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Conference Breakdown After the Opening Weekend

I ranked the Conferences in order of performance so far:

#1 – SEC:
Remaining: 3 (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee)
Wins: 6
Notes: The SEC has been incredible so far… A perfect 6-0. Kentucky just ended a team’s 35-game win streak. Doesn’t get any better than that.
Total Teams: 3 (Seeds: 1, 8, 11)
Projected Wins: 7

#2 – PAC 12:
Remaining: 3 (Arizona, UCLA, Stanford)
Wins: 7
Notes: Stanford’s run has made the PAC 12’s performance slightly better than what was expected.
Total Teams: 6 (Seeds: 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 10)
Projected Wins: 9

#3 – Big 10:
Remaining: 3 (Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State)
Wins: 6
Notes: The little guys flopped, but with three teams left in the field, damage will still be done.
Total Teams: 5 (Seeds: 2, 2, 4, 6, 11)
Projected Wins: 9

#4 – American:
Remaining: 2 (Louisville, UConn)
Wins: 5
Notes: The American Conference is looking pretty good after UConn’s little run. Louisville might be the favorite to come out of the Midwest
Total Teams: 4 (Seeds: 4, 5, 7, 8)
Projected Wins: 5

#5 – Big 12:
Remaining: 2 (Iowa State, Baylor)
Wins: 6
Notes: About where they should have been… Except Baylor replaced Kansas.
Total Teams: 6 (Seeds: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9)
Projected Wins: 8

#6 – ACC:
Remaining: 1 (Virginia)
Wins: 5
Notes: OUCH! Duke and Syracuse had early exists and none of the other seeds made up the ground. Rough tournament for the ACC.
Total Teams: 6 (Seeds: 1, 3, 3, 6, 9, 12)
Projected Wins: 9

#7 – Big East:
Remaining: 0
Wins: 2
Notes: I know it is only the scraps of the old Big East, but nobody would have guessed THIS bad.
Total Teams: 3 (Seeds: 2, 3, 11)
Projected Wins: 5


And of course, here are the other guys…

Mid-Majors:
Remaining: 2 (San Diego State, Dayton)
Wins: 11
Notes: It has been a decent showing for mid-majors, but with only 2 underdogs left, they may or may not break their projected win total.
Total Teams: 31 (Seeds: 1, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8 and a whole bunch of underdogs!)
Projected Wins: 11

Snore…

At least everyone got to go to bed at a decent hour tonight because there were absolutely zero good games in the night session.

Curse Avoided!!!

For some reason, North Carolina could beat MSU with 4 guys on the court.

 

Those that follow MSU basketball closely jumped for joy when UNC was eliminated by Iowa State this afternoon. Sure it is unusual to pull for the favorite in your bracket, but considering MSU’s history with UNC, you cannot blame us. North Carolina holds a 12-3 series advantage all-time, including a 14 point win at the Breslin this season. There is no doubt Michigan State’s chances at the Final Four increased when that clock struck zero.

The win for Iowa State was quite impressive as they did it without their injured forward, Niang, who averages over 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists a game. Niang will miss the remainder of the tournament, so the Cyclone’s run will likely be short-lived, but today was a good victory against a solid team. As long as ISU can keep hitting from the outside, they will have a chance.

What to watch tonight: The game that intrigues me the most tonight is Memphis vs Virginia.  It should be an interesting match-up that is fun to watch as both teams have a good amount of athleticism on the court.

Shockers Shocked

This game was a classic example of the overachieving mid-major vs the underachieving power conference team. In this case, the Kentucky Wildcats started the season ranked #1, but only made the tournament as an 8 seed after losing 10 games during the year. On the other hand, Wichita State rattled off 34 victories to enter the tournament at 34-0 and earn the region’s top seed.

Kentucky has all the talent in the world, but are very young and can get discombobulated at times. That did not happen today. Anytime WSU threw a punch, the Wildcats were right there with a counter-punch. The Wildcats remind me of some of those younger teams that don’t know how big the moment is. The ones that come up huge because they are just out there playing their game. I would not be shocked at all if UK finds a way to knock of Louisville in the next round… They may very well be destined for the final four.

Kansas Misses Super Freshman — Exits Dance Early

If you do not know who Joel Embiid is, than it is annoying your bracket is ahead of mine… And just about everyone is ahead of my bracket this year. So yeah, annoying.

