Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NCAA-Top Team Historical Comparison





















Mike Miller beat Butler in 2000 en route to the Final Four. Fast forward ten years later and Butler star/Mike Miller clone Gordon Hayward has his Bulldogs in the Final 4.


2004 was the last time Duke went to the Final 4 and the last time a Big East school won the National title. It was also the last year that only a single 1 seed made it to the Final 4. Well history always repeats itself and once again the Dukies are in the Final 4 and just like in 2004 they are the only 1 seed left. Just like 2004 they will be playing a very talented 2 seed from the Big East. In 2004 it was UConn that beat Duke in one of the greatest comebacks in college basketball history en route to a National title. This time around they will play West Virginia who just like UConn was a number 2 seed from the Big East.


This year's Duke team is very similar in many ways to the team of 2004. This leads me to my historical team comparison. I compare the top teams of this year to top college basketball teams of the past.

Duke-2004 Duke (Final Four)
Both teams had a star inside/outside player. The 04 team had Loul Deng while this year's team has Kyle Singler. Both had great guards. The 04 team had Chris Duhon, Daniel Ewing, and J. J. Reddick coming off the bench. This year's team has a great duo with John Scheyer and Nolan Smith. The 04 team had a slightly better front court led by Shelden Williams and Shavlick Randolph. This year's team lacks a star up front but has good depth and experience with Brian Zoubek, Lance Thomas and the Plumlee brothers. The main difference between the two teams could be experience. The 04 team was very young. Deng was a Freshman while Williams, Randolph and Reddick were all Sophomores. This year's team has 3 seniors and 2 juniors starting. That could be the difference between a Final 4 loss and Coach K cutting down the nets for the fourth time in his legendary coaching career.



Michigan St.-2000 Michigan St. (National Champion)
Last year I compared Michigan St. to their 1999 Final 4 team. Just like the 2000 Spartan team that won the National Title this year's team returned most of their key pieces from last year's Final 4 team. Both teams had great guards and wings leading the way. The 2000 team had Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, and Morris Peterson. This year's team is led by Kalin Lucas, Korie Lucious, Durrell Summers, and Raymar Morgan. Both teams had role palying big men who stepped up big time in the NCAA tournament. The 2000 team had Aloysius Anagonye, Andre Hutson, and A. J. Granger. This year's team has Delvon Roe and Draymond Green who are playing great right now. That's the good news. The bad news is the 2000 team had two major things this year's team doesn't have. A healthy star PG (Kalin Lucas is out) and a star Freshman dunking machine by the name of Jason Richardson. Don't count out Coach Izzo, but I'd be shocked if Michigan State can somehow win the National Title without Lucas.



Butler-2000 Florida (Runner-Up)
Exactly ten years ago, an unlikely 5 seed made it all the way to the National Title game. They became the only team to beat both Duke and UNC in the same NCAA Tournament. They were a a young team being led by a very young coach in Billy Donovan. Ironically, this young Florida team won their first round game in the dance on a last second shot by Mike Miller. People might forget the team they beat in the first round was Butler. Now it's 2010 and another young team, Butler is led by a young coach in Brad Stevens. Butler's star slasher is Sophomore Gordan Hayward who reminds me so much of Mike Miller that it's scary. Butler's Matt Howard is a little short for a star center but is very effective just like Florida's Udonis Haslem was back in 2000. Both teams keys to success were depth and great guard play. Both teams had guards that played great defense and hit open shots. Florida had Brett Nelson, Ted Dupay, Justin Hamilton, Major Parker, and Matt Bonner. Bulter's Shelvin Mack is better than any guard that Florida team had. He combines Hamilton's athleticism with Dupay's scoring abilty. Butler has great guard depth with Ronald Nored, Willile Vesley and sharpshooter Zach Hahn. Florida lost to Michigan St. in 2000. Butler play Michigan St. on Saturday night. History always repeats itself.


West Virginia-1990 and 1991 UNLV (National Champion in 1990, Final 4 in 1991)
I had to go back twenty years to find a team with such incredible strength, skill and athletic ability at the forward spots. Those UNLV teams were led by forwards Larry Johnson and "Pasticman" Stacy Augmon. They also had great guards in Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt. This year's West Virginia team is led by star forwards Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks. Bulter may not end up being the number one pick in the NBA draft like "Grandmama" but he has been one of the best player's in college basketball this year. West Virginia has good guards in Truck Bryant (who could still be out come this weekend), Joe Mazzulla, and sharpshooter Casey Mitchell. This West Virginia team might have a slightly better front court duo with Wellington Smith and Kevin Jones than the Runnin Rebel's duo of George Ackles and Moses Scurry. The 1990 UNLV team beat the living crap out of Duke in the National Title. A year later Duke got their revenge in the Final 4. My guess is the winner of the Duke-West Virginia game will beat either Butler or Michigan St. So West Virginia will be exactly like one of the two great UNLV teams of the early 90's.

What could have been:

Kansas-1997 Kansas (Sweet 16)
Both this year's Kansas team and the 97 Kansas team went into the dance as the top ranked team in the country. The 97 team was led by a senior PG in Jacque Vaughn, and star big man in Raef LaFrentz and an underclassmen star slasher in Paul Pierce who would end up being the best pro of the three. This year's team was led by senior PG Sherron Collins, a star big man in Cole Aldrich and a good young slasher in Xavier Henry. Just like LaFrentz and Pierce, Aldrich will be drafted higher but in the long run Henry will have the better pro career. Just like in 97, a lot of people's brackets were burst when Kansas lost (myself included). Other than the 1991 UNLV team that went undefeated until they lost to Duke in the Final 4, these two Kansas teams are the best teams I've seen in my lifetime that didn't win
the National Title.

