Sunday, February 25, 2018

Top 10 Laughs at the End of the Big 14 Season

10. Michigan - The Wolverines are firing on all cylinders. They went into Maryland and mollywhomped the Terps. 

9. Kansas- The Jayhawks wrapped up a 14th consecutive league title with a very good win in Lubbock. Devonté Graham has entered discussions for national POY and is probably the Big XII POY over Trae Young. I still don’t trust this team but here we are again.

8. Purdue- They have unimpressive back-to-back wine following their 3-game slide. Still a potential Final 4 team if things break, they’ve lost the momentum of January. 

7. North Carolina- They handled Syracuse in their only game this week. 

6. Gonzaga- Where they get seeded in a few weeks will be interesting. This Zags team interests me from the standpoint of, they now feel like a “power” team. I don’t feel like we have to defend their inclusion here but I’m also not convinced their as good as previous Zag teams and are benefitting from a lot of parity throughout the nation. In other words, they could be underseeded but overrated.

5. Xavier- I can’t put them ahead of Villanova but they have a clear path to the Big East title.

4. Villanova- The defense is legit concern now. Creighton is good on offense no doubt but Nova never looked capable of getting a needed stop in overtime. Big East tournament is now a referendum on their defense for me, less wins and losses.

3. Michigan State- Screw this cesspool

2. Duke- Note to Badger fans who think they’ll be hanging a banner for 2015, Duke beat you because Coach K is a better coach than Bo Ryan and Duke has better players. Also, if they play like they have the last two weeks, Duke and K are heading towards another banner.  And I hope they do a parade in Madison if they do.

1. Virginia- Tony Bennett is the worst

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Magic of March: The Utes of 1998

Twenty years ago produced one of the best Final 4’s of our lifetime and a tremendous tournament in general. It was Bryce Drew, John Beilein taking a 14-seed Richmond past 3-seed South Carolina, Rip Hamilton ripping out Washington’s heart on a what felt like a dozen attempted putbacks, West Virginia’s Jarrod West banking in a 3 against Cincinnati to shock the 2-seed Bearcats in the round of 32, Rhode Island lead by Cuttino Mobley, Tyson Wheeler and Luther Clay shocking a Kansas team with Paul Pierce and Rae’s Lafrentz, the same Rhode Island team who took Stanford to the brink in a brilliant regional final and of course, the amazing Kentucky comeback at the expense of Duke in another unreal regional final

1998 was what makes the tournament so great. It also proved to be the high point of the career of the legendary Rick Majerus who took Utah to the Final 4 in a year that began as what many perceived to be a rebuilding year. On top of everything else, this was a tournament defined by his coaching decisions and the out of this world brilliance of Andre Miller.

Utah had made two straight 16’s, having lost in 1997 to Kentucky. It would mark the end of the Keith Van Horn era, arguably the greatest player in Utah history. Utah responded by going 25-2 in the regular season, only losing two conference road games. Still, following an opening round loss in the WAC tournament to UNLV, Utah would receive a 3-seed out west behind Cincinnati and defending champ, Arizona who would be the prohibitive favorite in the region.

Utah smothered the Dons of San Francisco to open the dance. They followed that with a 6-point win over Arkansas. Utah caught a bit of a break as they drew West Virginia in the Sweet 16. The Mountaineers, as mentioned before, had shocked 2-seed Cincinnati at the buzzer in the round of 32. Still, while Utah lead throughout the game, it was rarely comfortable and survived a buzzer-beating three that would have tied the game to advance to the regional final.

In the regional final, they would meet the defending champion and favorite, Arizona. The Wildcats has the dynamic back court duo of Miles Simon and Mike Bibby. They also had AJ Bramlett, Jason Terry, Michael Dickerson and Bennett Davison. They may as well have been the Generals to the Utes Globetrotters. Utah ran them off the court in stunning fashion lead by PG Andre Miller’s triple-double. Michael Doleac and Alex Jensen would add double-doubles as Utah dominated in the paint. 

The game is best remembered as the “triangle and two” game. Majerus didn’t exactly invent this as a way to beat Zona. USC had done so during the regular season but it wasn’t something Utah had done all year. They executed it brilliantly. Arizona shot a paltry 28% and Utah crushed them on the glass.

