Tuesday, March 18, 2008

South Bracket Breakdown

#3 Seed Or Lower Favorite: Michigan State. This was a tough call for me, because Stanford is an excellent #3 seed as well. I've filled out one bracket so far, and I picked Michigan State over Stanford in the Elite Eight. In general, Texas has struggled away from home against elite teams all season long (losses to Michigan State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech). And Stanford will be an interesting team to watch, to see how teams deal with their dual-headed Lopez twin monster. Pac-10 teams have gotten used to dealing with them, but other teams have not. And Rick Barnes has never struck me as a genius of an in-game coach - he is a recruiter, first and foremost. But if there's one team in this bracket that can handle two huge stars (in more ways than one), it's Michigan State. They have about three guys who get major time who I consider "five fouls with a face," and they can bang with anybody. Meanwhile, the Spartans have proven year after year that they over-perform in March. Tom Izzo has gone to four Final Fours, despite not having the NBA talent that other teams have. And Drew Neitzel is turning into last season's Neitzel, just at the right time.

Most Likely Double-Digit Seed To Win A Game: None. I honestly don't see a single first round upset in this bracket. Even the #8/9 game, where I'd pick Oregon (remember, #9 seeds are favorites, since they win that game slightly more than 50% of the time).

Most Likely #6+ Seed To Get To Sweet Sixteen: Oregon. I wouldn't feel too confident about the Ducks taking out Memphis, but it's the highest possibility that I see here. Marquette is a very good #6 seed, but they are stuck playing an even better #3 seed in Stanford. To me, Memphis is a big question mark. They are very talented, but how will they play against top flight talent? Memphis was as good as anybody in the country back in November and December, which is why they put together such a great out-of-conference resume. But all of the other teams in BCS conferences spent the past two-to-three months sharpening their knives. They have played much tougher schedules, and learned how to pull out wins against better competition. I would not be shocked to see Memphis fall on its face the first time it faces adversity - especially with that atrocious free throw shooting.

Last Word: Clearly the most wide-open bracket. You've probably got the weakest #1 and the weakest #2 seeds (Texas might be better than Duke, but it's close). But then you throw in arguably the best #3 seed, a great #4 seed, and the best #5 seed. Heck, you've even got the best #6 seed. Don't feel bad picking any of the top six seeds to win this bracket.


Anonymous said...

Texas beat #2 UCLA in Los Angeles...Michigan State lost to UCLA. Texas also beat Tennessee and Kansas. Michigan State lost to Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Michigan State also beat Texas for what it's worth.

But the Big 10 aren't exactly world beaters. Michigan State has proven to be a great tourney team over the years, but hasn't been impressive lately this year.

And Jeff, Texas didn't exactly struggle against Kansas in an extremely hostile environment at the Big 12 Final. And you mention them struggling away from home, so are you saying they are going out in the first two rounds? Because if they get through that they will have a large crowd advantage in Houston for the Regional.

Just food for thought.