Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Tournament Time, Breaking down the Regions and top games

Here's our picks for the Second Session on Thursday:
(11) Washington vs. (6) Marquette – Great guard play and tournament experience should be the difference in this one. Washington should be a favorite in this game and could be the best 11 seed in the recent memory. Washington
(9) Northern Iowa vs. (8) UNLV – Mark my words that this game will be tight throughout. Don’t be surprised if neither team has a lead in this game by more that 6 points. It’s a toss-up but we like the Rebels.
(14) Montana vs. (3) New Mexico – We finally get a chance to see if New Mexico is worthy of a number 3 seed or if they’re fool’s gold. I am in the camp that they’re for real and it will begin tonight against Montana.

(11) San Diego State vs. (6) Tennessee – I’m not sure what Tennessee team will show up, if we get the team with the Orange Crush Defense then SDState is in a bit of trouble but conversely if the Vols get out to a slow start then the Techs’ will stay in this one but take Tennessee.

(14) Ohio vs. (3) Georgetown – Gtown has looked down the stretch although the lost the Big East final. As good as a #3 as you’ll see, this will be tight early but the Hoyas will pull away.

(9) Wake Forest vs. (8) Texas - Teams that are on a roll going into the dance tend to stay on a roll, conversely, teams that limp in or back in seem to go out early. The truth is weather someone figured these guys out and gave everyone the blueprint or they just have lost their legs late in the season, they have not looked good for a while. Take the Decons
(11) Washington vs. (6) Marquette – Great guard play and tournament experience should be the difference in this one. Washington should be a favorite in this game and could be the best 11 seed in the recent memory. Washington
(9) Northern Iowa vs. (8) UNLV – Mark my words that this game will be tight throughout. Don’t be surprised if neither team has a lead in this game by more that 6 points. It’s a toss-up but we like the Rebels
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Ok, enough of the analysis, and quantitative banter let’s get to the first round picks:
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Robert Morris – The breaking news is that the starting back court for Nova’ of Reynolds and Fisher will not start in this game due to a coaches decision. It should make it much closer if you’re playing the line but other than that look for the Cats to move on.
(10) Florida vs. (7) Brigham Young – This is going to be a great game if the Gators can’t control the BYU back court scoring then look for the upset, but we like the athletes of Florida to move on. I guess this is the first upset of the dance, but you can’t really call it one.
(11) Old Dominion vs. (6) Notre Dame – This could be the best matchup of the first round. Any time you see a 6 seed that is only favorite by 3.5 that’s a red flag for your brackets. ND come is on a nice roll and they have Big East pedigree but don’t under estimate OD. That said, we like the IRISH in this one.
(13) Murray State vs. (4) Vanderbilt – This game will be closer than think illustrated by the small 3 point line for a 4/13 matchup. Ok, Vandy has UK, Georgia, South Carolina, and Miss St. play a similar game to Murray so don’t be surprised if they win this, but we like Vandy.
(1)Kansas vs. (16) Lehigh – No upsets the first time a 16 wins over a 1 isn’t gonna’ happen here. No stats necessary KU rolls as their journey of 1000 miles begins with this step.
(15) North Texas vs. (2) Kansas State – KState is one of those tournament teams that you just don’t know how they’re going to do playing on neutral court because of how big their home court advantage helped them during the regular season but don’t look for that make that big of a difference in this game. We like Kansas St.
(12) UTEP vs. (5) Butler – The first of the notorious ‘5-12 death games’ and it should be all of that and more. Butler has been in the top 25 most of the year, even scratching the top 10, while UTEP has battled for respect. This is another game illustrating the parity of this year’s tournament as it’s only a 2-point line. For a 5/12 are you kidding me? Just the same we think the difference in this one will be Butler’s experience and expect them to take control down the stretch.
Regional Breakdown:
South Regional - The Blue Devils enter the South Regional as the No. 1 seed for the tournament and Duke is the favorite to advance to the Final Four out of this bracket, which will conclude in Houston, Texas. Oddsmakers have made Duke a 1/1 favorite to win the South Regional. Other short odds to win are Villanova (3/1), Baylor (6/1), and Purdue (15/1). Duke is ranked No. 4 in the nation with a 29-5 record. The Blue Devils won both the ACC regular season and tournament titles. Duke holds five wins over ranked opponents this year. The Blue Devils have reached 14 Final Fours in program history, the last coming in 2004. Duke will face the winner of the Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Winthrop winner, which will take place on Tuesday. Villanova is the No. 2 seed in this regional. The Wildcats are 24-7 this year and they will face No. 15 Robert Morris in the opening game. Villanova has won reach four Final Fours, the last of which came last season. The Wildcats have lost five of their last seven games entering the tournament. Baylor is the No. 3 seed in the tournament with a 25-7 record. The Bears will face No. 14 Sam Houston State in their opener. Baylor has reached two Final Fours, the last came in 1950. Prior to losing to Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals, the Bears had won five straight and eight of their last nine. Purdue will be the No. 4 seed in the South Regional. The Boilermakers will face No. 13 Siena in the tournament opener. Purdue has reached two Final Fours, the last of which came in 1980. Purdue has a 27-5 record this season, but the Boilermakers lost one of their top players, Robbie Hummel, with a knee injury in the last month. Purdue has since lost two of their last five games.

