Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And They Are Indisputable (NCAA Tournament Edition)

These are the facts (okay, maybe bold assertions) with the brackets out:
  • People talk about Colorado not making the tournament, but the biggest errors the tournament committee made are in the seeding. There are teams that are very underseeded and some that are very overseeded. The #17 team in one of the polls as a 12-seed? One of the seven best teams in the country as a 4-seed? A team that finished 9th in its conference as a 3-seed? The 18th or 19th best team in the country as a 2-seed?
  • Utah State isn't slightly better than Kansas State. Utah State is way better than Kansas State. Utah State is 7th in scoring margin and Kansas State is 57th. Utah State is the 7th most experienced team in the nation and Kansas State is the 245th. This won't even be an upset.
  • They are really good offensively, but Oakland is the most overrated (by the media) of the double-digit seeds. Texas probably deserves Florida 2-seed (as does BYU). You're going to hear about how the Longhorns fell apart down the stretch. Yes, they lost some games and then they fell apart right to the Big 12 title game. Nobody who is "falling apart" gets to the end in a conference that deep. Oakland could beat a lot of high seeds in this field. Texas isn't one of them.
  • The Big East was the best conference, obviously. Second was the Big Ten and third the Big 12. Which was the fourth best conference in the country this year? Had to be the ACC, right? No? Well, the Pac-10 then? SEC? It was the Mountain West. The MWC had the fourth highest RPI of any league this season. If you want to write off San Diego State, BYU, and UNLV, do it at your own risk. In fact, I think San Diego State has the easiest road to the Elite 8 of any 1- or 2-seed.
  • But that must mean I think UConn is horribly overrated? I do. They finished 9th in their conference. They are a one-man team. I don't buy the Big East hype. East Coast bias may be a way of life in baseball, but it's a tradition in college basketball. Those Pac-10, MWC, and WAC teams are always among the lowest-picked when you look at percentages in the bracket contests. And then they win, imagine that.
  • And that East Coast bias leads to this: Washington is maybe the most underrated team in the field. They're not just underrated as a 7-seed that won their conference tournament and is getting back their best defender after he didn't play. They are as good as 2-seed North Carolina. Yes, I mean that. Jeff Sagarin, in his predictive ratings, has the Huskies as the 10th best team in the country compared to the Tarheels at 15th. Ken Pomeroy has the Tarheels 14th and the Huskies 15th. The Huskies are the 111th most experienced team in the country, the Tarheels the 323rd. Washington is 8th in scoring margin, Carolina is 29th. Want to look past the numbers? Washington's point guard is better than Carolina's. They have more big bodies inside, including a better post presence in Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Which 2-seed do I have going out first?
  • My Final Four? I don't have it set yet. It's really hard not to like all of the #1s, if only because Pitt has such an easy road. Won't be all #1s. So will it be Syracuse or Washington beating out Ohio State? Will it be Old Dominion or Butler making Cinderella runs. Will Jimmer shoot the Cougars to glory? Will Texas or San Diego State (who should have had Pitt's 1-seed) knock off Duke? Will Kansas choke like last year or will Purdue, on a mission, take them out? I know which 1-seed I like the best to make the Final Four. I know which team I have winning it all. I have to fill in the rest.

No comments: