Sunday, December 07, 2008


New site

I have my own domain now. This season, and in the future, you can find me at

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Battle of Ones

For the first time ever, all four number one seeds have made it to the Final Four site. Hopefully, the matchups will reflect the parity in the seed numbers. We have two teams who've been to this stage frequently of late, UCLA and North Carolina, and two who are making their first trips under their current coaches, Memphis and Kansas. Talent-wise, the advantage goes to Memphis (if only because UCLA's bench isn't as deep) and barely to UNC. In terms of coaching, UCLA and Carolina. In terms of experience, UNC and UCLA. I think experience and coaching are going to go a long way at this stage since the four teams are so even. My picks for tonight are the Heels and Bruins.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Elite Eight Picks

On my original bracket, I went 6-2 in the regional semifinals (with Georgetown and Duke already eliminated). My picks here went 8-0, however. For my regional final picks, I haven't changed my mind on any of my three picks that are still alive, North Carolina, UCLA, and Texas. For the Midwest, I'll have to take Kansas over Davidson. Sure, Bill Self is still coaching the Jayhawks, but they're the only team the Wildcats have faced so far that can beat them in the athleticism department. Gus Johnson is right when he says KU "looks like an NBA team," especially since his other employer (the Knicks) would probably lose to Kansas at this point. I wouldn't be shocked if Stephen Curry shoots Davidson to the Alamodome, however.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Onto the Regionals...

I'm pretty happy with the young Gators pulling out a huge win in the desert last night to make it to New York. On the other hand, I'm still stunned by the 26-point el foldo act the Orange pulled immediately before. The only good thing about that is that I'm not faced with watching a UF-SU semifinal. I can now cheer wholeheartedly for the Gators to beat UMass.

As for the big tournament, I needed to pull the trigger on some more upsets. I also need to put Clemson on my Kansas/Pitt list of teams to never pick. I was thinking that if Syracuse had beaten Villanova in the Big East tournament rubber match and made the field, they would probably have also made the Sweet Sixteen if placed in that Tampa pod. The Orange-Tiger game would've been an epic watch, which team would manage to choke it away first?

My first weekend record of 28-20 stinks. I lost one Final Four team (Georgetown) and one Elite Eight squad (Duke).

Round 1: 20-12 (22-10 last year)

Round 2: 8-8 (12-4 last year)

As for this year's regional semis, here are my updated picks.

Thursday - Charlotte

North Carolina over Washington State One thing is for sure, the Heels aren't going to score 100 plus in this one. The Cougs just won't have enough offense to pull it out. Plus, the crowd will be a factor working against them.

Louisville over Tennessee
I picked Butler to knock off the Vols, and they came tantalizingly close to making me look smart for the first time this tournament. I then picked the Cards to take out the Bulldogs. The Vols have point guard issues and Chris Lofton has a minor leg injury, while the Cards have for the most part rolled through the last month. A more disciplined Louisville squad further exposes the Vols' shortcomings to move on.

Thursday - Phoenix
Xavier over West Virginia I was very tempted to take the Mountaineers here, since this is a fairly even matchup talent-wise. The only problem is the fact that WVU fouls A LOT, and Xavier does a good job of making their free throws.

UCLA over Western Kentucky The only chance the Hilltoppers have is for Courtney Lee, Tyrone Brazelton, and A.J. Slaughter to hit about 30 threes. Kevin Love creates an matchup problem that WKU won't have an answer for. Plus, if all else fails for the Bruins, they'll probably have the refs on their side. I don't see any close calls handing them victory, however.

Friday - Detroit
Davidson over Wisconsin I may be a little nuts for picking this one. I just think that if the Wildcats can handle Georgetown, they can also handle the Badgers. Stephen Curry will probably be double or triple-teamed all night, but he'll still get his shot, and his teammates are going to get opportunities because of all the attention focused on the Babyfaced Assassin. The only concern I have is that Wisky will have had five days to prepare, and they already are one of the best defensive teams left.

Kansas over Villanova Kansas has way too much of everything for the Wildcats. Plus, this Nova team is shooting far better than it did during the season, which can't last (and probably won't heading into the bad shooting environment they'll encounter at Ford Field).

