Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bracket Thoughts With Two Hours To Go

There are very few bracket implications with the Big Ten tournament title game this year, so I can actually finish up my bracket earlier than usual. I should have it up within an hour. But while I work on my computer in a place you all can't see, I wanted to pass along some of my thoughts:

1) Despite what Joe Lunardi says, I'm putting Duke as a 1 seed. I don't care how many Top 25 games they've won - how many Top 25 games have they lost? It's a mistake to draw arbitrary lines. Look at Duke's record against teams in the RPI Top 60. You can't punish them because of their conference strength. Look at Memphis when they got a 1 seed in 2008.

2) For the final 1 seed, I'm actually taking Notre Dame over Pitt. Looking over their complete resumes I think they're extremely even, and Notre Dame is arguably better. Then throw in the fact that Pitt went 1-and-done in the Big East tournament and the Selection Committee has a history of punishing teams that do that. It's very rare for a team to go 1-and-done and still get a 1 seed. Finally, while head-to-head is typically a minor consideration, if anybody wants to use that as a tiebreaker they'll have to take Notre Dame. So I'm dropping Pitt to a 2.

3) The 5, 6 and 7 seeds are really hard to separate. Throw in the fact that half the Big East conference is getting a 3, 4, 5 or 6 seed and it's going to be a mess. I can almost guarantee right now that some team I give a 7 will get a 5, or vice versa.

4) Memphis has a better resume than I remembered it being. I just moved them up to a 10 and dropped Gonzaga to an 11. They are overrated, though. I can almost guarantee right now I'm going to pick them to lose their first round Tournament game. They have an insane record in very close games, which is a huge red flag (I'll talk more about that tonight when I'm breaking down the real bracket)

5) I'm still working on the last few teams in the field. I have to get back to you on that. I do think Penn State is definitely in, though, regardless of what happens today.

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