OT: NCAA Tournament Thoughts

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Wizards, but since I came this close to starting a college hoops blog instead, I have to give some quick thoughts on the tournament.

As a reminder, sign up for the official Bullets Forever March Madness Pool on Yahoo.  The group ID is 22090, and the password is swag.  Right now, we have 8 players, and I know that facedkr, JakeTheSnake, josh, Seth,  and steelers1016 and three other people (who can fill themselves in in the comments section) are signed up.  The winner gets a free post on any subject they wish put in the main section.  For example, steelers1016 can rant about Drexel, or Seth can remind us of the hated one's shot.  If you have any questions, JakeTheSnake is the commissioner, so he's in charge of that.

Alright, a couple quick bullet points.

-There's a lot of mediocrity in this tournament.  I don't see a very big difference between some of the 5-6 seeds and the 12-13 seeds.  I know this happens every year, but this year, it really seems more pronounced.  How are Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Louisville, Vanderbilt, and Butler among the top 24 teams in the country?  

-The one thing everyone seems to look for is the TWESETUPAFIS (TWelve SEed To Upset A FIve Seed).  The other things people look for are the TETHARSLEBACAR (TEams THat Aren't Really SLEepers But ACtually ARe) or TNGM (The Next George Mason), but I'm going to introduce a new one that always seems to hold true.

MASOSSETIGOF (MAjor Sixth Or Seventh SEed That Inexplicably GOes Far).

Past examples include Georgetown in 2006, West Virginia or Wisconsin in 2005, Xavier in 2004, and Michigan State in 2003.  It's never a trendy pick (so cross off Notre Dame, Louisville, and Duke), and it always happens strangely (e.g. West Virginia somehow shoots the lights out, or Wisconsin faces all double-digit seeds in the first 3 rounds).  

Who are your candidates this year?

  • Boston College

  • Vanderbilt

  • Indiana

One of those teams will make the Elite 8.  Mark my words.  Personally, I say Vanderbilt, because I think Georgetown and Washington State are overrated.  But that's just me.

-Drexel deserved a bid over Arkansas or Illinois.  It's a shame that both those high-major teams occupy 12 seeds.

-When picking an upset, pick a mid-major with past tournament experience, so long as they're playing a major with a middling road record, a bunch of underclassmen, an easy schedule masked by a hot finish/name recognition, or a number of uninspiring close victories.  Here are my best candidates.

  • (13) Albany over (4) Virginia

  • (12) Old Dominion over (5) Butler

  • (14) Miami (OH) over (3) Oregon

  • (11) Winthrop over (6) Notre Dame

  • (12) Arkansas over (5) USC

  • (12) Illinois over (5) Virginia Tech

I'm not saying all those will happen, but those are my best bets.

-Kansas will win the title over Ohio State.  North Carolina will lose to Marquette in the second round (inexplicable hot shooting), and Florida will lose to Wisconsin in the Round of 8 (Wisconsin is overlooked because of one bad game...don't do that).  Final four is Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas, and Ohio State to me.  

-Don't pick Oral Roberts to beat Washington State just because Seth Davis said so.  That's your classic "Oral Roberts beat Kansas, and Washington State isn't a familiar name, so it must happen!" lazy analysis.  Washington State is flawed, but Oral Roberts isn't as good as they were in November.  

-Be wary of picking Memphis to go far.  They haven't beaten anybody.  Their best win is against Kentucky.  We said this last year too, but it was silly, because last year's team beat UCLA (#2), Tennessee (#2), Gonzaga (#3), and Alabama (#10) on the road.  This year, they have two wins against teams that made the NCAA Tournament, and one of those is Jackson State.  The other was Gonzaga without Josh Heytfelt, and it was in overtime.  They'll lose to Creighton in Round 2.

That's it.  Join the Bullets Forever pool, and enjoy the madness.

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