Thursday, March 31, 2005

NIT Championship Preview

In what seems to be one of the least talked about NIT Championships in recent years, the St. Joseph's Hawks will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. Neither team had much of a chance at an at-large bid going into Selection Sunday, but have made the most of their opportunity in the so-called "Not Invited Tournament."

On the perimeter, St. Joseph's may have an advantage. Dwayne Lee forced Memphis' Darius Washington into a very tough game in the semi-finals and can defend exceptionally well. Chat Stachitas is the second best scorer on the team, and has a solid mid-range game. However, the player that makes this team go is Pat Carroll, one of the top three point shooters in the country. He can single-handedly carry the Hawks in any game. Abdulai Jalloh is the lone back-up. On the other side of the ball, South Carolina is chalk full of athletic players in the backcourt. Josh Gonner and Tarence Kinsey are good scorers on the wings, while Tre Kelley is an above-average point guard, although he tends to turn the ball over too much. Rocky Trice is a decent backup swingman.

In the frontcourt, South Carolina has the edge because of the presence of Carlos Powell. One of the best players in the SEC, Powell lead the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding at about 16 and 7 per game. The 'Cocks also have solid depth in the frontcourt, as four players rotate evenly at the other positions. Antoine Tisby, Brandon Wallace and Renaldo Balkman combine for 18 points and 14 rebounds per game. St. Joseph's frontcourt is headed by Dwayne Jones, who dominated against Memphis. He is among a select group in the country that averages a double-double. Jones goes for 11 points and 12 rebounds per night. Similar to South Carolina, the Hawks have a host of forwards that rotate on the frontline. John Bryant, Robert Ferguson, and Dave Mallon provide minutes, fouls, and sparse scoring and rebounding.

Both teams have star players in the frontcourt that can dominate a game. However, St. Joseph's has better balance, with Carroll and company on the perimeter offsetting any double teams put on Jones. As a result of that, in addition to their stifling defense, the Hawks will come out victorious with the NIT Championship.
Prediction: St. Joseph's by 5

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

NIT Final Four Preview

Memphis vs. St. Joseph’s: In what should be the better of the two games tonight, both of these teams will try to show that their lack of success in the non-conference season was not a reason to leave them out of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers and the Hawks lost in the respective conference championship games, although Memphis lost by one to Louisville after Darius Washington missed two of three free throws with no time left, while St. Joe’s got beaten handily by George Washington. Memphis has hit their stride recently, winning 6 of their past 7. They are lead by Washington at the point and Rodney Carney on the wing. Both can take over a game, especially Washington. Whenever the Tigers need a basket, Washington always seems to get it. Anthony Rice and Jeremy Hunt are two solid wing scorers. Duane Erwin and Joey Dorsey are the best post options they have. St. Joseph’s has won 15 of their past 18, was 14-2 in the Atlantic 10. Pat Carroll is one of the best shooters in the country and can keep the Hawks in the game. Chet Stachitas and Dwayne Lee help Carroll out on the perimeter. Dwayne Jones is the main inside player in the paint. As far as match-ups go, I don’t think that the Hawks have the athletes to deal with Carney and Washington. Neither team has much of an inside game. If the Tigers can hit their threes, they can blow this game open, as they have in every NIT game thus far. Prediction: Memphis by 11

Maryland vs. South Carolina: Both teams are surprised to be here, but for different reasons. Maryland expected to be playing in the NCAA Tournament, while South Carolina is happy to keep playing any basketball after their weak finish to the season. In a stark contrast to the first game, each squad struggled down the stretch to ruin any chance of making the Big Dance. Maryland is going to be without their best player, John Gilchrist, as they have the entire Tournament. Nik Caner-Medley and Chris McCray are going to have to step up in place of their leader. Both can score in bunches and carry the Terps. Ekene Ibekwe and Travis Garrison are both solid inside scorers that provide balance for Maryland. South Carolina revolves around Carlos Powell, their lone double figure scorer. He can be a dominate post player. Tre Kelley, Tarence Kinsey, and Josh Gonner are all athletic, decent scorers in the backcourt. The outcome will depend on how Maryland can stop Powell. I think that they will, given their extreme depth in the paint. South Carolina does not have anyone that can match-up on the wing with Caner-Medley, who can have a big game if he breaks out of his slump. The Terrapins depth and scoring ability will be too much for the Gamecocks. Prediction: Maryland by 7

Final Four Preview

With the Final Four games coming up this weekend, it is time to re-evaluate the teams that are remaining. Similar to the NCAA Tournament Preview, the Final Four Preview is going to contain rankings of backcourts, frontcourts, shooters, etc. In addition, it is going to have the preview of both games on Saturday.

