2013 College Basketball – 2/27/2013

As always based on the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), and consequently the 68 team “should” field.  This time though, we DO consider regions now – and try to slot into regionals and eliminate UConn from discussion due to ineligibility.  It’s a more tedious exercise, but possibly more interesting – I was surprised at the impact of the Indiana and Florida losses – and a bit surprised at how Minnesota has held up despite a sub .500 record.  I have no doubt their actual seed will be lower:

Washington DC Regional

  • Philadelphia: (1) Duke v (16) MERCER, (8) UCLA v (9) VCU
  • San Jose: (4) MEMPHIS v (13) LOUISIANA TECH, (5) Ohio State v (12) Kentucky
  • Dayton: (2) Louisville v (15) HARVARD, (7) Kansas State v (10) Oregon
  • Auburn Hills: (3) Michigan v (14) SOUTH DAKOTA STATE, (6) SAINT LOUIS v (11) Virginia

Indianapolis Regional

  • Salt Lake City: (1) NEW MEXICO v (16) MONTANA/CHARLESTON SOUTHERN, (8) Butler v (9) Saint Mary’s
  • Austin: (4) GEORGETOWN v (13) VALPARAISO, (5) Minnesota v (12) AKRON
  • Lexington: (2) MIAMI-FL v (15) NORTHEASTERN, (7) Notre Dame v (10) San Diego State
  • Auburn Hills: (3) Michigan State v (14) STEPHEN F AUSTIN, (6) MIDDLE TENNESSEE v (11) Missouri

Arlington Regional

  • Kansas City: (1) KANSAS v (16) ROBERT MORRIS, (8) NC State v (9) Illinois
  • Austin: (4) WICHITA STATE (4) v (13) Ole Miss/California, (5) Colorado State v (12) Cincinnati
  • Dayton: (2) INDIANA v (15) LONG BEACH STATE, (7) Pittsburgh v (10) BELMONT
  • Salt Lake City: (3) ARIZONA v (14) DAVIDSON, (6) Oklahoma State v (11) Temple

Los Angeles Region

  • San Jose: (1) GONZAGA v (16) NORFOLK STATE/TEXAS SOUTHERN, (8) North Carolina v (9) Oklahoma
  • Kansas City: (4) Marquette v (13) BUCKNELL, (5) UNLV v (12) Southern Miss/Iowa State
  • Lexington: (2) FLORIDA v (15) NIAGARA, (7) Creighton v (10) Colorado
  • Philadelphia: (3) Syracuse v (14) STONY BROOK, (6) Wisconsin v (11) LaSalle

Quick impressions?

  1. As far as who missed this field?  Tennessee, Villanova, Boise State, Maryland with Tennessee getting first dibs.  Ohio, Massachusetts, BYU and Indiana State are even further away.

The conference breakdown

  • ACC (5): Duke, Virginia, Miami-FL, NC State, North Carolina
  • Pac-12 (5): UCLA, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado
  • Big Ten (7): Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin
  • Big East (7): Louisville, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Syracuse
  • SEC (4): Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, Florida
  • Big 12 (5): Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State
  • Atlantic 10 (5): VCU, Saint Louis, Butler, Temple, LaSalle
  • Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Miss
  • Mountain West (4): New Mexico, San Diego State, Colorado State, UNLV
  • West Coast (2): Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga
  • Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Creighton
  • One Bidders: Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Louisiana Tech (WAC), Ivy (Harvard), Summit (South Dakota State), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Charleston Southern), Horizon (Valparaiso), MAC (Akron), Colonial (Northeastern), Southland (Stephen F Austin), Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee), Northeast (Robert Morris), Big West (Long Beach State), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Southern (Davidson), SWAC (Texas Southern), MEAC (Norfolk State),  Patriot (Bucknell), MAAC (Niagara), America East (Stony Brook)

2013 College Basketball – 2/20/2013

As always based on the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), and consequently the 68 team “should” field.  This time though, we DO consider regions now – and try to slot into regionals and eliminate UConn from discussion due to ineligibility.  It’s a more tedious exercise, but possibly more interesting – I put top ranked Duke in Los Angeles to give Miami some credit for being the ACC champ in this alignment:

Los Angeles Regional

  • Philadelphia: (1) Duke v (16) NORTHEASTERN, (8) LaSalle v (9) Illinois
  • San Jose: (4) Georgetown v (13) BUCKNELL, (5) MEMPHIS v (12) Kentucky
  • Dayton: (2) Louisville v (15) HARVARD, (7) Creighton v (10) San Diego State
  • Auburn Hills: (3) Michigan v (14) STONY BROOK, (6) Kansas State v (11) BELMONT

