Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 3: Top Ten

1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. Oklahoma State
4. Kentucky
5. Arizona
6. Duke
7. Louisville
8. Ohio State
9. Syracuse
10. Wisconsin - yuck

Provided Duke and Arizona can win their semi-final games on Wednesday we'll have another top 10 matchup on Friday night at MSG. Duke-Arizona, Jabari Parker-Aaron Gordon, Coach K-Lute O...Sean Miller.

Just in Case Brad Is Reading....

AP Rank

24 Duke 9-2

25 Notre Dame 8-3

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jabari Parker, Duke's Superstar

Kyrie Irving was a one-of-a-kind point guard. So was Jason Williams. Elton Brand was the polished paint player. But the best Duke player of the Coach K era was and has been Grant Hill. A high-riser who could defend, run the court, rebound and shoot, Hill played in 3 title games in 4 years. Duke has had loads of talent come and go since then but they haven't had another Grant Hill.

Until now. Say hello to Jabari Parker, superstar.

Over at Deadspin, they lay out the case as to what makes Parker the new star of college basketball. If you haven't seen him yet, take time out and watch him. It's worth it. Yes, he plays for Duke and and Duke backlash is a time honored tradition but this kid is above that. Unlike Hill, he won't play in 3 tite games. He may not play in one at all but sit back an enjoy him while he is at Duke.

Social media was abuzz about Frank the Tank dropping an incredible 43 on North Dakota, Marcus Smart toying with Memphis and Arizona State's super soph Jahii Carson putting 40 on UNLV but look for the highlights of Parker last night against East Carolina. Polished with confidence and playing with joy. This Duke team is going to be fun, so get use to it, anti-Duke-ites.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Revised Top 10

It’s too early to update a bracket each Monday so for now you get my top 10.

1. Michigan State
2. Louisville
3. Kansas
4. Oklahoma State
5. Duke
6. Kentucky
7. Arizona
8. Syracuse
9. Michigan
10. VCU

Moving On Up - Big Time

Brought to you by the Bracket Matrix - the site that monitors and ranks bracketologists. Looks like I'm busting into the top tier.
The 2014 Bracket Matrix Links

All the links used in the 2014 Bracket Matrix are listed here. Please email me if you want to add your site.
Tiers are based on the Bracket Matrix rankings page.

Tier 1 (At least 3 years in the matrix; above average)
Bracket WAG
Busting Bracketologists - CJ
CBS Sports - Jerry Palm ESPN
Bracketology - Joe Lunardi Jabesblog
Oak Creek's March Madness
SBNation's Blogging the Bracket
The Sports Bank - Patrick Stevens

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Things We've learned in the First Week

1. The Champions Classic is an awesome idea. Michigan State-Kentucky and Duke-Kansas were great games and it won’t matter who won or lost these games in the grand scheme of things.
2. Every year everybody hypes up the Freshman but this year it might actually be worth hyping up. Nevermind the fact that Michigan State probably looked the best in Chicago and aren’t led by freshman.
3. BYU can put up a lot of points…112 at Stanford. Putting up 112 against Grambling just isn’t the same.
4. Kentucky’s problem won’t be talent but it might be chemistry and free throw shooting
5. Central Florida’s black court is god awful

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bracket Comparison

Before the season tips off this evening let’s take a look at my preseason bracket compared to CBS’s Jerry Palm and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Taking out the low major conference winners as who really knows who’s going to win the MEAC our team selections are strikingly similar. Both Palm and Lunardi have4 different teams than I do. Stanford is in both and in my first four out. Lunardi also has Providence (my firs out), Alabama (AC), and Kansas State. Palm has Indiana State (NFO), UMass (NFO) and Purdue. The teams I have in are Missouri, both have as FFO, California, Southern Miss, and Xavier. I admit Xavier is a reach but I have faith Southern Miss will be there come March. As for seeding there are similarities although my 7 seeds are a point of contention. My 7 seeds are Memphis (Palm has 4, Lunardi 5), Connecticut (4 and 4), North Carolina (3,3) and Ohio State (2,3). Now, I’ve been clear that I believe UNC and Ohio State will be the most overrated top 20 teams this year so I don’t have issue with them. As for Memphis and UConn, I don’t see how the newly formed AAC gets 3 of the top 16 seeds.

