Home > Bracketology, Current Updates > Bracket Bits: Five questions as you make your picks

Bracket Bits: Five questions as you make your picks

Dave2015As the Madness unfolds, and you ponder your picks for this year’s bracket, five quick questions come to mind  …

Which St. John’s team will show up?  Chris Mullen’s group has enough talent to reach the second weekend.  They’ve also been wildly erratic.  If the Red Storm show up interested and together, guard Shamorie Ponds can take over games.  If they show up merely hoping it goes well, and it doesn’t early, the Johnnies could just as easily exit stage left without much fanfare.

How will LSU handle its distractions?  By all accounts, head coach Will Wade won’t be on the sideline for the Tigers, who won a share of the SEC regular season title before being bounced by Florida in the SEC tournament quarterfinals.  The Tigers are talented enough to reach the Elite 8.  And if the events in Baton Rouge galvanize the Tigers, watch out. If not, they, too, could find their way back home by the end of the first weekend.

Will Tony Bennett, Rick Barnes, and Matt Painter overcome a history of early exits?  It’s interesting how one-and-done tournament games can leave a mark on coaches.  March hasn’t exactly been kind to Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Tennessee’s Rick Barnes, or Purdue’s Matt Painter over the years. And that’s putting it mildly, especially since UVA became the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a 16-seed.  Then again, until recently, it was Villanova’s Jay Wright whose teams couldn’t get it done on the sport’s biggest stage.  Oddly enough, all three teams are in the South Region and Virginia might have to play either Tennessee or Purdue to get to Minneapolis.

How much do you trust hot streaks? If you like the idea of picking a “hot” team, then you have to consider Iowa State and Auburn to win a few games.  The same could be said for UC-Irvine; the Anteaters have only lost once since the calendar turned.  Other “hot” teams include Wofford, who ran through the Southern conference and its tournament without blemish, and even Seton Hall, who came within an eyelash of winning the Big East tournament.  And don’t forget about Murray State; the Racers and Ja Morant lost only four times all season.

What metrics matter to you most? We love talking about how well Texas Tech plays defense, how Wisconsin forces you to play at a snail’s pace, or how Virginia grinds through possession with acute efficiency.  We like to talk about free throw percentages, rebounding margin, and points-per-possession.  We look at scoring margins and the pace at which teams play.  Whatever metrics you trust most will impact your picks.  Some teams are prone to scoring droughts.  Others struggle with depth or three-point shooting.  Few teams do everything well.  Even heavily-favorite Duke could fall victim to a poor shooting night if they can’t force turnovers and teams pack the lane.  Generally speaking, teams that can score the ball easily and in multiple ways tend to last longer.

Good luck and enjoy the Madness!

 

 

 

 

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