and Joakim Noah. This time he must battle DeJuan Blair. Nova PG Scottie Reynolds is their other stud. Syracuse's Lazarus Sims was the best compliment to Wallace but like Nova this year their success was due to their great perimeter play as a team.
Gonzaga-1998 Utah (Runner-Up)
Like Utah was in the 90's, Gonzaga is the dominant mid-major power out west. But it wasn't until 98 that they cracked the Final Four. Both saw its program's dominant player, and "next Larry Bird" comparison player graduate. For Utah it was Keith Van Horn the year before in 97 and for the Zags it was Adam Morrison in 2006. Gonzaga may lack a player like PG Andre Miller, but big man Josh Heyvelt is as good as Michael Doleac was and Gonzaga's guards this year are very talented. Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, and Austin Daye are good but are they good enough to finally get to the Final Four.
Michigan St.-1999 Michigan St. (Final Four)
This team is talented, young and guard oriented just like the one that went to the Final Four in 1999 a year before they won the title in 2000. PG Kalin Lucas and G/F Raymar Morgan are very similar to PG Mateen Cleaves and G/F Morris Peterson. This was before they had athletic Freshman Jason Richardson in 2000. This might not yet be the year for the Spartans, but if Lucas, Morgan and company stick around and they get a recruit like JRich was in 2000, then the Spartans could be NCAA Champs in 2010 if history repeats itself.
Missouri-1990 Arkansas (Final Four)
If your going to compare a 40 mintes of hell team that has come out of nowhere, then you have to back to the team that came out of nowhere and made the 40 minutes of hell widely known. Mizzou coach Mike Anderson was an assistant on the 1990 Arkansas team that went to the Final Four and lost to Duke. The main difference is that this years Mizzou team is a veteran team led by Seniors like DeMarre Carrol, Leo Lyons, and Matt Lawrence along with Junior guards Ziare Taylor and J.T. Tiller. That Arkansas team was led by Sopomores Todd Day, Lee Mayberry (The Mayday Connection), and of course the big O, Oliver Miller.
Duke-2004 Oklahoma St. (Final Four)
I tried to compare this Duke to team to another Duke team but I could not find an accurate comaprison. So I campare them to the Oklahoma St. team that went to the Final Four and was led by a very strong athletic wing in Joey Graham just like how Duke is led by athletic wing Gerald Henderson. Both team were very guard oriented. That OK St. team had guards John Lucas and Tony Allen. OK St. did not have a great PF like Kyle Singler but despite that they still went to the Final Four. Something Duke players and fans are starting to forget about.
Purdue-2005 West Virginia (Elite Eight)
I compare this years Purdue team to that of the WVU team that almost beat Louisville in the Elite 8. They both had great shooting big men, Pudue has Robbie Hummel while WVU had Kevin Pittsnogle. Both teams were slightly undersized and went as far as they shot the ball. This years Purdue's team was much better at rebounding than WVU in 06 mainly because of stud big man JaJuan Johnson.
Xavier-2004 Xavier (Elite Eight)
It's too easy to compare them to last years team so I will compare this years talented athletic bunch to the team that almost beat Duke in the Elite 8 back in 04. That team was led by guards Lionel Chalmers and Romain Sato. What was amazing about that team was that they did much better after losing star David West from a year before.
Kansas-2003 Maryland (Sweet Sixteen)
Just like Maryland in 03, Kansas is coming off of a National Title and lost almost everything. Sharron Collins has been amazing but their is only so much he can do. Just like Maryland PG Steve Blake could only do so much in 2003. Maryland was a 6 seed and ironically ended up losing a #7 seed Michigan St. That could be how Kansas' season ends this year. Maryland did not have a big man like Cole Aldrich so Kansas could beat Michigan St and make it past the Sweet 16. However I would be shocked if they beat Louisville in the Regional Final and got back to the Final Four, then I would have to compare them to the Michigan St. team of 2001 that went to the Final Four after winning the National Title in 2000.
Arizona-2004 Nevada (Sweet Sixteen)
The last time a team was seeded this low and had two future NBA prospects like Azizona has with F/C Jordan Hill and G/F Chase Budinger it was the Nevada team in 06 that had G/F Kirk Snyder and F/C Nick Fazekas. Nevada was a 10 seed who lost to eventual Runner Up Georgia Tech in the Sweet 16.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I picked 64 of the 65 teams right in my picks of who would go to the tournament. Ironically the team that was the last to get in the dance, the team that I had justified in not making it was #12 seed Arizona. Arizona is now the lowest seed still alive. This tournament has been very top heavy with no 1-3 seed losing yet. It is still wide open as we go into my favorite weekend. The weekend of the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Tonight at around 7pm the fun starts again.
So here are my previews and predictions.
Today's games-Thursday March 26th
#1 UConn vs. #5 Purdue 7:07pm
UConn has not been tested yet this tournament, but they will be tonight by a tough Purdue team that is led by inside/outside threat Robbie Hummel. UConn's frontcourt duo of Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien could be way too much for the Boilermakers to handle, but Purdue has their own talented big man in JuJuan Johnson. Both teams have good veteran perimeter players. Purdue has PG-E'Twaun Moore (if I knock up a girl and she has a boy I might consider naming him E'Twaun Moran, that would be a cool name) and UConn is led by A.J. Price and SF Stanley Robinson who has stepped up big since Jerome Dyson's injury. If either of UConn's big men get in trouble the game should be even. I would love to see and upset but that could still be a long shot.