Indianapolis Regional

  • Dayton: (1) INDIANA v (16) NORFOLK STATE/CHARLESTON SOUTHERN, (8) OREGON v (9) VCU
  • Salt Lake City: (4) Colorado State v (13) Ole Miss, (5) WICHITA STATE v (12) Notre Dame
  • San Jose: (2) GONZAGA v (15) LONG BEACH STATE, (7) Pittsburgh v (10) Oklahoma
  • Auburn Hills: (3) Michigan State v (14) VALPARAISO, (6) NC State v (11) LOUISIANA TECH

Washington, DC Regional

  • Lexington: (1) MIAMI-FL v (16) MERCER/TEXAS SOUTHERN, (8) Colorado v (9) Missouri
  • Austin: (4) Marquette v (13) Southern Miss/California, (5) Oklahoma State v (12) AKRON
  • Kansas City: (2) KANSAS v (15) NIAGARA, (7) Wisconsin v (10) Saint Mary’s
  • Philadelphia: (3) SYRACUSE v (14) DAVIDSON, (6) SAINT LOUIS v (11) Virginia

Arlington, TX Regional

  • Lexington: (1) FLORIDA v (16) MONTANA, (8) UNLV v (9) UCLA
  • Kansas City: (4) Minnesota v (13) STEPHEN F AUSTIN, (5) MIDDLE TENNESSEE v (12) Iowa State/Temple
  • Austin: (2) NEW MEXICO v (15) BRYANT, (7) Butler v (10) North Carolina
  • Salt Lake City: (3) Arizona v (14) SOUTH DAKOTA STATE, (6) Ohio State v (11) Cincinnati

Quick impressions?

  1. As far as who missed this field?  Villanova, Baylor, Boise State, Alabama with Villanova getting first dibs.  Maryland, Arizona State, BYU and Charlotte are even further away.

The conference breakdown

  • ACC (5): Duke, Miami-FL, Virginia, NC State, North Carolina
  • Northeast (1): Bryant
  • MEAC (1): Norfolk State
  • Big 12 (5): Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas
  • Big East (8): Connecticut, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette
  • SEC (4): Kentucky, Ole Miss, Missouri, Florida
  • Atlantic 10 (5): Temple, VCU, LaSalle, Butler, Saint Louis
  • Pac 12 (4): Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona
  • West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
  • Mountain West (4): UNLV, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State
  • Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State
  • Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Miss
  • WAC (1): Louisiana Tech
  • Big Ten (7): Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois
  • MAC (1): Akron
  • Atlantic Sun (1): Mercer
  • Ivy (1): Harvard
  • Big Sky (1): Montana
  • Ohio Valley (1): Belmont
  • Patriot (1): Bucknell
  • Horizon (1): Valparaiso
  • Big South (1): Charleston Southern
  • SWAC (1): Texas Southern
  • Colonial (1): Northeastern
  • America East (1): Stony Brook
  • Metro Atlantic (1): Niagara
  • Big West (1): Long Beach State
  • Southland (1): Stephen F Austin
  • Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee
  • Summit (1): South Dakota State
  • Southern (1): Davidson

2013 College Basketball – 2/11/2013

OK, so Duke only ALMOST lost.  But Indiana losing (but deservedly holding the #1 position in the writers poll) along with Michigan and Kansas shook things up.  Of course with that comes a change in the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), and consequently the 68 team “should” field.  I won’t spend any time pondering the integrity of seeding and regional rules (i.e. not too many teams form one conference in one region etc).  Consider this a pure S-curve of the field.  For automatic bids, I’m going with the best record OR highest ranking in a tie.  I know UConn is not eligible – but I rank them anyway because I am lazy and it is a “should” field.  Anyhoo, here is the bracket.

REGION A: (Top overall seed, #2 seed is 8th ranked team)

  • (1) Duke v (16) Bryant/NC Central
  • (8) Kansas State v (9) Connecticut
  • (4) Georgetown v (13) Kentucky/Temple
  • (5) Pittsburgh v (12) Louisiana Tech
  • (2) Indiana v (15) FL Gulf Coast
  • (7) UNLV v (10) Iowa State
  • (3) Gonzaga v (14) Harvard
  • (6) Memphis v (11) VCU

REGION B: (4th overall seed, #2 seed is 5th ranked)