Monday, March 21, 2005

What's the Best Conference?

No matter what the regular season brings, most people will tell you that the NCAA Tournament is the true indicator of how strong a conference is. Well, after the first weekend of the Tournament, it's time to take a look at how each of the leagues are doing. The ACC is performing as expected, placing three teams in the Sweet 16. However, it was not the three that most people projected. Wake Forest and their weak defense finally caught up to them, while NC State finally hit their stride to be the third ACC team. All season, the Big East bragged about their depth and how they were the best conference in America. After the first 48 games, that could not be more wrong. Their top three teams, as well as another all lost in the first two rounds. Boston College, Syracuse, Connecticut, and Pitt were supposed to make some noise in the bracket, but they were all bumped early. West Virginia and Villanova are the lone Big East teams remaining. The biggest surprise in a conference? By far, the Big Ten. During Illinois' run, there were skeptics about their weak schedule and the horrendous Big Ten that had Illinois, two aobve-average teams and seven medicore squads. That horrendous Big Ten is tied with the ACC for most teams in the Sweet 16, at three. Although Wisconsin and Michigan State did not have to beat any single-digit seeds, and Illinois beat a #16 and a #9, they did what the had to do, and are now looking like a legit conference. The Big 12 placed two teams, a disappointment given that they had three top 3 seeds. Kansas bowed out to Bucknell, and Oklahoma was dominated by Utah. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are the two teams left. The Pac-10 was a conference that, some said, had two NCAA Tournament-quality teams. Those people turned out to be right. UCLA and Stanford gave a poor showing in the first round, while Arizona and Washington have easily coasted to the Sweet 16. The SEC was no surprise, but they only had one Sweet 16 team in Kentucky. Alabama and LSU were upset in the first round, while Florida and Mississippi State were gone in the second round. The SEC was definitely in the midst of a down season. Conference USA looked better than the SEC, but was no major player. Other than Louisville, no one made much noise. Cincinnati was bounced in the second round, while Charlotte had an awful second half to fall to NC State. UAB was a pleasant surprise, pulling off an upset. In what was supposed to be a year with mid-majors wreaking havoc, there were two disappointments outside the power conferences. The Missouri Valley and West Coast Conferences talked all season how they were overlooked and disrespected. After two rounds, those two leagues combined for a total of 0 Sweet 16 teams. That's not much way to gain respect. Utah showed their winning was not the result of an easy schedule and the medicore Mountain West, while Horizon winner UW-Milwaukee is doing a nice job carrying the flag for their league. So, back to the original question--What's the Best Conference? I would have to say the ACC. Although the Big Ten has the same amount of Sweet 16 teams, the ACC is just better and has more quality clubs and could conceivably field three Elite Eight teams.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday's Second Round Previews

Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech- Gonzaga just slid past Winthrop in round one, while Texas Tech lead nearly the entire game in their contest against UCLA. In this game, it will be a match-up between Texas Tech's sensational perimeter vs. Gonzaga's excellent frontcourt. I think that the Bulldogs have defenders that can neutralize the Red Raiders' backcourt. On the other hand, I don't see Texas Tech matching up well against Ronny Turiaf and JP Batista. In addition, the Red Raiders have no answer for Adam Morrison. Watch for him to have a big day. Prediction: Gonzaga by 6

Washington vs. Pacific- In their respective first round games, Washington did not look very #1 seed-like in their victory against Montana, while Pacific played well throughout the game to knock off Pitt. Pacific can win this game if they utilize their advantage down low. Guillaume Yango and Christian Maraker are too big and talented for anyone on Washington to handle. However, Washington has a stable of perimeter scorers that can carry them, led by Nate Robinson and Tre Simmons. If the Tigers can slow the game down, they have a chance to pull off the upset. Prediction: Pacific by 2