Utah was so proficient at the triangle and two zone, they would employ it again the following week against Final 4 opponent North Carolina. It would work again as the underdog Utes held off the Tar Heels who had Vince Carter and Antwan Jamison on that squad. Shooting star Shammond Williams would be a non-factor against the Utes defense. Andre Miller continued his brilliant play with 16 points, 14 boards and 7 assists.

The Utes magic would last another 30 minutes or so of court time. Utah would come out in the national title game and take a surprising 41-31 lead into half. At the first under four timeout, they still had a ten point lead. Kentucky, the comeback Cats, would claw to a 60-58 lead. Utah answered with 6 straight points before Kentucky exerted their will over the last 4 minutes to pull away an win. Kentucky earned the win with great defense and by making 11 of their final 12 free throws. Majerus would admit afterward, his team had simply run out of gas. Whatever the case, they got everything they could out of that tank of gas.

1998 is why we love March Madness. It had incredible upsets, buzzer beaters, Cinderella’s, compelling matchups and a once-in-a-lifetime type team in Utah make it all the way to cusp of the mountaintop.

1988 gave us Danny and the Miracles and 2008 gave us Mario Chalmers and the blue blood, 1-seed Final 4. What do you have, 2018?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday Notes

Duke looked dominate in beating Louisville.  They are starting to look like a National Champion contender in the advanced metrics department now.  Louisville, on the other hand is now one of the last 4 in.  With all the distraction going on with the 2013 title I can see them slipping out (as I predicted in November).

As for the bubble, both Texas and Florida lost.  Florida has enough to remain on the good side of the cut line but Texas falls out. Ready to jump in and take their place were Syracuse but they got beat by a peaking North Carolina team so the last spot in the bracket goes to Boise State.

Georgia and Penn State lose and fall off our Also Considered list.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kentucky?

Saw some pundits wonder aloud if Kentucky was “figuring things out” or “getting hot at the right time” after their second consecutive win. Last night’s win at Arkansas was a good win but it was only a week ago today, UK lost a fourth consecutive game. Could they make a run? I suppose, things look wide open, but this is Cal’s second weakest team.

The 2013 team actually finished 21-12. It felt like they were worse than that but an injury to Nerlens Noel and one of their weaker defenses under Coach Cal probably made it seem that way. This team is better. That team finished 55th in KenPom, this one is 26th. Barring a collapse, this team will finish much better than that.

This team is solid defensively, 20th in efficiency but pretty weak offensively. They’re 50th and that’s not terrible but there are red flags everywhere. They only shoot 33.3% from 3, that’s 252nd. They’re really good at getting to the free throw line but shoot 69%, also 252nd. They turn it over on 19% of possessions, which is 233rd in the nation. They are one of the best offensive rebounding teams, but that’s offset by being a terrible defensive rebounding team.

Now, on defense, opponents shoot only 29% from 3. That’s the 3rd best number in the nation. Many feel 3% defense is part luck, though, so it may not mean much but it’s still a number to know. They block a lot of shots but otherwise, everything else they do is meh.

I only take the time to look at Kentucky because if they do get on a run over the next 3 weeks or even go 4-2 or something of that sort, we’ll see people telling us to look out for them. No one can question the talent. I have a hard time believing a team that gets nearly 60% of their scoring from 2 and 22% from the line while shooting it poorly from there can make a deep run. If they were an elite defense, maybe but a deeper dive into the numbers tells me this is a good but hardly elite defense. Couple that with the type of offense they have, I don’t believe this will be one of those Cal teams like 2014 that makes a Final 4.

Quick Notes - Wednesday

3 of the 4 7 seeds fall:
Texas A&M lost to Mississippi State, Arkansas to Kentucky, and Missouri to Mississippi.
None of these are too damaging, maybe 1 seed line, but it continues to muddy up the middle of the SEC.  I'm on the fence on whether this is a 7 or 8 team bid league.
I have no doubt they don't have a contender among them.

Baylor lost but they weren't in my bracket so they continue to be on the outside looking in.   Nebraska just keeps hanging around even though their resume is very thin.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Quick Notes - Tuesday

Kansas just destroys Oklahoma and they continue their fall.  Once a one seed in my bracket, they are now an 8 seed.

Miami beats Notre Dame and they are on their last legs.  They need a huge run in the ACC tournament to even be considered.