  • (1) Syracuse v (16) Montana
  • (8) Wisconsin v (9) Belmont
  • (4) Minnesota v (13) Bucknell
  • (5) Oklahoma State v (12) Ole Miss
  • (2) Kansas v (15) Niagara
  • (7) Colorado v (10) LaSalle
  • (3) Michigan State v (14) Valparaiso
  • (6) Creighton v (11) UCLA

REGION C: (2nd overall, #2 is 7th)

  • (1) Miami-FL v (16) NC-Asheville/AR-Pine Bluff
  • (8) Virginia v (9) Oregon
  • (4) Colorado State v (13) Akron
  • (5) Ohio State v (12) Notre Dame/Indiana State
  • (2) Arizona v (15) Northeastern
  • (7) Wichita State v (10) Missouri
  • (3) New Mexico v (14) Stony Brook
  •  (6) NC State v (11) Oklahoma

REGION D: (3rd overall, #2 is 6th)

  • (1) Florida v (16) Long Beach State
  • (8) Cincinnati v (9) San Diego State
  • (4) Butler v (13) Stephen F Austin
  • (5) Middle Tennessee v (12) North Carolina
  • (2) Michigan v (15) Western Illinois
  • (7) Saint Mary’s v (10) Saint Louis
  • (3) Louisville v (14) Davidson
  • (6) Marquette v (11) Illinois

Quick impressions?

  1. As far as who missed this field?  Stanford, UMass, Boise State and Baylor, with Stanford getting first dibs.  Southern Miss, California, Arizona State and Charlotte are even further away.

The conference breakdown

  • ACC (5): Duke, Miami-FL, Virginia, NC State, North Carolina
  • Northeast (1): Bryant
  • MEAC (1): NC Central
  • Big 12 (5): Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas
  • Big East (8): Connecticut, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette
  • SEC (4): Kentucky, Ole Miss, Missouri, Florida
  • Atlantic 10 (5): Temple, VCU, LaSalle, Butler, Saint Louis
  • Pac 12 (4): Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona
  • West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
  • Mountain West (4): UNLV, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State
  • Missouri Valley (3): Creighton, Indiana State, Wichita State
  • Conference USA (1): Memphis
  • WAC (1): Louisiana Tech
  • Big Ten (7): Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois
  • MAC (1): Akron
  • Atlantic Sun (1): FL Gulf Coast
  • Ivy (1): Harvard
  • Big Sky (1): Montana
  • Ohio Valley (1): Belmont
  • Patriot (1): Bucknell
  • Horizon (1): Valparaiso
  • Big South (1): NC-Asheville
  • SWAC (1): AR-Pine Bluff
  • Colonial (1): Northeastern
  • America East (1): Stony Brook
  • Metro Atlantic (1): Niagara
  • Big West (1): Long Beach State
  • Southland (1): Stephen F Austin
  • Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee
  • Summit (1): Western Illinois
  • Southern (1): Davidson

2013 College Basketball – 2/5/2013

Well, this week we got the game of the year, with Michigan and Indiana trading haymakers in a classic – though one more for hardcores than for casual fans (since Indiana was not in danger of losing in the final minute or so).  But for the talent on the floor and the level of play, you can’t get much better.   Michigan followed up with a grueling overtime win over Ohio State – as always the lesson is, the Big Ten of 2013 is a bear.  Of course with that comes a change in the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), and consequently the 68 team “should” field.  I won’t spend any time pondering the integrity of seeding and regional rules (i.e. not too many teams form one conference in one region etc).  Consider this a pure S-curve of the field.  For automatic bids, I’m going with the best record OR highest ranking in a tie.  I know UConn is not eligible – but I rank them anyway because I am lazy and it is a “should” field.  Anyhoo, here is the bracket.

REGION A: (Top overall seed, #2 seed is 8th ranked team)

  • (1) Duke v (16) NC Central/Charleston Southern
  • (8) Ole Miss v (9) Iowa State
  • (4) Butler v (13) Charlotte/BYU
  • (5) Colorado State v (12) Saint Louis
  • (2) New Mexico v (15) Harvard
  • (7) Wichita State v (10) Wisconsin
  • (3) Syracuse v (14) Davidson
  • (6) Middle Tennessee v (11) UCLA

REGION B: (4th overall seed, #2 seed is 5th ranked)

  • (1) Florida v (16) Montana
  • (8) Connecticut v (9) North Carolina
  • (4) Ohio State v (13) Stephen F Austin
  • (5) UNLV v (12) Oklahoma
  • (2) Kansas v (15) FL Gulf Coast
  • (7) NC State v (10) Colorado
  • (3) Minnesota v (14) North Dakota State
  • (6) Oregon v (11) Kentucky