Prediction: UConn by 6
#2 Memphis vs. #3 Missouri 30 minutes after first game
This is the battle of the Tigers. Both are veteran teams led by seniors. However Memphis' seniors will be playing in their forth straight Sweet Sixteen while Missouri's seniors just played their first tournament games last weekend. Experience is not the only advantage Memphis has. Memphis is more athletic and has a much better defense than Missouri. Both are high scoring teams but it will be tough for Missouri to win a shootout against a defense this good and this athletic. Ironically the X-Factor will likely be how the most inexperienced player on the court, Memphis Freshman phenom Tyreke Evans plays. If Evans has a good game and Memphis plays the way they have played then it's hard to imagine the Memphis Tigers not getting to a forth straight Elite 8.
Prediction: Memphis by 13
#1 Pittsburgh vs. #4 Xavier 7:27pm
This game has two main story lines. Pittsburgh trying to got past the Sweet 16 for the first time and Xavier coach Sean Miller will be playing against his alma mater Pittsburgh. He was a guard in the 80's a had the assist to Jerome Lane on the famous "send it in Jerome" dunk that shattered the glass on the backboard. Xavier has made it to the Elite 8 twice in the past six seasons including a trip last year. As far as the game itself, Pittsburgh has struggled in the first two rounds and Xavier is better than OK St. or East Tennessee St. However, Pittsburgh should still find a way to win with the stars they have. Xavier is talented but they just have no answer for DuJuan Blair and Sam Young.
Prediction: Pittsburgh by 5
#2 Duke vs. #3 Villanova 30 minutes after first game
This was the matchup I had circled on Selection Sunday. I am not a big Duke fan, but I was rooting for them over Texas just to see this game. Both teams are very perimeter oriented but also have a great forward inside. Duke has Kyle Singler and Villanova has Dante Cunningham. Villanova has 5 talented guards in their rotation, while Duke has the PG duo of Nolan Smith and Greg Paulus along with SG John Scheyer. But the key for Duke will be versatile G/F Gerald Henderson who is finally playing like a NBA lottery pick. Villanova doesn't have a player like Henderson so Duke has a very slight advantage on the outside. But, as most people who follow college basketball know, the team that shoots the rock the best from the outside will be the team that moves on. This is the one game you don't want to miss. As far as who will win, flip a coin.
Prediction: Duke by 1 on a Gerald Henderson 17 footer
Tomorrow, Friday March 27th
#1 Louisville vs. #12 Arizona 7:07pm
A #12 seed has never beat a #1 seed and only one #12 seed has ever made it to the Elite 8 (Missouri in 2002). However there is a first time for everything, but don't count on it happening this year. Arizona is led by future NBA draft picks F/C Jordan Hill and wing Chase Budinger. Zona is talented but Louisville is loaded. Louisville has at least 3 guys who will be playing at the next level and are led by Terrence Williams who is the most versatile player in the nation. Louisville also has that Pitino guy coaching and he knows a little something about winning in March. This game will be close until about midway through the second half when Louisville's skill, defense, depth and every other advantage they have will take over. Some people are saying that Pitino might be interested in becoming Zona's next head coach. A more interesting story line is Pitino wanting revenge on an Arizona, the team that upset his Kentucky team in 1997 National Title, the last game Pitino ever coached at Kentucky.
Prediction: Louisville by 11
#2 Michigan St. vs. #3 Kansas 30 minutes after the first game
The battle of the overachievers. Two great programs from the midwest square off in the midwest. The regular season champs from the Big Ten and Big 12 have both exceeded expectations and are one game from the Elite 8. After winning the National Title last year and then losing their starting lineup to the NBA, folks in Kansas did not expect to win the Big 12 title again. But thanks to superstar G Sherron Collins and big man Cole Aldrich, the Jayhawks are back again this year. Many thought to youth of Michigan St. would prevent them from winning the Big Ten. But despite their is youth they are very talented and led by Big Ten player of the year, Sophomore PG Kalin Lucas and talented wing Raymar Morgan. Both teams have good coaches who have won National Titles. This is a pretty even matchup but it will come down to which star guard is better. In my opinion Sherron Collins is as good as any PG in the nation and will outplay Kalin Lucas.
Prediction: Kansas by 3
#2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Syracuse 7:27pm
After last weeks win over Arizona St., Syracuse's star PG Jonny Flynn was asked what he thought about Oklahoma. His answer "Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin." It is no secret that Oklahoma is as good as good as its all world F/C Blake Griffin. Syracuse knows they can't stop Griffin, but if they limit him and stop the others around him, especially Freshman G Willie Warren then they can win. Flynn might be the best PG in the nation, with apologies to Ty Lawson, Sharron Collins, Kalin Lucas, and Tyreke Evans. After watching Flynn in the Big East Tournament and in the Big Dance I am not afraid to say that. The Cuse will need a big game from him along with Eric Devendorf and Flynn's high school buddy Paul Harris. If Syracuse can hit some big 3's a limit Mr. Griffin to lets say 24 points and 14 boards then the Orange have a good chance to move to the Elite 8. I can't wait to see this game and I hope it goes to OT. Plus it will be Griffin's last college game if the Sonners lose, that alone makes it must see TV. I hope Lousiville is blowing out Zona so CBS will primarily show this game.