On the flip side the teams I have higher than then those two are Marquette at a 3 (5,5), St. Louis at 4 (8,7), Virginia at 4 (5,6), and Wisconsin at 4 (6,6).

For the most part it’s a crap shoot to project a bracket before the season starts but it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the end.

2013-2014 Preseason Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Michigan State (B10) vs T.Southern(SWAC)/Boston (Pat)
Kentucky (SEC) vs NCCentral(MEAC)/H.Point(Bsouth)
Oklahoma State (B12) vs Northwestern St (Sland)
Louisville (AAC) vs Vermont (Aeast)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Kansas vs Manhattan (MAAC)
Michigan vs Oakland (Bsky)
Duke (ACC) vs UWGB (Horizon)
Florida vs Elon (SoCon)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Arizona (P12) vs Mt St. Mary's (NEC)
Syracuse vs Mercer (Asun)
VCU vs Cof Charelston (Colonial)
Marquette (Beast) vs UC-Irvine (Bwest)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Wichita St (MVC) vs E.Kentucky (OVC)
St. Louis vs Georgia State (Sbelt)
Virginia vs N Dakota St (Summit)
Wisconsin vs Southern Miss/Xavier
5 seed vs 12 seed
New Mexico (MWC) vs Toledo (MAC)
UCLA vs St. John's/LSU
Georgetown vs New Mexico St (WAC)
Villanova vs Harvard (Ivy)
6 seed vs 11 seed
Gonzaga (WCC) vs LaSalle
Baylor vs Louisiana Tech (Cusa)
Tennessee vs California
Oregon vs Missouri
7 seed vs 10 seed
Memphis vs Indiana
Connecticut vs Colorado
North Carolina vs Notre Dame
Ohio State vs Pittsburgh
8 seed vs 9 seed
UNLV vs Iowa
Iowa State vs Boise State
Cincinnati vs San Diego State
Creighton vs BYU
First Four Out
Fresno State
Boston College
Next Four Out
Indiana State
St. Mary's
Arizona State
Also Considered
Florida State
Northern Iowa
Mid Tennessee St
Utah State
Kansas State

Monday, November 4, 2013

Eric's Wildly Inaccurate Season Picks

Player of the Year:  Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Freshmen of the Year:  Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Underachieving Team:  Florida Gators
Runner-Up:  North Carolina Tar Heels

Overachieving Team:  Providence Friars
Runner-Up:  San Diego State Aztecs

(I used KenPom pre-season rankings.  UNC & Florida are top 10 - Florida has discipline issues that I think linger and Huckleberry Roy is Huckleberry Roy.  Providence & SDSU are out of the Top 40)

Elite 8 Matchups: 
Georgetown vs. Louisville
Oklahoma State vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Arizona
Michigan State vs. Kansas

Final 4:
Kansas vs. Louisville
Duke vs. Kentucky

Title Game:
Kentucky over Kansas

The story of the year will be the play of freshmen across the country.  You haven't seen this many skilled freshmen in years and that'll be the story at the Final 4 where we'll see Parker, Wiggins & Randle shine.

Season Preview

Now that the conference previews are done it’s time to look at the year as a whole. My preseason bracket is just about filled out but all the major pieces are done. Time to unveil the season predictions:

Player of the Year: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Freshman of the Year: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Underachieving Team: Ohio State
Runner up: North Carolina

Overachieving Team: Virginia
Runner up: Iowa

Elite Eight Matchups:
Louisville vs Florida
Oklahoma State vs VCU
Virginia vs Duke
Michigan State vs Kansas

Final Four Matchups
Florida vs Michigan State
Oklahoma State vs Duke

Championship Game
Michigan State over Oklahoma State

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another View on Duke

In Brian's look at the ACC, he expressed doubts about Duke as a legit National Title contender because of a lack of size.  It might be an issue but I think potential depth and definite athleticism will overcome any concerns and Duke will be threat in March.