REGION C: (2nd overall, #2 is 7th)

  • (1) Arizona v (16) Bryant/Southern
  • (8) Memphis v (9) Louisiana Tech
  • (4) Michigan State v (13) Akron
  • (5) Cincinnati v (12) San Diego State
  • (2) Miami-FL v (15) Niagara
  • (7) Oklahoma State v (10) LaSalle
  • (3) Gonzaga v (14) Stony Brook
  • (6) Georgetown v (11) Notre Dame

REGION D: (3rd overall, #2 is 6th)

  • (1) Michigan v (16) Long Beach State
  • (8) Kansas State v (9) VCU
  • (4) Creighton v (13) Bucknell
  • (5) Marquette v (12) Southern Miss
  • (2) Indiana v (15) Northeastern
  • (7) Pittsburgh v (10) Saint Mary’s
  • (3) Louisville v (14) Valparaiso
  • (6) Belmont v (11) Missouri

Quick impressions?

  1. It is an interesting top 4, with Florida getting trampled by Arkansas.  However, with Kansas losing at home Florida does not sag that much here.  Duke still holds the top spot, although their resume does not match the eye test.  Arizona is also one of those.
  2. Belmont as a 6 seed is probably the most lofty weird ranking – but the Pomeroy component of the comparison I think does a lot there.  I don’t expect the committee to regard them or Middle Tennessee quite this kindly.
  3. Of course 2013’s field – the “no great team” claim, is bolstered when one sees the top 2 teams in the standings (Duke and Arizona) and can think of #3 seeds (Syracuse, Louisville) who you’d pick to beat them in a best of 7.
  4. As far as who missed this field?  Baylor, Illinois, Stanford and Maryland.  Baylor gets the last spot in a UConn-free field.  Considering Illinois’ start this is rather amazing.  Maryland’s horrid nonleague schedule hurts them badly here.  Alabama, Indiana State, Arizona State and Massachusetts are even further off.

The conference breakdown

  • ACC (4): Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Miami-FL 
  • SEC (4): Ole Miss, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri
  • Big 12 (5): Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
  • Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, Charlotte, Saint Louis, LaSalle, VCU
  • West Coast (3): BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
  • Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Creighton
  • Big Ten (6): Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana
  • Big East (8): Syracuse, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Louisville
  • Pac 12 (4): UCLA, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona
  • Mountain West (4): Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State
  • Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Miss
  • WAC (1): Louisiana Tech
  • MAC (1): Akron
  • Colonial (1): Northeastern
  • Horizon (1): Valparaiso
  • Ohio Valley (1): Belmont
  • MEAC (1): NC Central
  • Big South (1): Charleston Southern
  • Ivy (1): Harvard
  • Southern (1): Davidson
  • Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee
  • Big Sky (1): Montana
  • Southland (1): Stephen F Austin
  • Atlantic Sun (1): FL Gulf Coast
  • Summit (1): North Dakota State
  • Northeast (1): Bryant
  • SWAC (1): Southern
  • MAAC (1): Niagara
  • America East (1): Stony Brook
  • Big West (1): Long Beach State
  • Patriot (1): Bucknell

2013 College Basketball – 1/28/2013

I confess, I was moving this weekend, so the commentary will be a bit lax – well aside, from about the #1 team, but you’ll see that later.  Well, with the conference season starting in earnest now, and finally having a couple of minutes to actually write about the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), we can unveil the 68 team “should” field.  I won’t spend any time pondering the integrity of seeding and regional rules (i.e. not too many teams form one conference in one region etc).  Consider this a pure S-curve of the field.  For automatic bids, I’m going with the best record OR highest ranking in a tie.  I know UConn is not eligible – but I rank them anyway because I am lazy and it is a “should” field.  Anyhoo, here is the bracket.

REGION A: (Top overall seed, #2 seed is 8th ranked team)

  • (1) Duke v (16) NC Central/Charleston Southern
  • (8) Louisiana Tech v (9) VCU
  • (4) Creighton v (13) Saint Mary’s/Kentucky
  • (5) Marquette v (12) Bucknell
  • (2) Miami-FL v (15) Stony Brook
  • (7) UCLA v (10) Memphis
  • (3) Indiana v (14) Davidson
  • (6) Belmont v (11) Oklahoma State

REGION B: (4th overall seed, #2 seed is 5th ranked)