Prediction: Syracuse by 4 in double OT
#1 UNC vs. #4 Gonzaga 30 minutes after first game
Both teams have been knocking on the door the past couple of years. UNC for another National Title and Gonzaga for their first Final Four appearance. Could this be the magical year for one of them? UNC was every one's pre-season favorite and is still a favorite to win the National Title. However this team may not be as good as the Carolina team of 2006. Star PG Ty Lawson has battled an injured toe and the Tar Hels will need him to come up big against the Zags. UNC's other star Tyler Hansborough could go down as the greatest Tar Hel ever if Carolina does win the National Title. However the tough road starts here against a very talented and deep Gonzaga team that is as hungry to get to the Final Four as UNC is hungry to win the whole thing. The Zags are led by their own talented big white dude, Josh Heytvelt. Gonzaga has good guards in Matt Bouldin and Jeremy Pargo but they might not be enough to stop Lawson and sharp shooting Wayne Ellington. That is why Gonzaga needs talented forward Austin Daye to play up to his potential and play like a man if the Zags are to pull this tournament's first major upset. If your going to predict an upset it might as well be against and team you don't like and think is overrated
Prediction: Gonzaga by 3
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Here is my 65 team field as of right now with my s-curve.
The sites are:
East-Boston (host-Boston College)
West-Phoenix Area-Glendale,AZ (host-Ariz. St.)
Philadelphia (PHL)-(host-St. Joseph's)
Greensboro, NC (NC)-(host- The ACC)
Kansas City (KC)-(host-The Big 12)
Boise,ID (Boise)-(host-Boise St.)
Teams cannot play in the region/site that they host, conferences can
Confernece Champions are denoted with a -x
1-MW-Louisville (DAY) (Big East)-x
1-W-Memphis (KC) (USA)-x
2-MW-Michigan St. (MN)
3-S-Mizzou (Boise) (Big 12)-x
4-MW-Illinois/Ohio St. (if they win Big Ten Champ)
6-W-Illinois/Ohio St. (if they lose Big Ten Champ)
9-S-Wisconsin (Bubble 1)
10-W-Utah St. (WAC)-x
10-MW-Temple (Atlantic 10)-x
10-E-Michigan (Bubble 2)
11-S-Minnesota (Bubble 4)
11-E-No. Iowa (MVC)-x
12-W-Maryland (Bubble 3)
12-MW-Creighton (Bubble 5)
12-E-WKU (Sun Belt)-x
12-S-Miss. St. (SEC)-x
13-MW-Cleveland St. (Horizon)-x
13-W-Stephen F. Austin (Southland)-x
14-MW-CSU Northridge(Big West)-x
14-S-Portland St. (Big Sky)-x
15-MW-North Dakota St. (Summit)-x
15-W-Robert Morris (NEC)-x
16-W-Morehead St. (OVC)-x
16-MW-Radford (Big South)-x
16-E-Play In Game-Alabama St. (SWAC)-x vs. UT-Chattanooga (SoCon)-x
16-S-Morgan St. (MEAC)-x
Last 4 In:
First 4 Out:
San Diego St.
Next 4 Out:
21 One bid leagues
My Final Bubble expalnation:
-Several low bubble teams left nothing to chance as they ran the gauntlet and won their conference tournament. Those teams were Siena, Western Kentucky, Temple, USC, Utah St., and Mississippi St.
-Some high bubble teams became locks this weekend with good/decent showings. They were Ohio St. (who can still win the Big Ten which is going on now), Boston College (which beat Virginia, then barely lost to Duke by one point), and Dayton (who went 1-1 in the Atlantic 10 tournament but still finished with a RPI in the top30).
-Three of my intersting late bloomers lost in the the quarterfinals of their conference tournament, that knocked all of them out. Those were New Mexico, URI, and Kansas St.
-Some other teams who saw their bubble's burst in the quarterfinals of their conference tournament were
Providence (blown out by Louisville)
Virginia Tech (beat by UNC)
UNLV (beat for a third time by San Diego St.)
S. Carolina (beat by eventual SEC Champ Mississippi St.)
Florida (beat by Auburn)
UAB (lost in USA semis to Tulsa, who was then blown out by Memphis)
That left 31 Automatic bids along with 29 at-large locks giving us 60 teams that are locks. That leaves 5 bubble spots avalible.
So I ranked by bubble teams as such with their resume:
1) Wisconsin (19-12, 10-8), RPI-45, SOS-16, (8-4) in last 12, key wins-swept Michigan and Penn St., @Virginia Tech, Illinois (4-10) vs. RPI top 50, (9-11) vs. RPI top 100.
Analysis-When I analyzed the 4 Big Ten bubble teams I took a good look at thier record vs. each other. Wisconsin went 4-2 against the other 3 Big Ten bubble teams and also has been the best as of late of all of the Big Ten bubble teams going 8-4 in their last 12. Those two things alone put them in, despite their lack of quality non-conference wins.
2) Michigan-(22-13, 9-9), RPI-44, SOS-11, key wins-Duke, UCLA-Neut., Illinois, swept MINN, (5-10) vs. RPI top 50 and (10-12), vs. RPI top 100. (6-6) in last 12, great SOS-10, bad road record (3-8).
