Monday, March 16, 2015

Bracket Breakdown

The overriding theme of this year's tournament is Kentucky. Will they win the tournament, go 40-0 and stake their claim as the best team ever? The answer is yes. Kentucky is going to win. If this tournament were run in a billion different Universes concurrently I like Kentucky to win 80% of those. So when filling out your bracket you have to ask yourself if you want to take a big chance, and go for the win, or do you want pick Kentucky and battle it out with everyone else on the other 57 games.

I will be picking Kentucky!

Now on to the other teams that might have a chance if Kentucky falters.

I like Duke a little better this year. They have interior toughness this time and in a crapshoot like the tournament can be, I don't expect them to get knocked out early for the third time in 4 years.

This is the best Gonzaga team possibly ever. Their arc started as a Cinderella, and then when they finally got high seedings they never reached those expectations. This is their year to make the Final Four, beating Duke in a thrilling regional final.

Wisconsin is the only other team I could see beating Kentucky. Watching Kaminsky go against Towns and Cauley-Stein in the Final Four will be awesome, and probably the de facto National Championship.

I think the East regional (going through the Carrier Dome) is the most wide open. I don't have much faith in Villanova or Virginia and I could definitely see that one going to a surprise team like Northern Iowa or even Michigan State.

I think Kansas got royally screwed by getting lumped in with Kentucky. I think they are better than Virginia, and playing the nation's toughest schedule should count for something. They went 9-5 against top 30 teams for heaven's sake, including a loss to Kentucky. I think a 2 seed is right for them, but I don't think they were 8th best.

Now to the bottom of the bracket. Texas and UCLA should not have made the tournament. Temple and Richmond were more deserving. Temple was the last team left out according to head of the committee. Texas I can forgive because they play in what is toughest conference in the country but the Pac-12 is putrid and UCLA beat no one all year.
And to compound the issue, each of those teams got a free pass to the first round. And poor Boise State gets screwed again having to play Dayton on its home floor. The committee could have avoided two controversies by swapping Dayton and UCLA here.

Now on to some upsets. A lot of people are picking Stephen F. Austin but Cinderellas rarely do it two years in a row. I don't see Northern Iowa getting upset in the first round. So for a 5/12 upset it's either Wofford over Arkansas or Buffalo over West Virginia. I would tend to pick against the team from the weaker conference but I haven't made up my mind.

I'm also watching Cal-Irvine over Louisville as a first round upset.

I'm really looking forward to all the 7-10 games this year especially VCU vs. Ohio State as some of these teams are very live dogs in the second round.

More thoughts coming throughout the week. Stay tuned and please join the tournament challenge group on, The Poop, as always. And maybe we'll all do better than we did last year.


Damino said...

I agree that KY is a justifiable favorite to win it all, but I'm not sure it's 80% likely that they win 6 games in a row, including 3 in a row over very, very good teams. I think if they played Wisconsin 10 times on a neutral court, Wisco would win 3 or even 4 times.

This is by far Duke's best team since the 2010 championship team, and I agree that it's unlikely they get knocked out the first weekend. Like you I expect them to go to the elite 8 or maybe final 4. That said, if they were to bring their A game against Kentucky, they absolutely can beat them...but again, if the teams played 10 times, I'd see KY winning 7 or even 8 times.

And don't sleep on Notre Dame as a possible upset against KY. ND can shoot the 3 extremely well, which is something KY cannot do. If ND is on fire from outside, they can definitely pull off the upset.

Go Duke and go to hell Carolina.

Paul said...

Totally unprovable but obviously I think I'm right. Even if Kentucky does lose to Wisconsin or Duke or even Purdue, a sample size of 1 is way too small.

I just think Kentucky is too dominant, too many good players, all the right components. They're as close to unbeatable as you can get in modern day college basketball.

I have some thoughts on a Notre Dame Kentucky matchup but I will save them for down the line.