2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament Preview

Alright.  It’s noon on Thursday.  You’ve still got 40 minutes until the games start.  Here are some of my final thoughts before the tournament starts.

Generally, I think the tournament committee did a great job seeding these teams this year.  Unfortunately, that also means that we’re probably not going to see anything too crazy like a 8 vs 11 in the Final Four.  Of course, I’m always wrong about these things.

The bubble

Best 4 teams to not make the tournament

Oral Roberts: Beat Xavier by 22 points

Northwestern: Still never made an NCAA tournament, which is, honestly, quite impressive in its own right.

Mississippi State: Top 15 in the AP poll on Jan 2, and they miss the NCAA tournament.  Season ended Tuesday with a loss to UMass in the first round of the NIT.

Seton Hall: 8-10 in conference is only good enough if you are the defending national champs.

Bottom 4 At-large bids

Iona: Drexel got screwed

Xavier: They are either a top ten team or outside the top 50

South Florida: 2-9 vs the top 50.  Not good. (But better than Cal, apparently.)

West Virginia: 9-9 in the Big East is not impressive.  (Although UConn was 9-9 last year and we know what happened there.) 4-8 against the top 50 this year.

The seeds

Best of each seed

Best 1 seed: Kentucky

Best 2 seed: Ohio State

Best 3 seed: Marquette

Best 4 seed: Indiana

Best 5 seed: Wichita State

Best 6 seed: Murray State

Best 7 seed: St. Mary’s

Best 8 seed: Creighton

Best 9 seed: Alabama

Best 10 seed: Purdue

Best 11 seed: Colorado State

Best 12 seed: VCU

Best 13 seed: Ohio

Best 14 seed: BYU

Best 15 seed: Lehigh

Worst of each seed

Worst 1 seed: North Carolina

Worst 2 seed: Kansas

Worst 3 seed: Florida State

Worst 4 seed: Michigan

Worst 5 seed: Temple

Worst 6 seed: UNLV

Worst 7 seed: Notre Dame

Worst 8 seed: Kansas State

Worst 9 seed: UConn

Worst 10 seed: Xavier

Worst 11 seed: Colorado

Worst 12 seed: Long Beach State

Worst 13 seed: New Mexico State

Worst 14 seed: St. Bonaventure

Worst 15 seed: Loyola Maryland

Best first round games

UConn (9) vs Iowa State (8)

Notre Dame (7) vs Xavier (10)

Memphis (8) vs St. Louis (9)

Florida (7) vs Virginia (10)

Southern Miss (9) vs Kansas State (8)

Temple (5) vs South Florida (12)

St. Mary’s (7) vs Purdue (10)

Best Projected Second Round Games

Indiana (4) vs Wichita State (5): Everyone loves a mid-major team

Florida State (3) vs Cincinnati (6): ACC Tournament Champ vs Big East Tournament Runner-up

Louisville (4) vs New Mexico (5): Big East Tournament Champion vs Mountain West Tournament Champion.  No one seems to be talking about either of these teams.  Louisvlle just won 4 games in a row (Seton Hall, Marquette (3), Notre Dame (7), and Cincinnati (6), the last three on the road) to win the Big East tournament.  New Mexico just won three in a row (Air Force, UNLV (6), and San Diego State (6), the last two on the road) to win the Mountain West tournament.

Most likely lower seed wins by seed

9 seed: Southern Miss over Kansas State

10 seed: Virginia over Florida

11 seed: Texas over Cincinnati

12 seed: Harvard over Vanderbilt

13 seed: Ohio over Michigan

14 seed: BYU overt Marquette

15 seed: Detroit over Kansas

16 seed: Vermont over North Carolina

The 14 seeds

I think we’re gonna see AT LEAST one 14 seed win a game in the first round this year.  A lot of people are really excited about Belmont (Sagarin has them ranked 33!), but I think BYU is the most exciting 14 seed.  South Dakota State and Saint Bonaventure are no joke either.  Sagarin has Belmont ranked ahead of Cincinnati (6), Temple (5), St. Mary’s (7), UConn (9).  In the same ratings, Belmont AND BYU are ranked ahead of West Virginia (10), Harvard (12), Notre Dame (7), Murray State (6), NC State (11), San Diego State (6), VCU (12), Xavier (10), Iona (14), Southern Miss (9), and South Florida (12).  Sagarin would have Belmont at 9 and BYU at 10; I would put BYU at 11 and Belmont at 13.

My Final Four picks

Kentucky (1), Ohio State (2), Michigan State (1), North Carolina (1).  I know these are boring picks, but that’s the way the brackets line up.  Sorry.

I have Kentucky playing Ohio State in the finals with Kentucky ultimately winning the tournament.  Following the tournament the championship will then have to be vacated because Calipari is the coach and the only thing he loves more than winning is vacating Final Fours.

Good luck to all the teams.

Cheers.

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Posted on March 15, 2012, in Basketball, College Basketball, NCAA, Sports. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. How is UNC the worst 1 seed? They beat Michigan State and lost to Kentucky by 1 on the road.

    • That’s what my numbers say. Sagarin agrees.

      Michigan State’s strength of schedule was number 2 in the whole country. They were 8-5 against top 25 teams and 13-5 against top 50.

      North Carolina was 32 in strength of schedule, 5-5 against top 25, and 12-5 against top 50.

      No offense to North Carolina here. The difference between the number one seeds is razor thin, but someone has to be the worst. Think of North Carolina’s basketball team this year as the guy who graduated last from Harvard’s law school.

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