Analysis-They have too many quality wins, plus a great SOS and a RPI in the top 45. They should be in. Duke winning the ACC Championship today also helps them.
3) Maryland-(20-13, 7-9), RPI-55, SOS-17, key wins-Michigan St.-Neut., Michigan, UNC, WFU, Virginia Tech, (4-8) vs. RPI top 50, (8-11) vs. RPI top 100. (6-6) in last 12.
Analysis-Like Michigan they have many key wins, including 4 wins over top 10 teams. They also have a great SOS and beat Michigan who is in. In the ACC tournament they proved they can play with anyone by beating Wake then almost upsetting Duke.
4) Minnesota-(22-10, 9-9), RPI-42, SOS-35, key wins-Louisville-neut., Illinois, N.D. St., swept Wisconsin, split with Penn St., (5-8) vs. RPI top 50, (9-10) vs. RPI top 100, (5-7) in last 12.
Analysis-They better thank Louisville for winning the Big East if they get in. They have struggled as of late but they should be the 7th Big Ten team in the dance.
5) Creighton-(26-7, 14-4), RPI-40, SOS-111, Lost in MVC Semis (blown out), MVC conf. RPI-9, (11-1) in last 12 Key wins-Dayton, New Mexico, split UNI, (2-2) vs RPI top 50, (9-5) vs. RPI top 100.
Analysis-For my last spot in the dance I gave it to Creighton just over San Diego St. because of how well they finished the season and because of thier 18 point win against Dayton.
6) San Diego St.-(23-9, 11-5), RPI-34, SOS-41, key wins-3 wins vs. UNLV, (1-2) vs. Utah and BYU, (2-6) vs. RPI top 50, (7-9) vs. RPI top 100, (8-4) in last 12, 2 losses to fellow bubble teams ARZ and St. Mary's.
Analysis-They have a better RPI and SOS than Creighton, but their only key wins were in their conference. It is a shame because they only lost by two points to Utah last night in the MWC Championship. They will either be one of the last ones in or out.
7) Auburn-(22-11, 10-6), RPI-63, SOS-62, (9-3) in last 12, key wins- Tennessee, LSU, Florida but all 3 were splits, (7-9) vs. RPI top 100
Analysis-Like the JoJo song says, it was just a little too late. The Tigers played really well late but the Mississippi St. win plus their lack of any non-conference wins along with a sub 60 RPI seals the Tigers fate to the NIT.
8) Arizona-(19-13, 9-9), RPI-62, SOS-34, key wins-Kansas, Gonzaga-Neut., S.D. St., UCLA, Washington, went (7-5) in last 12 but lost 5 of last 6 games to end season, (6-10) vs. RPI top 50, (8-12) vs. RPI top 100, bad road record (2-9).
Analysis-Like Maryland and Michigan they have some very good key wins. However you just can't finish 1-5 and have a sub 60 RPI and hope to somehow get in. Their big name players and tradition may factor in the committee's decision, but they don't deserve to be in over Creighton or San Diego St.
9) Penn St.-(22-11, 10-8), RPI-70, SOS-93, key wins-@ Mich. St., swept Illinois, split Purdue, (6-10) vs. RPI top 50 (7-5) in last 12, good record with a 22 win season
Analysis-They are simply the odd team out from the Big Ten. They don't have the RPI of the other teams in their league and they lack any key non-conference wins. Good year, but not good enough to go dancing
10) St. Mary's-(26-6, 10-4), RPI-47, Lost in WCC Championship (blown out by Gonzaga), WCC conf. RPI-15, (7-5) in last 12 key wins-all vs. fellow bubble teams, S.D. St. and Providence both Neut. and Utah St. without star PG Patty Mills. (3-4) vs. RPI top 100, bad SOS-149
Analysis-I know they did not have Mills for a good deal of the season. But he is not healthy enough and St. Mary's just doesn;t deserve to be in over any of the above teams. They really didn't deserve to be in last year .I also don't think it's right that they scheduled a game after the WCC championship to show that Mills is healthy and to give them another win. If he was healthy they would have not gotten blown out by Gonzaga and wouldn't need to schedule another game. If they somehow get in it will be absolute bull you know what.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In the previous post I had all of the Locks listed, Now we get to the BUBBLE MANIA. I have the bubble teams into 5 Categories
(5)-High Bubble or Almost Locks-These teams pretty much just need to not mess up and lose to team that they are better than in their conference tournament. Two teams, Ohio St. and Wisconsin will meet on Friday in the Big Ten Quarterfinals, the winner will be in while the loser will not necessarily be out, but they will be wondering on Selection Sunday. Dayton and Minnesota both have good RPIs and just need insurance wins to get them in. Boston College is a default high bubble team just because they are clearly in the best shape of any ACC bubble team, they also just need an insurance win and then a good showing against Duke in the ACC Quarterfinals.
Dayton, Ohio St., Wisconsin, Boston College, Minnesota
Key game-Wisconsin vs. Ohio St.-Friday-2:30
(7)-Prototypical Quintessential Bubble Teams-These teams are definition of a bubble team. There's 1 from the PAC-10, and 2 from the Big Ten, SEC, and MWC. They all have a good resume but there's not much separating the teams. Some teams have very similar resumes, like Michigan and Arizona or South Carolina and San Diego St. All 7 could end up getting in but likely 2 will fall out. I have each team listed with their resume:
Arizona, Michigan, Penn St., Florida, S. Carolina, San Diego St., UNLV
Arizona-(19-12, 9-9), RPI-54, key wins-Kansas, Gonzaga-Neut., S.D. St., UCLA, Washington,
(5-9) vs. RPI top 50, (8-4) in last 12, good SOS-32, bad road record (2-9).
