The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

NCAA Tournament: Round 1 review

Wow…Let’s look at what we know after today.

  • Duke’s chances of winning the tournament are decreased quite a bit. Each of the last ten national champions have won their first round game by double-digits. Champions don’t struggle in the opening round, which means Tennessee and Xavier probably won’t win either.
  • Connecticut and Vanderbilt definitely will not be winning the tournament.  (For the record, I said San Diego would be the team most likely to get a big upset.)
  • 1-seeds are better than 16-seeds.
  • A 12-seed beats a 5-seed in the first round every year. (The first round last year never happened.)
  • Brackets are pretty tough to pick accurately.
  • Stephen Curry is pretty good.
  • The next round should be great!

[I had some Internet problems the last couple days, which is why I didn’t have any posts before now.  I don’t promise anything except that I’ll post when I can.]

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March 21, 2008 Posted by | ACC, Basketball, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, MVC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tournament Breakdown: Part 1

I’ll look at one part of the bracket today. I’ll do another part tonight and the other half tomorrow.

South

Memphis vs. UT-Arlington
I must confess. Because I was busy with high school basketball teams all winter, I have not actually watched Memphis play this year. I’ve seen more of Arlington than I have of Memphis, so I’m not exactly qualified to talk about this game. I do know, however, that Arlington had lost 5 of their last 7 games before their conference tournament and Memphis had lost 1 of their last 31. I do think this is the best chance a 16 has to beat a 1 this year though. The occasional times those games go down to the end, the better team shows their power at the end and pulls away, right? What if, when Memphis starts to pull away, Arlington just puts them on the line every possession and hits a couple big threes?

Mississippi State vs. Oregon
I didn’t think Oregon should be in it; I can’t figure out why Mississippi State isn’t better than they are. Needless to say, I’m picking MSU. Their starting five is about as talented as it gets. Check out their stats. Oregon only had one big conference win–over Stanford. They never beat USC, UCLA, or Washington State. Their non-conference win was over an overrated Kansas State. Explain why they got in. They have a small guard-oriented team that will not match up well against MSU’s size. They’ll need to force a lot of turnovers and hit threes to have a chance.

Michigan State vs. Temple
Michigan State can compete with anyone on the right day (beat Texas, put up 103 on Indiana) but can play terribly on others (lost to Penn State and Iowa). They committed 18 turnovers and shot only 4 free throws against Iowa. I don’t see that happening in the tournament with Tom Izzo as their coach. Temple has gotten hot at the right time, but they’re still not a particularly good team and don’t have the size to defend Michigan State inside.

Pittsburgh vs. Oral Roberts
Oral Roberts is over-seeded here. They aren’t as good as last year’s team that got a 14-seed and lost by 16 to Washington State. However, there are a ton of bad teams at the bottom of this bracket, so I guess the seed is fair. Still, they don’t have much of a chance against Pittsburgh that is finally (mostly) healthy and could make a deep run.

Marquette vs. Kentucky
Remember that Kentucky doesn’t have their best player, Patrick Patterson. Supposedly they’ve played well without him, but they’ve gone 2-2 without him. Both wins were over non-tournament teams. Only three of their wins were over tournament teams. Compare that to Marquette, who has wins at Wisconsin and Villanova and a neutral court win over Notre Dame. They were playing well in the big east tournament until they ran into the Pittsburgh buzzsaw. They only lose to good teams; Kentucky is not one of them.

Stanford vs. Cornell
Even in their losses, Cornell has not been blown out. I don’t know how they play, but they shoot almost 50% from the field and over 40% from behind the three-point line. Stanford is an inside-dominated team with twin seven-footers Robin and Brook Lopez. Judging by stats, Cornell has a team of jump-shooters. This game could come down to whether the game is played on the inside or outside. If Cornell is able to speed the game up and force Stanford to shoot from the outside, they could pull off an upset. I am picking Stanford, however.

Miami vs. St. Mary’s
I haven’t seen Miami play this year. The one time I watched St. Mary’s impressed me even though they lost to San Diego. They play solid defense, forcing almost 8 steals a game. They’re better than you might think. Their only loss to a non-tournament team was at Southern Illinois, which is as tough a place to win as any. Even though I don’t know much about Miami, I’m picking St. Mary’s because I think they’re that good.

Texas vs. Austin Peay
Texas is as good as anyone in the nation. They aren’t a 1-seed only because they’ve lost some bad games. To be fair though, Missouri made an incredible amount of shots to beat them, and Texas Tech shot 43 free throws to beat them. Austin Peay shot very well against Memphis but still lost by 22 because they couldn’t handle Memphis’s talent and athleticism. Don’t expect anything different to happen here.

Second Round

Memphis vs. Mississippi State.
MSU can match Memphis in athleticism, but they turn the ball over far too much and also shoot free throws poorly. If they protect the ball, they can definitely pull off an upset, but I am picking Memphis.

Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh
Pitt’s better…but I’m picking Michigan State. I just like Tom Izzo in the postseason and still think Michigan State can beat anyone in the nation if they play right. Ultimately, I think Pittsburgh’s long run in the Big East tournament will wear them down and cause their loss in this game.

Marquette vs. Stanford
Marquette does not have nearly enough size to handle Stanford. They lost big to Connecticut and lost a close one at home to Georgetown (even though Georgetown had a bad game). If they can force turnovers and get fast break points, they might have a chance, but they are not big enough or good enough at shooting to beat a big team.

