Monday, February 09, 2009

NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections - February 9, 2009

For the third straight set of projections, UConn tops the charts. This pick was solidified by exemplary defense as well as two subtractions from the UNC roster (Marcus Ginyard ruled out by injury and Will Graves suspended for reasons that Roy Williams decided not to elaborate).

Though they have only one loss (to Arkansas), Oklahoma remains on the 2-line. Due to a matchup conflict, I placed them in the 6th overall spot, though we project them to be higher than Louisville, who greeted February with a setback on Monday and an uninspiring performance on Sunday.

In terms of whose stock rose, look no further than the Tigers of Memphis and Missouri.

* I expected Memphis to be competitive against Gonzaga, but I did not expect to punish and demoralize the Bulldogs. John Calipari's management of Tyreke Evans - who came in with a selfish tag and is suddenly one of the best floor generals in the country since his move to the point – is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration on its face.

* As for Missouri, they are living up to their gaudy eye test metrics (top 25 national rating in offensive and defensive efficiency). Because they are now the 3rd team in the Big XII, they will be the hunted and will not catch teams off guard.

Meanwhile, stock is plummeting in Austin, Lafayette, Las Vegas and State College.

* On the heels of three consecutive conference losses to teams not named Oklahoma or Kansas, Texas is in the midst of an identity crisis and it is due in part to being banged up and not having an NBA-caliber point guard in the backcourt. However, this is why Rick Barnes gets paid the big bucks. He will have this team turned around, though it may not be immediate.

* While I do not think Robbie Hummel is the best player for the Boilermakers, his absence has been felt in two losses this week. If he remains out, expect more of the same. The beneficiaries of this loss will no doubt be Ohio State, Illinois and Minnesota, who are all battling for a 'protected' seed (i.e. 4 seed or better).

* UNLV is playing awful. When you lose close games, the finger will undoubtedly be in the direction of either the best player or the point guard. In this case, it's the same player. Yeah, I'm calling you out Wink Adams. Another week like this and my stretch of a Mountain West championship becomes no more. Utah is starting to normalize.

* As highlighted by other folks, in a week that Penn State needed a split, the Nittany Lions came out empty-handed and they have three halves of utter futility to thank for it. After winning unexpectedly in East Lansing, Penn State tanked against fellow bubble teams with back-to-back double-digit losses. That's toxic for a resume and I cannot emphasize that enough.

Moving down to the last four in, I went in with the notion that I am choosing the best 34 at-large teams. Miami-FL may finish 7-9 in the ACC and may garner serious at-large consideration, especially if Kentucky (who they defeated at Rupp Arena) rights the ship and Ohio State (who they would have beaten had Jack McClinton not been wrongfully ejected) continues to play well. In the end, it came down to Arizona and Kansas State. While I think that it is slightly irresponsible to have six from the PAC 10, Arizona has a better resume than Kansas State.

On a final note, Georgetown, who was a protected seed, is out of the field. The tipping point was an overtime loss against Cincinnati, which I happened to attend. If the Hoyas can go 8-10 in the Big East given their tougher than average schedule with a semifinal run at Madison Square Garden, they carry a strong argument for an at-large bid. At this point, however, it is unrealistic to see Georgetown win four of their last seven and win at least two at MSG.

If you have any questions, comments, or just wish to send a shout, shoot me a line at phashemi@gmail.com.

The Seedings

1: UConn (Big East), North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Duke (ACC)

2: Louisville, Oklahoma (Big XII), Michigan State (Big Ten), Wake Forest

3: Memphis (C-USA), Villanova, Clemson, UCLA

4: Marquette, Xavier (A-10), Kansas, Ohio State

5: Butler (Horizon), Syracuse, Illinois, Purdue

6: Minnesota, Washington, Gonzaga (WCC), Missouri

7: Arizona State, Florida State, West Virginia, Texas

8: Tennessee (SEC), Davidson (Southern), California, Florida

9: Boston College, Dayton, Virginia Tech, UNLV (MWC)

10: Utah State (WAC), LSU, USC, Utah

11: Cincinnati, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Miami-FL

12: Siena (Metro Atlantic), BYU, Kentucky, Arizona

13: Creighton (MVC), VCU (CAA), Buffalo (MAC), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

14: Stephen F. Austin (Southland), North Dakota State (Summit), Vermont (America East), Cornell (Ivy)

15: VMI (Big South), American (Patriot), Tennessee-Martin (Ohio Valley), Belmont (Atlantic Sun)

16: Weber State (Big Sky), Long Beach State (Big West), Morgan State (MEAC), Robert Morris (Northeast), Alabama State (SWAC)

IN: Wisconsin, BYU, Miami-FL, Cincinnati, Creighton, Tennessee-Martin

OUT: Penn State, Georgetown, Northern Iowa, St. Mary's, Providence, Austin Peay


Last Four In: Miami-FL, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Arizona

Last Four Out: Kansas State, Mississippi State, San Diego State, Michigan

Next Four Out: Penn State, Georgetown, St. Mary's, Nebraska


Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
ACC: 8/12

Pac-10: 6/10

Big East: 8/16

Big Ten: 6/11

SEC: 5/12

Big XII: 4/12

Mountain West: 3/9

A-10: 2/14

6 comments:

Sum said...

How is Duke still a 1-seed? After the ass-whooping by Clemson, I thought they'd be a 2 for certain...

Anonymous said...

The ACC and Big East won't get 8 each and PAC 10 gets 5. If they are lucky, the ACC gets 7.

I disagree with you on the last four in (K St, Miss St. in, Arizona and Miami out), but you make good arguments.

Anonymous said...

You look like a tool leaving UNLV and SDSU out...

Anonymous said...

^^UNLV in* and SDSU out...

Brad Slepetz said...

I request a quick analysis on why Georgetown sucks.

Paymon said...

Here are some quick hits ...

* Duke was very close to a 2 seed, as they have slipped in terms of how sharp they are. They might be entering that period when teams start to figure them out, in which Duke Vitale and Mike Patrick will call it "Mike Krzyzewski's best coaching job yet". One side note: I think Oklahoma's near losses against clear non-tournament teams are quite alarming.

* On Anonymous #1, you are probably right on the conference bids. I like taking a stand in February for picking the best 34 at-large teams and my numbers take a beating when I do the same on Selection Sunday. On resumes, Kansas State and Mississippi State only get in over Miami and Arizona if conference allocation is taken into account.

* On Anonymous #2 and #3, I think there is much to be said about someone calling someone else a tool when it takes two tries for that someone to enter a 1-line post. Name-calling aside, UNLV has the stronger resume (Did SD St beat Louisville on the road?). If you want to live in the 19th century and use the transitive property, be my guest. UNLV has a great chance to win the automatic bid from the Mountain West because the tournament goes through the Thomas and Mack Center.

* On GTown, let's see ...
- JT3 did not develop a bench during non-conference play
- I have compared Chris Wright to tissue paper more than once
- DaJuan Summers has an ankle injury which has affected his explosion, jump shot and lateral quickness.
- Greg Monroe is bricking so many shots that he is poised to forgo the NBA Draft and instead volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
- Their weak-side rebounding is bad. It was awful earlier this season.
- There is no real leader on this team in the closing minutes. Last year, they had JWall and two years ago, they had Jeff Green.
- Playing in the Big East is no joke. You cannot take a night off. Georgetown has taken off at least three games (v. WVU, @ Seton Hall, v. Cincy).