Selection Sunday Initial Thoughts…

Posted by rtmsf on March 14th, 2010

Here we go…  the brackets are out and we’ve had a little while to ferment, soak up, contemplate, and deliberate the beautiful symmetrical configuration of lines,  letters and numbers that makes our hearts skip a few extra beats each spring.  We’ll be analyzing the heck out of this thing all week long, but for now, here are some immediate post-reveal thoughts.

  • No problem with Duke as a #1 seed over Ohio State and West Virginia, but what we can’t understand is how the Devils drew #2 Villanova in their region, while overall #1 Kansas drew Big Ten regular season and tournament champion #2 Ohio State in theirs.  With Evan Turner out of the lineup, OSU lost three games; so what we’re looking at is a Buckeye team that would have likely been a #1 themselves without his injury.  Meanwhile, Villanova limps into the Tournament having lost five of their last seven games.
  • To that end, the Midwest Region is by far the toughest draw for a #1 seed.  KU will have to face last year’s national runner-up #5 Michigan State or surging #4 Maryland in the Sweet Sixteen, and #2 Ohio State or #3 Georgetown in the Elite Eight.  It wouldn’t shock us in any way if any of those other four teams made it to the Final Four.  No other region is as loaded.
  • The next toughest region is the East Region.  It doesn’t have the quality of depth that the Midwest has, but it has several dangerous teams that could give #1 Kentucky a lot of problems at each step of the way.  #8 Texas in the second round has the talent; can they play together?  #4 Wisconsin and #5 Temple are teams that play a style that doesn’t lend itself well to freshman mistakes.  And certainly #2 West Virginia is capable of a run, although we have issues with Bob Huggins’ history as a successful tournament coach (as in, he isn’t).
  • The most wide-open region is the South Region.  Does anyone believe in #1 Duke for the Final Four?  #2 Villanova, #3 Baylor and #5 Texas A&M are all interesting in this region.  It seems like any of those four teams could put together a run here.  We omit #4 Purdue because we just can’t get behind this team without Robbie Hummel.
  • We always like to see which teams might have a home crowd along the way and a few jumped right out at us.  In the first two rounds, #1 Syracuse plays in Buffalo (2.5 hours away) and both #1 Kansas and #2 Kansas State play in Oklahoma City (5-6 hours), while #11 Minnesota gets a bit of home-region advantage over #6 Xavier by virtue of playing in Milwaukee (5-6 hours).  The biggest possible advantages, though, come in the regionals.  Look at #7 BYU — if the Cougars can get past #10 Florida and #2 Kansas State in OKC (no small feat), then they will get to play in Salt Lake City, a mere 45 miles from their campus.  How do you think #3 Pittsburgh and #1 Syracuse would feel about that setup?  The other potential big regional advantages belong to #3 Baylor and #5 Texas A&M in the South Region.  If either or both can make it to Reliant Stadium for the regional, they’ll be within a 2-4-hour driving distance from their campuses.  #1 Duke and #2 Villanova should be on guard — those are road games.
  • The #4 seeds this year are surprisingly weak at first blush.  Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Purdue and Maryland aren’t a strong group.  Maryland is the strongest of the four, but the other three really bring this seed line down quite a bit.  There are three good options for a #5/#12 upset this year — Cornell over Temple, anyone, in a battle of Ivy League coaches (Dunphy vs. Donahue)?   UTEP over Butler in a contest of regular season champs who combined to go 37-2 in their respective leagues?  Utah State over Texas A&M?
  • We know that western basketball is lacking in quality this year, but keep a particular eye on situations where left coast teams have to fly cross-country to play, especially if it’s an early game on Thursday/Friday.  #10 St. Mary’s going to Providence to face #7 Richmond is one such example, as the Gaels will tip it off before noon pacific time.  #11 San Diego State and #8 California must also fly all the way across the nation, but at least they both have late tip times.  We would include #8 Gonzaga’s trip to Buffalo, but the Zags are much more accustomed to traveling all over the place than the others are.
  • Here’s the four first round games we’re most excited about:
    • #5 Butler vs. #12 UTEP
    • #7 Richmond vs. #10 St. Mary’s
    • #6 Marquette vs. #11 Washington
    • #4 Maryland vs. #13 Houston
  • And the best potential second round matchups:
    • #4 Maryland vs. #5 Michigan State
    • #1 Duke vs. #9 Louisville
    • #1 Kentucky vs. #8 Texas
    • #3 Georgetown vs. #6 Tennessee
  • Sweet Sixteen:
    • #1 Kansas vs. #5 Michigan State
    • #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Georgetown
  • Elite Eight:
    • #1 Kansas vs. #3 Georgetown
    • #1 Duke vs. #3 Baylor
  • Games where we don’t have a clue what’s going to happen, so if you do, let us know:
    • #8 UNLV vs. #9 Northern Iowa
    • #7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Georgia Tech
    • #6 Xavier vs. #11 Minnesota
    • #6 Notre Dame vs. #11 Old Dominion
    • #7 Clemson vs. #10 Missouri
  • We’ll have more soon with our region-by-region analysis in the next few hours.  Check back soon…
rtmsf (3775 Posts)


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One Response to “Selection Sunday Initial Thoughts…”

  1. Andrew says:

    One thing I thought was weird about this, WVU was ostensibly the only other team in consideration for the #1 seed, but looking at the s-curve, they were no higher than the 2nd #2 seed, with even Villanova getting dropped in the Duke region while the ‘eers have Kentucky at the other end of their bracket.

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