St. Mary’s vs. Texas
They played earlier this year. Texas won by 19, despite making only 25% of their threes and 54% from the free-throw line and getting outrebounded by 8. Augustin had 30 points despite making only one three pointer. I don’t see anything different happening this time.

Third Round

Memphis vs. Michigan State
Another game I think Memphis could lose but won’t. I’m ripping the Big Ten here: I don’t believe any team from that conference besides Indiana (with a real coach) can beat an athletic team. Michigan State lost by 19 to the athletic Hoosiers when they still had Sampson as their coach. This game will be closer than that, but Memphis will win fairly easily.

Stanford vs. Texas
Texas is a team that can shoot well enough and get enough fast break points to beat Stanford without competing against their size. It will be competitive, but the game is being played in Houston. Stanford is 2,000 miles away. Texas is 150. That gives Texas an advantage in a fairly even game otherwise.

Regional Championship

Memphis vs. Texas

Texas comes to play in big games. They beat UCLA and Tennessee earlier in the year when both were ranked high and beat Kansas when Kansas was ranked #2. Their loss in the conference championship game wouldn’t have happened if Kansas had shot a normal three-point percentage… Memphis’s early-season wins don’t look as impressive anymore. Oklahoma, USC, Georgetown, Arizona, and Gonzaga have all dropped in the rankings since they played Memphis. They lost at home to the best team they’ve played this year–Tennessee. Oh yeah, the game is played in Texas too. Texas wins and advances to the Final Four.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | ACC, Basketball, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, MWC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tournament Teams and Seeds Predicted

This is more for my vanity than anything. I doubt anyone needs to see predictions a couple hours before the actual brackets come out. I just want to prove that I can pick these just as well as the “experts” and that Joe Lunardi and his bracketology are overhyped. I picked a decent amount more accurately than he did last year and am confidant I could do it every year. Why? Because he follows it the whole season and gets hung up on teams that have good starts. The selection committee waits until the end of the year and looks at the entire season. For example, they’re going to see how Indiana has struggled against bad teams lately and won’t put them as high as a 5-seed. With that said…

1-seeds
#1 North Carolina
#2 UCLA
#3 Memphis
#4 Tennessee

2-seeds
Georgetown
Texas
Wisconsin
Kansas

3-seeds
Stanford
Pittsburgh
Xavier
Duke

4-seeds
Washington State
Louisville
Drake
Vanderbilt

5-seeds
Butler
Clemson
Connecticut
Notre Dame

6-seeds
Marquette
Michigan State
Indiana
Purdue

7-seeds
USC
Oklahoma
West Virginia
Arkansas

8-seeds
BYU
UNLV
Gonzaga
Mississippi State

9-seeds
Texas A&M
Kent State
Davidson
Miami

10-seeds
Kansas State
Saint Mary’s
Arizona
Baylor

11-seeds
South Alabama
Temple
Saint Joseph’s
Kentucky

12-seeds
Illinois State
Villanova
Oral Roberts
Western Kentucky

13-seeds
San Diego
George Mason
Cornell
Georgia

14-seeds
Belmont
Boise State
Austin Peay
Siena

15-seeds
Maryland-Baltimore County
Portland State
Cal State Fullerton
Winthrop

16-seeds
Coppin State vs. Mississippi Valley State (play-in game)
Mount St. Mary’s
Texas Arlington
American

What happens if Illinois or Georgia or both win today? My last two teams in were Arizona State and Villanova. Illinois/Georgia would take either Arizona State’s seed or both their seeds if they win. Illinois would get the higher seed if they both win.

UPDATE: I’ve finalized some picks based on how later games have gone today.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | ACC, Basketball, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, Horizon, MVC, MWC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC, Sports, WAC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who played their way out today?

I expected to be blogging tonight about bubble teams losing and hurting their chances or about small-conference favorites losing and taking away a bubble spot. You know–the things that have been happening all week.

None of that happened today though. Arkansas and St. Joseph’s both won, basically ensuring they’ll be in. Virginia Tech and Temple won, keeping themselves alive. Kent State, Memphis, UNLV, and BYU all won, protecting the bubble.

That’s not to say today was any less exciting. Today was one of the most exciting days of basketball I’ve seen since…March of 2006. Tornadoes screwing up the SEC tournament, close games in all tournaments, great buzzer-beaters…even the Big Ten had exciting games after Wisconsin/Michigan ended.

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March 15, 2008 Posted by | Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, NCAA, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Championship Tournament: Fourth Round

Stop the presses! Half the games in this round were upsets! In other news, I only had four of my elite eight picks correct but got three of my final four picks correct. Ohio State was the only one I missed. The first three games went pretty much like I expected (nevermind that I predicted Oregon on here; no fool actually though they would win), and I had to watch the very end of the exciting game on a miniature tv sitting in the parking lot of my church. And I missed all of overtime because I was inside. Anyway, I know what happened though and have comments… Continue reading

March 25, 2007 Posted by | ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, MVC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Championship Tournament: Second Round

See? I told you this round would be better than the first. However, though it looked great compared to the first round, the second round was only an average round; we can still do better! The lowest seed left is still only UNLV’s seven, and there were still only five upsets (only two weren’t a 5 over 4). I’m sure you’re expecting exciting summaries of all the great games on Saturday, but sadly I only saw one of them. CBS had electrical trouble at their broadcasting tower and went out halfway through the Butler/Maryland game and stayed out the rest of the night. I’m currently looking into a lawsuit for causing me emotional anguish. I did see all the games on Sunday though and have comments. …

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March 19, 2007 Posted by | ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, Horizon, MVC, MWC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment