It has been a long time since I had an opportunity to do a set of projections (and predictions), so I have taken advantage of this extended holiday period.
As expected, North Carolina remains the team to beat and Ty Lawson has taken his game to a whole ‘nother level. The unexpected element is the rise of the Big Ten Conference. Many expected this to be a pedestrian year for the conference; however, Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota never got the memo.
Arguably, Michigan has the two most important OOC wins. On the flipside, the SEC is just bad. We knew that the SEC West would suffer, but the entire conference (except South Carolina). Eventually, we expect a 4th (and possibly a 5th) bid from the conference.
Because we use the projection/prediction model, there are some picks that are off putting to say the least.
One is Louisville as the last #2 seed. The Cardinals have struggled out of the gate with losses to Western Kentucky and Minnesota, but Pitino’s Louisville teams generally do what they do now and then gel in late January to early March. I just think they’re getting to used to life without David Padgett.
The other is USC among the last four. The Trojans have done exactly squadoosh to justify an at-large bid. Nevertheless, USC storms and norms until mid-January under Tim Floyd. Because of attrition related to recruiting practices (i.e. possessing an utter willingness to take on one-year players), it takes a while for his new players to learn how to defend well. That said, do not be surprised if they come out as the #3 team out of the PAC 10.
If you have any questions, comments, or just wish to send a shout, shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1: North Carolina, UConn (Big East), Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Big XII)
2: Duke (ACC), Texas, UCLA (PAC-10), Louisville
3: Gonzaga (WCC), Notre Dame, Purdue (Big Ten), Tennessee (SEC)
4: Syracuse, Michigan State, Clemson, Ohio State
5: Georgetown, Arizona State, Wake Forest, Michigan
6: Villanova, Davidson, Xavier (A-10), Memphis (C-USA)
7: Miami-FL, Baylor, Butler, Minnesota
8: St. Mary’s, UNLV (Mountain West), Kentucky, Arizona
9: Creighton (MVC), Wisconsin, Florida, BYU
10: Marquette, Kansas, Maryland, Illinois State
11: West Virginia, Texas A&M, Dayton, Illinois
12: Florida State, USC, Cleveland State (Horizon), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
13: VCU (CAA), Nevada (WAC), Portland State (Big Sky), Siena (Metro Atlantic),
14: Oakland (Summit), Akron (MAC), Vermont (America East), Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
15: American (Patriot), Cornell (Ivy), Liberty (Big South), Belmont (Atlantic Sun)
16: Pacific (Big West), Hampton (MEAC), Murray State (Ohio Valley), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Jackson State (SWAC)
Last Four In: Texas A&M, Illinois, USC, Florida State
Last Four Out: Missouri, California, UAB, Stanford
Next Four Out: Washington, LSU, Cincinnati, Temple
Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Big Ten: 7/11
Big East: 9/16
Big XII: 5/12
West Coast: 2/8
Mountain West: 2/9
Missouri Valley: 2/10
Think you can make some improvements? Go for it. But you BETTER be ready to back it up!