Oklahoma vs. Utah- Andrew Bogut carried Utah to a first-round win over UTEP to avoid the upset, and Oklahoma withstood a solid first half by Niagara for a victory. The Sooners have the bodies down low in Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout to try to shut down Bogut. Unless Bogut gets substantial help from his supporting cast, Oklahoma has too many weapons offensively and defensively to get knocked out here. The quickness and depth of the guards for Oklahoma could be the difference. Prediction: Oklahoma by 11

Illinois vs. Nevada- After Illinois struggled through much of their win over Fairleigh Dickinson and Nevada's hard-fought victory against Texas, this one is going to be closer than people think. While Nevada may not have any type of answer for the perimeter of Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head, I don't think that the Illini have anybody to put the clamps on the great post duo of Nick Fazekas and Kevinn Pinkney. If those two have big games, and Ramon Sessions provides solid production from the outside, Illinois is going to be in for a tough contest. However, Illinois is more balanced and is too quick for the Wolf Pack. Prediction: Illinois by 8

Arizona vs. UAB- UAB looked very good in their dominant win over LSU, while Arizona struggled in the first half against the slow-down style of Utah State. They will not have to deal with such a pace in this game. UAB presses from the opening tap, which could play right into the Wildcats' hands. If Mustafa Shakur does not turn it over too much, Arizona could get a lot of easy baskets. In addition, Channing Frye should be able to control the paint area. UAB needs to create havoc full-court if they are to pull off another upset. DeMario Eddins and Donell Taylor are the main scorers for the Blazers; it is imperative for UAB to get easy baskets in order to win. Prediction: Arizona by 10

Boston College vs. UW-Milwaukee- Boston College breezed through most of their win over Penn, and UW-Milwaukee surprisingly did much of the same in their upset victory against Alabama. If they Panthers are to pull another upset win, they need to continue to force turnovers with their full-court pressure, as well as keep up their hot three-point shooting. Boston College is prone to turnovers because of their lack of ballhandling. The Eagles are going to have a huge advantage down low, though, with Craig Smith and Jared Dudley controlling the lane. Ed McCants, Noah Tucker, and Boo Davis all can score for UW-Milwaukee. Prediction: UW-Milwaukee by 4

Kentucky vs. Cincinnati- Kentucky looked very soft inside and did not seem very efficient on offense in their close win against Eastern Kentucky, while Cincinnati played tremendous defense and dominated for most of the game against Iowa. Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell control the paint for the Bearcats, and their long, athletic wings lead a very tough defense. Kentucky has solid leadership from Chuck Hayes and Kaleena Azuibuike, but not much scoring. Their defense leads the way. Patrick Sparks needs to hit his shots, and Rajon Rondo needs to keep his turnovers to a minimum. I think that Cincinnati is too talented for Kentucky, and they have the inside players to win the interior battle. If their guards can hit their threes, the Bearcats will pull off the upset.
Prediction: Cincinnati by 9

Wake Forest vs. West Virginia- West Virginia got a dunk with 2 seconds left by Tyrone Sally to get a last-second victory over Creighton, while Wake Forest overcame a horrendous first half to defeat Chattanooga. West Virginia has a host of three-point shooters that can get hot and carry the Mountaineers. Kevin Pittsnogle is going to be a tough match-up for the Demon Deacons. On the other side of the ball, Wake Forest is extremely balanced and has Chris Paul to lead the way. Eric Williams is going to control the paint against West Virginia. Even if West Virginia hits a barrage of threes, they do not have the defensive ability to stop the Wake Forest attack. Prediction: Wake Forest by 11

Thursday, March 17, 2005

March Madness Predictions

Chicago Region:
#1 Illinois over #16 Fairleigh Dickinson
#9 Nevada over #8 Texas
#12 UW-Milwaukee over #5 Alabama
#4 Boston College over #13 Penn
#6 LSU over #11 UAB
#3 Arizona over #14 Utah State
#7 Southern Illinois over #10 St. Mary's
#2 Oklahoma State over #15 SE Louisiana
#1 Illinois over #9 Nevada
#12 UW-Milwaukee over #4 Boston College
#3 Arizona over #6 LSU
#7 Southern Illinois over #2 Oklahoma State
#1 Illinois over #12 UW-Milwaukee
#3 Arizona over #7 Southern Illinois
#3 Arizona over #1 Illinois