The pieces in the middle will include SOPH Amile Jefferson and redshirt sophomores, Marshall Plumlee and Alex Murphy.  Plumlee and Murphy have battled injuries and inconsistency but have the skills and game to contribute.  They have to do it, though.  I like Jefferson's game and think he's a breakthrough player for the Blue Devils this season.  Reports indicate he's bulked up and if so, he'll provide some heft inside.

The big reason I like Duke, though, is super freshman Jabari Parker.  Before his last season in high school, Parker was thought by some to be the best of the incoming freshmen.  He has the ability to carry Duke as a freshmen this year and has the body to be a dominant player anywhere they play him on the court.  He's that versatile and polished.

Finally, if Rodney Hood can stay healthy, he should be motivated to put up a big season.  After sitting out last season, it's believed he's one-and-done at Duke.

The backcourt should be solid and efficient and with a couple of elite players, I still believe Duke is a definite threat to win the whole thing

Conference Rank #1 - Big 10

Our #1 ranked conference of the year is not much of surprise. The Big 10 sent Michigan to the champion game last year and has a good a chance to send another team this year. In fact, not only am I predicting that they send a team to the championship game, I’m predicting that they win it. That’s right, this year I have Michigan State pegged as my team to take it all come March. Not far behind the Spartans is Michigan, who should be a top 10 team as well. Wisconsin always falls in the top 3 or 4 regardless of how painful it is to watch them play “basketball”. Coming in next will be Ohio State, who I have as one of the most overrated teams this year. The Buckeye’s are ripe for a 13-4 seed upset in the first round. Rounding out the Big 10 bids are Iowa and Indiana with Purdue hanging around the bubble. Iowa is going to be a team on the rise; watch out for them as a 10 seed or so in March.

Conference champion: Michigan State
At-Large: Michigan
At-Large: Wisconsin
At-Large: Ohio State
At-Large: Iowa
At-Large: Indiana
Bubble: Purdue

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Conference Rank #2 - ACC

I've gone back and forth on this rank since I started weeks ago. For most of the time I had the ACC ranked ahead of the Big 10 but ultimately I put the ACC #2 for reasons I will explore in this and the next post. As for this conference they look good from the top down. Duke is a preseason top 5 team and both Syracuse and North Carolina are hanging around the 10-15 range. The darkhorse in the division is Virginia, who I have finishing ahead of UNC and just behind Syracuse. Joe Harris has the ability to the POY in the ACC this year. Rounding out the bids are Notre Dame and Pittsburgh with Boston College, Maryland, and Florida State in Bubbleland. Let it be know that although Duke is #4 in the preseason I don't view them as a serious contender for the championship. I need to see how they are going to handle not having anybody taller than 6'8" play serious minutes before throwing them in that mix.

Conference Champion: Duke
At-Large: Syracuse
At-Large: Virginia
At-Large: North Carolina
At-Large: Notre Dame
At-Large: Pittsburgh
Bubble: Maryland
Bubble: Boston College
Bubble: Florida State

Friday, November 1, 2013

Conference Rank #3 - Big12

As mentioned earlier I have the Big-12 ranked #3, ahead of the SEC. One reason is my low regard for Kentucky but another reason is my high expectations of Oklahoma State. When Marcus Smart made his announcement that he was coming back I pegged them as a definite Elite 8 team with an outside chance of a Final Four. I’m not sure I’m picking them there yet but one thing I am sure of is that they will be taking the Big-12 title away from Kansas. The Wildcats lose all 5 starters and bring in a nice class of freshman, including Andrew Wiggins, but I still think Smart one ups him. In fact, I’m picking Marcus Smart as my Player of the Year even though most magazines have Wiggins as the POY. Either way it should be a battle when these two teams get together. Outside of these heavyweights I only see 2 more At-Large bids for the Big-12. Baylor and Iowa State should make it in around the 7-8 and 10-11 range and Oklahoma looks like the lone bubble team.

Conference Champion: Oklahoma State
At-Large: Kansas
At-Large: Baylor
At-Large: Iowa State
At-Large: Oklahoma