Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Upsets and Favorites

Before March Madness gets going I thought I would share some thoughts about the bracket, unfortunately all my thoughts seem to be taken by everyone else too. Kansas, UNC and Michigan State: Almost everyone is picking them for the Final Four and so am I.

Villanova and Virgina: Have recently been high seeds and always disappoint.

Oregon and Xavier: Good teams that are being overlooked because of their pedigree, or lack thereof, don't be surprised to see one in the Final Four.

Oklahoma: I really like this team but I am scared off by how much they rely on the 3-point shot. One bad game and you can lose to anyone.

Fourth Final Four team: If I choose Texas A&M I am going with the same four teams as Pres. Obama, which isn't bad politically, but it is bad strategically. So that leaves me with Duke, Baylor and Texas. I like Texas, but their best interior player, Cameron Ridley, is limited in how many minutes he can play. Believe it or not I'm going with Duke.

12 over 5 upsets: I do like Indiana and they suffered an upset on an unlucky shot in the Big Ten tournament. Baylor is playing Yale, and though Ivy teams do have a history of upsets and near-upsets, I don't think Yale has what it takes. That leaves South Dakota State over Maryland, and Arkansas-Little Rock over Purdue, so I am going to pick them both. UALR because they play a slow style that could breed an upset and SDSU because Maryland has a lot of talent but has terribly underachieved.

11 over 6 upsets: I like Texas and Notre Dame to advance, but I am picking against Seton Hall and Arizona. Seton Hall won a difficult conference and faces a Gonzaga team with a couple of good big men in Sabonis and Wiltjer. Arizona just got a tough draw vs. Wichita State. The Shockers got the 11 seed they deserved, maybe underseeded by a little, but they struggled with injuries so they're actually better than they appear. They play great defense (#1 in kenpom's AdjD) and have two great experienced player in Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. And I actually have both those teams winning two games. Because...

14 over 3 upset: I am picking Fresno State to beat Utah. Utah is a 3-seed but ranked 28th by kenpom. But they were 13th in what the site classifies as luck. Their luck runs out.

13 over upset: Not picking any because they only one I kind of like is Iona vs Iowa State, but talented big men usually help stave off upsets.

10 or 7 over 2 upset: I am picking Iowa to knock off Villanova, setting up a matchup vs Wichita State in the Sweet 16 for the opportunity to play Kansas for a chance to go to the Final Four. You may remember the battle of Kansas from last year, when a big deal was made of the Jayhawks not playing the Shockers. Wichita State got them last year, the result could be different this time but I have Iowa disrupting it.

As for my pick to win it all. I am going with Tom Izzo and Denzel Valentine.

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