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.
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.
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.