Wednesday, March 14

One Guy Turbo-Previews the South Division

Should've done this three days ago. Isn't that a running tradition with this blog, though? Anyway, I'll be doing this on which teams get eliminated when, in order of decreasing confidence.

Round 1 Outs
(16) Central Connecticut St., (15) North Texas, (14) Penn
These guys come straight out of the "no realistic chance" category.

(12) Long Beach State
Yeah, I'll admit this is part homerism. However, while they do shoot the 3 well, that's about it - their guards don't handle the ball particularly well and they don't have a ton of height. I think LBSU could beat up on almost any other 5 seed, but this was probably their worst matchup, as Tennessee does what they do, only better.

(11) Stanford, (10) Creighton
Like LBSU, both of these teams are talented enough to win a game. However, they also both have one major factor working against them:
Stanford - the game is going to basically be a home game for Louisville
Creighton - Nevada's going to get their main scorer back for this game, and what further complicates matters is Nevada's underseeded.

(8) BYU
Token minor upset (this bracket is looking like mostly chalk). It's an 8-9 game, and I don't normally research those games, so I'll go with the hot hand and pick Xavier to win here.

(13) Albany
The UVA/Albany game should be one of those scary not-quite-an-upset games where Albany ends up having a shot to win late, only blowing it. It's a good matchup for Albany - UVA is, among other things, mildly inconsistent and overseeded - but one edge Albany won't have on the Hoo is depth. They will have leadership.

2nd Round Outs
(9) Xavier, (4) Virginia
Thanks for playing. (And yes, let's hear it for homerism.) Xavier can't compete on the inside, Virginia can't compete with a team seeded where it should be seeded. This sets up a Tennessee / Ohio State rematch.

(7) Nevada
Maybe it's an unlucky bounce, but Memphis has enough in the tank to turn a close game into a 8- or 9-point win at this point in the tourney.

(3) Texas A&M
Yeah, I know - say what? A&M's a perfectly good team, but I'm worried about their postseason experience and that they'll basically be playing a road game. I do want to get on the record here and say that if Louisville loses this game, A&M will probably go to the Final Four (as it gets 2 in San Antonio after this, one against a Memphis team they should beat ....and one against - well, tell you in a minute.)

Out in Sweet 16
(6) Louisville
Memphis' path of getting the easiest route possible to the Final Four continues. It would've been better for them had Creighton won their first round game.

(5) Tennessee
Ah, thought I'd go for the Memphis / Tennessee rematch? I'd love to, I'm not going to deny it. However, Tennessee has almost no inside presence and also no answer at all for Oden. Lofton would need to score 35+ for the Vols to win the game - with the Smiths going for at least 15 each, and while I certainly wouldn't put it past him (and them), I think it ends here.

Just Missing the Final Four
(2) Memphis
Finally ran into a team that ....well, is good.

Coming from the South: (1) Ohio State