Maryland wins to stay in the Next Four out group.  Meh.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday Morning Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Virginia (ACC) vs Gramb(SWAC)/Savanah(MEAC)
Kansas (B12) vs FGVU (Asun)/Nichols St(Sland)
Duke vs UNCAshville (Bsouth)
Kansas (B12) vs Penn (Ivy)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Michigan State (B1G) vs Wagner (NEC)
Xavier (Beast) vs Montana (Bsky)
Auburn (SEC) vs Wright St (Hor)
Purdue vs UCSB (Bwest)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Texas Tech vs Bucknell (Pat)
North Carolina vs Rider (MAAC)
Cincinnati (AAC) vs Charleston (Col)
Tennessee vs Murray St (OVC)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Arizona (Pac12) vs ETSU (SoCon)
Clemson vs South Dakota St (Summit)
Ohio State vs Vermont (Aeast)
Gonzaga vs Louisiana (Sbelt)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Wichita State vs Loyola (Mvalley)
Rhode Island (A10) vs Buffalo (MAC)
West Virginia vs St. Bonavanture/Texas
Michigan vs NC State/Kansas State
6 seed vs 11 seed
Nevada (Mwest) vs New Mexico St (WAC)
St. Mary's vs Middle Tenn (Cusa)
Oklahoma vs UCLA
Kentucky vs USC
7 seed vs 10 seed
Arizona State vs Louisville
Seton Hall vs Virginia Tech
Florida State vs Providence
Miami vs Florida
8 seed vs 9 seed
Creighton vs Alabama
Texas A&M vs Houston
Arkansas vs Butler
Missouri vs TCU
First Four Out
Syracuse
Boise State
Baylor
Washington
Next Four Out
Nebraska
Marquette
W. Kentucky
Maryland
Also Considered
BYU
Oregon
Utah
Notre Dame
Boston College
Mississippi St
Temple
Penn State
Georgia

Big XII Prospecting

I mentioned yesterday that I didn’t foresee great things for the Big XII come March. It’s the most competitive and deepest league but there isn’t a team I see as a legit title contender. 

8 of the 10 teams are in the KenPom top 50. Oklahoma State and Iowa State are outside the top 50 (75th and 96th respectively) but are a tough game if you aren’t at the top of your game. The highest rated team is still Texas Tech. The best team is still probably Kansas from a talent standpoint but they’re a maddening team.

Offensively Challenged
Texas Tech is 69th in offensive efficiency and there are questions about the availability of Keenan Evans who was injured against Baylor on Saturday. A tremendous defensive unit, when they lose in March, it’ll probably be a poor offensive performance that’s the culprit.

Texas is hanging around the bubble thanks to a defense that is 5th in defensive efficiency. The offense doesn’t match up. It’s 108th. They do have a special player in Mo Bamba but I doubt his game can carry them. If you think there can be another South Carolina like-run this year, Texas might be your team. I’d put those chances at 2%.

Baylor is 66th in offensive efficiency and turns the ball over way too much. They’re a mediocre shooting team as well. They rebound well on offense, that’s about it.

Defensively Challenged
Kansas State isn’t terrible on defense but it doesn’t profile as anything other than opening round fodder. They shoot well enough that they could steal a game.

Oklahoma has fallen apart. Defensively, they’ve been dropping like an anchor. Offensively, they rely too much on Trae Young. And Young has hit the wall. They let a weak offensive squad in Texas score at will on Saturday. Oklahoma is donezo.

The Inconsistent Two
West Virginia and Kansas are second weekend squads just as likely to lose the opening weekend. West Virginia is 13th in KenPom and they play a style most teams won’t see through the course of the season but I still think it wears them down as well. They foul like crazy and give up a lot of second opportunities but teams still don’t always shoot well against them. They also force a ton of turnovers but if you protect the ball against them, you’ll be able to score a lot. They have an efficient offense but are prone to bad shooting nights/droughts. A great rebounding team, they also protect the ball as good as anyone. 

Kansas is 11th in KenPom. 15th in offensive efficiency and 32nd in defensive efficiency, this is a maddening team. Some of their conference wins leave you scratching your heads asking how the hell did they win that one. That doesn’t strike me as a great recipe for March. Now, they are talented enough that if things click, they can make a Final 4. They’re a poor rebounding team but are a very good shooting team. I feel like Udoka Azubuike is always in foul trouble but the numbers don’t really show that. They also don’t foul much as a team. They’re confounding to me.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

It’s a Top 10

10. Texas Tech- A loss at Baylor isn’t concerning to me. Baylor is pretty good. It does highlight one problem in the league, while deep, there’s no legit title contender. Kansas is uber-talented but wildly inconsistent. The league is the best league but March could be a bust. If it is, don’t be so simplistic and blast the league. The Big 14 isn’t very good but they could have the national champion. It won’t change the truth about how good the league is this year.