  • (1) Florida v (16) Long Beach State
  • (8) Missouri v (9) Pittsburgh
  • (4) Minnesota v (13) Stephen F Austin
  • (5) Cincinnati v (12) Virginia
  • (2) Arizona v (15) FL Gulf Coast
  • (7) Oklahoma v (10) Georgetown
  • (3) New Mexico v (14) North Dakota State
  • (6) Ole Miss v (11) Wisconsin

REGION C: (2nd overall, #2 is 7th)

  • (1) Kansas v (16) Montana/Southern
  • (8) LaSalle v (9) Connecticut
  • (4) Butler v (13) BYU/Wyoming
  • (5) Michigan State v (12) North Carolina
  • (2) Gonzaga v (15) Harvard
  • (7) Colorado State v (10) Kansas State
  • (3) Louisville v (14) Northeastern
  • (6) UNLV v (11) Baylor

REGION D: (3rd overall, #2 is 6th)

  • (1) Michigan v (16) Bryant
  • (8) Colorado v (9) San Diego State
  • (4) Oregon v (13) Akron
  • (5) Ohio State v (12) Illinois
  • (2) Syracuse v (15) Niagara
  • (7) Middle Tennessee v (10) Iowa State
  • (3) Wichita State v (14) Valparaiso
  • (6) NC State v (11) Notre Dame

Quick impressions?

  1. Obviously, Louisville had a rough week.  I think they are a Top 5 team, but come on.
  2. Duke as the #1 team still?  They built up a large lead early with those big wins, but seriously.  Without Ryan Kelly, this does not look like a #1 team.  Indeed teams of this timber do not get their doors blown off – ever, even if it involves a team like Miami who looks legitimately good.
  3. Indiana knocking off Michigan State a big win in the Big Ten rockfight.  But seriously, it just muddles things more.

2013 College Basketball – 1/20/2013

Wow, some weekend, huh?  With Butler shocking Gonzaga, and Syracuse doing the same to Louisville – change has come.  Meanwhile in the Big Ten, Michigan State and Michigan made large statements in the rock fight that is the Big Ten chase.  Well, with the conference season starting in earnest now, and finally having a couple of minutes to actually writer about the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), we can unveil the first 68 team “should” field.  I won’t spend any time pondering the integrity of seeding and regional rules (i.e. not too many teams form one conference in one region etc).  Consider this a pure S-curve of the field.  For automatic bids, I’m going with the best record OR highest ranking in a tie.  I know UConn is not eligible – but I rank them anyway because I am lazy and it is a “should” field.

REGION A: (Top overall seed, #2 seed is 8th ranked team)

  • (1) Duke v (16) NC Central/Southern
  • (8) Oklahoma v (9) Connecticut
  • (4) Oregon v (13) Charlotte/Iowa
  • (5) Cincinnati v (12) Kentucky
  • (2) New Mexico v (15) Davidson
  • (7) Marquette v (10) North Carolina
  • (3) Minnesota v (14) Harvard
  • (6) UNLV v (11) Illinois

REGION B: (4th overall seed, #2 seed is 5th ranked)

  • (1) Michigan v (16) Niagara
  • (8) Kansas State v (9) Memphis
  • (4) Wichita State v (13) Akron
  • (5) Ohio State v (12) LaSalle
  • (2) Kansas v (15) Weber State
  • (7) Missouri v (10) Oklahoma State
  • (3) Miami-FL v (14) North Dakota State
  • (6) VCU v (11) Rutgers

REGION C: (2nd overall, #2 is 7th)

  • (1) Arizona v (16) Mercer/Charleston Southern
  • (8) Notre Dame v (9) Bucknell
  • (4) Butler v (13) San Diego State/BYU
  • (5) North Carolina State v (12) Louisiana Tech
  • (2) Louisville v (15) Stony Brook
  • (7) Wyoming v (10) Wisconsin
  • (3) Gonzaga v (14) Bryant
  • (6) Colorado State v (11) Pittsburgh

REGION D: (3rd overall, #2 is 6th)

  • (1) Florida v (16) Long Beach State
  • (8) Middle Tennessee State v (9) UCLA
  • (4) Indiana v (13) Southern Miss
  • (5) Michigan State v (12) Temple
  • (2) Syracuse v (15) Northeastern
  • (7) Belmont v (10) Iowa State
  • (3) Creighton v (14) Valparaiso
  • (6) Ole Miss v (11) Colorado

Quick impressions?