Friday - Houston
Texas over Stanford Two keys for the Longhorns: superior guard play and smarter defense on the Lopez twins than Marquette played. Of course, I predicted Marquette would beat the Cardinal based on guard play, but D.J. Augustin is otherworldly for a college point guard and Texas does a great job of holding onto the ball at each position.

Memphis over Michigan State Tom Izzo could try the "Hack a Tiger" strategy here. The Spartans chances will hinge on how well their outside shooters adjust to shooting in the dome environment. It shouldn't matter, as the Tigers overall athleticism and skill will get them to another regional final, however.

Elite Eight picks Saturday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Pick time

I was out watching the Syracuse NIT game last night, since my cable company still deprives us of four-letter U. Thankfully, the Gator game tonight is on a station I actually get.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. It's time to look at my picks for this year's bracket. The hope is I can do as well with my game picks as I did with selecting the field. (Ha ha) I don't think lightning will strike twice, but I'm going to give it a go. Here's a link to the completed bracket.

However, before we take a look at 2008, let's take a look back at 2007.

First round: 22-10 (.688 - marginally better than 2006)
Second round: 12-4 (.750 - a game better than 2006)
Regional Semis: 7-1 (.875 far better than 2006's .250. I only missed Texas A&M.)
Regional Finals: 3-1 (.750 - far better again than 2006's .250)
Rest of the way: 2-1 (.667 - I needed a Gators-Georgetown final. Let that be a lesson to you readers, never pick a team you despise when you need them to win.)
Total tournament: 46-17 (.730, much better than the .540 I posted in 2006)

Let's move on to 2008.

Round One
North Carolina
Indiana over Arkansas. In a battle of two teams who's mental state can be questioned at the moment, take the team with superior talent.
George Mason over Notre Dame, in a close one. Luke Harangody will have his hands full with Will Thomas. Patriots need to make sure they put a body on Kyle McAlarney, however.
Washington State over Winthrop, also in a close one.
Oklahoma over St. Joseph's This game could go either way, but I like the Sooners since they're healthy, especially inside.
Butler over South Alabama Everyone is making a big deal about the Jaguars having a home court advantage in this one, but I think that's overblown. Butler is too good of a team to let that get into their heads.

Round Two
North Carolina again
Washington State ensures it won't be a repeat of 2006 for the Patriots
Butler over Tennessee, as the Vols lack of fundamentals will be exposed by a Bulldog team that's better than the one that played UF close last year.

Regional Semifinals
North Carolina over Wazzu
Louisville ends Butler's run, gaining revenge for 2003 in Birmingham.

Regional Final
North Carolina
over Louisville, though I'd be tempted to take the Cardinals if it wasn't in Charlotte.

Round One
Kent State over UNLV in one of the most intriguing matchups in the tournament.
Clemson over Villanova in a game that can go either way.
Vanderbilt will get a scare out of Siena, but survive.
USC over Kansas State in the battle of Mayo vs. Beasley. O.J. has too much healthy talent surrounding him.
Wisconsin will survive Fullerton.
Davidson over Gonzaga. The fact it's a 9:25 Pacific time start in the Wildcats backyard is bound to throw the Bulldogs.

Round Two
Kansas since they've done well against the MAC this year.
Clemson will have too much for a Vandy team that doesn't do well away from Memorial Gym.
Southern Cal's talent is too much for Wisconsin.
Georgetown ends Davidson's hopes.

Regional Semifinals
Kansas over Clemson
Georgetown over USC based on their experience.

Regional Final
over Kansas. I'm picking against the Jayhawks until a Bill Self-coached team wins a game that matters.

Round One
BYU over a very inconsistent Texas A&M team.
Western Kentucky uses the best player on the court, Courtney Lee, to get by Drake.
Connecticut over San Diego
Baylor over Purdue, even though the Boilers do pretty well against guard-oriented teams. The Bears guards are just speedier than anything they've seen.
Xavier ends Georgia's miracle run
Arizona has something to prove and a ton of talent, so they dispatch overseeded WVU.