Kentucky-2007 Ohio St. (Runner-Up)
We heard all year long how the youth and inexperience of the Wildcats would eventually hurt them. Well eventually became the Elite 8 game against West Virginia. Ohio State's Freshman trio of center Greg Oden and guards Mike Conley and Daequan Cook went two steps further than the Wildcats did this year. The Fab 4 Freshman of guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe along with big men DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton didn't even see the Final 4. To make matters worse, this year's Kentucky team also had star PF Pattrick Patterson. The Ohio St. team had Othello Hunter playing power forward. Both teams were 1 seeds who spent pretty much the whole season in the top 5.

Syracuse-1999 Maryland (Sweet 16)
The last time I can remember a transfer coming in a taking a team that had average pre-season expectations and taking them in top a high ranking was Maryland in 1999. That Maryland team was led by JUCO transfer Steve Francis and got a 2 seed. They eventually lost in the Sweet 16 to St. John's led by Ron Artest. The Terps were also led by a good front court that featured Obinna Ekezie, Terrence Morris and slasher LaRon Profit. This year's Syracuse team also exceeded expectations and they were led by a star transfer in Wesley Johnson. Like Francis, Johnson will likely only play one year and be a top draft pick. The Cuse had a great front court with Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson. They also had a stud in guard Andy Rautins. Both teams ended up losing in the Sweet 16.

Kansas St.-1994 Arizona (Final 4)
This year's K-State back court duo of Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente reminded me so much of the Arizona back court of Khalid Reeves and Damon Stoudamire. All 4 of these players were scorers trapped in point guards bodies. Both teams had great depth and toughness up front to go along with their incredible back court duo. Both teams were also two seeds in the West Region.

Ohio St.-1994 Duke (Runner Up)
When Kansas lost to Northern Iowa, I thought Ohio St. Has a great chance to not only win the Midwest Region, but to possible win the National Title. Ohio St. of course was led this year by National Player of the Year Evan Turner. I hear a lot of people comparing Turner to Brandon Roy, but he reminds me more of Grant Hill who in 1994 almost single handily led Duke all the way to the championship game. Both teams were 2 seeds and both ended up losing to very athletic SEC teams (Ohio St. to Tennessee and Duke to Arkansas). The only difference was Ohio St. lost in the Sweet 16, Duke lost in the National Title.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Sweet 16 Demographics

Here are some interesting numbers regarding the 16 teams left in the NCAA Tournament

16 Teams

3-1 seeds Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse
3-2 seeds Kansas St., West Virginia, Ohio St.
1-3 seed Baylor
1-4 seed Purdue
2-5 seeds Michigan St., Butler
2-6 seeds Xavier, Tennessee
1-9 seed Northern Iowa
1-10 seed St. Mary's
1-11 seed Washington
1-12 seed Cornell

The Cornell Big Red have a tough task ahead of them with Kentucky on Thursday night.

11 Conferences still have a team alive. Here is the conference breakdown now along with the number of teams that started the tournament in that conference.

3/5-Big Ten Ohio St., Purdue, Michigan St.
2/8-Big East Syracuse, West Virginia
2/7-Big 12 Kansas St., Baylor
2/4-SEC Kentucky, Tennessee
1/7-ACC Duke
1/3-Atlantic 10 Xavier
1/2-WCC St. Mary's
1/2-PAC 10 Washington
1/1-Horizon Butler
1/1-MVC Northern Iowa
1/1-Ivy League Cornell
The MWC, Conference USA, and the WAC are the only multiple bid leagues without a team left in the Sweet 16.

13-states are represented
3-states have 2 teeams still alive. New York (Syracuse and Cornell), Ohio (Ohio St. and Xavier) and Indiana (Purdue and Butler
Texas started with 7 teams but now only has Baylor representing the Lone Star State.

4-teams that didn't make last year's NCAA tournament are still alive. Kentucky, Kansas St., Baylor and St. Mary's.
Syracuse (2003) is the last team to win the National Championship after not making the tournament the previous season.
George Mason (2006) is the last team to make it to the Final 4 after not making the tournament the previous season.

1-team from last year's Final 4 field is still alive. Michigan St. last year's runner-up barely made the Sweet 16 after Korie Lucious' buzzer beater against Maryland on Sunday.

5-teams that were in the Sweet 16 last year are in the Sweet 16 again-Michigan St., Duke, Syracuse, Xavier, and Purdue

9-Conference Champions. Kentucky, Duke, West Virginia, Ohio St., Butler, Northern Iowa, St. Mary's, Washington, and Cornell.
NOTE: The Ivy League is the only conference that does not have a confernce tournament, thus Cornell recieved an automatic bid by being the regular season champion. The 8 other teams won their conference tournaments.

5-schools that have won a National Championship. Kentucky leads the the list with 7, Duke-3, Michigan St.-2, Syracuse and Ohio St. each have 1.

6-schools that are seeking their first ever trip to the Final 4. Butler, Tennessee, Xavier, Northern Iowa, St. Mary's and Cornell.

3-coaches that have won a National Title. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has won 3 (1991, 1992, 2002). Tom Izzo of Michigan St. (2000) and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse (2003) each have coached one title team.