  1. With the loss to Syracuse, Louisville drops to a #2 – but with both them and Syracuse at #2, the Big East and Big Ten both look very strong.  
  2. Florida’s crushing of A&M and Mizzou were striking – hard to envision them getting much of a test in the SEC, though Kentucky is back in the draw after a 2-0 week.
  3. I’d call MTSU a bit overseeded myself along with Ole Miss, but Belmont has shown to be pretty darn good.  Notre Dame is probably a bit underseeded.
  4. The teams that just missed the cut?  Indiana State, Saint Mary’s, Baylor and Southern Miss … Xavier, Georgetown, Maryland and Virginia next beyond that.

2013 College Basketball – 1/13/2013

Well, with the conference season starting in earnest now, and finally having a couple of minutes to actually writer about the power rankings which are faithfully updated (well, semi-regularly), we can unveil the first 68 team “should” field.  I won’t spend any time pondering the integrity of seeding and regional rules (i.e. not too many teams form one conference in one region etc).  Consider this a pure S-curve of the field.  For automatic bids, I’m going with the best record OR highest ranking in a tie.

REGION A: (Top overall seed, #2 seed is 8th ranked team)

  • (1) Duke v (16) NC Central or Southern
  • (8) Boise State v (9) Texas A&M
  • (4) Oregon v (13) Baylor/Wisconsin
  • (5) Butler v (12) Pittsburgh/Saint Louis
  • (2) Minnesota v (15) Harvard
  • (7) Cincinnati v (10) Colorado
  • (3) Gonzaga v (14) Davidson
  • (6) Missouri v (11) Middle Tennessee

REGION B: (4th overall seed, #2 seed is 5th ranked)

  • (1) Florida v (16) Florida-Gulf Coast
  • (8) UNLV v (9) San Diego State
  • (4) NC State v (13) Akron
  • (5) Virginia Commonwealth v (12) Louisiana Tech
  • (2) Indiana v (15) Bryant
  • (7) Wyoming v (10) Colorado State
  • (3) Miami-FL vs (14) North Dakota State
  • (6) Michigan State v (11) Iowa State

REGION C: (2nd overall, #2 is 7th)

  • (1) Louisville v (16) Pacific/Charleston Southern
  • (8) Oklahoma State v (9) Illinois
  • (4) Wichita State v (13) Belmont
  • (5) Oklahoma v (12) Bucknell
  • (2) Arizona v (15) Weber State
  • (7) UConn v (10) Kansas State
  • (3) Syracuse v (14) Iona
  • (6) Notre Dame v (11) Temple

REGION D: (3rd overall, #2 is 6th)

  • (1) Kansas v (16) Northeastern
  • (8) Ole Miss v (9) Memphis
  • (4) New Mexico v (13) Stephen F Austin
  • (5) Ohio State v (12) Charlotte
  • (2) Michigan v (15) Wright State
  • (7) Marquette v (10) BYU
  • (3) Creighton v (14) Stony Brook
  • (6) UCLA v (11) LaSalle

Quick impressions?

  1. After Duke’s loss to NC State (the preseason favorite to win the ACC), it is tempting to move them from #1.  But the Louisville-VCU-Minnesota gauntlet only looks more impressive now.  Losing a tough roadie is hardly enough to move them from #1.
  2. While there is no Big Ten team at the top, clearly with a pair of #2s, as well as Ohio State and Michigan State having a ton of upside left, this is going to be a great conference race.
  3. Florida might end up being in the best position to secure a top seed though, with Kansas … I just don’t see where either team is going to get tested much in the SEC and Big 12 respectively.
  4. Yes, this field missed Kentucky and North Carolina.  Right now, neither of those teams deserves to be in.

 

Dare to be Stupid: The Dwight Howard Trade

Let’s start with one thing.  I don’t know what offers the Orlando Magic actually had here.  Were they really poring through various offers of other teams’ trash?  Was this really some Building 19 special we were dealing with?  It all seems terribly weird for the league’s 2nd best player.  Yeah yeah yeah, it is chic to say that Kevin Durant is the league’s best non-LeBron James player, but Dwight Howard’s total impact on both sides of the floor (as well as the general VORP factors associated with centers) is too hard to ignore.  So, lapsing into Hubie Brown’s cadence, you have the 2nd best player in the league – one who could be a free agent after this season, what is he worth?

We know that Houston amassed trade assets by the boatload leading up to this – between some credible draft picks, cap space and players who know how to play basketball and have some upside – yeah not star upside, but rotation level upside.  We know that Atlanta could have offered Al Horford and Jeff Teague – granted their motivation to do so might have been modest considering that they could have tried to sign Howard outright after the season.  It is hard to think that Aaron Affalo, Al Harrington, Nikova Vucevic, Moe Harkless, a bunch of low value draft picks is a fair price for the 2nd best player in the league.  I mean, that is a combined 0 players who are likely to be key players on the next good Orlando team.  Apparently Orlando has a beat on Jabari Parker in 2014 or something – otherwise this is pretty horrible return for a truly great (albeit truly flaky) player.

