Sunday, March 24, 2013

NCAA Tournament Thoughts After Three Straight Days of Action and Upsets

Here's what we learned about the NCAA Tournament So Far;

1) If you read my NCAA Tournament Primer, I said pick seven to eight double digit seeds to win in the Round of 64 (I refuse to say second round.  The Play in Games are NOT the first round).  Well, we were on the mark with EIGHT double digit seeds winning their first round games - #15 Florida Gulf Coast, #14 Harvard, #13 LaSalle, three #12 seeds - Oregon, Mississippi and California, #11 Minnesota and #10 Iowa State.

2) At least two double digit seeds will make it to the Sweet 16.  Oregon has already made it with a win over St. Louis and another double digit seed will advance when #12 Mississippi faces #13 LaSalle.  There are three other possible double digit seeds that could make the Sweet 16 today - Florida Gulf Coast, Minnesota and Iowa State.  Based on the last several years of the tournament the odds are that maybe one of those teams makes it to the Sweet 16.

3) PAC-12 Teams were criminally underseeded.  Oregon was certainly not a #12 seed as they smoked Oklahoma State and St Louis easily by double digits.  Arizona definitely looks a #4 seed not a #6 seed as they have walloped Belmont and Harvard so far.  Even #12 California deserved more like a #10 seed after they outplayed UNLV.

4) A lot of people's brackets are in flames, including yours truly.  No one expected New Mexico, Georgetown, even St Louis to be gone by now.  Then last night #1 Gonzaga went down in a heap to a hot shooting, physical Wichita State team.

5) Speaking of Wichita State, SI's Andy Glockner wisely pointed out that during late in the second half over nine straight possessions, the Shockers scored twenty three points.  That's over two and a half points per possession. That's sick.

6) As I correctly noted about picking teams based on whether their strengths are neutralized based on the matchups, though with a tinge of sadness as I love VCU, Michigan's ability to hold onto the ball, plus playing in Auburn Hill was just too much for VCU.  The Wolverines did exactly what you have to do against a press team, once you break the press, you attack the basket.  Michigan had twelve turnovers but also had seventeen assists and shot twenty five of forty from two point range (62.5 percent).

7) Florida Gulf Coast is a pretty athletic team.  Chase Fieler is going to be an NCAA Tournament sensation for years to come with that incredible dunk, which was only missing a Gus Johnson play by play call from it bringing down the Internet.   The Eagles had not only beaten another #2 seed in Miami during the regular season, but also played VCU, Duke, Iowa State and St John's for a good non conference schedule that Seth Greenberg should learn from.  Throw in a good coach with NBA assistant coach experience, the coach's gorgeous Maxim Model basketball and football fan wife and the fact they have a legitimate shot of beating San Diego State, and FGCU could be the talk of the Sweet 16. And oh yeah, seven of the nine top players for the Eagles return next season.

8) Louisville looks dominant.  We'll see how the Ducks Express does against the Cards. Michigan State looks equally dominant.  We might have a very colossal Elite Eight game if the Spartans survive the Creighton/Duke winner.

9) Kansas plays North Carolina today, which will be very entertaining.  There are a lot of Jayhawks' fans who would love to see Roy Williams sent packing by KU...again.

10) Wichita State has an excellent chance of making the Elite Eight, likely against Ohio State.  The win over Gonzaga was no fluke. The Shockers dominated Pitt with physicality and took down Gonzaga with a 14 of 28 aerial assault from beyond the arc.

All the rest of #2 seeds play today.  Let's see if the historical percentages of less than half making the Elite Eight continue to play out in the rest Round of 32 (Georgetown already lost)

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