Round Two
UCLA as the Bruins are sick of seeing the Cougars after two football meetings this year.
Xavier gets by Baylor
Duke wins an epic battle with Arizona.

Regional Semifinals
UCLA over Connecticut
Duke over Xavier

Regional Final
beats Duke based on their interior play.

Round One
Mississippi State over the overseeded Oregon Ducks.
Temple knocks an inconsistent Michigan State team out.
Pitt survives Oral Roberts' inside-outside game.
Marquette over Kentucky, provided they shoot better than they did at this stage last year.
Stanford over Cornell in the SAT Bowl
St. Mary's over a seriously overseeded Miami squad, the same way Winthrop beat the Canes, from the perimeter. Makes me glad Syracuse doesn't play the Gaels.

Round Two
Memphis struggles with Miss. State, but advances.
Pitt barely over Temple.
Marquette's guards mean a win over Stanford. (Think the Louisville game last year, only not as much of a blowout.)
Texas over St. Mary's in the teams' second meeting of the year.

Regional Semifinals
Memphis over Pitt. See my comments on Kansas above. The Panthers have yet to prove to me they can get past this stage.
Texas over Marquette.

Regional Final
uses their de facto home court advantage to get by Memphis.

National Semifinals
UNC over Georgetown
Texas over UCLA. The Longhorns beat them once, and that was at Pauley. Just think what they could do in San Antonio.

National Final
Texas over UNC. The Tar Heels just are missing something defensively. The Longhorns already own wins over 2 one seeds and a two this season. Their experience from those matchups and the San Antonio crowd will push them to victory.

E-mail me with your comments and questions.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Let's Review

Last year at this time I wrote, "This season gave the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee a selection and seeding process that involved more challenges than ever before. Unbalanced scheduling in the major conferences produced convoluted conference races and logjams everywhere."

It seems that in the span of one year, little has changed. The names may be a bit different (Arizona State instead of Syracuse, for example), and some conference tournament results ultimately shrunk the bubble. However, the selection committee's inconsistencies again leave basketball fans with a lot of questions.

Had Georgia not won the SEC tournament late Sunday afternoon, I would've had Arizona State as my last team in. Why did I drop them and not Villanova or Oregon? Well, I didn't like the Sun Devils 5-10 record to end the season. The committee's official reasons for leaving them out - their high RPI and strength of schedule. However, teams like St. Mary's and South Alabama got at-large bids with worse SOS numbers and the committee's dedication to the RPI didn't extend to tomorrow night's opening round matchup.

The committee also decided to have the mid-majors cannibalize each other yet again. There are four first round matchups between mid-major teams that all would've had a good chance to defeat major conference teams (UNLV-Kent State, Drake-Western Kentucky, Gonzaga-Davidson, Butler-South Alabama). Gonzaga and Butler will have to try to win in their opponents' backyards. Remember though, the last time the tournament was in Birmingham, Butler advanced to the Sweet Sixteen out of that site.

More about matchups when I make my picks Wednesday, I'll now review the seeds line by line.

1 seeds: North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA, Kansas I seriously spent most of Sunday with Tennessee in Kansas's spot. I changed my mind after watching the first half of the Big 12 championship game. My thought was there was no way the winner of that highly competitive game was going to be on the 2 line. Turns out I was correct.
My picks: North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA, Kansas

2 seeds: Georgetown, Duke, Texas, Tennessee I had Wisconsin here instead of the Hoyas, figuring that even in a down year, winning both the regular season and tournament Big Ten titles would carry some weight for the Badgers. I don't understand why Georgetown isn't the 2 in the East instead of Tennessee. Again, this is an example of the committee being inconsistent with the RPI. Why reward the top RPI and SOS team with not only a 2 seed, but the worst two seed, and the potential of a matchup with Carolina in their backyard that goes with it?
My picks: Tennessee, Texas, Duke, Wisconsin

3 seeds: Louisville, Stanford
, Xavier, Wisconsin Other than flipping Wisconsin and Georgetown, the committee did a good job with the 3 line. Xavier could've moved down to the 4 line after dropping two games to St. Joe's in a week and a half, but their season's worth of work kept them here. However, if Indiana is going to drop precipitously based on their late season performance, I was a bit surprised the Musketeers' play with an injured Drew Lavender didn't cost them.
My picks: Georgetown, Stanford, Louisville, Xavier

