Big 12 M5: 03.20.13 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on March 20th, 2013

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  1. If you’re still tinkering with your bracket and unsure of which upsets to pick or which #2 or #3 seed to beat a #1, take a look at Nate Silver‘s article here. He gives each team’s probability of advancing to each round. For the most part, higher seeds are given better odds to advance, but not in every case. The #3 seed in the South Region, Florida, has the best odds in that region to make the Final Four at 37.1%. #4 seed Michigan (12.8%) has a better shot to reach Atlanta than #2 seed Georgetown (6.9%). Not surprisingly, Indiana and Louisville are the Tournament’s biggest favorites. Both teams have better than 50% chances to reach the Final Four.
  2. Seth Davis thinks the Kansas Jayhawks have the easiest path to the Final Four of any of the #1 seeds. It’s also nice to see Davis agree with me that while #5 seed VCU is the sexy pick to beat Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen, they won’t be able to knock off #4 seed Michigan in the Round of 32. The Rams thrive on turning teams over and getting easy buckets. Kansas turns the ball over on 19% of its possessions, a prime candidate for a VCU upset; but Michigan leads the nation with just a little over a 14% turnover rate. VCU won’t be able to turn Michigan over enough times to maintain a lead, and Wolverines guard Trey Burke will lead his team to the Sweet Sixteen.
  3. Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com talks about teams and players facing pressure in the NCAA Tournament, and he thinks Oklahoma State freshman guard Marcus Smart has plenty of pressure on him (4 out of 5) this weekend and possibly beyond. Smart is the reason the Cowboys earned a #5 seed and will be the driver if they advance to the second weekend. But as Medcalf points out, a bad or even average game from Smart against #12 seed Oregon could have Oklahoma State heading home after one game. Medcalf says Kansas’ Ben McLemore (3 out of 5 on his scale) also faces considerable pressure in this Tournament, and rightly so. Not as much as Smart, he thinks, but it’s hard to see the Jayhawks reaching the Final Four if McLemore doesn’t play up to his high-lottery pick potential.
  4. The NCAA Tournament is so unpredictable that I’m beginning to think all four #1 seeds will advance to the Final Four this year just because people keep saying that this the year that all hell breaks loose on everyone’s brackets, or as Reid Forgrave argues here, that a #16 seed finally beats a #1 seed. He’s right that there have been numerous head-scratching losses this year, like Kansas losing to TCU and Michigan losing to Penn State. A #1 seed could lose this year, but not because there have been a lot of upsets already. He’s right because the odds are that it’s going to happen sooner or later. Teams that are #16 seeds are 0-112 all-time against #1 seeds, and typically, each #1 seed has between a 98% and 99.5% chance of winning its first game. With those odds, a #16 seed should have already won a game. So keep preaching, Mr. Forgrave. It’s bound to happen eventually and you’ll look like a genius. But it won’t be because people think a season is upside down and parity is filling the land. It will happen because the math tells us it’s bound to happen one of these years.
  5. Roy Williams was “stunned” when he realized that his Tar Heels were an #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament this year and potentially paired with Kansas in the Round of 32. Asked if he believes the Selection Committee when they say they don’t go out of their way to set up prospective match-ups (this year could be the third time Williams faces Kansas since leaving Lawrence in 2003), he said: “I am not much of a buyer right now, guys.” He said he knew the committee didn’t put North Carolina in Kansas’ pod to fill the Sprint Center in Kansas City, but added, “It was a confusing (selection) show and I’m still confused and I’m a fairly intelligent person.” Williams is right that North Carolina probably should have been a better seed and potentially facing Kansas again is a little strange, but the committee has the better argument should they need it. If they were in the business of setting up future games, Kansas and Missouri would be matched up in Kansas City, not Kansas and North Carolina.
KoryCarpenter (146 Posts)


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