Monday, March 14, 2016

Complete Midwest Region Analysis

My Picks:
1. Virginia over 16. Hampton
9. Butler over 8. Texas Tech
5. Purdue over 12. UALR
4. Iowa State over 13. Iona
11. Gonzaga over 6. Seton Hall
3. Utah over 14. Fresno State
10. Syracuse over 7. Dayton
2. Michigan State over 15. Middle Tennessee

1. Virginia over 9. Butler
5. Purdue over 4. Iowa State
11. Gonzaga over 3. Utah
2. Michigan State over 10. Syracuse

1. Virginia over 5. Purdue
2. Michigan State over 11. Gonzaga

2. Michigan State over 1. Virginia


Purdue is a great Final Four sleeper: History says that you want to pick teams that are balanced to go far. Top 20 teams in Pomeroy offense and defense are a great place to start. With a rough Big Ten title game against Michigan State, the Boilers slipped out of that category by falling to 21st in Pomeroy offense (they're still 18th defensively), but they're still one of the most balanced elite teams in the nation. Iowa State is also a perfect second round opponent in that the Cyclones have absolutely zero front court size or depth. On top of all of that, Purdue has only really struggled with teams that press their guards defensively, and despite their reputation Iowa State was dead last in the Big 12 in defensive turnover rate. Purdue failing to make the Sweet, at the very least, would be surprising.

Want a Virginia/Michigan State tiebreaker? The Draw: Remember when considering Elite 8 match-ups that the teams have to get there first. Virginia will likely face Purdue or Iowa State in the Sweet 16, while Michigan State doesn't have a Pomeroy Top 25 team on their schedule until the Elite 8. So if you think Virginia and Michigan State are an even match-up, I'd recommend putting Michigan State in the Final Four because of the easier draw.

Gonzaga has a lovely draw: Not only will Gonzaga likely be favored in Las Vegas over Seton Hall when that game tips, but they might be favored against Utah also. The Utes have had good luck in close games this season (10-2 in games decided by six points or fewer), and are not nearly as good as their resume.

Fade Seton Hall: Personally, I'm always a fan of fading teams that just had great conference tournament runs because they tend to pick up a bunch of seed lines and become overrated. The Selection Committee did less of that this year than usual (many previous Selection Committees would have slid Seton Hall up to a 4 seed), but they're still not any better than Gonzaga in the computers. Throw in the fact that Seton Hall struggles with big teams that can get after the offensive glass, and I think Gonzaga is deservedly favored there.

Take the "over" on Iowa State/Iona: Two high tempo teams that don't play a lot of defense? This game is going to have a zillion points. Iowa State is the better team, though, so don't get too cute there.

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