4 seeds: Vanderbilt
, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Washington State I thought Vandy wasn't good enough away from home to get a protected seed. I also thought that Washington State had underachieved at an almost Michigan State-like level this season. Pitt's really starting to roll since Levance Fields' return, so this seeding is completely deserved after winning the Big East tournament the hard way.
My picks: Pittsburgh, Drake, Connecticut, Notre Dame

5 seeds: Notre Dame, Michigan State, Drake
, Clemson The Tigers were the only team here that I had spot on, but the other three were within a line. Remember that 5 seeds are also technically protected, so I was stunned to see an inconsistent Michigan State team this high. Notre Dame's spotty road/neutral record and Drake's non-conference schedule probably played a role with why they're here instead of line 5. However, neither team is at a huge geographic disadvantage in their pods (especially the Irish, with their huge national following).
My picks: Butler, Clemson, Indiana, Vanderbilt

6 seeds: Southern Cal, Purdue, Marquette, Oklahoma The only team I have a beef with here is Oklahoma, another team who is terribly inconsistent. I really thought they'd be at least a line lower after getting shellacked by Texas twice in their last 7, along with that 27-point loss at home to Texas A&M a couple of weeks back. (I had them as an 8.) Purdue would have been higher had they not dropped their Big Ten quarterfinal to Illinois.
My picks: Southern Cal, Marquette, Michigan State, Purdue

7 seeds: Butler, Miami, West Virginia, Gonzaga Butler is probably here because their non-conference wins didn't really pan out as really good wins. Still, they should be seeded ahead of Oklahoma based on their finishing kick. As for Miami, 9-9 in ACC games and one non-conference win against a tourney team is worthy of a 7 seed? West Virginia's record away from Morgantown should've kept them lower.
My picks: Washington State, Gonzaga, UNLV, Texas A&M

8 seeds: Indiana, Mississippi State, BYU, UNLV Indiana is another headscratcher. Sure they've struggled under Dan Dakich, but this team's overall body of work is worthy of more than this. The others are all close to where they should be.
My picks: Oklahoma, West Virginia, BYU, Arkansas

9 seeds: Kent State, Texas A&M, Oregon, Arkansas Even though I had A&M higher, the 8/9 game is probably the best place for them. Kent State and Arkansas are pretty much spot on. It's apparent that Oregon wasn't the committee's last team in since they're this high. I just cannot figure out why. Again, 18-13 and 9-10 in the Pac-10 seems like a 12 seed to me.
My picks: Davidson, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Kent State

10 seeds: Davidson, Arizona, St. Mary's, South Alabama This is the most dangerous collection of 10 seeds I've seen in awhile. Davidson and Arizona were both within a line, so I have no real arguments with the committee here.
My picks: St. Mary's, Kentucky, Miami, South Alabama

11 seeds: St. Joseph's, Kentucky, Baylor, Kansas State I figured K-State would be higher, but with the way they finished, an 11 seed is understandable. I also thought Temple would be higher than St. Joe's based on winning the season series (since there isn't too much difference in their resumes, other than the Hawks getting wins over Villanova and two over Xavier). In the case of these two teams, the seeding switch gave them the matchups they needed to succeed.
My picks: Villanova, Arizona, Temple, Baylor

12 seeds: Villanova, Western Kentucky, Temple, George Mason I had the Hilltoppers as a 13 until Georgia won. I thought Nova would be a line higher and I've already discussed the other two Philly teams in the field.
My picks: George Mason, Western Kentucky, St. Joseph's, Oregon

13 seeds: Winthrop, Oral Roberts, San Diego, Siena I thought Georgia would be here because no major conference team had ever been seeded lower than 14. I also thought Winthrop would be a line lower, since this team isn't quite as good as the last two. I figured Cornell would be here since went unbeaten in the Ivy League, beat Siena, and played Duke close for 30 minutes. In hindsight, this was probably a better landing spot for USD.
My picks: Siena, Georgia, Cornell, Oral Roberts

