12 March 2012

Brackets, first thoughts

ESPN has made it easier to do pot odds moves by putting a computer projection up against the national bracket (at least in the first round).
Basically:
Belmont looks good as an upset pick against Georgetown. In fact, all of the 3 seeds look a lot weaker than would be expected, but this one still stands out.
Marquette will have an interesting game as well, given that they drew one of the play-in games with two 30-40 range teams in it.
Cincinnati is being overrated against Texas.
Florida State is being way overrated, St Bonaventure looks like a tougher out, and then they would play two teams who are about as good as they are.
Connecticut is extremely overrated, Iowa State under.
Temple is being overrated, or Cal is being underrated.
Michigan stands some chance of losing to Ohio.

Generally speaking, the 1 and 2 seeds are roughly a cut above everyone else. (Wichita State got underseeded and Duke is a touch higher, but otherwise solid). After that, the field starts to drop off really fast in quality from an average year. It might be safer to take these teams further in the tournament, but it also means the first couple rounds may be messier than usual, especially in between the 3-12 range.Which is troublesome for picking up many points (most people will take 1 and 2 seeds far).

Regions
East is very weak. It has three top 10 teams, yes, but other than Vanderbilt, there isn't another top 20, just a bunch of 5-8 seeds. There's also a huge dropoff after Harvard to St Bonaventure or Southern Miss.
As of right now, I would suppose Syracuse or Ohio State would be the likely winner, but wouldn't feel all that good about either choice (I'd lean toward Syracuse). It would be mostly a "default" choice from the weakness of the rest of the bracket.
I'm not sure what to make of Wisconsin. I expect they will be fine until Syracuse at least.
Florida State AND Vanderbilt are more or less vulnerably seeded teams because of their conference tournament performances. As is Cincinnati. If they had put Louisville out here, I'd really be confused.
Gonzaga has some edge over West Virginia, but has to come east to play them, in Pittsburgh. Practically a home game.
I'm ambivalent about the 8-9 here. I don't see either having much play against Cuse.

Midwest
This is a strangely seeded bracket. The 14 seed is the 4th best team. One of the 12s is the 6th best. The 5 seed is the 11th best, 6 seed is 13th best.
I would definitely take California over South Florida. Except for the travel factor which makes me nervous. 
Georgetown looks somewhat weak and they could have trouble with NC State or Belmont (SDSU is less of a problem). 
Michigan also looks vulnerable.
I'd like the NC State upset, the Belmont upset, or the Ohio upset here. I don't like Cal over Temple that much. I really like the Belmont-Georgetown one.
Purdue-St Marys is basically a tossup. Neither team has a good defense.
I like Kansas to advance out of here. The regional is in St Louis to boot. 
Creighton-Carolina would be a fun second round matchup. I am not sure about Alabama being able to score enough to win early, but that too is a tossup. This is one of several very good defensive/bad offensive teams matching up against very good offensive/very bad defensive teams early.

South
Kentucky. Period. They do seem vulnerable to streaky three shooting teams though as that's both of their losses. I'm not sure that's a good vulnerability to have in the tournament, but they can make up for it with a very, very good offense (only Missouri is better, and Missouri has a weak D). And otherwise, their D is ridiculous too.
Top heavy, the top 5 seeds are all in the top 15, but then there's a huge gap to UNLV.
I don't like Notre Dame at all. Or Connecticut. Or VCU.
South Dakota State has a shot against Baylor.
Duke is clearly the weakest 2 seed (both Wichita and Indiana are rated ahead of them). Both them and Mizzou cannot guard people very well, but Mizzou can score.

West
Is stacked. 8 teams are in the top 20 (and that doesn't include the 6 seed). 12 teams are in the top 40.
Marquette versus either BYU or Iona will be at the very least a fun game to watch and, along with Belmont, would put one of the highest rated teams as a 14 seed, and thus a tough first round game for any 3 seed. I'd want no part of picking BYU vs Iona by the way either.
I don't put Colorado State's chances as very high. They have to come east and basically play a home game for Murray State.
That Memphis-St Louis game is a brutal 8-9. They rate as a 3-5 game. I lean Memphis, but it's tough.
Florida should have some edge over Virginia, Virginia cannot score (they can defend really well), Florida cannot defend. 
I would want no part of picking Louisville very far. New Mexico practically gets a home game. And for the umpteenth consecutive year, Louisville can defend, but cannot score.
Right now I'm leaning toward Missouri, but Michigan State wouldn't surprise me. Just about anybody else would.



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