Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2008 NCAA Tournament Projections -- December 25, 2007

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This version follows the projection/prediction model.]

Since the first PHSports NCAA Tournament Projection following the start of the new campaign, which took shape in the middle of November, much has not been done to the top eight teams, save Louisville. As for the Cardinals, the loss of nearly their entire frontline to injuries and suspension and inconsistent guard play has put them on the periphery of this edition. Tennessee no longer carries the 1- or 2-seed distinction, but their hard-fought win against Xavier did a lot for team morale. They were struggling before being informed that Duke Crews will have an indefinite absence from the floor due to an unspecified heart condition.

Among the 1s, North Carolina and Memphis have played like the top teams and Kansas is not far behind. Despite the home loss at Pauley against an upstart Texas squad by led by my Big XII Player of the Year pick DJ Augustin, the Bruins have played well without and with a less-than-healthy Darren Collison.

The lesson of the week is: Do not refer to your opponent as “just another team”. Even if you shower praise on them, which Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert did not do, it can be taken grossly out of context and your team be wiped with the floor. Perhaps, Roy Hibbert is just another 7’2” guy.

The surprise packages so far this season to this point have to be Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Miami (FL). That list could easily include the list of St. Mary’s (does anyone else notice how much pub Patrick Mills is getting?) and Sam Houston State, who I admittedly know nothing about beyond the box scores. Speaking of Pitt, how will head coach Jamie Dixon adjust tactics to make up for the season-ending injury to senior forward Mike Cook? How will Vanderbilt new boy Andrew Ogilvy react to unwelcoming crowds in Knoxville, Gainesville and Lexington? And yes, I’m saying it here. Miami-FL will be this year’s Clemson. Their perfect storm will come to an end starting in mid-January. Book it.

In most of the one-bid conferences, I am sticking to my preseason guns. Why? It’s a one-off, and unless another squad is developing an exceedingly unavoidable product, then I can live being wrong until about the end of January.

Moving forward to the last four teams in the mix, the loss of point guard Farnold Degand could preclude a period of doom and gloom for the Wolfpack. Something has to give with Brandon Costner’s horrendous start to the season. While I really like UConn and what Seton Hall has done so far, including a ninth Big East team was incongruent with the conference's RPI ranking, so I rolled with the next best non-Big East teams, Brigham Young (weak RPI, but competitive in defeats to UNC and Michigan State) and Wisconsin (average squad that will take shape in Big Ten season). Meanwhile, Arkansas has done exactly squadoosh to deserve inclusion, but I am including them on their talent alone. John Pelphrey had better start coaching soon or else we’ll be hearing a chorus of boos in Hog Heaven sooner than Bobby Petrino sends an instant message to Frank Broyle [sic] to inform him that he’s leaving Fayetteville.

If you have any questions, comments, or just wish to send a shout, shoot me a line at phashemi@gmail.com. As always, feel free to comment on the board.

The Seedings
1: North Carolina (ACC), Memphis (C-USA), UCLA (Pac-10), Kansas (Big XII)
2: Michigan State (Big Ten), Duke, Texas, Georgetown (Big East)
3: Washington State, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Tennessee (SEC)
4: Arizona, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Butler (Horizon)
5: Ole Miss, Miami-FL, Oklahoma, Southern California
6: Indiana, UMass (A-10), Providence, Rhode Island
7: Stanford, Virginia, Baylor, Gonzaga (WCC)
8: Xavier, Louisville, Villanova, Ohio State
9: St. Mary’s, Clemson, Syracuse, George Mason (Colonial)
10: Creighton, Utah (MWC), Dayton, West Virginia
11: Oregon, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Brigham Young
12: Kent State (MAC), Southern Illinois (MVC), Sam Houston State (Southland), Siena (Metro Atlantic)
13: Wisconsin, Arkansas, Davidson (Southern), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West)
14: Holy Cross (Patriot), Winthrop (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), New Orleans (Sun Belt)
15: New Mexico State (WAC), UM-Baltimore County (America East), Yale (Ivy), Oakland (Summit)
16: Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Montana (Big Sky), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Sacred Heart (Northeast), Grambling (SWAC)

IN: Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Miami-FL, UMass, Rhode Island, Baylor, St. Mary’s, Creighton, Dayton, West Virginia, Brigham Young, Sam Houston State, Siena, UM-Baltimore County

OUT: Florida, UConn, Kentucky, St. Joseph’s, Duquesne, Mississippi State, Alabama-Birmingham, Illinois, Utah State, Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth, Loyola (MD), Northwestern State, Vermont

Last Four In: North Carolina State, Brigham Young, Wisconsin, Arkansas
Last Four Out: Seton Hall, UConn, Minnesota, Florida
Next Four Out: Boston College, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky

Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Pac-10: 6/10 – UCLA, Washington State, Arizona, Southern California, Stanford, Oregon
Big XII: 6/12 – Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State
ACC: 6/12 – North Carolina, Duke, Miami-FL, Virginia, Clemson, North Carolina State
Big East: 8/16 –Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Providence, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, West Virginia
Big Ten: 4/11 – Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin
SEC: 4/12 – Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Arkansas
A-10: 4/14 – UMass, Rhode Island, Xavier, Dayton
Missouri Valley: 2/10 – Southern Illinois, Creighton
Mountain West: 2/10 – Utah, Brigham Young
West Coast: 2/10 – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s


Anonymous said...

Georgetown showed that they had no right being on the same court as Memphis.

Why are they a 2? They've beaten no one except for Alabama.

Paymon said...

It's a bit harsh to say they had no right being on the same court as Memphis, unless you only watched the second stanza.

Despite the missed opportunity at Memphis, Georgetown shakes out well against Big East competition on paper. It was bizarre to see the cerebral Jeremiah Rivers make two bonehead plays and equally disconcerting to view a performance from Roy Hibbert that even Paula Abdul couldn't compliment. In my eyes, the Hoyas main challenges will be steadying the frontcourt as well as the maturation of Freeman and Wright.

The odds are that they'll right the train early in Big East play.