East Regional
- The Wildcats enter the East Regional as the No. 1 seed for the tournament and thus are the favorites to advance to the Final Four out of this bracket, which will conclude in Syracuse, New York. Oddsmakers have made Kentucky a 5/4 favorite to win the East Regional. Other short odds to win are West Virginia (2/1), Wisconsin (10/1), and New Mexico (15/1). The Wildcats are 32-2 overall and are ranked No. 2 in the country. Kentucky won the SEC regular season and tournament titles this season. Kentucky holds seven wins over ranked opponents as well. Kentucky will face East Tennessee State in its opening game. Kentucky has reached 13 Final Four’s in school history with the last coming in 1998. West Virginia has reached one Final Four, which came in 1959. The Mountaineers are 27-6 overall and 13-5 in the Big East. WVU is the No. 2 seed in the East after winning the Big East Tournament Championship. WVU will face No. 15 Morgan State in its opening game. Wisconsin is the No. 4 seed in the East and will face No. 13 Wofford. The Badgers have reached two Final Fours in history, the last of which came in 2000. Wisconsin is 23-8 on the season and were 13-5 in the Big Ten. The Badgers lost their Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal to Illinois, 58-54. New Mexico is the No. 3 seed in the East and the Lobos will face No. 14 Montana to open the tournament. New Mexico is 29-4 overall and was 14-2 in the Mountain West under coach Steve Alford. The Lobos had a 15-game winning streak snapped by San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament semifinals on Friday.



Midwest Regional - Obviously the books have Kansas as a 4/5 favorite to win the this one, but other short odds to win are Ohio State (7/2), Georgetown (6/1), and Michigan State (10/1). Kansas has No. 1 ranking in the polls and their 32-2 overall record. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament titles and they have seven wins over ranked opponents this season. Kansas has reached 13 Final Fours, with the last coming in 2008 when it won the NCAA Championship. The Jayhawks will face 16th-seeded Lehigh in the opening game of the tournament. Ohio State is the No. 2 seed in this region with a 27-7 record and Big Ten tournament and regular season titles. The Buckeyes have reached 10 Final Fours with the last coming in 2007, where the Buckeyes lost to Florida in the national championship. The Buckeyes will face No. 15 UC- Santa Barbara in the opening round. The Georgetown Hoyas are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest. The Hoyas are 23-10 overall and reached the Big East Tournament finals. Georgetown has reached five Final Fours, with the last coming in 2007. The Hoyas will face No. 14 Ohio in the opening round of the tournament. Michigan State is the No. 5 seed in the region with a 24-8 record. The Spartans were bounced in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament by Minnesota. The Spartans have reached seven Final Fours, five of which have come under current coach Tom Izzo. MSU lost to North Carolina in last year’s national championship game. MSU will face No. 12 New Mexico State in its opening game.

West Regional - What they're doing way out here to begin after losing in the first round of the BET is another story but the Orange are the No. 1 seed in this regional which will conclude in Salt Lake City, Utah, far from where Syracuse is stationed. The numbers on Cuse’ are 7/4 to win the region. Other short odds to win are Kansas State (3/1), Pittsburgh (8/1), and Butler (10/1). The Orange are ranked No. 3 overall in the country with a 28-4 record. The Orange won the Big East regular season championship, but lost their last two games of the season, including the Big East Tournament quarterfinal game with Georgetown. Syracuse has seven wins over ranked opponents this season. Syracuse has reached four Final Fours in school history, the last of which came in 2003, when the Orange won the national title. The Orange will face Vermont in the tournament opener. Kansas State is the No. 2 seed in this region and will face North Texas in the opener. The Wildcats are 26-7 on the season and have been to four Final Fours in school history, the last of which was in 1964. Kansas State has lost three of its last five games, but two of the losses came against top-ranked Kansas. Pittsburgh is the No. 3 seed in this region and will face Oakland in its opener. The Panthers are 24-8 on the season and are coming off a 50-45 loss to Notre Dame. Prior to that loss, Pitt had won eight of its last nine. The Panthers have been to one Final Four in school history, which came in 1941. Butler is the No. 5 seed in this region and will face UTEP to open the tournament. Butler has never reached a Final Four, but has been to the Sweet Sixteen three times, the last of which was in 2007. The Bulldogs are 28-4 this season with one win over a ranked opponent, as they defeated Ohio State, 74-66. Butler has won its last 20 games of the season.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Duke totally got off easy. Even Jay Bilas will admit it:

"West Virginia has won more games against the top competition than has Duke, and they had a better road record than Duke. That doesn’t mean they should’ve knocked Duke out of there but at worst they should have been the top Number 2 seed. And I think one of the things, part of that might have more to do with bracketing procedures than anything else.” -- Link

Smacchat said...

I think we're in your camp as well. Some explain to me how they get the "play-in" draw? Furthermore, West Virginia wins the Big East, the toughest conference in the nation and meets all of the components of a top seed, RPI, SOS, Last 10 Games etc. We agree that WV should have been the 1 and Duke the 2.