6-coaches have coached in a Final 4. Krzyzewski, Boeheim, Izzo, West Virginia's Bob Huggins (1992-Cincinnati), Ohio St. Thad Matta (2007) and Kentucky's John Calipari (1996-UMass and 2008-Memphis).
NOTE: Both of John Calipari's Final 4 appearances have been vacated due to NCAA violations. Still, if he leads Kentucky to the Final 4, he will join Rick Pitino as the only coach to take 3 different institutions to the Final 4.


Xavier's first year Head Coach Chris Mack has his Musketeers back in the Sweet 16.


9-young coaches. At least coaching career wise. Nine of the coaches have been a head coach for 10 years or less at the collegiate level. Six of those nine have only been a head coach at their current institution. Frank Martin (Kansas St.), Brad Stevens (Butler), Chris Mack (Xavier), Ben Jacobson (Northern Iowa), Randy Bennett (St. Mary's) and Steve Donahue (Cornell). The other 3 coaches are Thad Matta (Ohio St.), Scott Drew (Baylor) and Matt Painter (Purdue). Painter coached at Southern Illinois previously. Drew coached at Valpariso previously. Ironically, Matta coached at both Xavier and Butler who are both Sweet 16 teams before getting to Ohio St. Mack is the only first year coach of the group.

5-Potential NBA lottery picks in this years draft-3 play for Kentucky-John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Pattrick Patterson. Evan Turner of Ohio St. and Wesley Johnson of Syracuse are the other two.


Want NBA Talent? Cousins, Wall and Turner will all be in the Sweet 16.

4-Other potential NBA first rounders-West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks, Baylor's Ekpe Udoh, and Washington's Quincy Poindexter.

3-young players who could turn into lottery picks come 2011.-Butler's Gordan Hayward-So., Tennessee's Scotty Hopson-So. and Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe-Fr.

16-great teams and reason's why March is the greatest month of the year!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Tournament reminds me off....

2009 Tournament with the Big East dominance. Last Year the Big East led the way with 7 total bids, 3 #1 seeds, 2 #3 seeds and 2 #6 seeds. They also sent 2 teams to the Final Four. This year the Big East leads the way with 8 total bids. Syracuse is the only #1 seed, but the Big East has 2 #2's, 2 #3's, 2 #6's and 1 #9seed. It would not shock me if the Big East again had two teams in the Final Four but it will be a lot tougher than it was last year.

Also like last year, one region has the nation's best team and the nation's best player. Last year the South Region had the nation's top team in UNC as a 1 seed and had the nation's top player, Blake Griffin and Oklahoma as a 2 seed. Also in that region as a 3 seed was Syracuse. A team that helped their seed by getting to the final of the Big East Tournament. This year the Midwest Region is like that. The Midwest has the nation's top team in Kansas, the nation's top player in Evan Turner and Ohio St. and a very good Big East team that helped their seeding by getting to the final of the Big East Tournament in Georgetown. History always repeats itself.

2008 because it would not shock me one bit if all 4 number 1 seeds make it to the Final Four. Kansas and Kentucky have been nearly unstoppable the whole season. Syracuse has to go out west, but they have a pretty nice draw. I think if the Cuse can get by Butler in the Sweet 16, they match up very well with Kansas St. and would be looking for revenge against Pittsburgh who beat them earlier this season. As for Duke, it seems like the selection committee went out of their way to ensure Duke had a smooth ride to the Final Four. However it should be noted that Duke could be playing two Texas teams in Houston in the Sweet 16 and Eitle 8 in Texas A&M and Baylor. Duke has had some major road woes and hasn't been to the Final Four since 2004, so the Blue Devils are far from a lock to get to Indy.

This tournament reminds me of 2007 because the number 2 seeds are very good. In 2007, all but one of the 2 seeds made it to the Elite 8 (Wisconsin lost in the second round) and two (Georgetown and UCLA) made it to the Final Four. Just like 2007, two of those number 2 seeds won their conference tournament (Georgetown and Memphis), this year both West Virginia and Ohio St. won their conference tournament. That's very good news for those two teams. The bad news is that if they do get to the Elite 8, Ohio St. will likely face Kansas while West Virginia will likely take on Kentucky. Villanova is a number 2 seed that is struggling much like Wisconsin did in 2007. Don't be surprised if Nova loses to Richmond or St. Mary's in the second round.

This tournament reminds me of 2006 because the Midwest Region is brutal. When the brackets came out in 2006 I said "whoever wins the Midwest is going to win the title." As soon as George Mason beat UConn in the upset of the century I knew the Florida-Villanova winner was going to win the national title. Sure enough the Gators won the 2006 title. That year the Midwest had Florida as a #3 seed, Villanova as the #1, Ohio St. as the #2 and Boston College as the #4. Ohio St. ended up losing to #7 Georgetown in the second round and then Georgetown gave Florida their toughest game of the tournament, a 57-53 loss in the Sweet 16. Villanova and Boston College played a classic game which Villanova won by one-point in overtime on a goaltending call.

Ironically Ohio St. and Georgetown can play in the tournament for the third time in 5 years in a rubber match in the Sweet 16. After Georgetown beat Ohio St. in 2006, the Buckeyes returned the favor beating the Hoyas in the 2007 Final Four. This time it should be to determine who will play Kansas in the Elite 8. The Jayhawk's road to Indy is no walk in the park either. The top overall seed will play the UNLV/Northern Iowa winner then a likely showdown against either Maryland or Michigan St in the Sweet 16. One thing is certain, the team that comes out of St. Louis on top will be battle tested and ready to win the national title.

