Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BUCKET BRACKETS 101

Johnny J

Everyone may know how to fill out a bracket, but I'm here to help you keep an open mind about when making these selections. As we know, all teams are capable of losing at anytime. I take all match-ups in the tournament serious and with that said, there is no such thing as an "easy" match-up, regardless of the seeding (Unless of course a match-up involves a #16 seed--Ed). For instance, looked what happen to Kansas in 2010. They were the number one seed overall and they lost to ninth-seeded Northern Iowa in the second round.  No one saw that coming and it teaches everybody a lesson: it's always smart to do research on these small schools that no one has never heard of. When you look at match-ups, you have to take into play everything. I mean EVERYTHING:  where is the game going to be played? Are any of the key players injured or in a slump? And how did this school I never heard of make the tournament?

With that said, let's take a look at the top seeds:

  • Kansas 
  • Louisville 
  • Gonzaga 
  • Indiana 

Now in my opinion, Indiana shouldn't be a number one seed. Miami, who just won the ACC tournament, as well as the ACC regular season crown, should have been rewarded with the #1 seed. Indiana, on the other hand, lost three times in six games. Three times!  They got crushed by Wisconsin, in the Big Ten. Not to mention they lost three times as a number one seed (Hotter than a Hot Potato--Ed).  Another thing I don't understand is how is Louisville number one overall in the tournament? Gonzaga--hello?--they've only won 14 in a row; going a perfect 16-0 in their conference and only losing two games all year. No love for the small institutions.  I'm sorry, "mid-majors."

With the tournament starting on Thursday, now is the time to fill out your brackets. You wanna be able to take your time and do research on these teams. You don't wanna rush into it, because every mach-up is harder than it looks. The seeds that are in the middle are always the hardest.  If you just look at the match-up you realize it can go either way. For example my favorite team is North Carolina.  Currently, they are an eight-seed playing ninth-seeded Villanova. Of course I want North Carolina to win, but Villanova is tough. I had them to win the Big East tournament. They were 4-2 against top 50 RPI teams. That is a tough match-up if I've ever seen one. I definitely have to think about some of these picks. So starting early is beneficial.

Looking at team stats is a plus as well. If a team ranks fifth in scoring in the country, I know they can score anywhere, anytime, and at any place.  The thing is, "can their opponent keep up? Can they score?  Can they play defense?" All these things come into play. Here's a good example: the Creighton Blue Jays of the Missouri Valley Conference, is not a ranked team, but they can score. They are ranked 24th in the nation averaging 75 points per game. And they make shots consistently ranking 1st in the nation at almost 51% from the field. They are a dangerous seventh-seed. If they get past Cincinnati, they could face two-seeded  Duke in the third round, which would be a very tough match-up for them.

You should now have a better understanding of filling out your bracket. Look at all angles of each game: who has the "home advantage" at a particular "neutral site?" Who can score? What teams are hot? Most important of all, start thinking about these match-ups early. Oh yes, there will be upsets!

More NCAA is available here.

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