The Official RTC Bracket: South and East RegionsPosted by KDoyle on March 20th, 2013
With the NCAA Tournament officially underway as of last night’s game between North Carolina A&T and Liberty — although, let’s be honest, things don’t really begin to heat up until Thursday afternoon — we are unveiling the Official RTC Bracket today. Up first are the South and East Regions with the Midwest and West Regions to follow later this afternoon. Prior to revealing the picks, some quick analysis, and four questions to our bracket experts, here’s our methodology.
The inspiration behind the bracket largely comes from our weekly Blogpoll where a number of ballots from key contributors are combined to form a single Top 25. Rather than have eight people put their heads together and collectively fill out the bracket, we asked each to select their own bracket. Afterward, those selections were tallied up and the team with the majority vote in each slot is the one picked to advance below. As an example, you will notice that in the #8 vs. #9 game in the South Region, North Carolina was picked to advance in seven of eight brackets — hence the 88% tally next to the Tar Heels’ name. Deeper into the bracket, you may wonder how it’s possible for Kansas to advance past Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen with just 50% of the brackets choosing the Jayhawks, but that’s because three brackets had Michigan and one bracket had VCU, thereby giving Kansas the edge.
Here’s the first half of the 2013 Official RTC Bracket:
Quick Hitters From the South Region
- Advancing to Atlanta: #3 Florida
- Round of 64 Upset: #11 Minnesota over #6 UCLA
- Later Round Upsets: #3 Florida over #2 Georgetown in the Sweet Sixteen and #3 Florida over #1 Kansas in the Elite Eight
- Three Most Disputed Games: #11 Minnesota over #6 UCLA, #4 Michigan over #5 VCU, #1 Kansas over #4 Michigan
Four Questions About the South Region
There may not be another game in the Round of 32 that people want to see more than Kansas vs. North Carolina. Roy Williams coaching against his former team in Kansas City would make for some great TV. First off, does Carolina even get by Villanova? If so, do they have a shot against the Jayhawks?
Brian Goodman: Despite its ACC Tournament loss to Miami, UNC is playing about as well as any team in the country right now, thanks in large part to a potent perimeter game and improved defense. To beat the Tar Heels, Villanova will need to hold onto the ball (something it hasn’t done well most of the season) and its stout interior defense absolutely has to show up, and of course Jay Wright’s team will need to hit some shots; but I don’t see all those things coming together at once. If UNC tops ‘Nova, the Heels will definitely have a shot against Kansas. UNC boasts a balanced attack that can test KU’s lockdown defense and perhaps even yank Jeff Withey out of the paint. Whether they execute in front of what will surely be a pro-Kansas crowd — and what they get from James Michael McAdoo — could be an entirely different story.
Is there a team in this year’s NCAA Tournament that is receiving as much love as Virginia Commonwealth is? I doubt it. The Rams are a trendy pick to advance out of the South Region with their “havoc” defense, but the road ends for VCU in their second game against Michigan in the RTC bracket. Why does Michigan advance to the Sweet Sixteen instead of VCU?
Zach Hayes: This match-up features the most fascinating contrast of any Round of 32 clash: the “havoc” full-court pressing swarm of VCU against the exceptional Michigan backcourt tandem of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Rams receive a large chunk of their offensive production from generating steals and disrupting opposing guards from setting up their offense, but the Wolverines only fumble the rock on 14.3 percent of their possessions, best in the nation. Burke returned to school on a mission to avenge the program’s disappointing first round exit to Ohio last March and bring Go Blue to heights unseen since the Fab Five. If there’s any point guard to trust against VCU’s hectic press, it’s Burke.
The consensus is that Minnesota — despite seriously limping into the Tournament, having lost 11 of 16 games — will beat UCLA playing without Jordan Adams. You have the Bruins advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in your bracket though. What does UCLA need to do to get past Minnesota?
Shane Connolly: Usually when a Ben Howland team needs to set the tempo they are the ones looking to slow the pace. In this case, the Bruins need to make this match-up and up and down affair. If they push the tempo it will help neutralize the rebounding edge for Minnesota. More than anything though, they just need to keep their momentum going. The Bruins are 9-3 since February 1 while the Gophers are 4-7 over that time period.