Kansas star Freshman Joel Embiid is a 7 footer that has averaged over 11 points and 8 rebounds a game. He also changes the way teams were able to attack the heart of the Jayhawk defense. Most people that look for a big man to compare his game to bring up the name  Hakeem Olajuwon. Yeah, he’s not bad, not bad at all.  Anyway, Mr. Embiid missed the opening weekend with a back injury and now may never actually see the court in an NCAA Tournament game as most expect he would be a lottery pick this offseason.

Stanford exploited the missing big man, scoring 31 of their 60 points from their #4 and #5 position. They also held the advantage in rebounding margin and only had 2 shots blocked all game (Embiid’s avg is 2.6 bpg).

It is now Stanford vs Dayton playing for a spot in the Elite Eight. If nothing else, Florida has to be feeling really good about their chances of making it to the final four.

Big Ten Sends 3 to Sweet 16, but Dayton is the Story!

I still love this Headline. Stick it to those Buckeyes.

 

The Flyers are flying high after knocking off the third seeded Syracuse team. The Orange shot sub-40% and got out-hustled on the glass. Dayton kept the window open for Syracuse over and over down the stretch, but Syracuse just kept on failing to take advantage. The Flyers will play the winner Kansas and Stanford. Next round will likely be the end for Dayton, but if they continue to defend the way they have, who knows…

Michigan fans need to get excited, because they are in a great place. If they had one concern heading into this season’s tournament, it would be playing against a team with Big inside presence. Texas had that… and Michigan led by double digits for about 35 of the 40 minutes. Easy win. Sure, the Blue were scorching the nets from the outside, but quite frankly, I assume Stauskas is making every shot the releases his hand… So what’s new?? My only complaint about that game was the Yellow vs Orange uniforms.  I think Barkley would agree that was Tuurrrrible to watch.

Michigan State looked like they were cruising to a blowout victory… Until they didn’t. It was not a window that was left open, it was the whole damn garage. There was absolutely no excuse for the 29-11 Harvard run in the second half. Luckily, it doesn’t matter. The name of the game is win and advance and this will only give Izzo more talking points heading into next week.

The third Big Ten team into the Sweet 16 was Wisconsin. The Badgers were badly outplayed in the first half, but slowed down the Oregon transition in the second. By dictating the tempo, UW was able play in the half-court, where they took over the game and kept the Duck’s scoring under control.

SDSU secured the other victory and Nova vs UConn is the final game remaining tonight.

Panthers are Gator Bait

The real Gators are still in hiding…

 

Florida had no problems booking the tournament’s first spot in the Sweet 16. Scott Wilbekin had a great game and appeared to be Florida’s only consistent threat. Despite easily advancing again, the Gators have to regroup a bit if they plan on making the Final Four, because it was not really a great showing from them in either game.

Currently St Louis and Louisville are slugging one out (Because that is how you must define St. Louis’ style of play).  So far, it looks like Louisville will control the tempo, which should lead to an easy victory for the Cardinals.

The games pick up soon thought as there are a slew of games later tonight… A slate that includes Michigan at 5:15 and MSU at 8:40ish. Should be fun.

Shaka is Smarting! and Some Other Notes

In an epic finish, SF Austin became the tournament’s third #12 seed to sneak into the Round of 32. With a 4 point lead and under 10 seconds, VCU managed to foul a three point shooter, which in-turn forced overtime. The 12th seeded Lumberjacks continued their pesky ways in the extra session and came up with a big victory. I would not be shocked to SF Austin knock of UCLA (or Tulsa) in their next game.

Other upsets today included:
#14 Mercer over Duke… Which lets be honest, made 99% of America happy, even if it ruined many brackets!
#11 Tennessee destroyed #6 UMass. Only an upset in seeds. UT was clearly the better team.
#10 Stanford over #7 New Mexico… This one surprised me. I really liked the UNM team to be a sleeper. Oh well, my brackets have been destroyed since mid-day on Thursday.

Other interesting games were Kansas vs EKU and UNC vs Providence.  Kansas needed all 40 minutes to escape Eastern Kentucky, which would have been an even bigger upset than Duke. In the UNC game, Providence was quite pesky. It was up tempo and a lot of up-and-down hoops… Very fun to watch. In the end, UNC’s talent edge prevailed.

As I’m sure you are all aware, #1 seed Virginia is trying to make some history at the moment (in a very bad way). We’ll see if they can get it together… or if Coastal Carolina can pull off the unthinkable!

Mercer, Mercer, Me!

No Billion Dollar Babies Here

Billion-Dollar-Babies1-300x263[1]Nobody got through the first round perfect, but there were 6 who managed to get 15 of 16!