Synopsis- Arizona's big non-conference wins should be enough to get them in the dance. A win today in the PAC-10 quarterfinals against their rivals Ariz. St. would be huge and could all but guarantee them a spot in the dance.
Michigan-(19-12, 9-9), RPI-42, key wins-Duke, UCLA-Neut., Illinois, swept MINN, (5-9) vs. RPI top 50 and (10-11) vs. RPI top 100. (6-6) in last 12, great SOS-10, bad road record (3-8)
Synopsis- Michigan's profile is identical to Arizona in some ways (overall and conference record, wins vs. RPI top 50 and they also have big non-conference wins). Michigan has a higher RPI and SOS but Michigan plays in a conference that has several other bubble teams trying to get those last spots in the dance. So the Big Ten tourney is key for Michigan in securing an at-large.
Penn St.-(21-10, 10-8), RPI-64, SOS-82, key wins-@ Mich. St., swept Illinois, split Purdue, (6-9) vs. RPI top 50 (7-5) in last 12, good record with a 21 win season
Synopsis-Penn St lacks key non-conference wins and they also have 2 losses to Atlantic 10 bubble teams Temple and URI. Their win @ Michigan St. will carry a lot of weight but Penn St is the #8 team in the Big Ten as far as the bubble is concerned. They are the #6 seed in the Big Ten tourney and have an easy first round game vs. Indiana today. After that they will play Purdue tomorrow, so Penn St. is not in bad shape but they still have some work to do in the Big Ten tourney.
Florida-(22-9, 9-7), RPI-48, key wins-Washington-Neut., split S. Car., (2-7) vs. RPI top 50, (9-8) vs. RPI top 100, (6-6) in last 12,good record and one big win, bad SOS-84
Synopsis-Two years removed from back to back National Titles, Florida is trying to get back in the dance after missing it last year. Florida plays in the first round against Arkansas tonight and if they win they will play against Auburn on Friday night. That could be a play-in game for both teams with Auburn surging as of late. If Florida wins both they will be in good shape but a loss and it could be another trip to the NIT for Florida.
South Carolina-(21-8, 10-6), RPI-49, key wins-split Florida, @ Baylor, swept Kentucky, (0-4) vs. RPI top 50, (7-7) vs. RPI top 100, good overall and recent record (8-4) in last 12, bad SOS-94 and lack key wins
Synopsis-S. Carolina played well in the SEC and now has the #2 seed in the East for the SEC tourney, however that really hurts them more than it helps them because they won't play a good team until the semis when they'd likely play LSU. They have a very good record and good RPI but due to their lack of key wins they are still on the bubble.
San Diego St.-(21-8, 11-5), RPI-43, key wins-swept UNLV, split Utah, (1-5) vs. RPI top 50, (4-7) vs. RPI top 100, (8-4) in last 12, decent SOS-66, 2 losses to fellow bubble teams ARZ and St. Mary's
UNLV-(21-9, 9-7)-RPI-56, SOS-86, key wins- @ Louisville, ARZ, swept BYU, (5-3) vs. RPI top 50, (7-5) in last 12
Synopsis-These two teams meet tonight for the third time this year. San Diego St. swept UNLV in the regular season and if they beat them again they should be in great shape to make the dance. If UNLV wins, San Diego St. could still make it but would likely need BYU or Utah to win the MWC tournament. UNLV has that big win @ Louisville which will carry a lot of weight, while San Diego St. has better computer numbers and oh by the way have already swept the Runnin' Rebs. One of the biggest mysteries on Selection Sunday will be how many MWC teams get. Utah and BYU are locks while both of these teams along with New Mexico are on the bubble. I'm thinking three teams but there is an outside chance the MWC could have a fourth team dancing.
Key Game-UNLV vs. San Diego St.-Thursday-5:30pm
(4)-Mid-Major Bubble X-Factors-These teams are not in the big conferences but still have a chance to make it as an at-large.
Creighton, UAB, St. Mary's, Utah St.
Creighton-(26-7, 14-4), RPI-39, SOS-107, Lost in MVC Semis (blown out), MVC conf. RPI-9, (11-1) in last 12 Key wins-Dayton, New Mexico, split UNI, (9-5) vs. RPI top 100.