Florida seems to be a team that is built for the NCAA Tournament: talented upperclassmen, two straight Elite Eights, and a two-time National Championship coach on its bench. The Gators were far from impressive on the road in the SEC, however. Why do you like them to advance to Atlanta?
Andrew Murawa: You hit on a couple of things in your question — namely Billy Donovan and his veteran cast of characters. But, the main reason is the fact that this is a really good all-around team with the best efficiency numbers in the land. We know this is a team that can score with anybody, as they have regularly been. But the thing that makes this Gator team different than any since those national championship teams is their ability to back up their offensive success with great defense. And, maybe after going 0-6 this season in games decided by two possessions or less, regression to the mean is in their favor.
Quick Hitters From the East Region
- Advancing to Atlanta: #1 Indiana
- Round of 64 Upsets: #14 Davidson over #3 Marquette and #10 Colorado over #7 Illinois
- Later Round Upset: N/A
- Three Most Disputed Games: #6 Butler over #11 Bucknell, #14 Davidson over #3 Marquette, #4 Syracuse over #5 UNLV
Four Questions About the East Region
It’s hard to call any team a lock to advance to the Final Four, but does Indiana have the easiest road to Atlanta of the four one seeds?
Randy: The answer is… sorta. There are no easy roads to Atlanta, but the South and Midwest are filled with treachery for the top seeds in those regions. The West is probably the per se “easiest” region in terms of competition to the #1 seed, but Gonzaga is much more vulnerable to an upset than Indiana. Both Syracuse and Miami (FL) are good enough to cause the Hoosiers problems in the East Region, but if Tom Crean’s team continues to get production from Victor Oladipo on the wing and it remembers to feed the ball inside to Cody Zeller, Indiana should be able to successfully navigate its way to the Final Four for the first time in 11 years.
In a rare occurrence, UNLV and California square off in the Round of 64 after having already played against each other earlier this season, a 76-75 UNLV victory. Is there any reason to believe that the result will be different this time?
Chris Johnson: Of all the selection committee’s baffling seeding/bracketing decisions, none triggers more immediate cognitive dissonance than this match-up. Not only did the committee violate one of its most basic organizational principles — avoid regular season rematches — it gave 12-seed Cal a virtual home court advantage in San Jose. On the court, UNLV appears to have adjusted after a stunning regular-season ending home loss to Fresno State, while Cal has lost consecutive games to Stanford and Utah after a miraculous seven-game winning streak in Pac 12 play. The Rebels won at Haas Pavilion earlier this season, so why not see that they double down in a single-elimination NCAA Tournament game, just to show the legion of doubters (and rightfully so) that their talent really can come together in big moments?
It’s not too often that many would not be terribly surprised if a #11 and #14 seed won their opening game, but that is the case with Bucknell and Davidson. In fact, three people believe that the Bison can make a run to the Sweet Sixteen, while five of eight have Davidson defeating Marquette in the Round of 64. Are we crazy to think that this may happen?
Brian Otskey: No, I don’t think it’s crazy to pick Bucknell and Davidson to win their first round games. Although picking against Brad Stevens is very difficult for me, Bucknell has one of the nation’s best big men and a team laden with upperclassmen. That’s a recipe for success in March. As for Davidson, the Wildcats are under-seeded and Marquette is over-seeded. This is much more like a #5/#12 game and we know how upsets tend to happen in those match-ups. Davidson can take away what Marquette does well (paint touches) and I think the Wildcats will advance.
Miami is a veteran team, but one with no NCAA Tournament experience. Assuming they get by Pacific, their next game could be against a tough Colorado team led by Spencer Dinwiddie who won a game in the Tournament last year against UNLV. Should Miami be worried at all with a potential date with the Buffaloes?
Kevin Doyle: A tough defensive team that has no problem playing in the mud — yes, Miami should be worried about a potential game with Colorado. Spencer Dinwiddie is a 6’5″ guard who can really frustrate a player like Shane Larkin thanks to his sheer size. I think Colorado is definitely a tougher match-up for the ‘Canes than Illinois, but they aren’t exactly a juggernaut offensively and could struggle to match Miami’s offensive prowess if the game becomes a shootout.