Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bracket Analysis

Selection Sunday is always an exciting day for me. The hour long show where the brackets are announced is kind of like Christmas morning. For the past few years it has revolved around Duke's draw and that is where I would like to start.

Beginning in the South I hate the potential 2nd round matchup against Louisville or California. Louisville has a really good team, coach and an inside player (Samardo Samuels) who might foul out Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek and both the Plumlees. California won the Pac 10 regular season title and is ranked 14th in's ratings. In adjusted offensive rankings they are the 3rd best team in the nation. The two teams ahead of them are #1 seeds Duke and Kansas. Duke might be fortunate to make it to the 2nd weekend.

After that if Duke is able to make it to Houston then I think things will be easier than other #1 seeds. I am not too scared of Villanova (despite the beatdown that the Wildcats put on Duke in last year's tournament), Purdue, Texas A&M, Baylor or Notre Dame. However, it is a little bit worrying that they could play Texas A&M and Baylor in Houston. That hardly seems fair. Another thing is for sure is that the teams in the South can score. There is the #1 ranked (Duke), 3rd ranked (Cal), 4th ranked (Notre Dame), 5th ranked (Baylor) and 7th ranked (Villanova) offensive teams. Some analyst might think this region on a total level is week, but don't count me as someone who thinks Duke will have a cake walk to the Final Four.

One thing I dislike about the brackets is when my Final Four *underdogs are placed in the same region as my National Title winner. All along this year I have thought Kansas will win the title and nothing has happened this year that has altered my opinion of that. Now of course they get placed in the Midwest with Ohio St (who were absolutely screwed with their draw), Georgetown and Maryland. Those are some good teams and any of those 3 teams were teams I would think about picking to go to the Final Four....if they weren't matchup up against Kansas. Bad luck with that draw means I will have to look outside those teams for potential Final Four underdogs.

*Underdogs being any seed that isn't a number 1.

I don't think Kentucky is going to get of the East. Call it karma, reversal of luck, or not having the SEC refs to do them any favors, but I think that somebody else is going to make it from that region. Right now I am tossing around the idea of putting Wisconsin, New Mexico, or West Virginia in the Final Four. Regardless of any analysis I do I am not going to pick Kentucky. With UNC out of the tournament (congrats on the NIT draw by the way) I am nominating UK as the team I want most to lose.

In the West I want to pick Kansas St to make the Final Four, but it is hard picking a #2 seed where you are aren't very confident that they will win their 2nd round game against BYU. I know I am quoting this site a lot, but both Kansas St and BYU are ranked 7th and 9th on kenpom. That seems like two high rankings for a 2nd round matchup. There is a lot of confusion on this bracket, which might mean I just stick to chalk and pick Syracuse.

There is time think it over and get over the fact that Mississippi St. didn't make the *field.

*For the record Mississippi St. should have beat Kentucky twice this year. The calls in the first game were all-time bad, but the sequel was also pretty tough to watch. The final free throw in regulation had two huge lane violations that should have been called before Cousins even had a chance to tie the game. It was so frustrating that it took away a lot of the joy I got from watching Duke win the ACC title. It would have been one thing to see State lose and not make the tournament, but to see them lose in such a heartbreaking, unjust way was too much.

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