Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Joe Lunardi is Sniffing Glue and We're Barely in January

While I have not updated my own bracket projections/predictions, I am taking a few minutes to rip ESPN's resident brackcrack-etologist Joe Lunardi's most recent entry on January 5.

To be fair and balanced, I'll also touch upon the good picks.

The Good
* While I love the inclusion of my alma mater, George Mason, they are not better than VCU and I think Old Dominion would beat us in a one-off. They have a better record, because they have played no one of note.

* The #1 seeds are not horrible, though teams will exploit Duke and Oklahoma later in the season. They always do. Perhaps, you cannot punish them now with a straight projection model.

And onto the ugly ...

* Georgetown as a #2 seed. Despite a great game plan that was executed to perfection in Hartford against UConn, the Hoyas got categorically dominated by Pitt in every facet of the game. They have no real contributors off of the bench and displayed some of the worst weak side rebounding that I have seen from a good Big East team.

* Wake Forest as a #2 seed. If they beat UNC in their own building, I'm putting my foot in my mouth. I see this team as a more talented version of last year's Vanderbilt who burst out of the gate, minus the bevy of loseable games in their schedule. The win at BYU was overrated. Mind you, I think BYU is a tournament team - their home win streak was inflated, because they played absolutely no one excluding a couple of good teams in the Mountain West a few times and maybe one or two good OOC teams.

* Florida as a #8 seed. Who has Florida beaten so far? Are you aware that Jai Lucas transferred and has forced Nick Calathes to shoulder the burden in the backcourt? Michigan has defeated #1 seed Duke at home and edged #3 seed UCLA on a neutral court ... and they're seeded beneath the Gators in a season-ends-today projection format.

* Clemson as a #3 seed. That's a tumble waiting to happen.

* Xavier above Butler? I am no proponent of the transitive property, but this is not last year's Xavier team. Drew Lavender is gone. Josh Duncan is gone. I'm fully cognizant that Mike Green, AJ Graves and ODU killer Campbell are gone, but Butler is a factory and they won on Xavier's homecourt. Their only loss was a 3-point decision at Ohio State when the Buckeyes were running hot.

* Stanford in and UNLV out??? UNLV just defeated your #4 seed on the road and they were not bad before that. Stanford just lost by 30 points at home in its first relevant game all season. You know that the Lopez twins got drafted, right? Also, Johnny Dawkins has no eligibility left.

* Underseeded West Coast Conference teams. Gonzaga is on a slide, but they'll pick it back up. LeBron James is the only thing that travels more than the Zags prior to WCC play. And that has an effect on professionals, so only imagine what it does to college kids when they OOC games. Mind you, they won a competition that included #2 Georgetown, #3 Michigan State, and #7 Tennessee. That matters. Also, St. Mary's has played no real teams of note, but they are a good team who have won loseable games (Providence, Kent State, San Diego State, Oregon, Southern Illinois) if you decide to stay up and watch them. Patrick Mills is one of the finest pure PGs in the land (down under). A #12 seed is an insult.

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