Albuquerque Region:
#1 Washington over #16 Montana
#9 Pitt over #8 Pacific
#5 Georgia Tech over #12 George Washington
#4 Louisville over #13 UL-Lafayette
#6 Texas Tech over #11 UCLA
#3 Gonzaga over #14 Winthrop
#7 West Virginia over #10 Creighton
#2 Wake Forest over #15 Chattanooga
#9 Pitt over #1 Washington
#4 Louisville over #5 Georgia Tech
#3 Gonzaga over #6 Texas Tech
#2 Wake Forest over #7 West Virginia
#4 Louisville over #9 Pitt
#2 Wake Forest over #3 Gonzaga
#4 Louisville over #2 Wake Forest

Syracuse Region:
#1 North Carolina over #16 Oakland
#9 Iowa State over #8 Minnesota
#12 New Mexico over #5 Villanova
#4 Florida over #13 Ohio
#6 Wisconsin over #11 Northern Iowa
#3 Kansas over #14 Bucknell
#10 NC State over #7 Charlotte
#2 Connecticut over #15 Central Florida
#1 North Carolina over #9 Iowa State
#4 Florida over #12 New Mexico
#6 Wisconsin over #3 Kansas
#2 UConn over #10 NC State
#1 North Caroina over #4 Florida
#2 UConn over #6 Wisconsin
#2 UConn over #1 North Carolina

Austin Region:
#1 Duke over #16 Delaware State
#9 Mississippi State over #8 Stanford
#5 Michigan State over #12 Old Dominion
#4 Syracuse over #13 Vermont
#11 UTEP over #6 Utah
#3 Oklahoma over #14 Niagara
#7 Cincinnati over #10 Iowa
#2 Kentucky over #15 Eastern Kentucky
#1 Duke over #9 Mississippi State
#4 Syracuse over #5 Michigan State
#3 Oklahoma over #11 UTEP
#7 Cincinnati over #2 Kentucky
#4 Syracuse over #1 Duke
#3 Oklahoma over #7 Cincinnati
#4 Syracuse over #3 Oklahoma

Final Four:
#4 Louisville over #3 Arizona
#2 Connecticut over #4 Syracuse

National Championship Game:
#2 Connecticut over #4 Louisville

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Complete NCAA Tournament Preview


Austin Region First-Round Previews

Duke vs. Delaware State- Another practice game for an ACC squad. Sean Dockery should be able to test his MCL against an overmatched Delaware State bunch.

Stanford vs. Mississippi State- Whoever made this pairing should be kicked off the selection committee. Nobody wants to watch this game. However, it what is a fairly evenly matched game, Mississippi State has Lawrence Roberts, while Stanford has a lack of scorers since Dan Grunfeld was lost for the season due to injury.

Michigan State vs. Old Dominion- This is a trendy upset pick, although I can't see it happening. Michigan State is loaded on the perimeter, and Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach. Alex Loughton and Isaiah Hunter form a formidable duo for Old Dominion.

Syracuse vs. Vermont- I wish Vermont played a team like BC instead of the Orange, whom the Catamounts match-up terribly against. Taylor Coppenrath and TJ Sorrentine are a great mid-major duo, and this could be coach Tom Brennan's last game (he is going to retire following the season). Emotions run amok in this contest.

Utah vs. UTEP- Another game that is a popular upset pick. However, this one is very plausible. Andrew Bogut may be one of the best centers in the country, but he really has no one else to help him carry the load. Filberto Rivera is an excellent passer, and Omar Thomas is a prolific scorer. Utah's defense will have to keep them in the game.

Oklahoma vs. Niagara- Niagara may have the best mid-major scorer in Juan Mendez, who is a lock for a 20-10 game every night. However, Oklahoma thrives in the paint with Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout. The Sooners were on a roll until a loss in the Big 12 Tournament. The bracket in this sub-region should open up to their advantage, though.