9. Xavier- Villanova has been absolute thorn in their side since joining the Big East. The loss exposed why they’ll be susceptible to an early March exit, they are not a good defensive team. They’ll be a lot of pressure on the senior back court to carry this team.

8. Arizona- They should win out in league play. The win at Arizona State in that atmosphere was impressive. Like Duke, this is probably a projection ranking based still on potential. 

7. Duke- No Bagley as they head to Clemson today. I’ll be curious to see how Clemson plays offensively. If they’re scoring effortlessly or even simply getting great looks over and over, that’ll be a bad look for Duke.

6. North Carolina- Have won 5 straight and had a real impressive win at Louisville last night. Weird to think of the defending champs as a dark horse heading into March. 

5. Gonzaga- They will be the most underseeded team there is next month.

4. Purdue- The offense has gone stale. Wisconsin is not a good offensive team and the Kohl Center has not been an advantage this year for them. The Big 14 regular season ends next Sunday!

3. Virginia- The Bennett family belongs in GITMO.

2. Michigan State- They held Northwestern to 11 second half points in one of the dumbest games of the year. Northwestern scored 49 points in the first half and proceeded to miss 17 straight shots in the 2nd half. The game was played at Rosemount as NU is undergoing renovations. It was pro-Sparty and Tom Izzo commented afterwards about the culture has to change among the fans as well at Northwestern. Talk about tone deaf and more reason to hope for abject failure for this program.

1. Villanova- Someone has to be 1

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Virginia (ACC) vs Gramb(SWAC)/Savanah(MEAC)
Villanova vs Penn (Ivy)/Nichols St(Sland)
Auburn (SEC) vs Wagner (NEC)
Villanova vs FGCU (Asun)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Duke vs UNCAshville (Bsouth)
Kansas vs Montana (Bsky)
Texas Tech (B12) vs Bucknell (Pat)
Michigan State (B1G) vs UCSB (Bwest)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Purdue vs N.Kentucky (Hor)
Cincinnati (AAC) vs Rider (MAAC)
North Carolina vs Charleston (Col)
Tennessee vs Belmont (OVC)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Clemson vs ETSU (SoCon)
Ohio State vs South Dakota St (Summit)
Arizona (Pac12) vs Vermont (Aeast)
West Virginia vs Louisiana (Sbelt)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Rhode Island (A10) vs Loyola (Mvalley)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs Buffalo (MAC)
Oklahoma vs Texas/NC State
Wichita State vs Nebraska/Kansas State
6 seed vs 11 seed
Michigan vs New Mexico St (WAC)
Miami vs UCLA
Florida State vs Middle Tenn (Cusa)
Creighton vs USC
7 seed vs 10 seed
Nevada (Mwest) vs Virginia Tech
Texas A&M vs Houston
Arizona State vs Providence
St. Mary's vs Arkansas
8 seed vs 9 seed
Missouri vs TCU
Seton Hall vs Alabama
Florida vs Louisville
Kentucky vs Butler
First Four Out
W. Kentucky
St. Bonaventure
Boise State
Maryland
Next Four Out
Oklahoma State
Marquette
Washington
Penn State
Also Considered
Baylor
Syracuse
BYU
Oregon
Utah
Notre Dame
Boston College
Mississippi St
Temple

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday Notes

Last Night Game Recap:

Providence 76, Villanova 71
Villanova losses another game and no longer seems like a lock for a one seed.  I still think they hang as the last #1 but Auburn is quickly closing in right now

Last Night Bracket Movements:

Boise State and Syracuse fall out of the bracket.  North Carolina State and Nebraska replace them at the 12 seed.
Kentucky and Florida drop to 8 seeds after losses.  Florida State jumps up after upsetting Clemson
SMU is no longer considered.

