14 March 2011


Final rankings (with top 100 record, second is any non-top 100 loss)
1) OSU 19-2
2) Duke 17-4
3) Kansas 21-2

4) Texas 13-7
4) SDSU 13-2
6) Pitt 16-5

7) Kentucky 13-8
8) Purdue 15-6-1
8) BYU 11-4

10) Wisconsin 12-8
11) Notre Dame 17-6
12) Louisville 15-9
12) Syracuse 15-7
14) Washington 10-7-3
15) North Carolina 16-6

16) Connecticut 17-9
17) Belmont 2-3-1
18) Utah St 5-2-1

19) West Virginia 13-11
20) Illinois 10-11-2
21) Arizona 8-6-1
22) Florida 16-3-4
23) UNLV 8-7-1

24) Cincinnati 9-8
25) Villanova 11-10-1
26) Georgetown 14-10
27) Vandy 10-9-1
28) George Mason 5-3-3

29) Gonzaga 8-7-2
30) Marquette 10-14
31) Kansas St 9-10
32) Missouri 7-10
33) Clemson 10-8-3
(Virginia Tech is 34, 8-8-3)
35) St John's 13-9-2
35) Temple 5-7
(St Marys is 37, 4-7-1. Unlike Va Tech, they don't have much of a beef for not getting in).
(Maryland is 38, 4-13-1, again, not exactly world beating record here)
39) Xavier 7-4-3

40) Michigan St 10-13-1
41) Butler 6-4-5
42) Richmond 5-5-2
43) Michigan 10-12-1
43) Florida St 6-9-1
(New Mexico is 45, 5-7-5)
46) Texas AM 9-8

(Wazzu is 47, 7-9-3)
48) USC 8-9-5
49) Penn St 11-13-1
50) Old Dominion 7-5-1
51) Tennessee 12-12-2
52) UCLA 7-9-1

53) Oakland 4-7-2. Oakland's the last auto-bid team that looks like a potential spoiler. Memphis sucks by comparison.
(Colorado and Alabama are 54th, 8-10-3, and 6-9-2, Colorado has a reasonable beef for inclusion over some of the at larges below them)
57) Georgia 6-11
59) UAB 6-5-3

85?) VCU 7-7-4

I don't understand why UAB gets in and Virginia Tech does not (and also Clemson does on that criteria) or why VCU gets in.. at all.
On to the actual pick like things

USC over VCU
Clemson over UAB

East region
This is a weird region. There are two teams here I wouldn't have even put in the tournament (Georgia and UAB), and other than Ohio St and Kentucky it's kind of bunched together in the middle. There appear to be 3 "4" seeds playing here for example.

I think Xavier got a little over seeded, so that makes the 6-11 game interesting. I'd take Marquette there even though the game is in Cleveland. Washington looks like a potential upset (again) in the second round. Carolina isn't anywhere near as bad overseeded as New Mexico, which should be carried as it's own talisman of insanity (much like putting VCU in this year), but it's still vulnerable. The one part that worries me there is Washington having to travel across country to play in Charlotte, which usually messes up west coast teams. Neither of the 12 seeds looks like an upset special for West Virginia, but West Virginia itself looks a vulnerable 5. 8-9 is a pretty good toss-up.

Most interesting matchup and probably toughest for Ohio St in the region is Kentucky in the Sweet 16. If they win that, they'll probably make the finals, and almost certainly make the final 4. If they lose, Kentucky might make the finals. The committee overall has some rough 1-4 matchups (other than Pitt who might be facing a 12 or 13 seed). If they end up playing Syracuse, the game is in Newark, but I don't think it will matter very much.

West Region
This region is top loaded. There are 3 top 5 teams here. The 1-4 with Texas vs Duke looks dangerous for the 1. Probably whoever wins that one is a Final Four team.

Connecticut is easily the weakest of the 3 seeds. Look for Bucknell or especially Missouri to knock them off. Cincinnati is less likely as they look like a vulnerable 6 anyway (plus they'd have to beat Missouri, who is, naturally, pretty good anyway). 7-10 game as with above, doesn't look very interesting. Memphis is one of the worst 12 seeds, and Arizona a solid 5, so not so much there. If Oakland were playing any of the other 4 seeds, especially Louisville, I'd consider an upset there. Tennessee-Michigan is kind of a meaningless game, but I'd say take Tennessee.

Southwest Region

Kansas has an easier run up top. They can be beaten, but I don't think that's UNLV, Illinois or Louisville's strength to do so. Louisville might be messy, but I still don't see them winning that game. Keeping Kansas from scoring is not the same as being able to score yourself, which Louisville hasn't been able to do reliably for a few years now. They're also going to get killed on the boards.

Meanwhile Purdue limped in on two straight losses, and that's usually not good. The only good fortune here for them is that none of the rest of their early pod looks impressive either. St Peter's is a 16 seed disguised as a 14. Georgetown might be the only option there to upset, as neither 11 seed is very good. The other good fortune is that they're playing in Chicago. Since Notre Dame was about right on the seed line, I'll go ahead and take them over Purdue. They really don't have much to contend with early on. Richmond would be better served if they hadn't been screwed on their seed this year. They're better than a 12, but they're not suited to beating a 5 seed. Pit them against Georgetown or Texas AM and I'd consider it. UNLV-Illinois looks like Illinois could win, but they've been playing very strangely down the stretch. Both of them were underseeded a little, as they're better than Georgetown or Vanderbilt or Texas A&M especially (speaking of which, I'd take Florida St I suppose, but neither of them is very good).

This is the weirdest region to me. Both the 12 and 13 seeds I have rated higher than the 2 seed, for example.

I would watch out for Wisconsin against Belmont, as Belmont really gets after the defense and can shoot the lights out. Wisconsin's defense isn't that great, secretly masked by their really efficient, and really slow, offense (they also have the kiss of death, lost last two coming in, problem). Really they'll have a tough time against both them and Utah St. Utah St jumped right out and said "pick me" when they put a very weak 5 seed (Kansas St) up against them. The games are also in Tuscon, which is still out west rather than making for that jet lag game. K State doesn't actually read like a highly vulnerable 5, but they're up against a very, very good 12.

In other news, St John's is overrated. Take Gonzaga. In fact, you could probably take them all the way to the elite eight this year as BYU hasn't suited up one of its better players and Florida is only about as good as Gonzaga. Florida looks really, really weak for a 2 seed. Butler-Old Dominion is an odd game. I guess take Butler, but the game is in DC. Don't expect either to make much noise against Pitt, Butler maybe better suited than ODU. Take Michigan St in round one over UCLA and maybe round two as well. If you haven't noticed, I expect this region to be extremely messy, and look very strange by round 3.
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