And finally this tournament reminds me of 2005 because just like in 2005 two teams have clearly dominated college basketball this year. In 2005, UNC had a loaded team that produced 4 NBA lottery picks and ended up winning the national title. Illinois had only one loss going into the dance and were led by current NBA star Deron Williams. They were easily the two best teams in the country and sure enough they met in the title. The title game ended up being a classic that went right down to the wire and UNC ended up winning 75-70. This season Kansas and Kentucky have dominated the college game from start to finish. So anything less than seeing both of these big blue teams in Indianapolis on April 5th would be a surprise and some what of a let down for the die hard college basketball fan. But then again this is March where anything is possible.

NCAA Tournament: Games To Watch and Bracket Picking Tips

Games To Watch:




West Region-Oklahoma City
#7 BYU vs. #10 Florida-Thursday-12:30pm
This is the first game of the tournament and it should be a very good one. Florida has a major advantage up front, while BYU has a great backcourt. BYU is also the highest scoring team in the tournament at 83ppg. However Florida is out to prove they belong in the dance after missing the tournament the past two seasons.

East Region-San Jose
#6 Marquette vs. #11 Washington-Thursday-7:20pm
Both teams are very guard oriented and are led by versatile slashers. Marquette has Lazar Hayward (18.1ppg, 7.7rpg) and Washington has Quincy Poindexter (19.8ppg, 7.5rpg). Washington is a high scoring team at 79.8ppg and could pose problems for Marquette.

South Region-Spokane
#4 Purdue vs. #13 Siena-Friday-2:30pm
Since losing star Robbie Hummel for the season, Purdue is 2-3 and that includes a 27-point blowout loss against Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. The Boilermakers are clearly not the same team without Hummel. Siena has won a first round NCAA Tournament game the past two years. An upset win by Siena shouldn't shock anyone this year.

South Region-Spokane
#5 Texas A&M vs. #12 Utah St.-Friday-4:45pm
It's the match-up of the Aggies. The Utah St. Aggies were one of the last at-large teams to get in the tournament. Both teams play a fast-paced game and average over 71ppg. Both teams are also red hot. Utah St. had won 17 in a row before losing to New Mexico St. in the WAC title game. The Texas A&M Aggies are 9-3 in their last 12 games and two of those losses were to Kansas. The game is in Spokane, Washington so Utah St. has a slight geographical advantage.




Midwest Region-Milwaukee
#7 Oklahoma St. vs. #10 Georgia Tech-Friday-7:15pm
If you love star power, then this is the game for you. Oklahoma St. has high scoring Big 12 player of the year James Anderson. Georgia Tech has two future NBA first round picks in Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal. The winner of this game will get a crack at the nation's top player, Evan Turner and Ohio St. on Sunday.

South Region-Jacksonville
#8 California vs. #9 Louisville-Friday-9:45pm
This game should be a shootout to say the least. Both teams average over 76ppg and have great guards. Louisville coach Rick Pitino loves to apply a lot of pressure but Cal guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher are very talented so it will be interesting. Whoever wins this game will likely see Duke on Sunday.

Bracket Picking Tips:
  • Work Backwards. Work on your bracket from the outside in. Most people fill out their bracket with the first round first, then the second round next, etc. Pick your National Champion first, then your Final Four teams, then the Elite 8 and Sweet 16. Use a scratch sheet of paper to do this, then fill out your bracket.
  • You win and lose your bracket in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Anyone can get lucky and pick a few upsets in the first two rounds but the second weekend of the dance truly tests greatness. For instance in one pool I was in last year, I picked 15 of the Sweet 16 teams right. I was feeling pretty good. But then I only picked one Final Four team right.
  • Don't pick a bunch of upsets in the first two rounds. Just pick a few upsets of teams you think have been struggling lately or just look weak to you.
  • 1-3 seeds usually win both of their first round games.
  • Experienced teams and coaches usually go very far in the big dance. Check to see which teams were in the dance last year and which coaches have past tournament success.
  • Great guard play and star power is also a key factor in the dance. The only National Championship winner this decade that didn't have a very good guard leading them was Syracuse in 2003. Sorry Gerry McNamara you were just average to me.
  • At least one 12 seed is likely to upset a 5 seed in the first round.
  • 8 vs. 9 and 7vs. 10 games are always a toss up. Make sure you analyze the match-up.
  • When you get to the hard games to pick at in the Elite 8 and Final 4 where you have two great teams, always look at the types of teams that they lost to during the season. That is a MAJOR factor in picking your champion.
  • Most importantly have fun and don't take it too seriously thus developing a gambling addiction like every former NBA player, a list that includes Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan and now Allen Iverson.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Final Bracket

MIDWEST

Oklahoma City
1)Kansas
16)Winthrop

8)Marquette
9)UNLV

Spokane
5)Wisconsin
12)St. Mary's

4)Vandy
13)Oakland

Providence
6)Northern Iowa
11)Wake Forest

3)Villanova
14)Wofford

Spokane
7)California
10)OK St.

2)Purdue
15)UCSB

EAST

Milwaukee
1)Kentucky
16)Play-In Game, Lehigh vs. ARK-Pine Bluff

8)San Diego St.
9)Notre Dame

New Orleans
5)Michigan St.
12)Old Dominion

4)Texas A&M
13)New Mexico St.