UAB-(21-10, 11-5), RPI-44, SOS-75, USA conf. RPI-10, (9-3) in last 12, key win @ ARZ, very bad record vs. RPI top 100 (2-9)
St. Mary's-(25-6, 10-4), RPI-46, Lost in WCC Championship (blown out by Gonzaga), WCC conf. RPI-15, (7-5) in last 12 key wins-all vs. fellow bubble teams, S.D. St. and Providence both Neut. and Utah St. without star PG Patty Mills. (3-4) vs. RPI top 100, bad SOS-144
Utah St.-(27-4, 14-2), RPI-28, key win-Utah, (2-3) vs. RPI top 100 also bad SOS-137, WAC conf. RPI-11
Group Synopsis-Creighton is in the best shape of anyone in this group. That does not say much. Utah St. has a very good record but they would be wise to do like Siena and WKU and win their conference or else they will likely be in the NIT with Davidson and possible St. Mary's and UAB. UAB still can win the USA tournament all they have to do is beat Memphis. Sure they have chance to beat Memphis and I have a chance to date Carrie Underwood. But if they lose again they will be just like St. Mary's in that they were beat 3 times by the conference power. However I don't see how the selection committee could put in St. Mary's over UAB when UAB has a better SOS and plays in a better conference. Plus the best team in the WCC, Gonzaga, was blown out at home by Memphis. UAB played Memphis tougher both times than Gonzaga did. I think it is unlikely that either team will make the tournament unless their are some major meltdowns by the other bubble teams.
Key Games-Conference USA and WAC title games on Saturday, assuming UAB and UtahSt. get there.(4)-Interesting Late Bloomers-These teams have come on strong as of late. All of them did especially well in their conference play and even though they all have RPI's below 50, they have an outside chance to make the dance.
Auburn, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Kansas St.
Auburn-(21-10, 10-6), RPI-66, SOS-71, (9-3) in last 12, key wins- Tennessee, LSU (5-9) vs. RPI top 100
URI-(22-9, 11-5), RPI-65, SOS-123, (10-2) in last 12, key wins-Dayton, Penn St.-Neut., VCU, split Temple, have 3 losses to teams with 100+ RPI, (3-4) vs. RPI top 50 (6-6) vs. RPI 100
New Mexico-(21-10, 12-4), RPI-58 SOS-80, (10-2) in last 12, key wins- split against 4 other top MWC teams-Utah, BYU, UNLV and S.D. St., (3-5) vs. RPI top 50 (5-7) vs. RPI top 100, 3 lossess to teams outside RPI top 100
Kansas St.-(21-10, 9-7), RPI-75, SOS-99, (9-3) in last 12, key wins-Mizzou, @ TEX, @ TEX A&M, @ Cleveland St., (3-5) vs. RPI top 50, (5-8) vs. RPI top 100, 2 losses to teams outside RPI top 100
Group Synopsis-All of these teams finished in the top 4 in their conference so none of them will play a first round game in their conference tournament. Yet all of them need to win some games in their confernce tournaments. KSU plays Texas today and will play Kansas-Baylor if they win. Auburn will likely play Florida tomorrow if Florida wins tonight, the winner of a Florida-Auburn game will likely make the tournament. New Mexcio and URI both need to make it to their confernce title game to have a good chance. Recent conference championship winners VCU and Cleveland St. help out URI and KSU respectively. Since the selection committee takes into consideration how teams have palyed recently all four teams have a decent shot to make it in the dance.
(6)-Need a huge win or huge run to have a chance-These teams will all get a chance to play a top team in their conference tournament. They likely need to beat that team to have a good shot at getting in. All of these teams play in pretty big conferences. They all have 11+ losses and all except Temple have an RPI over 50.
Providence, Temple, Maryland, USC, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL
Key Games: Miami-FL vs. Virginia Tech-today-Noon, the winner plays UNC tomorrow also at Noon.
Providence vs. Louisville-today-Noon
Maryland plays N.C. St. today, if they win they get WFU tomorrow at 7pm
Temple plays fellow Philly Big 5 school St. Joe's at 2:30, if they win, they play the Xavier-St. Louis winner tomorrow at 6:30.
USC plays California today at 9pm if they win they play the UCLA-WSU winner tomorrow at 11:30pm
Temple and USC likely need to at least get to the conference championship game to have a shot an at-large, while the other need to somehow upset the top 10 team that they will face. If any pull those upset then I will post their tournament resumes' in a new post.
1. Pittsburgh (28-3)
2. UNC (27-3)
3. UConn (27-3)
4. Memphis (28-3)
5. Oklahoma (27-4)
6. Louisville (25-5)
7. Michigan St. (25-5)
8. WFU (24-5)
9. Duke (25-6)
10. Villanova (25-6)
11. Kansas (25-6)
12. Washington (24-7)
13. Gonzaga (26-5)
14. UCLA (24-7)
15. Mizzou (25-6)
16. LSU (25-6)
17. Butler (26-4)
18. Xavier (24-6)
19. Syracuse (26-8)
20. Clemson (23-7)
21. Marquette (23-8)
22. BYU (24-6)
23. Ariz. St. (22-8)
24. FSU (23-8)
25. Illinois (23-8)
25(tie). Purdue (22-9)
(2)-Battle for #1, some say UNC some say Pitt. but they both are guaranteed #1 seeds
(4)-Four teams trying to get the two other #1 seeds, the Big East Champ will get one without a doubt
UConn, Memphis, Louisville, Oklahoma
(3)-Very Good teams, if Duke and WFU meet in the semis of the ACC tournament the winner will likely get a #2 seed and more importantly get their opening round games in nearby nearby in Greensboro, NC
Michigan St., Duke, WFU
(5)-Dangerous Very talented teams going into the big dance, all have the capability to get to the Final Four.
Villanova, Kansas, Washington, UCLA, Mizzou
(4)-Conference Cruisers , they ran through their respective conferences without any real challengers
Gonzaga, LSU, Butler, Xavier
(8)-Uppers and Downers, these are all good major conference teams who have been great at times but also very suspect, any of these teams could make a run in the big dance but I would not be surprised if they lost in the first or second round either.
