Posts Tagged ‘in search of 65’

Talkin’ Basketball: Duke v. Butler

TIM: John, here we are, 143 days after I wrote my introductory “It’s College Basketball Season!” post, and the only two times I spent entire bullet points on back on November 13 are the only two teams still playing on April 5. Did I diverge from my prognosticated path? Sure. But come on, where’s my dap?

JOHN S: Sorry, Tim, no dap. Here’s why: 1) It’s not like you said in that post that either team would make it to the Final Four; you just pointed out that both teams would have intriguing storylines all season, with Butler flirting with an undefeated or one-loss season, and Duke thriving thanks mostly to two white players. 2) You were wrong on both counts! Butler’s early season losses kept them out of the AP Top Ten all season, and even though the Bulldogs haven’t lost since before Christmas, they were under the radar heading into the Tournament. Meanwhile, the “dynamic duo” that you hyped for Duke ended up being two-thirds of the Big Three, with Nolan Smith’s contributions equally those of Scheyer and Singler.

So, sorry, but no dap for you. Not even you saw this coming. This David vs. Goliath, Good vs. Evil, Cinderella vs. the Wicked Step-Sisters matchup. Are you even going to be able to, in good conscience, root for Duke? I mean, even our guy Joe Posnanski is making Hoosiers references now

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If the Tournament had been 96 teams…

With a full five days between the last Regional Final and the National Semifinals, I did what any decent college basketball fan with too much spare time would do: I crafted a new bracket showing what this year’s Tournament would have looked like had it contained 96 teams. I used the approach most people are pushing for expansion, which is to include all regular-season champions of every conference in addition to postseason tournament champions.* I basically took seeding from the NIT for the added teams although I had to decide where to fit in teams that won their conference titles but would have earned an at-large NIT berth if necessary (namely Siena, Cornell, Murray State).

*Of course, using this method retroactively on this season avoids the huge, “How hard does a regular-season champion try in a postseason conference tournament if it already has its ticket punched?” question. This, to me, is one of the biggest issues with expansion: Do teams that won the regular season in a conference such as the SWAC, which has virtually no hope of an at-large berth, even compete in the conference tournament? What do they have to gain? And isn’t it better for the conference if they lose in the tournament and a second team earns a bid? And does this force the Ivy to have a conference tournament?

MIDWEST EAST SOUTH WEST
1 Kansas Kentucky Duke Syracuse
2 Ohio State West Virginia Villanova Kansas State
3 Georgetown New Mexico Baylor Pittsburgh
4 Maryland Wisconsin Purdue Vanderbilt
5 Michigan State Temple Texas A&M Butler
6 Tennessee Marquette Notre Dame Xavier
7 Oklahoma State Clemson Richmond BYU
8 UNLV Texas California Gonzaga
9 Northern Iowa Wake Forest Louisville Florida State
10 Georgia Tech Missouri Saint Mary’s Florida
11 San Diego State Washington Old Dominion Minnesota
12 Mississippi State Virginia Tech Utah State UTEP
13 Arizona State Mississippi Cornell Illinois
14 Dayton Siena Rhode Island UAB
15 Cincinnati Murray State Memphis New Mexico State
16 Connecticut Kent State South Florida Wichita State
17 North Carolina Seton Hall William & Mary Northeastern
18 NC State Nevada Texas Tech Tulsa
19 Illinois State Saint John’s Houston Wofford
20 Ohio Weber State Sam Houston State Oakland
21 Montana Coastal Carolina Troy Morgan State
22 Lehigh Lipscomb* Jackson State UC-Santa Barbara
23 Quinnipiac Stony Brook Robert Morris North Texas
24 Arkansas-Pine Bluff Winthrop East Tennessee State Vermont

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Tim’s Sunday Picks

I went 6-2 yesterday to extend my Tourney record to 30-10, although to be fair, two of my correct picks on Saturday were teams I had losing in the first round (Saint Mary’s and Washington). But 28-12 ain’t bad either, right?

1. Syracuse vs. 8. Gonzaga

Original: Syracuse over Gonzaga

What I’ve Learned: I thought it would be a close game originally, and I still do. Gonzaga should exploit the high post with Elias Harris, Bobby Sacre, and even Matt Bouldin. That said, I expect the Orange to shoot very well against an iffy Bulldogs’ defense and make the necessary adjustments on defense themselves. It’s been a long time since Gonzaga beat a good team. It will be several more months before it does.

The Pick: Syracuse Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while springing back–oh crap…


In Search of 65, Selection Sunday

MIDWEST EAST SOUTH WEST
1 Kansas Kentucky Syracuse Duke
2 Georgetown Kansas State Ohio State West Virginia
3 New Mexico Villanova Baylor Purdue
4 Vanderbilt Maryland Temple Pittsburgh
5 Wisconsin Texas A&M Tennessee Michigan State
6 Gonzaga Xavier Butler BYU
7 Richmond Northern Iowa Marquette Texas
8 Louisville Saint Mary’s Oklahoma State UNLV
9 Georgia Tech Notre Dame Clemson Missouri
10 Virginia Tech Florida State UTEP Old Dominion
11 San Diego State Washington Wake Forest California
12 Siena Minnesota Murray State Utah State
13 Oakland Wofford New Mexico State Cornell
14 Houston Ohio Sam Houston State UCSB
15 North Texas Montana Vermont Morgan State
16 East Tennessee State Lehigh Winthrop v. UAPB Robert Morris