Jacksonville
6)Richmond
11)Cornell

3)Georgetown
14)Sam Houston St.

Oklahoma City
7)Georgia Tech
10)Mississippi St. (Bubble 1)

2)Kansas St.
15)Montana

SOUTH

Jacksonville
1)Duke
16)Robert Morris

8)Mizzou
9)UTEP

New Orleans
5)Tennessee
12)Minnesota

4)Pittsburgh
13)Murray St.

San Jose
6)BYU
11)Washington

3)Baylor
14)North Texas

Buffalo
7)Xavier
10)FSU

2)West Virginia
15)Morgan St.

WEST

Buffalo
1)Syracuse
16)E. Tennessee St.

8)Texas
9)Clemson

San Jose
5)Butler
12)Utah St.

4)New Mexico
13)Houston

Providence
6)Maryland
11)Siena

3)Temple
14)Ohio

Milwaukee
7)Gonzaga
10)Louisville

2)Ohio St.
15)Vermont

Teams that have already received automatic bids by winning their conference are in bold.

Last 4 In:
Utah St.
Minnesota
Mississippi St.
UTEP

First 4 Out:
Florida
Virginia Tech
Illinois
Rhode Island

Next 4 Out:
Arizona St.
Dayton
Ole Miss
Memphis

Conference Breakdown:
Big East-8
Big 12-7
ACC-6
Big Ten-5
SEC-4
MWC-4
Atlantic 10-3
Pac 10-2
USA-2
WCC-2
WAC-2
20 one-bid leagues.

My Final Bubble Breakdown:

After watching Mississippi St. outplay and take the second best team in the nation to overtime, I would be shocked if they are left out of the tournament. They beat Vandy and fellow bubble team Florida in the past 2 days as well. They clearly deserve to be one of the last 3 teams in.

My final numbers give me 31 conference winners along with 31 at-large locks. That gives us 62 of the 65 teams. That leaves only 3 bubble spots. I think Mississippi St. is in based on what they did this weekend.

I think the tournament committee will give the Big Ten 5 teams overall. Illinos and Minnesota have such similar resumes, it's scary. Both have 5 wins over top 50 RPI teams and 4 sub-.100 RPI losses. Minnesota beat Ohio St. in the regular season but is getting killed in the title game right now. Illinois lost 3 times to Ohio St. Both have a key non-conference win. Minnesota beat Butler while Illinois beat Vandy. Both had good wins in the Big Ten tournament as well. Minnesota crushed Purdue by 27, while Illinois beat Wisconsin. But the deciding factor for me is Minnesota's 2-point win at Illinois on February 27th. That is why I have Minnesota in.

So that leaves one spot left! Five teams, Utah St., Florida, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island and Illinois (If the Big Ten can somehow get 6 teams in) all have a shot at this last spot. Ole Miss, Arizona St., Dayton, and Memphis can kiss their hopes good bye.

So lets take a look at the blind resume's without any name attachments:

Team A: (19-14, 10-8) RPI-75, SOS-35, record vs. RPI-100 (6-10), RPI top 50 wins-#20 (twice), #25, #32, @#34

Team B: (21-12, 9-7) RPI-54, SOS-33, record vs RPI-100 (7-11), RPI top 50 wins-#14, #32 (neut.), #42.

Team C: (27-7, 14-2) RPI-31, SOS-100, record vs. RPI-100 (10-5), RPI top 50 wins-#23, #43.

Team D: (23-8, 10-6) RPI-60, SOS-133, record vs. RPI-100 (8-7), RPI top 50 wins-#33, #34, #37.

Team E: (23-9, 9-7) RPI-40, SOS-73, record vs. RPI-100 (7-7), RPI top 50 wins-#29.

In my opinion I give it to Team C. Team C is Utah St. who despite playing in a weaker conference is more deserving then the other teams. Here are the other teams:

Team A-Illinois
Team B-Florida
Team D-Virginia Tech
Team E-Rhode Island

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bracketology 3/11

MIDWEST

Oklahoma City
1) Kansas
16) Winthrop

8) California
9) Wake Forest

New Orleans
5) Georgetown
12) Siena

4) Michigan St.
13) Murray St.

San Jose
6) Northern Iowa
11) Georgia Tech

3) Baylor
14) Sam Houston St. (Southland)

Providence
7) Richmond
10) Florida

2) West Virginia
15) North Texas

EAST

Milwaukee
1) Kentucky
16) Play-In Game, Lehigh (Patriot) vs. Jackson St. (SWAC)

8) Marquette
9) Mizzou

Spokane
5) BYU
12) St. Mary’s

4) Temple
13) Illinois

Providence
6) Butler
11) San Diego St.

3) Pittsburgh
14) Wofford

Oklahoma City
7) UTEP
10) Virginia Tech

2) Kansas St.
15) Montana

SOUTH

Jacksonville
1) Duke
16) Robert Morris

8) Texas
9) Utah St. (WAC)

Jacksonville
5) Maryland
12) Cornell

4) Tennessee
13) UAB

San Jose
6) Gonzaga
11) Notre Dame

3) New Mexico
14) UCSB (Big West)

Milwaukee
7) Clemson
10) Oklahoma St.

2) Purdue
15) Morgan St. (MEAC)

WEST

Buffalo
1) Syracuse
16) E. Tennessee St.

8) FSU
9) UNLV

Spokane
5) Texas A&M
12) Arizona St.

