It’s been a while since my last installment of “Found on Twitter,” so I thought we’d merge two of my favorite things together by mixing twitter with the NCAA Tournament. The following tweets are from Sunday during the Selection Show and will provide a good look at the important storylines in “the Dance.”
Tough at the Top of Each Region
That No. 8-9 for IU is fine. Neither Temple nor NC State guard anyone.
Indiana probably has the easiest potential 1-8 matchup despite NC State returning many players from a team that made the second weekend last year. That speaks just as much to the difficulty of the others (Louisville – Colorado State; Kansas – North Carolina; and Gonzaga – Pittsburgh) than it does to NC State’s comically bad 106 ranking in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
As you may know (at least you darn well should), I’ve been posting all of my bracket updates to one pagelately so as not to waste valuable front page space with constant updates when little changes from day-to-day. That plan had to be temporarily abandoned, though, when I went a whole five days without updating the bracket – especially when two of those days were a weekend.
Below, I’ll lay out the biggest changes in the bracket, teams on the rise, on the decline, teams now in danger, and I’ll discuss the biggest addition to this version of all (and it’s not a team). Enjoy!
The Super Bowl is over a week in our rear-view mirror, so by now, you’ve seen all the bracket projections, conference races, and AP rankings you can handle. But what you really want to know is who’s going to cut down the nets in Atlanta. We’ll count down from 30, and these rankings won’t be which teams are playing the best right now, who’s the hottest, or who has the best resumes.
This a gut-feel list of who we’d bet on to win the National Championship – whether it be talent, coaching, team makeup, or any other reason we feel plays a role. In Part I, we started at 30 and went through 9. In this installment, we’ll give a rundown of our “Elite Eight” and some more in-depth info on those teams.
As January moves into February, you’ll begin hearing proclamations about the NCAA Tournament prospects of various teams. But will every team that’s hot right now make a run through the bracket? Will teams that seem mediocre now end up fighting for bubble spots and not making an impact? I’m here to sort those things out for you.
Happy New Year wishes have finally arrived from “Joey Brackets” in the form of a new Bracketology! You know what that means? I’ll be sharing some of my own thoughts about Mr. Lunardi’s selections right here in bulleted list format.
Duke, Michigan, Arizona, and Louisville are on the top line. How does that old song go? “One of these things is not like the other.” Arizona is undefeated, yes, but they’re ranked just 14th at KenPom – which would make them the lowest-ranking 1-seed since Stanford in 2004. For some of the dorkiest bar-room trivia ever, 2005 Washington (15) and 2004 Texas (10) round out the “medal stand” for this race for the worst 1-seed. I would anticipate either Kansas or Indiana (I still believe) to pass up Arizona.
I would rank the 2-seeds as follows: Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga, Syracuse.
Two SEC teams find themselves on the 3-seed line. The league’s RPI ranks just 8th in the nation, so having its winner as low as 3 is appropriate, but having two teams there seems a bit strong.
There are currently SIX Mountain West teams in Lunardi’s bracket. If that sentence isn’t remarkable enough on its own, consider that the league only has NINE teams. I’m not saying Joe is wrong in his reasoning (the league is 3rd in RPI), but I would bet a sizeable sum on the “under” with that number involved.
The 4-seed line may be the strongest I’ve ever seen it. Uber-talented but yet-to-put-it-all-together teams like Ohio State and NC State combined with sneaky-good teams like Illinois and Notre Dame would mean that a “4” in the Final Four would have a definitely chance of happening.
While the matchups aren’t likely to hold, I hate the UNLV-Bucknell and VCU-Memphis pairings in the Midwest. I realize it’s easier on the committee to do so (bracketing principles, guaranteed to eliminate one “small guy” who doesn’t attract TV ratings), but I hate when mid-majors have to play each other in the Round of 64. UNLV, Bucknell, and VCU are all teams I’d like as sleepers while Memphis could pick off VCU if they ever put half of their talent and athleticism together.
North Carolina as a 10-seed with teams like Wyoming and Temple on the 8-9 lines is something I thought I’d never see. The Heels have a lot less margin for error than many think just to get in the field. Could you imagine UNC in a “First Four” — errr — Play-In Game? I’m still refusing to call it the “First Four” or acknowledge the games in Dayton as the “First Round.” And I never will.
Later today or early tomorrow, I’ll be posting my latest version of “Planting the Seeds” with Bill Riccette so you can see the beginnings of our brackets. They aren’t how we’d do it now – they’re projections of what we think will happen.