Archives For NCAAB March Madness

Sweet 16 Breakdown: Part 1

Guest Writers —  Thursday, March 28, 2013 — 3 Comments

Well, just like that, the opening weekend of the Big Dance is in the books, and it certainly did not disappoint. It was filled with the usual exciting factors such as double-digit first round upsets, powerhouse conference favorites going up against mid-major Cinderella’s, and even a buzzer beater here and there. The opening weekend also graced us with a few surprises as well—spotlighted by a 15 seed finding its way to the Sweet 16, so much so, that it has been nicknamed “Dunk City” thanks to some serious white-boy alley oops.

Now, we look ahead to some potentially very exciting matchups in the Sweet 16. I will breakdown each matchup, as well as give my prediction on who will advance to the Elite 8.

We will begin by looking at Thursday’s games, and I will be back tomorrow to breakdown Friday night’s slate.

No. 3 Marquette vs No. 2 Miami (6:15 CT, CBS)

Our first matchup of the Sweet 16 brings us to the East Region for a very exciting matchup between two very-skilled teams. The biggest news coming from this one is that Miami will be without starting center and leading rebounder, Reggie Johnson. This is blow to the U. Offensively, Miami posts a 1.14 PPP with RJ. Without him, it drops to a 1.01. Even without Reggie, Miami is just the better basketball team. Marquette is well coached and has a star in Vander Blue (who BTW is playing on another level so far in this tourney), but at the end of the day, Marquette has been the luckiest team in the country. They like to do a lot of scoring inside due to their poor outside shooting, and no RJ gives them a decent shot, but Larkin and Co. will be too much at the end of the night.

Prediction: Miami 70-63

No. 6 Arizona vs No. 2 Ohio State (6:47 CT, TBS)

This game brings us an intriguing matchup between two college hoops powerhouses who both boast coaches who were assistants together at Miami (OH). The game is being played in Los Angeles, which means there are going to be a lot of Zona fans in the house. Location is often overlooked in NCAA Tourney games, but they really do play a factor, especially in games of this magnitude (Just look at Oregon’s run so far – both games played in San Jose). The big time matchup in this one is between two of the tourney’s hottest point guards in Mark Lyons and Aaron Craft. Craft is known for his outstanding pressure defense which should cause problems for Lyons and company, but what most do not know is that against high pressure teams, Nick Johnson does a lot of the distributing, leaving Lyons on the wing and Craft in an unfamiliar spot. Arizona has a height advantage in the frontcourt making OSU vulnerable on the glass, and Ohio State has struggled at times in finding a second scorer behind DeShaun Thomas. I’m calling for the upset in this one.

Prediction: Arizona 65-63

No. 4 Syracuse vs No. 1 Indiana (8:45 CT, CBS)

Indiana came into the tournament being one of the favorites to win the whole thing, but after trailing late against Temple, some fans are concerned if they really have enough consistency to cut down the net in a few weeks. Their matchup with Syracuse should bring fans some relief come Thursday night. Teams that have beaten Syracuse this year have either been able to knock down the 3-ball or rebound the ball, offensively, at a high rate. Luckily for Indiana, they do both well. Also, if Indiana can push the ball in transition avoiding Syracuse to get into a comfortable zone, then good things will happen for the Hoosiers. Temple showed what you could do to an Indiana offense by forcing them to play in their half court offense – make them look LOST. If they do, this will be a low scoring, grind it out ball game that will be close. If not, it could get ugly. Either way, I like the Hoosiers to take home the W.

Prediction: Indiana 71-61 

No. 13 La Salle vs No. 9 Wichita State

The final game of the nightcap brings us a fun one between two teams who were not expected to still be playing at this point – and one will be in the Elite 8. La Salle has made it this far due to the fact of 3-pointers falling for them at a ridiculous rate. Another common theme from La Salle has been their pathetic post defense. Wichita boasts a huge advantage in rebounding as Wichita ranks 27th while La Salle sits at a whopping 292nd. Wichita is very similar to Ole Miss, who had the game in the bag if it wasn’t for the moron we all know as Marshall Henderson chucking up shots at will, when they were successful at scoring inside. Ramon Galloway is a fantastic scorer, but Wichita’s guards should be able to out-physical him and make him uncomfortable. As long as La Salle doesn’t get unconscious from deep, Wichita should have no problem getting the win here.

Prediction: Wichita State 68-59

————

By: Lyon Brown

Advertisements

Guide to Winning Your Office Pool

Philip Matthews —  Wednesday, March 20, 2013 — 3 Comments

According to DePaul mathematics professor Jeff Bergen (via Yahoo! Sports), the odds of someone in the U.S. predicting a perfect bracket if he or she knows basketball (whatever that means) is 1-in-128 billion.

How in the world he came up with this number is way beyond my realm of understanding, but it does lead me to one response: in the words of my good pal Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber, “Sooo you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

That’s right. There is a chance indeed. And who’s to say this feat isn’t attainable by one of us? Even if that’s a stretch (1-in-128 billion), winning that office pool and bragging rights for the year will definitely suffice as a consolation prize. After all you should shoot for the moon. If you miss, then you’ll still land amongst the stars.