Syracuse, Clemson, Marquette, Ariz. St., FSU, Illinois, Purdue, California
(4)-Are they really as good as their RPI?
BYU-21, Tennessee-23, Utah-11, WVU-26
(3)-Second Tier Big 12 Schools all with at least 20 wins and RPI's in the 30's or 20's
Texas, OK St., Texas A&M
Those 33 teams are all in the safe zone.
Friday, March 6, 2009
The sites are:
Regionals:East-Boston (host-Boston College)
West-Phoenix Area-Glendale,AZ (host-Ariz. St.)
Philadelphia (PHL)-(host-St. Joseph's)
Greensboro, NC (NC)-(host- The ACC)
Kansas City (KC)-(host-The Big 12)
Boise,ID (Boise)-(host-Boise St.)
Teams cannot play in the region/site that they host, conferences can
2-MW-Michigan St. (MN)
7-MW-Syracuse/Marquette (winner 3/7 @ 2pm)
11-E-UNLV/ San Diego St (winner 3/7 @ 10pm)
12-W-Utah St. (WAC)
12-MW-Maryland (unless they lose @ Virginia, then I would have Virginia Tech if they upset FSU this weekend)
12-E-WKU (Sun Belt)
13-S-George Mason (Colonial)
13-W-No. Iowa (MVC)
14-W-Weber St. (Big Sky)
15-MW-N.D. St. (Summit)
15-S-Robert Morris (NEC)
16-W-CSU-Northridge (Big West)
16-S-Austin Peay (OVC)
16-MW-Margan St. (MEAC)
16-E-Play In Game -Alabama St. (SWAC) vs. Radford (Big South)
Last 4 In:
UNLV-S.D. St. (Winner)
Others barely in:
Last 4 Out:
UNLV-S.D. St. (Loser)
Florida-Kentucky (Winner 3/7 @ 2pm)
Next 4 Out:
22 One Bid Leagues
All choices from smaller conferences are based on the regular season conference champion unless already eliminated in their conference tournament, that's why Austin Peay is in from the OVC rather than UT-Martin. As of right now only Cornell has clinched a spot in the dance by winning their conference on Friday night.
Thoughts on my bracket:
I have 3 matchups this Saturday that will still determine some spots. The Marquette-Syracuse game is big as it would give Marquette a 7 seed in nearby Minnesota. In the Big East Conference I moved WVU to a 5 seed but shipped them out to Boise. I was going to put Marquette there. The UNLV-S.D. St. game is big as will determine the third best team in the MWC. If UNLV wins, it will guarantee a rematch in the quarterfinals of next week's MWC Tournament in Las Vegas. The Florida-Kentucky winner still has an outside shot at an at-large but the loser is pretty much eliminated. Both teams have struggle mightily of late and the loser will close out the season on a 4 game losing streak.
For my last spot I was having trouble picking between Rhode Island (A-10) , UAB (USA), and St. Mary's (WCC) who all have similar profiles. They all have a RPI in the 40s, at least 20 wins, and at least on key win against another bubble team. They all come from mid-major/small conferences and none of them have beaten the highly ranked team that pretty much owns that conference (Xavier-A 10, Memphis-USA, Gonzaga-WCC). St Mary's has been playing decent without star Patty Mills but the tiebreaker for me was how the teams had played of late. So I gave the last spot to Rhode Island who a couple of weeks ago I thought had no shot at getting in the dance. But they have won 6 straight and is 10-2 in their last 12.
Some interesting possible tournament games if this were the real bracket:
Duke vs. Cornell-A battle of two really smart schools, the Ivy League of the South against the Ivy League champion
Clemson vs. WKU-Clemson was a 5 seed last year and lost in the 1st Round while WKU was a 12 seed last year and went to the Sweet 16, could history repeat itself
UCLA-Davidson-Stephen Curry and company take a trip west to play Darren Collison and UCLA who is trying to got to the Final Four for the 4th straight year
Minnesota vs. Dayton-this would be the best 8-9 matchup for the right to play Memphis
Oklahoma vs. Ariz. St.-A battle of two All-American's, Player of the year PF-Blake Griffin vs. SG-James Harden.
UCLA vs. Gonzaga-Remember the Elite 8 game that Gonzaga blew a couple of years ago, this could be a revenge game. Both teams are very talented and this would be a great 2nd Round game in Portland.
Duke vs. Villanova-I have Nova getting shipped out to Boise but if they win there they would go to nearby Boston to face Duke in a battle of two talented guard oriented teams.
Memphis vs. Louisville-Two great teams, two great coaches Calipari and Pitino, and two great programs meet for a chance to go to the Final Four. The two former Conference USA rivals are both very athletic and talented.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
1. UConn (27-2)-5
2. Pittsburgh (26-3)-1
3. UNC (25-3)-3
4. Oklahoma (26-3)-4
5. Memphis (26-3)-7
6. Louisville (23-5)-11
7. Duke (24-5)-2
8. Michigan St. (23-5)-6
9. Kansas (24-5)-9
10. WFU (22-5)-19
11. Villanova (23-6)-8
12. LSU (25-4)-30
13. Mizzou (24-5)-13
14. Gonzaga (23-5)-38
15. Washington (22-7)-18
16. UCLA (22-7)-32
17. Marquette (23-6)-26
18. Xavier (23-5)-12
19. Clemson (22-6)-14
20. Purdue (22-7)-28
21. Ariz. St. (21-7)-21
22. Butler (25-4)-20
23. Illinois (23-7)-15
24. Syracuse (21-8)-24
25. FSU (22-7)-17
Other Locks for the tournament:
Almost Locks: These teams probably need just one more insurance win to get them into the dance.