Today’s Game of the Night:


Arizona vs Arizona State
The battle in the desert should give some clarity to the pecking order in the Pac 14

Today’s Bubble Games:

Temple (NF) vs Wichita State (5)
Cincinnati (2) vs Houston (10)
Utah (AC) vs Washington (FF)
Oregon (AC) vs USC (11)

Oregon State (-) vs UCLA (11)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday Notes

Last Night Game Recap:

Texas Tech 88, Oklahoma 78
Oklahoma drops another game as Texas Tech continues their march towards a #1 seed. Oklahoma, who was a 1 seed a couple weeks ago is now probably a 5 or 6.

Last Night Bracket Movements:

Butler drops a seed after being upset by Georgetown
Missouri switches spots with Texas A&M after beating them

Today’s Game of the Night:


Kentucky vs Auburn
Kentucky’s fall is similar to Oklahoma’s.  This is a huge game for them to right their ship.  I hope somehow both teams lose

Today’s Bubble Games:

Kansas State (2) vs Oklahoma State (NF)
North Carolina State (FF) vs Syracuse (12)

Nevada (7) vs Boise State (12)

Nevada Wolfpack

Inside the top 20 of KenPom at 19 is Nevada from the Mountain West. Coach Eric Musselman has been building towards this since he got there and this is a team that can make some noise next month.

Nevada is an efficient offensive team, 12th best in the nation. They have an effective fg% of 54.8, 35th best. This is built largely by shooting 39.6% from 3 and get 35% of their scoring from 3. They’re a high volume shooting team from 3. They’ve basically adopted an NBA style. They get to the line a lot as well and make their free throws. On top of that, they’re very stingy protecting the ball. The Wolfpack has a TO% of 14.6%, 5th best in the nation. They’re a weak rebounding team on the offensive glass but they make up for that with how efficient they are.

They’re a middling defensive team, checking in at 100 in defensive efficiency. Teams don’t shoot well from 3 against them, part luck and opponents, but worth noting as they enter March. The rest of their numbers scream average.

Brian has them on the 8/9 line. They’d be a tempting second round upset choice should they draw someone like Cincinnati or Xavier or Texas Tech in those scenarios. As we know, the Mountain West is a shell of itself but it has gotten better. Nevada also owns a win over Rhode Island who has been hovering near the top 4 seed-line.

There is a large concern for Nevada and that’s the health of their best player, Caleb Martin. Martin was thought lost for an indefinite amount of time with a lisfranc injury but was back against San Diego State this past Saturday. Without him, Nevada probably isn’t a real threat. That said, 6’7” F Jordan Caroline is a dude. The forward averages 17 and 9 a game. They also get significant contributions from junior Cody Martin (Caleb’s twin brother) and Purdue transfer, SR. Kendall Stephens.

They travel to Boise tonight and since I wrote about them, they’ll probably lose but this is a legit team. This is a team no one will want to potentially see in the round of 32. If Caleb Martin is healthy, Nevada will be capable of breaking some hearts and brackets next month. 




Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday Notes

Last Night Game Recap:

Baylor 74, Texas 73, 2OT
Texas is slowly sliding down the bracket and is currently right on the 11/12 seed line.  They may not be on the of the last 4 in but they are probably 5 or 6 at this point.  Not much room for error now.  Baylor, with wins against Kansas and Texas in the past 3 days are on the Also Considered list now

Last Night Bracket Movements:

We mentioned Texas already; other than that there wasn’t much on “Big” Monday.

Today’s Game of the Night:


Oklahoma at Texas Tech
Another Big 12 big game. Texas Tech has been slowly moving towards a 1 seed while Oklahoma, who was a 1 seed for a while, is slowly moving away from one.  They are currently a 4.

Today’s Bubble Games:

Arkansas (10) vs Mississippi (-)
Maryland (NF) vs Nebraska (FF)
St. Bonaventure (FF) vs LaSalle (-)