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In Search of 65, Week 5

MIDWEST SOUTH EAST WEST
1 Kansas Syracuse Kentucky Duke
2 Pittsburgh Ohio State West Virginia Purdue
3 New Mexico Kansas State Baylor Villanova
4 Wisconsin Maryland Michigan State Temple
5 Vanderbilt Texas A&M Georgetown Tennessee
6 Gonzaga Butler Xavier BYU
7 Richmond Wake Forest Northern Iowa Texas
8 Louisville UNLV Oklahoma State Missouri
9 Florida State Florida Clemson Marquette
10 Virginia Tech UTEP Utah State Saint Mary’s
11 California Notre Dame Georgia Tech Mississippi
12 San Diego State Old Dominion Siena Arizona State
13 Memphis Murray State Kent State Cornell
14 Weber State Wofford Sam Houston State Oakland
15 Vermont Lehigh Morgan State UC-Santa Barbara
16 Troy v. Winthrop
Jackson State East Tennessee State Quinnipiac

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In Search of 65, Week 4

MIDWEST SOUTH WEST EAST
1 Kansas Kentucky Syracuse Duke
2 Pittsburgh Villanova Kansas State Purdue
3 Ohio State New Mexico Vanderbilt West Virginia
4 Wisconsin Michigan State Temple Georgetown
5 Tennessee Texas A&M Baylor Butler
6 Texas Maryland BYU Gonzaga
7 Xavier Missouri Wake Forest UNLV
8 Northern Iowa Marquette Florida Richmond
9 Louisville Clemson UAB Oklahoma State
10 Florida State California Connecticut Georgia Tech
11 Utah State Illinois Rhode Island Mississippi State
12 Siena UTEP Old Dominion Saint Mary’s
13 Kent State Cornell Murray State Northeastern
14 Sam Houston State Oakland Charleston Western Kentucky
15 Morgan State Coastal Carolina Weber State Pacific
16 Lehigh v. Jackson State Belmont Vermont Robert Morris

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In Search of 65, Week 3

We’ve moved our weekly prognostication of the final NCAA Tournament bracket to its permanent slot on Tuesdays…finally.

  MIDWEST SOUTH WEST EAST
1 Kansas Kentucky Syracuse Purdue
2 West Virginia Villanova Kansas State Duke
3 Ohio State Michigan State New Mexico Pittsburgh
4 Vanderbilt Wisconsin Temple Georgetown
5 Butler Gonzaga BYU Texas
6 Tennessee Baylor Maryland Texas A&M
7 Missouri Wake Forest Xavier UNLV
8 Georgia Tech Richmond Northern Iowa Florida
9 Louisville Marquette Florida State Virginia Tech
10 California Saint Mary’s Connecticut Illinois
11 Clemson Utah State UAB Rhode Island
12 UTEP Siena Oklahoma State Old Dominion
13 Murray State Charleston Northeastern Cornell
14 Kent State Oakland Sam Houston State Coastal Carolina
15 Pacific Belmont Weber State Morgan State
16 Arkansas State v. Jackson State Lehigh Vermont Robert Morris

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In Search of 65, Week 2

MIDWEST SOUTH WEST EAST
1 Kansas Kentucky Syracuse Villanova
2 Purdue Michigan State Kansas State Duke
3 West Virginia Georgetown Wisconsin Ohio State
4 New Mexico Wake Forest Gonzaga Texas
5 Pittsburgh Texas A&M BYU Temple
6 Maryland Tennessee Vanderbilt Butler
7 Baylor Xavier Georgia Tech Missouri
8 California Marquette Mississippi UNLV
9 Richmond Charlotte Virginia Tech Illinois
10 Northern Iowa Siena Dayton Louisville
11 Florida Florida State South Florida UTEP
12 Saint Mary’s Cornell UAB Old Dominion
13 Utah State Northeastern Charleston Murray State
14 Kent State Coastal Carolina Oakland Sam Houston State
15 Belmont Weber State Pacific Morgan State
16 Arkansas State v. Jackson State Lehigh Vermont Robert Morris

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In Search of 65, Week 1

You didn’t honestly expect us to do a weekly column on college basketball and not include bracket predictions (or a bracketology, as ESPN has conditioned us to call it), did you? My qualifications are as follows: This is, unbelievably to me, the eighth year I’ve tried to predict the field. I started before I knew who Joe Lunardi was and largely because I was sick of losing NCAA Tournament pools to people who didn’t know anything about college basketball. I decided to try to predict the field, which requires a much higher level of NCAA knowledge and is a lot more impressive than it sounds (it comes down to two or three teams a year).

In my seven previous tries, I’ve gotten 64, 64, 63, 62, 63, 64, and 64–which is nice and palindromic and leads me to believe this is the year I break the cycle and nail 65. Add it up and I’m 444/455, or 97.58% accurate. (For the record, yes, I did leave George Mason out in 2006 and I stand by it. Last year it was Arizona.)

Now, the key difference between my bracket and those offered by Lunardi and most everyone else on the Internet right now is that mine is predictive; it is NOT a reflection of what the Tournament would look like if it started today. That’s why my bracket includes teams like Louisville and Marquette–who I expect to get important wins down the stretch–and not someone like Oklahoma State–who I expect to slip in the Big 12. I admit that my knowledge of the lower conferences is sketchy at best; I haven’t seen those teams to play and err on the side of conservatism in choosing who to take from the SWAC and its ilk. Most of those selections are the team that’s currently leading the conference. Continue reading