Monday, March 14, 2011

Initial Bracket Breakdown

Let’s start with Syracuse. I think the 3 seed was about what we deserved but I thought we might lose it to one of the Kentucky teams which had good late season runs, but both Kentucky and Louisville got 4 seeds. I do however think we got a tough facing the best #1 and perhaps the second best #2. It’s completely debatable of course because all those teams are so close, but we know Ohio State was the overall #1. Then if the committee went with a serpentine formula they had UNC as the 4th #2 (8 overall) and Syracuse as the 9th best team. But I don’t think they actually adhere all that closely to that.

As for the matchups, I don’t think SU should have a big problem Indiana State. They are a guard-oriented team which could press us into some turnovers, but it’s not like they dominated a smaller conference, they were third place in the MVC, which is a good not great conference.

Then SU has to play the winner of Xavier-Marquette. I think it’ll be Xavier which could give SU problems. But either way I don’t see SU beating North Carolina unless the Heels’ inexperience catches up with them and they make a bunch of mistakes. North Carolina to me is the typical team with a lot of talented freshman, took a while to get their footing but now they’ve really hit their stride. They have won 13 games in a row against teams not named Duke.

Speaking of Duke, on closer inspection, they were deserving of the 4th number one seed over Notre Dame. But I think they got off a little easy in their draw. San Diego State is a vulnerable #2 seed and I’m sure the committee thinks UConn is the toughest 3 seed because of their late run but I believe they drastically overrate conference tournaments.

I think Pitt losing in the first round of the Big East will clear the way for them to finally break through and make the final 4. Pitt has made the tournament 9 straight years, including 5 years getting a top 3 seed (a 1, a 2 and 3 3s) but they never made the final 4, and only once to the Elite 8 (in 2009, when they suffered a heart-breaking loss to Villanova.

Belmont will beat Wisconsin. Upsets happen, that's the way it goes. If you picked every game in a vacuum you would pick all favorites. But you know upsets happen so you have to look where they are most likely to be. I was going to pick Belmont regardless of their opponent because this is the type of small conference team that normally pulls off a shocker. They are 30-4 with 25 of their wins by double digits. 3 of their 4 losses were to tournament teams, Tennessee twice and Vanderbilt. Plus Belmont is an active, pressing team that uses a lot of players and could give a plodding Wisconsin team fits.

Why does the selection committee ever schedule first round games between two teams from smaller conferences? This year it is Butler vs. Old Dominion. Why not switch one of those teams with Michigan or Tennessee and give the smaller guys a better chance to advance?

The committee also stacked the deck against the Big East. Facing the possibility of 11 teams in the Sweet 16, more likely 7 or 8, the committee set up two possible conference showdowns in Round 2, yes I still call it round 2. Marquette could face Syracuse and Cincinnati could face UConn.

No one is going to call the rounds by their new names. The four extra games are now officially round 1, and the old rounds 1 and 2 are now 2 and 3. On this blog and forevermore until the tournament expands to 96 or 128, I will call opening games, the play-in round. I urge you to do the same, except when ordering tickets.

And remember to join my tournament challenge group. I had to change it, the name is The Poop. The other name wasn't showing up in searches, so look for The Poop.


Damino said...

Despite that I know you hate my alma mater's team, I like Syracuse very much and both think and hope that they can take out Carolina. UNC is super talented, but if you can frustrate Kendall Marshall they are very beatable. Cuse has the talent and coaching to do it.

I think Duke was slightly overrated getting that last 1 seed, but their bracket is awfully tough. Tennessee is a really athletic 9 seed with nothing to lose; Texas as a 4 seed was #1 in the country earlier this season; # 3 UConn is quite good and don't forget SDSU is basically lined up for a home game in the Elite 8 in Anaheim. If Kyrie Irving doesn't come back, look for a team other than Duke to win that region.

master bates said...

Go Terriers!! A 16 has to beat a #1 some time.

Paul said...

BU is a 22 1/2 point underdog. Biggest dog of the first round besides whomever is playing Ohio State.

Anonymous said...

why do you refer to syracuse as we? just because you went to the school... you are not an active student nor on the basketball team!

Reissberg said...

Why are you assuming UNC will make the sweet 16? They will likely have to beat Zeke (and the rest of the Washington team) in the 2nd round.

Paul said...

Reissberg, I don't assume North Carolina will win, I predict they will. They have better talent and that's usually the biggest factor.

And Anonymous, I have alienation issues and lack a sense of belonging and fitting in so I use we to feel like part of something.