Sunday, March 13, 2005

NCAA Bracket Overview

The 2005 Brackets have been announced.  My breakdown of each region can be found at my SPORTZ NCAA TOURNAMENT HEADQUARTERS.  Here is my overall take on the tourny bracket.

THE NUMBER ONE SEEDS
No surprise with Illinois or North CarolinaDuke earned their top seed by winning the ACC tournament [however, dodging Wake Forest and North Carolina in the process] along with other teams losing.  However, I was fairly surprised that Washington gained the last #1 seed.  Nothing against the Huskies....but I figured that either Wake Forest or Oklahoma State would get it.  Coming into the week, Washington was ranked 14th in the AP poll...yet jumped to the 4th best team in a week by, basically, winning one game [the Pac-10 finale against Arizona]?  I mean, Louisville, Gonzaga and Oklahoma State, who were ranked higher, won their conference tournaments as well.  Sure, RPI ratings did hold weight and UW is rated #3.  But Kansas, despite it's losses, has been at or near the top RPI rating all season long!  And Wake Forest was rated 2nd!!   It isn't THAT big of an issue since both Wake and Washington were placed in the same regional. 

WHO GOT SCREWED?
Louisville.  I think they were completely screwed.  How can they be a #4 seed??  How??  How??  How???  Heck, they came into Tournament Week ranked #6 in the AP poll.  They won the Conference USA tournament [in which they faced only tourny bound UAB]. 

WHO GOT A NICE LIFT?
Washington, obviously. 

WHO GOT LEFT OUT?
I know Dickie and Digger are crying about Notre Dame [I mean, Digger only coached there and Dickie V's kids go there]....but the only team that I had in there that didn't go was Buffalo.  I do agree with Dick Vitale that the MAC was overlooked.  But, instead of Miami-OH...I would have put Buffalo in there.   

WHO SHOULDN'T BE THERE?
Honestly, everyone in the tournament should be there.  The only team that I didn't have in there was Northern Iowa...but I had them right behind UAB and Buffalo in my Bracketology. 

THE COMMITTEE'S WORST FOLLY
I thought the entire point of these pods was to place teams closer to home?  They didn't do a good job really.  Yes, Illinois, UNC, Duke and Washington got what they wanted.  But how does #2 Wake Forest go to Cleveland and not Nashville????  How are Pittsburgh and Nevada both #9 seeds....yet Pitt goes to Boise and Nevada goes to Indianapolis?? 

BEST POD RACE #1
Charlotte.  Half of the people there will be wearing Duke blue....the other half, Carolina blue.  Both Duke and North Carolina will invade Charlotte Coliseum this weekend....yet they won't get to play each other.  I will tell you this.  Delaware State and Oakland/Alabama A&M won't believe how many fans they'll have at their games!

BEST POD RACE #2
How about the Indianapolis pod in the Austin Region?  You have Kentucky playing Eastern Kentucky.  EKU is coached by former Kentucky Wildcat Travis Ford and will be looking to knock off his alma mater.  In the other game it is Cincinnati vs Iowa.  Iowa has played very well of late.  But, if Cincinnati advances to play Kentucky....it will be a battle that many people in the Cincinnati metro area have been waiting a looooong time for.

MY FINAL FOUR PICKS AT A GLANCE
I'm typing this before I get too in depth with the tournament....so I may change my tune later tonight.  But, at a glance....I have Oklahoma State coming out of the Chicago Region.  I think they have the defense and toughness to match Illinois'.  I have Syracuse coming out of the Austin Region.  Coming into the season, Syracuse was the much better team that Duke or Kentucky...and they've played like it lately.  I think that Kentucky is overrated [they are really inexperienced] and Duke is foul trouble to Williams or a Redick off night away from getting upset somewhere.  Syracuse is the most steady team.  I have Wake Forest coming out of the Albuquerque Region.  They are the best team in that region and should be the #1.  It is a shame that the fact that Chris Paul's suspension, in essence, cost the Deacs a top seed...and that kind of motivation could carry them along.  For the Syracuse Region....I wrote this Sunday Night..."I have Kansas coming out of the Syracuse Region.  My heart and mind say North Carolina.  But Kansas has two things going for them in a matchup with UNC.  First, they have the size and quickness to match up with the Heels.  They should because Roy Williams recruited them.  And that brings me to the second point.  A UNC-KU game would really be emotional to both Roy Williams and the Kansas kids.  And I think that fact will lift them over the Heels."  I've changed my mind.  North Carolina will come out of the Syracuse bracket.  I don't think Kansas will get past UConn...and I think UNC can get past the Huskies. 