14 seeds: Cal State-Fullerton, Georgia, Cornell, Boise State Other than thinking the Bulldogs and Big Red would be higher, I can't argue with this group.
My picks: San Diego, Winthrop, Cal State-Fullerton, Boise State

15 seeds: American, Austin Peay, Belmont, Maryland-Baltimore County I had Portland State here instead of American, but I have to assume the committee was rewarding the Eagles for the relative strength of the Patriot League this season.
My picks: Portland State, Maryland-Baltimore County, Belmont, Austin Peay

16 seeds: Portland State, Mississippi Valley State, Texas-Arlington, Mount St. Mary's, Coppin State Political correctness aside, the opening round game should be Mississippi Valley State-Coppin State. Why? Well, if the committee is valuing the RPI all of a sudden, and the two lowest-rated teams are supposed to play in Dayton, logic dicates that the teams ranked 227 and 228 should be there. (Coppin State is 14-20, but is one spot higher than the Delta Devils.) Mount St. Mary's is 69 spots higher than the Devils. The Mountaineers had better hope they play like Niagara did when placed in this game last season.
My picks: American, Mount Saint Mary's, Texas-Arlington, Mississippi Valley State, Coppin State

I'll post more tomorrow and post my picks on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Brief Post-Mortem

Here's the simple statistical breakdown for the year and a comparison to last year and 2007.

All 34 at-larges correct (32 of 34 in both 2006 and 2007)

36 seeds correct (23 in 2007, 28 in 2006)
22 off by 1 line (25 in 2007, 19 in 2006)
4 off by 2 lines (12 in 2007, 13 in 2006)
3 off by 3 lines (1 in 2007,3 in 2006)
0 off by 4 lines (3 in 2007, 3 in 2006)

I'll post a more detailed analysis tomorrow night. I've yet to really look at the actual bracket, though I have noticed there are quite a few early mid-major matchups.


Final Bracket

In my last post, I promised this would be short. Here's my final bracket (seed list).

Villanova and Oregon are in, replacing Virginia Tech and Ohio State. The Buckeyes really needed another win over Michigan State to feel safe, and the Hokies needed to pull that one out against North Carolina yesterday. Villanova moved up after both Pitt and Temple won their conference tournaments yesterday. As for the Ducks, I feel the committee is going to reward them because they have a few more quality wins than either the Buckeyes or Hokies.
Georgia's win in the SEC final knocked Arizona State out. The Sun Devils' 5-10 mark in their last 15 games was the factor that caused me to drop them.

I'll discuss the bracket more this evening and tomorrow night.

Conference Breakdown

Big East - 8
Pac 10 - 6
Big 12 - 6
SEC - 6
ACC - 4
Big 10 - 4
Atlantic 10 - 3
West Coast - 3
Mountain West - 2
Sun Belt - 2

New This Bracket
Boise State (auto)
Coppin State (auto)
Georgia (auto)
Texas-Arlington (auto)

Out of This Bracket
Arizona State
Morgan State (auto)
New Mexico State (auto)
Northwestern State (auto)
Ohio State
Virginia Tech

Last Four In

St. Joseph's

Last Four Out
Arizona State
Illinois State
Ohio State
Virginia Tech

Next Four Out
New Mexico
Virginia Commonwealth

E-mail me with comments or questions.


Opening Round Projection

Since the Selection Committee says they'll announce the matchup for Tuesday's Opening Round game by 3:30 today, my projection for this one is the two teams in the field at the moment who have losing records, Coppin State from the MEAC and Mississippi Valley State from the SWAC. It may not be politically correct to place two HBCUs in Dayton, but the profiles of these two teams stand out from the rest of the field. Northwestern State from the Southland could slide in here and replace MVSU if they come back against Texas-Arlington, but this isn't looking likely.

Final bracket and a very quick rundown will be out around 5:30. I have a couple of drafts ready and some contingencies in place based on if Georgia wins the SEC or Illinois takes the Big Ten.

Expect a post-mortem tonight or at the latest tomorrow evening. Tuesday, I'll have a little on my travels over the past week. Wednesday is picks time.

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