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Bracket Bits: Ranking the Final Four

April 5, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015We’ve reached Minneapolis.  The Final Four includes a Blue Blood in Michigan State, a pair of newbies in Texas Tech and Auburn, and a team trying to rewrite its own NCAA history book in Virginia.

With top seeds Duke, Gonzaga, and North Carolina dispatched, UVA arrives in the Twin Cities as the only No. 1 seed still standing.  Does that make the Cavaliers the favorite to cut down the nets on Monday night?  Not necessarily.

Although this year’s Final Four may lack some traditional name power, it shouldn’t lack for drama – and certainly not for storylines.  How would you rank the Final Four?  Here’s my best attempt as tip-off nears on Saturday evening. Read more…

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Bracket Bits: Confidence Index for Sweet 16

March 27, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015After a pair of opening weekend NCAA tournament games, we’re down to the Sweet 16.  Hopefully, you have several of the teams below among your remaining bracket picks.  Now the question becomes: What is your confidence level for each of the teams below moving forward in terms of reaching the Final Four and/or winning the 2019 National Championship?

Upcoming variable include the health of Kentucky’s P.J. Washington, along with your takes on the sustainability of hot-shooting teams like Auburn.  Anyway, here’s my Confidence Index for the Sweet 16 …

Read more…

Bracket Bits: Five takeaways from the Round of 64

March 23, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015The first two days of this year’s NCAA tournament are behind us.  And while we didn’t have an incredible buzzer-beater, we still had plenty of drama.  Here are five quick takeaways from Thursday and Friday …

High seeds advanced … Other than No. 13 seed UC-Irvine’s upset of Kansas State (which really wasn’t that big of an upset), the top of the bracket remains chalky.  Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, and Gonzaga all moved on with relative ease, even though their opening halves created a little angst in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Charlottesville.   In all, every No. 2 and No. 3 seed also reached the Round of 32.

12-5 Upsets returned … A year removed from stability in the traditionally unpredictable 12-5 matchups, No. 12 seed Liberty ousted No. 5 seed Mississippi State and No. 12 seed Oregon dumped No. 5 seed Wisconsin.  Neither the Bulldogs nor the Badgers were playing their best basketball in March, so it’s not overly surprising.   And with UC-Irvine taking down Kansas State, Oregon will be favored to reach the Sweet 16. Read more…

Bracket Bits: Five questions as you make your picks

March 19, 2019 Leave a comment

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. Read more…

Bracket Bits: Projection results

March 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Another Selection Sunday has passed.  Time to fill out our brackets and wait for the Madness to begin.  Ahead of that, here’s a quick review of how my final projected bracket fared in 2019:

Bracketology Results (2019) …

  • Correctly selected 35/36 at-large teams and 67/68 overall (Belmont was my first team out, but I’m glad the Bruins made it).
  • 42 teams were on the actual seed line.
  • 20 teams were seeded within one line of actual seed.
  • 4 teams were within two lines of actual seed.
  • In all, 62 of 68 teams seeded either on their actual seed line or within one line.
  • Paymon Score (Bracket Matrix) … 347

Read more…

Bracketology: Duke grabs No. 1 overall seed

March 17, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015We could well be in for a few surprises when the Selection Committee announces its pairings this evening.  At full strength, and with an ACC tournament title in hand, the Duke Blue Devils being this year’s No. 1 overall seed will surprise no one.

Bracketology  |  Seed List

As for the remaining No. 1 seeds, Virginia seems like a sure bet for No. 2 overall, slotted to the South.  Then, the debate begins.  North Carolina is playing as well as anyone.  Gonzaga lost only three games all season, although two of those were to UNC and Tennessee.  The final spots will likely come down to UNC, Tennessee, Gonzaga and Michigan State, if the Spartans beat Michigan a third time.  We’ve also seen the Committee make a final decision about the Big 10 before the game is played.

Oregon threw one final wrench into the bubble last night by beating Washington in the Pac-12 title game.  Who the Ducks knocked out remains to be seen.  It could have been one the quality mid-majors on the board, or it could even be conference foe Arizona State.  One final review coming ahead of the mid-afternoon final bracket.

Bracketology: No. 1 Seeds and Bid Thieves

March 16, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015With a host of changes coming today as conference champions are crowned, we’ll keep this brief.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

Duke likely solidified a No. 1 seed by beating North Carolina; the Blue Devils will be evaluated with their full team intact.  Now it’s a race for the final two spots on the top line – Kentucky, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Michigan State and Tennessee are all in play.  I stuck with Gonzaga this morning, but the Committee could easily put three ACC teams in that position if Kentucky or Michigan State fall short of conference tourney titles.  Let’s see how the day plays out.

By my count, we have five potential bid thieves in play today – so the cutline could change by two or three spots come tomorrow morning.