Filed under: 2010 NCAA Tournament | Tags: Final Four, Predictions, Title Game
After a boring first weekend with very few upsets, all hell seems to have broken loose in the second weekend. Two No 1 seeds, go down, including my beloved Duke Blue Devils who are unable to handle Baylor’s size deep in the heart of Texas. Even more shocking, I have the most talented team in the land, Kentucky, falling to a bunch of Badgers.
On the other side, both Syracuse and Kansas advance, while Georgetown upsets Ohio State. Of course it’s only an upset if you haven’t been paying attention. In the end, my final four has two Big 12 teams battling it out against two Big East teams. It makes perfect sense since these two conferences were the strongest this season.
HERE’S HOW IT WILL ARRIVE:
- MONDAY: Round One Predictions
- TUESDAY: Round Two Predictions
- WEDNESDAY: Sweet 16 & Elite 8 Predictions
- Thursday: Final 4 & Title Game Predictions
(1) Kansas over (1) Syracuse
It’s reason number one that the teams probably should be re-seeded in the Final Four. With apologizes to Kentucky, the two best teams in the nation will face off in the semifinals instead of the finals. With Duke out, it would be hard not to cheer for Jim Boeheim and his band of overachievers. Yet, the Jayhawks have that look of a champion, as well as a solid big man, a penetrating point guard and outside shooters who can abuse even the best zones.
(2) West Virginia over (3) Baylor
By this point, the Baylor Bears have become everyone’s little engine that could, but the Mountaineers have been rolling, playing with a giant chip on their shoulder after missing out on a number one seed. It also doesn’t hurt that they have the talent too in Butler, Jones and Ebanks.
(1) Kansas over (3) West Virginia
All this week, every expert out there keeps saying that anyone can win this. They all say, there is no “great team” out there. Um, Kansas is a great team. They’re 32-2. They won the Big 12 regular season. It wasn’t even close. They won by four games. They won the conference tournament, something the mighty Tar Heels couldn’t even do last year. So what they’re not beating everyone by 30 points…32 wins is 32 wins. By the time this tournament is over, it will be 38.
Filed under: 2009 NCAA Tournament, media | Tags: 2009 NCAA Tournament, CNNSI, Luke Winn, Predictions
Luke Winn over at CNNSI, has his Fifty Thoughts on Selection Sunday. Oddly enough, many of his thoughts tend to focus on Duke and how they’re not going to be successful this tournament. Shall we:
4. The No. 1 with the most favorable No. 2 pairing … is Pitt, in the East. The Panthers were slotted opposite the one two-seed that has absolutely no answer for DeJuan Blair: Duke. The nation’s best rebounder should have a field day if he meets the Blue Devils. The secret to Blair’s rebounding prowess, he told us, is that “I pretend that every rebound is a million dollars.” He could become a very rich man in the Elite Eight.
According to Luke, because Blair in a great rebounder, so Duke won’t be able to get rebounds at all, thus not win? Granted, Blair is a great rebounder, but as a team, Pittsburgh only grabs under three rebounds more a game than Duke. Besides, didn’t Pittsburgh need a last second three to defeat Duke last season (with the same basic lineup)? Yes, Pittsburgh can win this game, but let’s not call it easy.
7. One Vegas-related observation … is that Duke is a curiously high-valued team in the eyes of the oddsmakers. I’m not expecting the Blue Devils to get past the Sweet 16, and yet LVSC thinks they have an equally strong shot as Memphis does of winning the national title.
Currently, Vegas has Duke at 10-1. Only Luke would be so impressed with a Memphis team that has basically beaten up Division II opponents in conference play. Duke and Memphis have played one similar opponent; Xavier. Memphis lost, Duke rolled. I’m not saying Duke is better now, I’m just saying, it’s not that far fetched.
14. The safest Sweet 16 upset pick … is No. 3 Villanova over No. 2 Duke, in Boston. Nova is the overlooked power coming out of the Big East, but it happens to have the league’s best set of guards. Scottie Reynolds, who powered the Wildcats to the Sweet 16 last season as a No. 12 seed, is an accomplished tourney scorer and he, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Reggie Redding are too much for the Blue Devils to handle.
It’s almost like he hasn’t watched a Duke game this year. As much as I can appreciate how good players like Reynolds, Fisher, Stokes and Redding are, are they really better than Henderson, Singler and Scheyer? So much so, the Blue Devils don’t even get a mention?
Now we have no problem with a reporter picking Duke to bow out early. Over the last few years, Duke has done nothing to deserve a ‘late-tournament run’ prediction from any expert, but later he delivers some stats that he believes are key to tournament success, throwing a wrench in his own predictions.
37. Statistics that matter, part I: Defensive efficiency is a better predictor of tourney success than offensive efficiency, and Memphis has, by far, the nation’s most efficient D. The Tigers allow just 0.794 points per possession. By contrast, Oklahoma, the other two-seed playing in Kansas City, allows 0.935.
Duke’s D is ranked 7th and they did that against teams like Carolina, Wake and Clemson. Memphis did it against…wait, who is in Conference USA?
38. Statistics that matter, part II: All of the national title winners since 2005 have finished in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. There are only six teams who fit that profile this year, and only one of them happens to be a No. 1 seed. They are: UConn, Gonzaga, Duke, West Virginia, Missouri and Kansas.
So Duke is the only #2 seed who is in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, but they are the easiest number two? I don’t get it. Where’s the mighty Villanova team that is going to roll over Duke?
In reality, we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. This is the same guy who has failed to give us anything relevent about Duke all year long in his Power Rankings.
Overall, not too bad a first round in the NCAA Tournament. Outside of Tampa, Florida, not too many upsets. Speaking of Tampa, what the hell were they putting in the water down there? Two 12s and two 13-seeds won. Let’s take a quick look at what I got right (not much) and what I got wrong (plenty).
AS for upsets, I called the Nova, Siena and Davidson. Overall I went 24-8 (putting me tied for 70th at The Big Lead bracket challenge), but overall I have two loses that have killed me. Obviously, I blew USC. I had them going to the Final Four, yet they couldn’t even get by Kansas State. I thought their amazing defense would be the ace up their sleeve. My bad.