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Answering Your Questions After Seeing the Brackets, Ranking The 68 Teams

NCAA

The brackets have been revealed and everyone is starting to digest all the games and figure out what the hell they like with this thing. So, I figure the easiest way to dive into this is try to and answer questions from Stoolies. These are some of the ones I received and will figuring other ways to cover the NCAA Tournament. In the meantime we’ll all wait for Kmarko’s handwritten bracket – still crazy how neat of handwriting that is – to come out. I’ll be releasing my picks as well in my sloppy ass handwriting.

Right off the bat I’m inclined to say Auburn. They draw a Charleston team that is a really good midmajor with strong guard play. That’s typically the key for these sorts of upsets. Throw in the fact Auburn is still learning to play without McElmroe and coming off just a one game appearance at the SEC Tournament, that’ll be a popular pick. One flying under the radar is Marshall over Wichita State. Yes, the Shockers are good, but they don’t play great defense. In fact what they tend to struggle with is exactly where Marshall is dominant. They have a guy in Jon Elmore that should have a big game against Wichita. If you want to look at a possible second round matchup, I don’t love the draw for Kansas. Seton Hall and NC State are both terrible matchups for them, Seton Hall especially. We don’t know how healthy Azubuike is going to be which means Angel Delgado could absolutely feast in that game. NC State also can match them with the 4 guard look and has a big in Omer Yurtseven that can step out and hit threes. I’m not going to be shocked if Kansas loses in the first weekend.

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I get this idea, but you don’t want to foul that early. There’s still too many variables in play with that much time. First, you have to foul a poor free throw shooter. There aren’t too many poor free throw shooters that are also great 3-point shooters. You don’t want to commit an intention foul obviously so you need to make sure you foul a guy when the ball is in your hands. Then it still comes down to you having to make shots or free throws. Let’s say there’s a minute left and you’re up 6 and foul. They hit both free throws, they very well can play out a full defensive possession. I get the idea, but don’t love it. You foul up 3 with less than 7 seconds to go every time though.

Getting this a whole lot and the simple answer is no. If that was the case why wouldn’t they have put in Ben Simmons a couple years ago? We’ve seen stars and big names left out of the tournament in recent years so, no the selection committee didn’t put Oklahoma in just because of Trae Young. They put them in because they have wins at Wichita, USC, Oregon and TCU while getting home wins over Kansas, TCU, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor. A win counts the same if it happens in December or February, which is what people are tending to forget.

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Yeah, both are intriguing matchups. Starting with Houston, they have the guard play that can run with Michigan. You look at someone like Rob Gray or Corey Davis, they have enough shooting to make the game interesting. The other thing here is Houston is a great defensive team, ranking 18th in the country in AdjD. They grab a bunch of offensive rebounds while limiting teams to one possession on the defensive side of the ball. San Diego State is still flying a bit under the radar due to the up and down regular season when they were never really fully healthy. They now have a full roster and Trey Kell can go into takeover mode. They also have a big in Kameron Rooks that can match up with Wagner.

Michael Porter Jr. has played in one game this season. Yes, he’s an unreal player. Yes, he’s a top-5 pick. But, he’s rusty. People are going to buy into Missouri as a team that can get to the Sweet 16 or farther because of Porter. They also lost that game in which he played in. They are also an 8 seed for a reason right now. Again, this is me strictly talking you out of this. Throw in the fact they’ll be playing a Xavier team that isn’t a great matchup for Missouri either. The Tigers want to beat you with the 3-ball and Xavier can do the same.

I think they can complain about Kentucky/Arizona as its 5/4 seeds, sure. But, here’s the thing with the 1 seeds. Nova/Kansas have tough Round of 32 Draws and then opens up in the Sweet 16. Xavier/Virginia have an easier first weekend draw but a tougher Sweet 16 draw. It’s sort of unique looking at it that way, but in terms of Virginia, yeah, I think they can complain as the No. 1 overall seed to get Arizona and Kentucky. What this really does though is just show that committee doesn’t care about conference tournaments in the sense of moving seed lines. So why are we playing these, especially on Sunday? Also where the s-curve needs to come into play a little. This is a whole separate blog conversation though.

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Yeah, I heard this a lot too. UNC is the first 10-loss team to ever get a 2 seed. But, at the same time I’m not one who looks strictly at W/L record to determine seeds. Records and schedules aren’t even. UNC is a 2 seed because of the wins it has. When you beat Duke twice, win at Tennessee, home against Michigan, neutral against Miami, Ohio State and Arkansas you have a case for that 2 seed, especially this year. Here’s my other argument? Who are you putting above them? I’m not really sure that Michigan/Michigan State/Texas Tech/Tennessee have a real case for a 2 seed. If Tennessee beat Kentucky for a 3rd time yesterday, I’d listen to that argument.

Ranking the 68 teams:
Note this is going to be just who I think is good in order of 1-68. Nothing more than that: 

1. Villanova
2. Virginia
3. Duke
4. Xavier
5. Michigan State
6. Kansas
7. Michigan
8. Purdue
9. Gonzaga
10. Arizona
11. UNC
12. Texas Tech
13. Cincinnati
14. West Virginia
15. Kentucky
16. Tennessee
17. Ohio State
18. Wichtia State
19. Florida
20. TCU
21. Nevada
22. Clemson
23. Seton Hall
24. Auburn
25. Butler
26. Houston
27. Miami
28. Creighton
29. Texas A&M
30. URI
31. Providence
32. Arkanas
33. Virginia Tech
34. Loyola
35. NC State
36. UCLA
37. Murray State
38. Alabama
39. St. Bonaventure
40. Oklahoma
41. Texas
42. Davidson
43. San Diego State
44. Missouri
45. Kansas State
46. Florida State
47. Arizona State
48. Charleston
49. New Mexico State
50. Buffalo
51. UNC-Greensboro
51. South Dakota State
53. Syracuse
54. Marshall
55. Bucknell
56. Montana
57. Penn
58. Georgia State
59. Wright State
60. Iona
61. Stephen F. Austin
62. Cal State Fullerton
63. Lipscomb
64. Texas Southern
65. UMBC
66. Radford
67. NC Central
68. LIU-Brooklyn