LSA (-) vs Alabama (9)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Virginia (ACC) vs Gramb(SWAC)/Savanah(MEAC)
Purdue (B1G) vs Penn (Ivy)/Nichols St(Sland)
Xavier (Beast) vs Wagner (NEC)
Purdue (B1G) vs FGCU (Asun)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Auburn (SEC) vs UNCAshville (Bsouth)
Cincinnati (AAC) vs Montana (Bsky)
Duke vs Bucknell (Pat)
Kansas vs UCSB (Bwest)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Texas Tech (B12) vs N.Kentucky (Hor)
Michigan State vs Rider (MAAC)
Clemson vs Charleston (Col)
North Carolina vs Belmont (OVC)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Ohio State vs ETSU (SoCon)
Tennessee vs South Dakota St (Summit)
Oklahoma vs Vermont (Aeast)
Arizona (Pac12) vs Louisiana (Sbelt)
5 seed vs 12 seed
West Virginia vs Loyola (Mvalley)
Rhode Island (A10) vs Buffalo (MAC)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs UCLA/Boise State
Wichita State vs Syracuse/Kansas State
6 seed vs 11 seed
Michigan vs New Mexico St (WAC)
Arizona State vs USC
Florida vs Middle Tenn (Cusa)
Miami vs Houston
7 seed vs 10 seed
St. Mary's vs Texas
Kentucky vs Virginia Tech
Creighton vs Providence
Texas A&M vs Arkansas
8 seed vs 9 seed
Nevada (Mwest) vs Alabama
Seton Hall vs TCU
Florida State vs Louisville
Butler vs Missouri
First Four Out
Nebraska
North Carolina State
W. Kentucky
St. Bonaventure
Next Four Out
Oklahoma State
Maryland
Marquette
Washington
Also Considered
Baylor
SMU
BYU
Oregon
Colorado
Utah
Temple
Notre Dame
Boston College
Mississippi St
Penn State

Mid-February Numerology

Forget the committee’s mock from yesterday. Let’s see where we sit in mid-February by some numbers.

The Contenders
3 teams have top 20 offense and defenses. They are Purdue (3rd o, 13th d), Michigan State (10th o, 9th d) & Gonzaga (9th o, 19th d).

Gonzaga might be the surprise but given their continued consistency through the years it shouldn’t be. Their schedule is certainly conducive to achieving these kind of numbers. Outside St. Mary’s, the WCC just isn’t very good. At the same time, I think we can say something similar about Michigan State and Purdue benefitting from a down Big 14.

Still, all 3 teams would be good bets come March. Echoing what Brian said yesterday, this is a crazy year. Tread carefully.

The Offenses
Villanova and Duke have crazy good offenses coupled with so-so defenses. Villanova has KenPom era’s most efficient offense. It’s slightly better than Wisconsin of 2015. Duke isn’t far behind and overall, you’d call it one of the beat offenses of the past decade. Both are saddled with the 48th and 79th best defenses. Nova is playing in a hyper-offensive minded league. 6 of the top 32 offensive teams are in the Big East. Duke is a bit more concerning given their recent history. Between the two, Duke is clearly more talented but Nova is probably more likely to overcome a bad offensive night.

3 other top ten offenses catch my attention. St. Mary’s is 4th but have the 110th most efficient defense. They’re also one of the slowest teams in the nation. Someone is going to shoot them out of the gym in March. They’re fool’s gold. TCU is 5th but 130th in defense. There’s a lot of reasons to doubt the Horned Frogs (Still, they’re a program on the rise). Xavier is 7th but 58th in defense. I don’t think they’ll end up a 1-seed by time we get to selection Sunday but they’d be a very shaky 1-seed. My guess is, they’ll be a shaky 2-seed.

The Defenses
Virginia is the most efficient defensive team in the nation and while the national media gushes over their alleged explosiveness this year, the truth is, they’re 45th in offensive efficiency. That’s not terrible but if they have to outscore someone, I wouldn’t count on it. 

Cincinnati and Texas Tech are 2nd and 3rd respectively. Both have a chance at Sweet 16 runs. Cincinnati may steal a 1-seed if they run the table. Like Virginia, both are slow teams with offensives ranking 51st and 61st respectively. Both will be sucestiple to teams that shoot well/have a hot night.

If we’re looking for a South Carolina this year, keep an eye on Alabama. Bama is 10th in defensive efficiency but 100th in offensive efficiency. South Carolina finished 3rd in defensive efficiency and 91st in offensive efficiency last year. That, of course, was a historical outlier.

Interestingly, New Mexico State (22-3) is 7th in defensive efficiency. Keep an eye on their matchup should they make the dance. A weak offensive team could be ripe for the Aggies to upset.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

By The Way....

As a bracketologist do I continue to put out my top 4 seeds or just input what the committee has right now and adjust from there?  On one hand I feel like it's just out there and I should jump on it but on the other hand it feels like cheating.