Cincinnati vs. Iowa- One of the best games in the tournament matches up two teams that could make a run if they win here. The Bearcats are tough inside with Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell, one of the best combos in the country. Iowa counters with a scoring trio of Jeff Horner, Eric Haluska, and Greg Brunner. If Cincinnati hits their outside shots, they should win. That a big "if", though.

Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky- That's pretty clever for the committee to match-up two teams with "Kentucky" in their name. However, Eastern Kentucky does not have the personnel to stay with the Wildcats for more than a half.

Syracuse Region First-Round Previews

North Carolina vs. Oakland- Oakland has a chance in this game because of Rawle Marshall's ability to pene---oh, never mind; it won't happen this year. North Carolina needs to work out the kinks in their game before the real tournament starts.

Minnesota vs. Iowa State- Both teams were hovering around the bubble for the majority of the latter part of the season. Minnesota has one of the Big Ten's best scorers in Vincent Grier, who can get to the lane on anyone. Iowa State has Curtis Stinson, who is nearly unstoppable when he gets into the lane. The Cyclones may have more weapons.

Villanova vs. New Mexico- Upset alert. A 12 over a 5 has to happen every year; will it be this one? Danny Granger can carry the Lobos, and they also have five double figure scorers. Villanova has a great backcourt with Allan Ray and Randy Foye, and probably have more options than New Mexico. But I'd take a long look at this game.

Florida vs. Ohio- Last year, this game would be a possible upset. This season, it's a blowout. Florida is playing its best ball in years and are not going to fold under pressure this season. Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh are the outside scorers while David Lee is the man down low. Leon Williams is the leader for the Bobcats.

Wisconsin vs. Northern Iowa- Northern Iowa, like UAB, is looking to prove that it belongs in the field. Ben Jacobsen leads a bevy of perimeter scorers for the Panthers. If Wisconsin doesn't guard the arc, they are in for a long day. On the other hand, the Badgers may have the post duo in Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson that NIU does not have the size to match-up with.

Kansas vs. Bucknell- This is a legitimate, but long shot, upset special. Bucknell has wins at Pitt, St. Joe's, etc. and plays terrific defense. Kansas might have too much experience, though. That, and Wayne Simien, should be enough in a first round contest.

Charlotte vs. North Carolina State- Charlotte was a Top-4 seed until they lost three in a row to end the season. They still have Brendan Plavich, who has unlimited range, as well as a great forward duo in Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers. NC State played its way into the tournament, and could win a couple more in the tourney. Julius Hodge can carry the Wolfpack. This should be a great game.

Connecticut vs. Central Florida- Won't be close. UConn is on a roll lately, and could be looking towards a repeat championship. However, this will be the first time they will be playing without back-up point guard Antonio Kellogg, who was essentially kicked off the team on Monday.

Albuquerque Region First-Round Previews

Washington vs. Montana- The only game that will be a cakewalk for the Huskies. Not their prime chance to prove they deserved a #1 seed.

Pacific vs. Pitt- Neither of these teams should be in this game; both have the resumes to be higher. The perimeters are fairly equal, so the game will come down to the battle in the post. Chevy Troutman and Chris Taft will have their hands filled with Pacific's Guillaume Yango and Christian Maraker.

Georgia Tech vs. George Washington- This game is going to be awesome to watch. Both teams are athletic and like to run. GW has big men like Pops Mensah-Bonsu who have the agility to get around slow Luke Schenscher, but they can not really score in the halfcourt. Tech has the experience on their side and seem to be getting hot.

Louisville vs. UL-Lafayette- Louisville is not happy with a #4 seed and could take it out on Lafayette. Francisco Garcia against Tiras Wade will be a great match-up, although the Cardinals have more weapons to throw at the Ragin' Cajuns.

Texas Tech vs. UCLA- Both teams rely heavily on the backcourt and don't really thrive in the paint. Texas Tech has scorers all over the perimeter in Ronald Ross, Jarrious Jackson, and Martin Zeno. UCLA is lead by a group of freshman, including Jordan Farmar. Their go-to-guy is 6-7 Dijon Thompson.

