Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 NCAA Tournament Projections -- January 14, 2008

OJ Mayo may be playing in March ... in the NIT!
Credit: Hoops USA

Another week. Another week of domination by the top four teams in the nation. Michigan State dropped an ugly game to Big Ten strugglers Iowa and Texas lost to an upstart Missouri squad. As a result, Texas slipped to the 10th overall ranking and Washington State stepped into the 2-line despite falling to UCLA.

In this week’s edition of “My Patience Ran Out”, enter USC. If the Selection Committee invites seven PAC-10 teams, then I like Trojans’ chances, but history shows that they will not. As for the Trojans, they possess all the talent in the world, yet Tim Floyd fails in developing contributors off the bench. Additionally, OJ Mayo has yet to discover that he is neither Dwyane Wade nor Kobe Bryant, and that he must pass the ball out of the double team. The result is frustration and diminishing returns from Davon Jefferson and Taj Gibson.

I have also run out of patience with Southern Illinois, who continue to lose games in heartbreaking fashion. A good Salukis squad plays suffocating ‘D’ and efficient ‘O’, leaving the opposition’s heart to be chopped up in many pieces long before the shot clock turns off. One out of two won’t get the job done in an ultra-balanced Missouri Valley Conference.

Two teams that restored some faith were Louisville and Oregon. While neither team is where they should be, one is as healthy as it’s been all year and the other is playing its best basketball of the season.

For the final four spots, it was quite the tussle. West Virginia and Baylor won games that they had to in order to remain in the field of 65, while Cleveland State debuted as a 13 seed. As for the 65th spot, Boston College laid an egg early in the week, but responded with a 112-point effort against Wake Forest. As a result, that froze the aforementioned Trojans out. Providence and UConn will be fighting all season to show their worth, and San Diego State will battle a host of NIT-worthy teams in the Mountain West for a possible at-large berth.

If you have any questions, comments, or just wish to send a shout, shoot me a line at 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: Duke, Michigan State (Big Ten), Georgetown (Big East), Washington State
3: Tennessee (SEC), Texas, Texas A&M, Marquette
4: Butler (Horizon), Dayton (A-10), Vanderbilt, Indiana
5: Rhode Island, Ole Miss, Drake (MVC), Wisconsin
6: Clemson, Xavier, Arizona, Gonzaga (WCC)
7: Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Louisville
8: Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kent State (MAC), St. Mary’s
9: Syracuse, Miami-FL, Arizona State, Kansas State
10: Arkansas, Notre Dame, Oregon, Florida
11: South Alabama (Sun Belt), Illinois State, George Mason (Colonial), UMass
12: Sam Houston State (Southland), Utah (MWC), West Virginia, Baylor
13: Cleveland State, Davidson (Southern), Boston College, Siena (Metro Atlantic)
14: UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Winthrop (Big South), New Mexico State (WAC), Hampton (MEAC)
15: Holy Cross (Patriot), UM-Baltimore County (America East), Yale (Ivy), IUPUI (Summit)
16: Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Montana (Big Sky), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Sacred Heart (Northeast), Jackson State (SWAC)

IN: Oregon, Florida, South Alabama, Illinois State, Cleveland State, IUPUI, Jackson State
OUT: Southern California, Villanova, Valparaiso, Southern Illinois, New Orleans Oakland, Grambling State

Last Four In: West Virginia, Baylor, Cleveland State, Boston College
Last Four Out: Southern California, Providence, San Diego State, UConn
Next Four Out: Minnesota, Akron, Creighton, California

Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Pac-10: 6/10 – UCLA, Washington State, Arizona, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon
ACC: 6/12 – North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia, Miami-FL, Boston College
Big XII: 6/12 – Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor
Big East: 7/16 –Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame, West Virginia
SEC: 5/12 – Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida
Big Ten: 4/11 – Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State
A-10: 4/14 – Dayton, Rhode Island, Xavier, UMass
Missouri Valley: 2/10 – Drake, Illinois State
Horizon: 2/10 – Butler, Cleveland State
West Coast: 2/10 – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s


Armin said...

Any teams that look like they could be potential Giant-Killers in the tourney?

In other words, who's the tournament team that most will overlook?

Paymon said...