4) Wisconsin
13) Kent (MAC)

New Orleans
6) Vandy
11) Old Dominion

3) Villanova
14) Oakland

Buffalo
7) Xavier
10) Louisville

2) Ohio St.
15) Vermont (AEC)

Teams that have already received automatic bids by winning their conference are in bold. Other projected conference winners have their conference in parentheses by their name.

Last 4 In:
UAB
Illinois
Arizona St.
San Diego St.

Other Bubble Teams Barely In:
Georgia Tech
Florida
UNLV
Virginia Tech

First 4 Out:
Rhode Island
Dayton
Washington
Mississippi St.

Next 4 Out:
Memphis
Seton Hall
Ole Miss
Wichita St.

Conference Breakdown:
Big East-8
Big 12-7
ACC-7
Big Ten-5
SEC-4
MWC-4
Atlantic 10-3
Pac 10-2
USA-2
WCC-2

21 one-bid leagues
Possible Interesting match-ups if this were the real bracket:

First round:

Richmond vs. Florida-A rematch of a great three-point game that put the Richmond Spiders on the national radar by beating Florida who at that time was 8-1 and ranked

Georgetown vs. Siena-Siena will try to win their first round game for the third straight year while Georgetown is one of those teams that can upset a top seed but could lose their first round game just as easily.

Texas vs. Utah St. - 8and 9 games are always competitive. Texas was once ranked number one but has struggled going 7-8 since then. Utah St. is one of the hottest teams in the nation winning 16 straight. This would be a great game.

Second Round:

Kentucky vs. Marquette-The Wildcats will be very happy this isn’t 2003 again when Marquette had that Dwayne Wade guy who destroyed Kentucky in the Elite 8. This time Kentucky will have the best player on the floor in John Wall. But don’t count out Marquette as they have beaten Georgetown, Villanova, And Xavier and they played great in losses at Syracuse (by 5) and at West Virginia (by 1).

Tennessee vs. Maryland-Both these teams make a trip to Florida’s first coast in what should be a shootout with incredible guard play.

Kansas St. vs. UTEP-Kansas St. saw their chances at a number one seed slip away in the last week of the season now they are a two and could have a tough game in the second round against UTEP and their duo of Randy Culpepper and Derrick Caracter.

Sweet 16:

Purdue vs. New Mexico-The casual college fan doesn’t know about New Mexico. They should by the time the Sweet 16 rolls around. We still have yet to see how much Purdue will miss Robbie Hummel. Luckily for the Boilermakers, New Mexico is very guard oriented. However don’t be surprised if the Lobos find themselves in the
Elite 8 or Final 4.

Elite 8:

Syracuse vs. Ohio St.-Evan Turner against Wesley Johnson. Damn I want to see this game. Come on selection committee, make it happen.

Kentucky vs. Butler-No team wants to see Butler in their bracket. In my current bracket I have Butler as a 6 seed with their tournament voyage looking like this: San Diego St. (11), Pittsburgh (3) and Kansas St. (2). The Bulldogs are very capable of making a deep run if the bracket is right for them.

NBA Mock Draft

1. NJ (7-57)-John Wall-PG-Kentucky-Fr.
No brainer choice, with Wall, Brook Lopez and 30 million in cap room the Nets could sign a star free agent and go from being one of the worst teams ever to being a playoff contender.

2. MIN (14-51)-Evan Turner-F/G-Ohio St.-Jr.
Turner is cut from the Danny Granger/Brandon Roy mold. He can do absolutely everything on the basketball court. He should step in and instantly be the best player in Minnesota since Kevin Garnett.

3. GS (17-46)-Derrick Favors-PF-Georgia Tech-Fr.
Anthony Tolliver has started at PF this season, need I say any more. Anthony Randolph is more of a combo forward then a true post presence. The athletic Favors would be the ideal fit as a PF in Don Nelson's uptempo style.

4. WAS (21-40)-Wesley Johnson-G/F-Syracuse-Jr.
He's the best player available and could instantly come in and start at either the 2 or the 3.

5. IND (21-43)-DeMarcus Cousins-C/F-Kentucky-Fr.
Roy Hibbert you have been replaced with a stronger, better and tougher player. Cousins is a beast who will take some of the pressure off of Danny Granger.

6. SAC (22-43)-Hassan Whiteside-C-Marshall-Fr.
I think the Kings would rather have Cousins. I think they will take the best big man available between Cousins, Whiteside and Aldrich.

7. Utah (from NY (22-42))-Al-Farouq Aminu-SF-WFU-So.
Andrei Kirilenko is nearing his end in Utah. Aminu's a versatile 3 who would compliment Deron Williams and Paul Millsap perfectly.

8. DET (22-44)-Cole Aldrich-C-Kansas-Jr.
The Pistons are in rebuilding mold and Aldrich would fit nicely in their long term plans. It would be great if they kept Ben Wallace for a year or two to help Aldrich's development.

9. PHL (23-41)-Donatas Motiejunas-PF-Lithuania-Int.
The Elton Brand project has failed. Motiejunas would fit the 76ers uptempo style as a versatile big man who can hit open jumpers.

10. LAC (25-40)-Willie Warren-CG-Oklahoma-So.
It almost makes to much sense. Warren Warren is a Baron Davis clone who could learn under Davis before becoming the starter in a few years. Warren has had a TERRIBLE season plagued by injuries. Remember Davis had the same injury questions coming out of UCLA in 1999. Warren also played a year at Oklahoma with Blake Griffin. Since it makes so much sense there is no way it will actually happen.