Gonzaga vs. Winthrop- Tough game for Winthrop, who are talented enough to make a run at the Bulldogs. However, Gonzaga has too much in the post in Ronny Turiaf and JP Batista. The Eagles could keep it close for awhile, thanks to their 59 ppg-allowing stifling defense.

West Virginia vs. Creighton- They could just remove the whole 20 feet in front of the three-point line because most of the shots in this game will be taken from behind the arc. West Virginia looked good in the Big East tournament, and Kevin Pittsnogle is very tough to defend. Nate Funk is the main option for Creighton, and is also their best defender.

Wake Forest vs. Chattanooga- Wake has had some problems recently, mainly with their defense. They have an easy first round game to possibly work out the kinks.

Chicago Region First-Round Previews

Illinois vs. Fairleigh Dickinson- The Illini get a nice warm-up game before the 32-team NCAA Tournament will start for them. This game might be close for a couple of minutes, but Illinois just has too much.

Texas vs. Nevada- One of the best match-ups of the bracket. Nevada has Nick Fazekas, a vastly underrated big man that can shoot. Kevinn Pinckney and Ramon Sessions are other options for the Wolfpack. Texas have Daniel Gibson, which gives them an advantage in the backcourt. Brad Buckman will have a tough time with Fazekas, though.

Alabama vs. UW-Milwaukee- A popular upset pick. Alabama lacks depth and turns it over too much, which plays into the Panthers' pressing style of defense that wears down its opponents. However, the Tide have a huge advantage in the paint and on offense. Kennedy Winston and Chuck Davis need a big game, while 'Bama also needs to decide to play defense.

Boston College vs. Penn- This might be the least enticing game to watch in the entire tournament, in my opinion. The Eagles have no guards but are stacked in the frontcourt, with Craig Smith and Jared Dudley. They lack shooting, however. Penn has Tim Begley, one of the best mid-major players.

LSU vs. UAB- UAB shouldn't be in the tournament, but while they are here, they can make some noise. They pulled off a couple of wins last season on their way to the Sweet 16. LSU has hit their stride lately, and are loaded down low with Brandon Bass and Glen Davis. The Tigers' inconsistent guards are going to have to handle the Blazers' press in order to win.

Arizona vs. Utah State- If you have Arizona in your bracket, this game should terrify you. Utah State keeps games in the 50s and 60s, while Arizona wants to run. Spencer Nelson is the leader for the Aggies. Salim Stoudamaire and Channing Frye could end up being too much for Utah State, but if this game is a low scoring event, watch out.

Southern Illinois vs. St. Mary's (CA.)- A match-up of two mid-major teams. Southern Illinois has been to the tournament four straight seasons and are experienced. Darren Brooks is a great all-around player. St. Mary's is balanced with Paul Marigney and Daniel Kickert. Both teams are very solid and are playing good basketball.

Oklahoma State vs. SE Louisiana- The Cowboys won't need that tournament experience in this game. John Lucas and Joey Graham are primed for another tourney run, while SE Louisiana is just happy to be here. They could keep it close for about a half, though.

Austin Region Preview

The Austin Region is said to be the weakest bracket. However, I think that it has some quality teams capable of running the table to the Final Four. Duke is at the top, as usual, while Syracuse got a seed that might be a little too low. The bottom of the bracket is set up perfectly for Oklahoma.

Favorite: Duke. The Blue Devils won the ACC Tournament to get yet another #1 seed. JJ Redick and Daniel Ewing are an outstanding wing combo, and Sean Dockery is back to provide an actual point guard. Shelden Williams is one of the best low-post players in the country. Depth could be an issue with the Blue Devils, but they are getting some of that back lately. If they don't tire out, the rest of the region should watch out.

Other Contenders: Syracuse, Oklahoma. Nope, not Kentucky. The Wildcats are overrated and can't score if they needed to. Syracuse seems to be hitting their stride again, and still have one of the top inside-outside duos in Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick. They need support, however. Oklahoma has the whole bottom bracket to themselves. Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout lead a Sooners team that plays off of emotion. If they come out strong, it's over for the opposition.

