Monday, February 11, 2008

2008 NCAA Projections - February 11, 2008

We are chock full of talking points ahead of the crucial 2nd complete week of basketball in February. Let’s start with the discussion for the final #1 seed.

In the ACC, Duke manhandled UNC and Clemson did the same thing for three-quarters of regulation. Eventually, the Tar Heels won out in double overtime and avoided one of their worst weeks in recent memory thanks to a late comeback buoyed by gritty play, and in all seriousness, more than a few 50/50 calls going their way that resulted in foul trouble for Clemson (who are still bricking free throws). Out west, UCLA lost a game they never should have and they were docked them severely. That leaves the battle between UNC and Tennessee, the Vols have the stronger resume right now. However, they have five tough games including home ties against Arkansas and Kentucky and road battles versus Memphis, Vanderbilt and Florida. If they win four as well as the SEC Tournament, you can count them as a # 1 seed. As for the struggling Tar Heels, Ty Lawson should return soon and solidify a porous perimeter defense. That said, I expect the Tar Heels to run the table going into the ACC Tournament (and yes, that means winning at Cameron Indoor).

Speaking of injuries, I already touched upon Ty Lawson. Though Quentin Thomas has played well for a third-string point guard, he leaves plenty to be desired defensively and has the tendency to be in the Christmas spirit a little too often. Halfway across the country, Jeff Capel can’t buy a break. Four weeks ago in their biggest game (@ Kansas), Blake Griffin suffered a sprain ligament in his left knee that sidelined him for 11 days. Longar Longar missed both defeats this week (v. Texas, @ Colorado) and will be out indefinitely with a broken bone in his right leg. Though their schedule gets easier, the shortened rotation does not help the Sooners’ NCAA tournament aspirations.

Admittedly, seeding after the 9th seed line was more difficult than in most weeks due to many teams on the bubble suffering defeats. The current crop of teams includes two teams who are 3-5 in conference play, Ole Miss and Oklahoma. In both cases, we expect both teams to obtain winning results thanks to softening schedules.

Among our projected teams that are not currently in first place by a full game or more, here are some quick hitters …

North Carolina – Explained above.

Michigan State – With a tough week ahead (@ Purdue, @ Indiana), I am calling for the Spartans to shine. Should they get swept, lose a key player to injury or look unimpressive, they will fall at least a seed line and likely two or three lines.

George Mason – After watching the Patriots be reduced to a two-man team on Saturday against Old Dominion (0 pts for John Vaughan in 21 minutes), it was a tough choice. In the end, I view Vaughan’s goose egg as a mirage and Mason’s options surpass that of their CAA counterparts. IF VCU and Mason win their BracketBusters matchups, then the CAA may be a two-bid league for the third season in a row.

New Mexico State – Though the Boise State win was expected, domination was not.

Sam Houston State – The Bearkats play in the loaded Western division of the Southland Conference, where there are three teams with 16 wins or more compared to the Eastern division, which does not have a team with more than 13 wins.

Hampton – Morgan State has been a good story thus far. The Pirates will make certain that they’re not the story that Gus Johnson tells on Selection Sunday prior to the SEC Championship game.

That’s all for now. If you have any questions, comments, or just wish to send a shout, shoot me a line at phashemi@gmail.com.

The Seedings

1: Memphis (C-USA), Kansas (Big XII), Duke, North Carolina (ACC)
2: Tennessee (SEC), UCLA (PAC-10), Xavier (A-10), Georgetown (Big East)
3: Texas, Stanford, Michigan State (Big Ten), UConn
4: Butler (Horizon), Louisville, Drake (MVC), Kansas State
5: Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Washington State, Indiana
6: Clemson, Purdue, Arizona, Notre Dame
7: St. Mary’s, Arkansas, Pittsburgh, USC
8: Marquette, Gonzaga (WCC), Maryland, Vanderbilt
9: Rhode Island, Baylor, Mississippi State, Kentucky
10: South Alabama (Sun Belt), Florida, BYU, Dayton
11: UNLV (MWC), Kent State (MAC), UMass, Ohio State
12: Ole Miss, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Illinois State
13: George Mason (Colonial), Davidson (Southern), Oral Roberts (Summit), Siena (Metro Atlantic)
14: Cal State Northridge (Big West), Cornell (Ivy), Sam Houston State (Southland), New Mexico State (WAC)
15: UNC-Asheville (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), UM-Baltimore County (America East), Bucknell (Patriot)
16: Portland State (Big Sky), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Sacred Heart (Northeast), Alabama State (SWAC)

IN: Kentucky, UMass, Illinois State, Siena, Portland State
OUT: Virginia Tech, St. Joe’s, West Virginia, Rider, Northern Arizona

Last Four In: Ole Miss, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Illinois State
Last Four Out: Houston, Virginia Commonwealth, St. Joseph’s, Creighton
Next Four Out: Arizona State, West Virginia, Oregon, Ohio

Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
SEC: 7/12 – Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss
Pac-10: 5/10 – UCLA, Stanford, Washington State, Arizona, USC
Big XII: 6/12 – Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma
Big Ten: 5/11 – Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State
Big East: 7/16 – Georgetown, UConn, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Syracuse
ACC: 4/12 – Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Maryland
A-10: 4/14 – Xavier, Rhode Island, Dayton, UMass
West Coast: 2/8 – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s
Mountain West: 2/9 – UNLV, BYU
Missouri Valley: 2/10 – Drake, Illinois State

8 comments:

fabotk45 said...

I know Marquette had a rough week, but an 8 seed is kinda harsh. How do you see them finishing out the season?

Clement said...

More CAA-banter. I love it! Man, I would love two teams to get in.

With the writer's and media so gaga over UNC-Wilmington (geez, VCU did win there)...maybe the conference is getting zero respect at the top or we can get two-bids.

That Akron game is HUGE!

I love it!

Syracuse isn't getting in. I know it.

MchlJsphRffrty said...

there are 8 teams not 10 in the WCC

Paymon said...

Wow, Georgetown got bailed out.

Thanks for the WCC note.

Onto Marquette, they lost two games this week. Though their toughest remaining away game is at Syracuse, trips to visit Seton Hall and Villanova won't be easy for a squad who has won just one away game (@ Cincy) in conference.

Right now, Syracuse is in, but barely. They woke up during the Georgetown game. If they can win 4of their last 7, they almost have to be in. Of course, that's easier said than done when facing five of the conference's six best teams in that span. Good luck, my friend.

Let's move to the CAA. A point of information re: UNCW getting included, it was a simulation.

With respect to the mystical 2nd bid, the CAA needs to elevate its conference RPI via the BracketBusters. With two television matchups against the MAC, two wins can result in a conference flip-flop. One could only hope ...

Anonymous said...

KENTUCKY a 9# Seed. What the hell are you guys smoking?

Paymon said...

With a 6-2 conference record on the tougher division of the SEC (and a signature victory), I was lead to believe that Kentucky had turned it around. Using the prediction/projection format, I predicted that Kentucky would finish with 10-11 conference wins, which should be good enough to position them for a 9 seed.

Little did I know that they'd put together a very poor performance at Vanderbilt. That said, your comment is duly noted and special attention will be placed on their away tie at LSU on Saturday.

A reconsideration of their seeding (as well as everyone else) will take place on Sunday night.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am just jacking with you. At least you have the courage to put you thoughts out there for discussion. And let me just say they are pretty good and well written. I wish I had your talent. :)

fabotk45 said...

Did you see that shellacking of Seton Hall earlier this week? When we beat Pitt tonight, you had better give us a seed that we deserve.