For the Lakers, this is obviously heist.  After trading a bunch of picks they don’t want for Steve Nash, getting Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum and a sack of potatoes is pretty amazing.  With Antawn Jamison augmenting their depth, the Lakers are still way thinner than what you’d prefer and relying on some old guys with big egos (Kobe cough cough), and the pieces do not fit precisely.  But they have four of the 25 best players in the game!  Is Dwight Howard healthy and capable of being the next great Lakers center and phase into the leader of the franchise?  Well he won’t have to lead right away.  Lakers have moved up to a solid 3rd in the pecking order behind Miami and OKC.

Denver’s role here is weird.  On one hand you can blame them for midwifing a trade that reduces their chance of winning.  That said, you’d make the Affalo-Harrington for Iguodala deal tomorrow.  And he is perfect for George Karl’s system – athletic, elite defender.  Given Denver’s model, this was a really shrewd trade.  And really, Lakers or Thunder or Spurs – they probably were not going to usurp any of them anyhoo.  They get a solid A- here.

The Sixers you have to wonder – would they have amnestied Elton Brand if they knew that they could have gotten Andrew Bynum.  Doubtlessly that would have been better than Bynum and Spencer Hawes or whatever.  But that said, Andrew Bynum – health risk and all – is the best player legitimately available to acquire outside of Dwight and they landed him.  Bynum is from Jersey and the Sixers will have an edge in money they can offer.  Bynum is no lock to sign, but the Sixers have as good a chance as anybody – maybe better than that. Studs don’t show up every day – so when you can get one – ask questions later.

Overall Grades: Magic D, Lakers A+, Nuggets A-, Sixers A-

 

2012 NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals Preview

And then there were four.  After the Boston Celtics’ glorious though kind of unwatchable Game 7 win, we are left with 4 of the league’s 7 best teams and three of the top four.  Of course this is no surprise given the NBA playoffs spectacular ability to identify the best team – you end up with precious few true surprises.  So with a fairly chalky Final Four, how will this shake out?

Eastern Conference Finals: Miami Heat (4th overall, 6th offense, 4th defense) vs Boston Celtics (7th overall, 24th offense, 1st defense)

Wow, Avery Bradley’s loss is huge.  Given how incompetent he looked for a year and half of his career, this is kind of incredible.  Indeed, as John Hollinger pointed out, even with a rough shooting postseason, Bradley led the Celtics in +/-.  If you remember his sensational block on Dwayne Wade in their regular season encounters – then you can see how Bradley’s loss coupled with Wade’s amazing last couple games in the Indiana series portend to something scary for Boston.  Considering how horrible their offense has been, the Celtics need to lean on their defense and without Bradley that will be hard.  Sure, Chris Bosh’s injury is a slow healer and a high risk one – he won’t be 100% – but LeBron and Wade are clicking so easily now that it is hard to envision the shorthanded Celtics being more than a bug on a windshield.  Heat in 5

Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs (2nd overall, 1st offense, 10th defense) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (3rd overall, 2nd offense, 8th defense)

The Spurs, with Parker and when not punting games to rest their old guys have won 43 of their last 47 games.  This is obviously phenomenal.  They have had blowouts down the stretch against all of their peers, including Oklahoma City.  However, the Thunder’s body of work is a little better than the Spurs with a slightly better defense.  However, San Antonio’s defense has hunkered down in the postseason – and you’d like to think that Duncan and Splitter mean a tougher interior D than Ibaka – who can block shots but not so much at position defense.  Can the Thunder stop the Spurs’ pick and roll?  It is hard to envision, given how the Spurs can spread you out so completely.  In contrast, the Thunder’s offensive prowess is built into individual ability more than a passing and motion attack.  Harden vs Ginobli, Parker vs Westbrook.  The Thunder thrive on winning 1-on-1 battles, but can they win enough here to hang with the Spurs?  Despite Durant’s brilliance – I just don’t see it.  It is going to be a hell of a series though.  Spurs in 6

Unlocked … 2012 NBA Season Report #10 – Final Report and Playoff Preview

First as you have probably seen from the last couple of entries, people still have Cystic Fibrosis – blah blah blah – click here to help

FINALLY.  The best of the playoff seasons is upon us.  Of course this was after a truly execrable last couple of weeks of the season where teams were playing scrubs shamelessly while still charging full prices.  The Tuesday Celtics-Heat game was a particular atrocity.  So the rankings could be skewed a tiny bit.  But whatever, the playoffs are here and looks at the series are coming up … how have the rankings changed since we last did this?