11. NO (32-33)-Devin Ebanks-SF-WVU-So.
Ebanks will be a great compliment player in the mold of Marvin Williams. The Hornets have a superstar in CP3 and Marcus Thorton has been an absolute steal. Ebanks would give them a great young 1-3.

12. CHI (32-33)-James Anderson-SG-OK St.-Jr.
The man can score. Anderson could instantly come in and give the Bulls the scoring touch that Ben Gordon provided them before he left for Detroit.

13. HOU (32-31)-Greg Monroe-PF-Georgetown-Fr.
Monroe reminds me a lot of Zach Randolph. You look at his body and lack of explosiveness and wonder how he could be so good. Monroe has the potential to eventually be a 20 and 10 guy. He would be a good compliment to Yao or could become the star himself if Yao is unable to return to his old form.

14. MEM (34-31)-Patrick Patterson-PF-Kentucky-Jr.
He is clearly the best player avalible and could eventually replace Zach Randolph at the 4 in Memphis. The Grizz would like an upgrade at PG but should go with the best player on the board. The Grizz will have 3 first round picks and will consider trading up to get another impact star.

15. MIA (33-32)-Larry Sanders-C/F-VCU-So.
Miami has 2 first round picks as long as Toronto makes the playoffs. However the draft will be on the back burner this off season. Re-signing superstar DWade is top priority and getting him a low post star like Amare, Bosh, or Boozer is priority number two. Sanders is a local south Florida kid who could be a great defensive center for many years.

16. MIN (from CHR (32-31))-Stanley Robinson-SF-UConn-Sr.
Robinson is the best player on the board and will compete with Coery Brewer for the SF of the future in Minnesota.

17. MIA (from TOR (32-31))-Armon Johnson-PG-Nevada-Jr.
Big lefty PG with a good shot, would be a great compliment for DWade

18. MIL (34-29)-Xavier Henry-G/F-Kansas-Fr.
Bogut and Jennings have been great this year and have the Bucks in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The 1 and 5 are set. The 2-4 could use some improvement.

19. POR (38-28)-Soloman Alabi-C-FSU-So.
He is a long term project who could become a good defensive center. Greg Oden's injuries have been a major concern in Portland and it' never to soon to look to a possible replacement should Oden never heal.

20. SA (37-25)-Jan Vesely-PF-Czech Rep.-Int.
Vesely is a young Euro prospect who needs at least a few more years in Europe. He could be part of the Spurs long term plans once Duncan and Ginobili's time is done.

21. OKC (from PHO (40-25))-Gani Lawal-PF-Georgia Tech-Jr.
Lawal is the best player on the board and will go around the same spot he would have gone had he stayed in the draft last year.

22. OKC (39-24)-Jerome Jordan-C-Tulsa-Sr.
Jordan is still developing but you can't teach 7 feet with a nice touch.

23. ATL (40-23)-Terrico White-CG-Ole Miss-So.
Joe Johnson is a free agent so there is a slight chance he might leave. If he does, White could step in and play either guard spot.

24. BOS (40-23)-Trevor Booker-PF-Clemson-Sr.
At some time during the season KG will get hurt. Booker can help Glen Davis with depth up front.

25. MIN (from Utah (42-22))-Craig Brackens-PF-Iowa St.-Jr.
I already have them drafting two wings so now they get some length up front to help out Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Iowa is not that far from Minnesota so Brackens should be adjusted to the Midwest winters.

26. MEM (from DEN (43-21)-Elliot Williams-CG-Memphis-CG
He's from Memphis, played college at Memphis, it's only natural he gets drafted by Memphis.

27. NJ (fromDAL (45-21))-Damion James-PF/SF-Texas-Sr.
The Nets need NBA ready players. James is maybe a tweener as forward, but he has incredible athleticism and a NBA body to contribute for the lowly Nets.

28. ORL (45-20)-Greivis Vasquez-CG-Maryland-Sr.
Guard depth is what the Magic need most. Vasquez is an All-American who can contribute right away.

29. MEM (from LAL (47-18))-Sherron Collins-PG-Kansas-Sr.
Collins is a winner and a competitor first and foremost. He can push Mike Conley for the starting PG spot.

30. WAS (from CLV (50-15))-A.J. Ogilvy-C-Vandy-Jr.
The Wizards need some offensive help in the low post. What Ogilvy lacks as an athlete, he makes up for with skill.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weekly Watch-3/2

Mega Showdowns:

Kansas St @ Kansas-Wednesday-8pm-E360
Why this game is not on National TV? I don’t understand. But as of right now, the biggest game left in the season (a game that pits two in state rivals that are both in the top 10) is only available online. Thank You ESPN. Regardless this should be an amazing matchup as Kansas tries to bounce back from a terrible loss at Oklahoma St. Kansas St. however is trying to avoid being swept by their rivals while at the same time eyeing a number one seed. It should be a good one. Have your laptops ready.

Duke @ Maryland-Wednesday-9pm-ESPN
ESPN got this one right. A battle for first place in the ACC is on the line when the Blue Devils travel to Maryland. This could be the game that decides the ACC player of the year as well. Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez and Duke’s John Scheyer are the front runners for player of the year honors along with Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney. A win for Duke will clinch them the regular season conference title in the ACC. This is a must see game to say the least.