For the sake of answering this question fairly, let's throw out the entire Power 16 (#1-4 seeds) and underachievers such as Louisville, Arkansas, Oregon and NC State.

I'll give you 3 teams.

Xavier tops the list of "giant killers" but they are on everyone's radar because they nearly knocked out last year's runner-up in Round 2. Drew Lavender is already one of the nation's best PGs and they've reloaded at other positions. The only knock on them is that there's a lot of game tape out there due to a high volume of nationally-televised games.

Out west, Arizona State is being overlooked all the way to a 3-0 record in the nation's best conference. Their defense makes them very formidable against teams with more talent and facing PAC-10 competition on a semi-weekly basis will prepare the Sun Devils for March should they remain in the top 6 of the league.

Another squad I like is Kent State out of the MAC. They are versatile and can create turnovers. Unfortunately, the MAC will likely be a one-bid conference, so their season will come down to a few days.

Clement said...

Pitching two things I can't get enough of:
1) Terrible week for Cuse on the road in the Big East. Waxed in Cincy and Morgantown. Ouch. That win at UVA isn't going to hold up. Especially after beating G-Town and 10 wins in the Big East didn't help last year.

2) Seems like most websites with projections have Delaware in since they are the current 1-seed. Yeah, that'll last. With that being said Pay, are you gonna hold onto your Patriots (who are the most overall talented team in the CAA) or perhaps could a tilt in Fairfax between the Rams (of VCU) and the Patriots be the real deciding factor in the coming weeks?

Paymon said...


I should note that I'm dabbling with the prediction-projection method.

With that said, I like the talent that Syracuse brings to the table. Of course, there are three teams in the Big East - Villanova, Providence and UConn - who are more than capable of overtaking the Orange. Because they scheduled exactly 1 true non-conf road game, their road record will be placed under a microscope (again). In addition to winning their share the Carrier Dome, the Orange must win 4 of their 7 remaining road games (@ G'Town, DePaul, Villanova, S. Florida, Louisville, Notre Dame, Seton Hall). The talent and coach are there.

As for Delaware, those sites are lazy and likely choose the team at the top of the standings. Even with the transfers, they're paper-thin. Mason and VCU are better teams, injuries and inexperience aside. Regarding the game in Fairfax, it's a must-win for both teams. The real deciding factor will be the health and cohesion of the top teams in the league and that's currently unknown.

Blake Griffin got injured :(

summy said...

Is it just me, or are the 2s a relatively weak group? Duke has been okay, but nothing to write home about. MSU just scored 36 in an entire game. G'town has struggled against top-tier teams such as Memphhis and barely put away UConn before losing to Pitt tonight. Don't know enough about Wazzou to make a comment on them (i plead ignorance via the Bar exam).

All that said, can any of your 15s potentially knock out one of your 2s?

Anonymous said...

After last night's performance, how is Kansas not in the top 3?

Also, other sites have the Big XII getting 7 teams in. Why don't you? They have the most wins (8) against the Top 25 this season.

Paymon said...

I agree that the 2s are vulnerable. For the record, everyone has struggled with Memphis, not just Georgetown. On that note though, Roy Hibbert needs to not do his best Joey Dorsey impersonation and rile up the opposition prior to the game by offering bulletin board material.

As for the actual question, Michigan State is the only 2 seed that can lose to a 15. Why? They lost to Division II Grand Valley State in an exhibition matchup before the season. Losing to Iowa further cements the case.

On Kansas, I am deeming them "Self-proof", meaning that this team has the talent and wherewithall to overcome a poorly-coached game by the veteran tactician. Despite the spiritual leadership of Darnell Jackson that Fran Franschilla let us know about after every media timeout last night, the Jayhawks could use a 4th big (their only discernable hole) and McDonald's All-American Cole Aldrich may be the guy to address that gap. KU deserves #1 consideration, but for now, I like them where they are with little space between #1 and #4 overall.

On the Big XII getting 7 teams in, they are 4th in Conference RPI behind the ACC, Pac-10 and the Big East. Therefore, 7 teams in the Big Dance is possible but unlikely. Also, Oklahoma losing Blake Griffin for 4 weeks brutalizes their already-decimated depth.