  1. (2) Bulls (50-16)
  2. (4) Spurs (50-16)
  3. (1) Thunder (47-19)
  4. (3) Heat (46-20)
  5. (5) Sixers (35-31)
  6. (10) Nugggets (38-28)
  7. (6) Celtics (39-27)
  8. (8) Hawks (40-26)
  9. (7) Grizzlies (41-25)
  10. (15) Clippers (40-26)
  11. (13) Mavericks (36-30)
  12. (9) Lakers (41-25)
  13. (14) Knicks (36-30)
  14. (16) Pacers (42-24)
  15. (11) Magic (37-29)
  16. (12) Rockets (34-32)
  17. (18) Suns (33-33)
  18. (20) Jazz (36-30)
  19. (19) Bucks (31-35)
  20. (17) Blazers (28-38)
  21. (21) Timberwolves (26-40)
  22. (22) Warriors (23-43)
  23. (24) Hornets (21-45)
  24. (23) Raptors (23-43)
  25. (25) Kings (22-44)
  26. (29) Wizards (20-46)
  27. (27) Pistons (25-42)
  28. (28) Nets (22-44)
  29. (26) Wizards (21-45)
  30. (30) Bobcats (7-59)

It’s the playoffs!  So – quick looks at your first round series are in order:

  • (E1) Bulls v (E8) Sixers – This is #1 vs #5.  What a matchup!  However, the Sixers have really stumbled down the stretch, but the metrics have been strong as the Sixers blowouts early still have resonance.  The Bulls with Derrick Rose’s dicey injury situation could be great – but they could be tricky.  Defense will be the order of the day (#2 v #3) and neither team is great from outside.  I can’t imagine the Bulls losing this but the Sixers match up well with them, better than they do with the Heat.  Bulls in 7
  • (E4) Celtics v (E5) Hawks – #7 vs #8.  Interestingly here the lower seed has home court.  The Celtics have been very strong down the stretch.  But so have the Hawks, both in the Top 6 since the trade deadline.  The Celtics have serious issues with rebounding and size, but the Hawks are 26th in offensive rebounding, so it is hard to read that as a huge edge.  The games have all been close in their head to head.  Really more of a coin flip than the experts purport.  Hawks in 7
  • (E2) Heat v (E7) Knicks – #4 vs #13 Fun series with two defensively adept teams.  Anthony and LeBron will be a great matchup and the Novak/Smith bench for the Knicks could explode.  But it is hard to envision the Knicks winning in Miami.  This is a fun series but Heat in 6
  • (E3) Pacers v (E6) Magic – The Pacers have the 5th best record in the league but merely #14 in rankings.  This describes the Pacers in general – a nice team, lot of good players, but is this the juice to win a playoff series?  The Magic will be motivated with no Dwight Howard and “nobody believing in them”. Did the Pacers more competitive than it seemed result vs Chicago last year inform them or will the Magic’s winning experience do it?  Without Glen Davis, the Magic just don’t have enough players now – good or otherwise.  Pacers in 5
  • (W1) Spurs v (W8) Jazz – Spurs can flat out score, but the Jazz can attack with size.  Will the Spurs lose in round 1 again?  Frankly I’d have more faith in the Jazz if their defense was not so mediocre.  Against the buzz saw offense of San Antonio it is tough sledding.  Spurs in 5
  • (W4) Grizzlies v (W5) Clippers – Grizzlies are a sexy pick to upset the apple cart.  However this is not last year’s Zach Randolph.  Meanwhile the Clippers just have more better players and one of the game’s best all around players and leaders.  Look how the Hornets stole 2 games against the Lakers with Chris Paul and nobody – he is just that good.  In the playoffs, the stars play more.  Lob City is not done yet.  Clippers in 6
  • (W2) Thunder v (W7) Mavericks – Hard series to peg.  On paper, Thunder should rip through this.  In actuality, Dallas can throw a lot of junk D at them and make the Thunder really work for it.  But it won’t be enough.  Thunder in 7
  • (W3) Lakers v (W6) Nuggets – Denver has depth.  The Lakers don’t.  Denver has speed, and the Lakers have real issues with that.  But the Lakers have all the really good players here and their size and ability to dictate in the half court.  I hope Denver can make this fun.  I think the Lakers grind it out enough.  Lakers in 6