Alas, here are just the tricks you need to bring home the coveted office trophy this year. Who knows, mix and match these tidbits correctly and you might just stumble upon something that has a 1-in-128 billion chance of happening.

First of all, some generalities:

Trust your instincts. If you want to do research, then do it. But don’t do too much. Over-thinking and over-analyzing is your enemy. If you’re feeling a particular upset, then go for it. If it proves true, it’ll give you a deep sense of satisfaction that will help heal the wound if you happen to lose your pool. There’s nothing worse than picking a correct Cinderella and chickening out at the last second. Yes, I’ve done this more than I like to remember.

Ignore the past. I’m not saying Davidson, Butler, or VCU won’t make deep runs in this year’s tournament, but I’m not saying they will either. These are completely different teams than those whom were made famous in past tourneys and should be analyzed as such.

4 < Winner < 1. Pick more than one number one-seeded team to be in the Final Four, but less than four. All four number one-seeded teams have only made the Final Four once in 2008. Meanwhile, all number one-seeded teams have failed to make the Final Four just 3 times: 1980, 2006, and 2011. So pick your two or three favorite #1 seeds, and roll with them making it to Atlanta.

Work backwards. Sure the bulk of the fun lies in the madness of the first two rounds, but the vast majority of the pools will be won as the games gain importance. Focus on your Final Four teams, then work backwards and choose your upsets wisely. You won’t win your pool in the first two rounds, but you sure can lose it.

Let’s look at some numbers and see if we can’t work through this equation together.

  • A top three seeded team has won 18 of the past 21 titles. One title has been won by a number four, six, and eighth-seeded team. We’ll play the percentages, so seeds 4 through 16 are out. Good start; we’re down to 12 possible teams cutting down the nets.
  • Jerseys matter. Maybe there is some method to the madness of your sister’s bracket based on her favorite uniforms always beating yours based on basketball expertise. 14 of the last 16 national champs, and 54 of the last 60 final four teams have worn either Nike or Jordan uniforms. This includes Georgetown, Gonzaga, Marquette, Miami, New Mexico, Ohio State, Florida, Duke, and Mich. State. This means top seeds Kansas, Louisville, and Indiana are out. Let’s just hope this isn’t Adidas’ year– a risk we’re willing to take. This puts our number of possible champions at nine.
  • Experience matters. Coaches with past Final Four experience have won 12 of the past 13 national championships and 22 of the past 27 titles. This excludes Mark Few of Gonzaga, Steve Alford of New Mexico, and Buzz Williams of Marquette. We’re down to six– Georgetown, Miami, OSU, Florida, Duke, and Michigan State.
  • Champs go streaking. Wait what? Every Final Four team of the past six years had a winning streak of at least eight games prior to the NCAA tournament. Marquette and Michigan State are the only top 4 seeded teams without such a streak this season; in other words, see ya Tom Izzo and Sparty.
  • Avoid one and done’s in conference tournaments. Since 1985, no team has ever won the title after going one and done in their conference tournament. Duke and Marquette did the latter this season. Duke’s out.
  • Champions play offense and defense. We know defense wins championships, but offense helps a little as well. The past 10 champions have finished in the top 20 of kenpom.com’s offense and defense efficiency ratings. This includes Louisville, Gonzaga, Indiana, Florida, Ohio State, and Pitt this season. So Georgetown and Miami’s chances are done.

 

This narrows down the National Champions to be either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Florida Gators. At this point, you’ve probably already won your bracket pool, but let’s not settle. I would say the Gators because surely they would eat a Buckeye (a tree, or leaf, or whatever), but further research shows that Gators are indeed carnivores and eat meat, so that rules out that possibility.

In conclusion, it seems best to either let your Aunt Brenda pick the winner or flip a coin– you can’t go wrong with either.

Now that you have your champion, continue to peruse through these tidbits of stats and wisdom and fill in your bracket until your sixth sense tells you it’s perfect. Or just blindly fill out your bracket, listen to no advice whatsoever, and use no common sense, and you’ll be just as likely to win your pool or scratch perfection.

Welcome to March. Let the Madness begin.

NCAA Tournament Bracket

Philip Matthews —  Monday, March 18, 2013 — 1 Comment

Here’s Sports Righting’s printable NCAA Tournament bracket.  Print it out.  Fill it out.  Erase, revise, and repeat.  You only have a few days.  Get to it!  Also, be sure to enter the Sports Righting group on the ESPN Tournament Challenge for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Dicks Sporting Goods.  Good Luck!

NCAA Tournament Bracket

Join Sports Righting’s free Tournament Challenge group on ESPN.com for your chance to win a $100 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card. All you have to do is:

  1. Go to Sports Righting’s Tournament Challenge group on ESPN.com.
  2. Sign in with your ESPN account or Facebook.
  3. Join the “Sports Righting” group.
  4. Create and fill out a bracket.
  5. Make sure you either “Like” Sports Righting on Facebook or “Follow” Sports Righting on Twitter.

Rules

  1. Only 1 entry per person.
  2. Must either “Like” Sports Righting on Facebook or “Follow” Sports Righting on Twitter.
  3. IF you win, you must provide your name and address to Sports Righting by emailing SportsRighting@gmail.com by May 8, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Good luck!!!