Sunday, February 19, 2006


Looking into the crystal ball - 19 February 2006

My friend Keith asked me to put on my Mr. Tony style turban and use my incredible psychic powers (hardy har har) to see what would go down three weeks from today. Here's what I came up with.

The four one seeds will probably stay as they are. You can take any two from Memphis, Texas, and Villanova, but Memphis drops to a 2 because of their conference and lack of substantive tests since January.

Twos and threes are very open. The longer Gonzaga keeps on winning they stay as a 2. West Virginia will crack the 2 line soon and Pitt will drop to a 3.

Tennessee and Florida is huge Wednesday night. If UT wins, I think they'll stay as a 2. If UF wins, while they won't automatically be a two, it could start them on a roll. They're at Alabama, hosting Georgia, and at Kentukcy to close the regular season. Conceivably, UF can go down to a 4, but I think they'll split the difference and stay as a 3.

Where the Big Ten teams will end up is also up in the air. I believe Ohio State will be a three. Iowa will drop to a four and Illinois will stay there. A lot of people like Michigan State, I think they are very overrated. They really deserve a five seed, but will probably get a three or four. The schedule favors Ohio State and Wisconsin to finish 1-2 in the league. However, the Badgers midseason dip in form will move them to a 5 seed. I really, really wanted to move them up a line or two this week, but too many teams are playing well right now. Indiana will fall out of the bracket, Michigan will be an 8 or 9 seed.

Pac more bad loss and Arizona is out. If they keep winning, they stay in. Unfortunately, they play both Arizona State and Washington State, two teams who give them trouble. Even though their last three are at home, they'll lose one of them to a team they should beat and be out. That opens the door for Stanford, who still plays at Washington and they get UCLA at home. Those are two big chances for the Cardinal. I think they will end up getting the fourth bid out of the Pac 10 over Arizona. Cal will end up with a higher seed than a fading Washington squad.

The Valley is for real folks, and they will get four teams in. Missouri State or Bradley both have a good chance to steal a fifth place, and the Bears will do it. They're the sixth-rated RPI conference. I read this week that normally there would be no argument about the sixth-rated league getting five teams in if it was warranted and there were some middling schools in the top five (ahem, ACC). However, since the phrase "Missouri Valley" is next to the 6 in the conference rankings, people have an issue. No Valley team will be a top four seed when all is said and done though.

Maryland will end up out (at FSU, UNC, and UVa, with Miami at home). GW will fall out of the top four lines (same issue as Memphis, bad conference, the A-10 won't get a second bid unless Temple beats Duke, which won't happen).

Here's a short summary of what I think will shake down on Selection Sunday...
Top Four Seeds
Atlanta: Duke, Gonzaga, Ohio State, UCLA
Oakland: Villanova, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Illinois
Minneapolis: Texas, West Virginia, Florida, NC State
Washington: UConn, Tennessee, Iowa, North Carolina

Last Four In
Stanford will sneak in.
UNCW and Missouri State will take advantage of some major conference stumbles (Maryland and Syracuse).
UAB will get in as C-USA's second team.

First Four Out
Syracuse (the 1-5 stretch before the Louisville win is a killer)
Maryland {The schedule is too much for a team that's struggling.)
Indiana (a fiasco)
Vanderbilt (The Commodores will make a late run in the SEC that will fall short.)

Fire away!

yeah Missouri State. I sure hope your right about them.
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