6 comments:

joenewman9 said...

Do you call yourself an expert? Have you watched Illinois play a game this year? Not a chance that OK State will get past Illinois.





















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treesoup1 said...

Sorry (got to split this into 2 comments)...

Sportz - I have Kentucky at least getting to the Elite 8, BUT, (big but), they are going to have to play a hell of alot better than they did today against Florida. I think it's safe to say that I expect a huge rout of Eastern Kentucky in the first round. If there's only one thing I learned watching Kentucky play this year, Tubby has his kids come out on fire after a loss, and after being spanked by Florida and losing the conference championship, I would be scared if I was Eastern KY.

And I've said this before but it's truely how I feel, Kentucky is going to have to beat some very good ranked teams they to make a good run. I think they're 0-2 vs top 10 this year and 2-0 against the bottom half of the poll (you can include being 1-2 against Florida this year if you want also). Not a very good resume, which is one reason why I understand how they are viewed overrated. I agree with you - Kentucky is inexperienced (and overrated when you look at other teams who've played more ranked teams and won -more or less) and thats the only thing that worries me about them, we don't know how they will respond being down in a do or die game. They are going to have to win against some very well-experienced teams to get far. (Which L'ville, Alabama, and Florida are the only games I saw as quality wins that you can measure Kentucky's worth with -although they did show some promise against NC and kept it close against Kansas earlier in the season).

treesoup1 said...

... Speaking of Florida, I think they are a hot underrated team right now. Roberson, Lee, and Walsh...you don't hear about them much, but they are just as good as any 3 man punch in college basketball right now.

And yes, L'ville got dissed hard! As much as I hate L'ville, if it was Kentucky, there would be major headlines everywhere.

I have NC winning it all against Illinois in my bracket. I think NC has enough experience and talent (they've been up there all year long) to win it all. From the beginning of the season, I had NC going all the way. They are far too talented to not win it all.

-John

sportzassassin said...

To TreeSoup.

Don't get me wrong.  I think Kentucky is overrated....but that doesn't mean they suck.  I really think Tubby Smith has done one heck of a job getting this team where they are.  I live in the Cincinnati area...and most of the Kentucky fans even felt this would be an off year by Wildcat standards.

Looking at the bracket, they should get to the Sweet 16 fairly easily.  I think EKU will put up a fight...but won't hold up.  I think Iowa will beat Cincy....then you will take care of Iowa.  After that...it will be either Utah or Oklahoma.  I still think you get by either of them...though barely.  

I just honestly don't think that Kentucky can beat Duke or Syracuse.  I don't.  Sure, on any given day....anything can happen.  But I just see those teams as major roadblocks to the Final Four.

BTW Treesoup.....I will be on Sports Bloggers Live tomorrow night and I've been asked to break down the Austin and Albuquerque bracket....so I'll have more Kentucky takes to share, I'm sure.  If you got some good pointers as a UK fan...by all means I'll put them up there.

Good luck in the tournament!

stewrb said...

I am a die-hard UK fan but feeling quite disappointed and bitter today following yesterday's pathetic outing against the "new" Gators who made shambles of the Cats offense and defense.  I thought our troops were battle-experienced by now, but such is not the case.  We've been fortunate to pull out a host of close wins all season long.  It seems that how Sparks goes determines if they win or lose.  So why didn't Tubby use his tall timbers to set him up some decent screens yesterday?  Tubby has a bench of deadwood whom heshould have never recruited that he did not use yesterday, but at least they could have set screens.  With Morris and Hayes both being foul-prone, we don't have quality subs to take their places.  Look for EKU to lose in a close one (sigh) and then UK's future will depend on the outcome of the OK-IA game.  If OK wins, UK's run comes to a screeching halt.  If IA wins, UK may have a change of going to Austin where they will lose their first game.  If Tubby never finds a method to teach some decent offense besides fastbreaks, UK is doomed for the next several years.  Am wondering when someone will teach them how to shoot foulshots.  In their half-court offense, there is no smoothe flow to their attack.  It's always a long pause and its obvious what they finally decide to do.  Same with attempting to run out the clock.  The Cats were more concerned with whether or not they should cut down the nets in the SEC finale than they were about defensing Walsh and Roberson.  I think UK should apologize to Louisville and offer to trade places with them in the NCAA as they deserved a #4 instead of a #2.

formby86 said...

SORRY but only one of your picks in the final four is left, how did you think wake forest was going to get there?