OK St. (19-9)-31
Texas A&M (21-8)-35
Notes: With Texas' win against bubble team Baylor on Monday and OK St's win against bubble team KSU on Tuesday, they have almost virtually guaranteed them a spot in the tournament barring two straight blow out losses. Also in the BIG 12, Texas A&M plays @ Colorado tonight. The 3 almost locks from the Big 12 all play a ranked team this weekend. TEX @ KAN, OK St. @ OKL, and Mizzzou @ TEX A&M.
In addition there are several high bubble play-in games this week starting tonight:
3/4-Wisconsin @ Minnesota
3/5-Tennessee @ S.Carolina
3/5- California @ Arizona
Other than Arizona, the winners of these games will all but assure themselves a spot in the tournament. Na Arizona win will help their cause a lot though and they need a win after losing 3 in a row.
Other Key games:
3/5-Dayton @ Xavier, it's simple a Dayton win and they're in.
3/7-Kentucky @ Florida-If both of them win their games this week (FL @ Miss. St. & GA @ KY), then this could become a high bubble play-in game as well.
3/7-UNLV @ San Diego St.-The winner of this game will have the inside track as being the third team out of the MWC to get in especially if Utah or BYU win the conference tournament.
Other Bubble Notes: Three teams on the bubble in the Big East all pretty much said good bye to their at-large chances in the dance. Georgetown and Cincinnati both lost on the road to teams in the bottom of the Big East, both of those Big East bottom feeders all had RPI's below 130. Georgetown lost @ St. John's in OT, while Cincinnati lost by 11 @ USF. Notre Dame lost on Monday at home vs. Villanova. Georgetown and Notre Dame now each have 13 losses, while Cincinnati has 12 losses. Georgetown is the only one of the three that has a RPI in the top 50 at 45, however their 6-11 record in the Big East and their 3-9 record in their last 12 games, eliminate them from tournament consideration. This is great news for Providence which had a huge win against Pittsburgh last week and can get another huge win @ Villanova on 3/5 to end the season. That win would make them 11-7 in the Big East and 19-11 overall with a RPI around the high 40's. That would get them in the dance as the 8th team out of the Big East. If Providence losses they will probably need to win 2 games in the Big East Tournament to have a good chance at an at-large.
It's finally March, God it is great to be alive, tomorrow I will have my Bracketology.
Monday, March 2, 2009
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (47-12)
3. Boston Celtics (47-14)
4. Orlando Magic (43-16)
5. S.A. Spurs (40-19)
6. Houston Rockets (38-22)
7. Utah Jazz (37-23)
8. Denver Nuggets (39-21)
9. Portland TBlazers (37-22)
10. N.O. Hornets (37-22)
11. Dallas Mavericks (36-24)
12. Phoenix Suns (34-25)
13. Atlanta Hawks (34-26)
14. Miami Heat (31-28)
15. Philadelphia 76ers (29-30)
16. Detroit Pistons (29-29)
17. Chicago Bulls (27-33)
18. N.J. Nets (26-33)
19. Milwaukee Bucks (29-33)
20. Charlotte Bobcats (25-35)
21. Indiana Pacers (26-36)
22. G.S. Warriors (20-39)
23. NY Knicks (24-35)
24. Toronto Raptors (23-38)
25. Minnesota TWolves (18-41)
26. Memphis Grizzlies (15-43)
27. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-45)
28. L.A. Clippers (15-46)
29. Washington Wizards (14-46)
30. Sacramento Kings (13-48)
Tiers based on types of teams they are:
(3)-The time is now- They are veteran teams with a lot of playoff and championship experience, the NBA champion will likely come from this group. However as far as the future goes, they may only have a little time left.
LAL, BOS, SA
(5)-Great teams built around young stars-They can win now but these teams also must build young pieces around their young stars for the future as well.
CLV, ORL, Utah, NO, DEN
(4)-Veteran Teams who have a year or two left as contenders-They have been competitive for the past couple of years but now these teams must decide whether they are going to try to keep winning now, or start to build for the future.
HOU, PHO, DAL, DET
(5)-Young teams that can become elite in the next few years- These teams are young, talented, and will be very dangerous in the next few years.
POR, ATL, MIA, NJ(especially if they can trade Vince Carter over the summer and get that James guy in 2010), CHR, whichever young team drafts Blake Griffin.
(3)-Waiting for the summer of 2010
CHI, NY, TOR
(6)Bitten by the injury bug- These teams have some stars that are in their prime, but have been depleted by injuries, will they try to win in the next few years or will they start building for the future? Some are still in the playoff hunt this year despite the injuries.
PHL, MIL, IND, LAC, WAS, GS
(4)-Completely Building/Rebuilding-These teams may have a young stud or two but they are at least a few years from being competitive.
MIN, MEM, OKC, SAC