Bubble Play-In Games (you win, your dancing):

Louisville @ Marquette-Tuesday-9:30pm-ESPNU
Both teams have 19 wins and are 10-6 in Big East play. Therefore the winner will finish with at least 11 wins in the toughest conference in the nation. That’s good enough to guarantee the winner a spot in the dance. Both of these teams are red hot as well. Louisville has won 4 of 5 while Marquette has won 8 of 9 including 3 straight overtime wins on the road. If this game doesn’t go down to the wire I will be very surprised and disappointed.

UAB @ UTEP-Saturday-9:05pm
Assuming both of these teams win their games earlier in the week, (UTEP goes to Marshall, while UAB hosts Memphis), the winner will be a lock for an at-large while the loser would likely need a very good showing in the Conference USA tournament to get in the dance. UTEP is ranked, is 13-1 in conference and has won 12 straight. The Miners however do not have a good computer profile with a RPI of 49, and only one win over a top 50 RPI team when they won at UAB in OT on January 30th. UAB has a good computer profile with a RPI of 37 and a major non conference win against Butler. If the Blazers get a win against Memphis and then go into El Paso and get another win to close the season it would be nearly impossible for the selection committee to keep them out of the dance.

Possible Bubble Play-Out Games (losers beware your bubble might burst):

Charlotte @ Rhode Island-Wednesday-7pm
Both of these teams have picked the wrong time to start a major slump. Both teams have lost 4 of 5 and both teams lost road games to sub .500 RPI teams this past Saturday. Add that all together and the loser can pretty much kiss their NCAA tournament hopes good bye. Rhode Island has a good RPI at 34 and is 6-6 against the RPI top 100. So if the Rams win here and then follow it by beating UMass to close the season they will be in very good shape for an at-large seed to the dance going into the Atlantic 10 tournament. With a RPI of 67, Charlotte likely needs a win here then an upset over Richmond on Saturday to get an at-large.

UConn @ Notre Dame-Wednesday-7pm-ESPN
Notre Dame is going to need all of the luck of the Irish if they plan on playing in the NCAA tournament which starts a day after St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish took a major step towards helping their bubble situation by beating two ranked teams last week in Pittsburgh and Georgetown. They have a low RPI at 65 and will need at least two more wins to have a shot at dancing. UConn has a solid RPI at 44 but has 12 losses. A loss here and a loss in the Big East Tournament will give them 14 total losses. Not many 14 loss teams make the dance. Arizona did in 2008, but that is very rare. Both teams really need this win to keep their tourney hopes alive.

Middle of the pack ACC games:

After Duke and Maryland, there are 5 teams battling for the #3 spot in the ACC. There are four games this week that pit those 5 teams against each other. Of the five teams, Virginia Tech really needs to win the most this week to keep their tourney hopes alive. The Hokies have a good record (21-7, 8-6), but have lost 3 straight and don’t have a strong RPI at 52. The other four teams, Clemson, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and FSU all have good computer profiles, but if they were to lose two straight to end the season they would find themselves on the bubble along with the Hokies. Here are the games this week.

Georgia Tech @ Clemson-Tuesday-8pm-E360

Wake Forest @ FSU-Wednesday-7pm-ESPN2

Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech-Saturday-4pm-E360

Clemson @ Wake Forest-Sunday-6pm-FSN

Playing for a better seed:

Oklahoma St. @ Texas A&M-Wednesday-9pm-ESPN2

West Virginia @Villanova-Saturday-Noon-CBS

Texas @ Baylor-Saturday-4pm-ESPN

Syracuse @ Louisville-Saturday-2pm-ESPN

Bubble Teams with opportunities to get another statement win:

Florida-They host #13 Vandy on Tuesday night then they go to Rupp to play #3 Kentucky on Sunday. It’s a brutal way to end the season, however if the Gators can win one of these two they will end their 2 year NCAA hiatus.

Illinois-The Fighting Illini are in the same boat as Florida with two tough games against ranked teams as they play at Ohio St. Tuesday night then they host Wisconsin on Sunday. If they win one, they will have 11 wins in Big Ten play. That should be enough to get them into the dance despite their low RPI of 73. The Fighting Illini have crucial non-conference wins at Clemson and against Vandy as well.

Dayton-They travel to Richmond on Thursday night. A win in Richmond will go a long way in getting Dayton into the dance. A loss here will put even more pressure on the Flyers when they host fellow A-10 bubble team St. Louis on Saturday night.

St. Louis-Speaking of St. Louis, the Billikens who have a very low RPI of 86 must win both of their tough matchups this week to keep any at-large hopes alive. They host a ranked Temple team on Wednesday night then have the showdown against Dayton that I mentioned above.

Mississippi St.-With a RPI in the 50’s, a loss at lowly Auburn on Wednesday would all but destroy any chance the Bulldogs have at getting an at-large bid to the dance. However assuming they win, they will have a chance to show they belong in the dance by beating a very good Tennessee team on Saturday. Two wins this week will put the Bulldogs at 23-8 overall and 11-5 in SEC play. That should mean a return for Mississippi St. and star Jarvis Varnado to the NCAA tournament.

Cincinnati-How good is the Big East? Cincinnati is in a four-way tie for ninth place, yet still the Bearcats could still get in the tournament as an at-large. All they have to do is beat #9 Villanova on Tuesday night then go into #19 Georgetown and win on Saturday. Mission impossible, not really, Villanova has lost 3 of 4 while Georgetown has been beat at home 4 times this year. Three of those losses were to fellow bubble teams Old Dominion, USF and Notre Dame. It might be improbable for the Bearcats to win both of these games, but not impossible.