Also, I'm smarter than them so there's that.....

Weekend Notes

All 4 of my last 4 out lost this weekend.
3 of my last 4 in lost this weekend
2 of my 4 11 seeds lost this weekend
All 4 10 seeds won this weekend

Quite the mess at the bottom of the bracket

At the top of the bracket...

2 of my 1 seeds lost
2 of my 3 seeds lost
3 of my 6 seeds lost
All 4 of my 7 seeds won

Every year we talk about "this year being crazy".   Well...this year looks like it's going to be crazy.

Bracketology tomorrow!

Snowy Sunday Top 10

10. Ohio State- Great win at Purdue. Chris Holtmann is probably the national coach of the year.

9. North Carolina- I put the Tar Heels here in place of Duke. Duke probably has a higher ceiling but the Blie Devils in-game inconsistency is too much for me too overlook. Carolina will be an interesting team in March. They have the pieces.

8. Auburn- Lost at home by 1 to a suddenly frisky Texas A&M team. Home game against Kentucky on Wednesday against a desperate team will be a good test. 

7.  Texas Tech- The Red Raiders now hold a one game lead over Kansas in the Big XII. Of all the schools to possibly end the Kansas stranglehold of the league, raise your hand if you thought TTU would be the one to end it. They have a win in hand at KU and are on a 6-game winning streak.

6. Gonzaga- The Zags went into St. Mary’s last night and handled the Gaels with ease. They did so playing a Gaels like game with 62 possessions. By the numbers, the Zags have a Final 4 look. 

5. Xavier- They went to Omaha and held off a frisky Creighton team despite an off-day from Trevon Blueitt. X is getting positive minutes from their youth. The defense is still a concern and they’ve been a lucky squad. They’ll definitely be a potential early upset candidate.

4. Purdue- Defense took a bit of a vacation this week and it cost them two games. They have a soft schedule coming in. Barring any kind of major upset, they won’t lose again until the Big 14 tournament starts in ONLY TWO WEEKS.

3. Virginia- Virginia losing at home, a thing of beauty.

2. Michigan State- Another Big 14 team with a soft schedule to end the year. Shouldn’t lose again until the Big 14 tournament that starts in ONLY TWO WEEKS.

1. Villanova- I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt having been down two key contributors against St. John’s. Still, they’re 48th in defensive efficiency. Like I said a few weeks back, they’re eerily similar to the 2015 Badgers team. That’s not a bad thing, obviously, but if the offense disappears, can the defense win one game?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Virginia (ACC) vs Ark-PB(SWAC)/Savanah(MEAC)
Villanova (Beast) vs Penn (Ivy)/Nichols St(Sland)
Purdue (B1G) vs Wagner (NEC)
Xavier vs FGCU (Asun)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Michigan State vs UNCAshville (Bsouth)
Clemson vs Montana (Bsky)
Auburn (SEC) vs Bucknell (Pat)
Cincinnati (AAC) vs UCSB (Bwest)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Duke vs Wright St (Horizon)
Kansas (B12) vs Rider (MAAC)
Texas Tech vs Charleston (Col)
Tennessee vs Belmont (OVC)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Ohio State vs ETSU (SoCon)
North Carolina vs South Dakota St (Summit)
Gonzaga vs Vermont (Aeast)
West Virginia vs Louisiana (Sbelt)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Oklahoma vs Loyola (Mvalley)
Miami vs New Mexico St (WAC)
Rhode Island (A10) vs Kansas St/Maryland
Arizona (Pac12) vs UCLA/Boise St
6 seed vs 11 seed
St. Mary's (WCC) vs Virginia Tech
Wichita State vs USC
Kentucky vs Buffalo (MAC)
Creighton vs Houston
7 seed vs 10 seed
Michigan vs Arkansas
Arizona State vs TCU
Florida vs Louisville
Seton Hall vs Alabama
8 seed vs 9 seed
Nevada (Mwest) vs Middle Tenn (Cusa)
Florida State vs Texas
Butler vs Providence
Texas A&M vs Missouri
First Four Out
Marquette
Washington
North Carolina State
SMU
Next Four Out
W. Kentucky
St. Bonaventure
Nebraska
Syracuse
Also Considered
South Carolina
Notre Dame
BYU
Oregon
Colorado
Utah
Temple
Oklahoma State
Boston College
Mississippi St
Penn State
Maryland