Sleepers: Cincinnati, Iowa. Yes, both of these teams play each other in the first round. But the winner could make a decent run because of the prospect of facing Kentucky in the next round. Cincinnati plays some of the best defense in the country, and has a great post combo in Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell. Outside shooting is fairly weak, though. Iowa is hot lately, and can be a sleeper if their big three: Jeff Horner, Eric Haluska, and Greg Brunner are hitting on the same cylinder.

Mid-Majors to Watch: UTEP, Old Dominion. Too bad Vermont had to play Syracuse. Couldn't they have gotten Boston College or something? UTEP has a nice tandem in passing extraordinaire Filberto Rivera and mid-range star Omar Thomas. Old Dominion has Alex Loughton inside and Isaiah Hunter on the perimeter. Both of these teams could spring upsets.

Top Five Players:
1. JJ Redick, Duke
2. Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
3. Andrew Bogut, Utah
4. Lawrence Roberts, Mississippi State
5. Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont

Syracuse Region Preview

This region is supposedly stacked. Is it just me, because I just don't really see it. North Carolina can win the region, and Florida could give them a run, while Villanova is hot. But Connecticut is in the lower part of the bracket, along with an overrated Kansas team that everyone is high on. Anyway, North Carolina is definitely the most talented team in the country, and has the potential to make a title run.

Favorite: North Carolina. Nearly everyone and their third cousin have the Tar Heels getting to the Elite Eight, and most have them going to the Final Four/Championship Game. Raymond Felton is a premier point guard and Rashad McCants, when healthy, is as great of an offensive talent as there is in the game. Sean May is the best post player in the country and Jawad Williams is ridiculously versatile.

Other Contenders: Connecticut, Florida. Don't give me Kansas. When's the last time they played defense? Moving on to serious teams, Connecticut is one of the hottest teams in the country, save for a loss to Syracuse in the Big East tournament. Marcus Williams is the best point guard in the region, and the Huskies' frontcourt is better than some NBA teams. Florida is also hot. Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh provide perimeter scoring, and David Lee is the man on the inside. The best part about the Gators, however, is that they are playing great defense and rebounding well.

Sleepers: Villanova. Not much room for serious sleepers in this bracket. Villanova could make a run because of their guards in Allan Ray and Randy Foye. Both are great one on one players, and Curtis Sumpter is tough to guard as a 6-7 forward.

Mid-Majors to Watch: New Mexico, Northern Iowa. New Mexico may have the best player in the tournament, outside of the Top 3 seeded teams, Danny Granger. He can carry the Lobos to a win or two. Northern Iowa is trying to prove they belong in the tournament. Ben Jacobsen leads a balanced team.

Top Five Players:
1. Sean May, North Carolina
2. Wayne Simien, Kansas
3. Danny Granger, New Mexico
4. Marcus Williams, Connecticut
5. Curtis Stinson, Iowa State

Albuquerque Region Preview

Going into Championship Week, Washington was not thought of to be a contender for a #1 seed and Wake Forest was basically a lock for a top spot. However, the Huskies got a 1 and the Deacons ended up with a 2. Don't take those seeds as gospel, though. There are about five teams capable of taking this region. Washington may be the least likely of those five.

Favorite: Wake Forest. Even with a #2 seed, the Demon Deacons have Chris Paul back and may be the most talented offensive team in the country. If they can play any defense, Wake could make a run at the title. Justin Gray, Taron Downey are solid sidekicks to Paul, and Eric Williams is dominant in the post.

Other Contenders: Gonzaga, Louisville. Yes, Washington is still not one of the top three favorites to win the region. Gonzaga has a great starting five and Adam Morrison is one of the best all-around players in the country. Ronny Turiaf can control the paint, and Derek Raivio is an underrated point guard. Louisville got shafted with a 4 seed, but could prove that with a Final Four run. Francisco Garcia, Taquan Dean, and Larry O'Bannon are a great perimeter trio, and the Cardinals can shoot anyone out of a building if their shooters are hot.

Sleepers: Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Pitt. This region is chalk full of sleeper teams. Tech is hot and confident right now, and might be fully healthy for the tournament. Texas Tech has one of the top guard trios in the country, but have no frontcourt go-to-guys. West Virginia can beat anyone if their shooters are on that night. Pitt has a decent draw, and played in the toughest league in the country.

Mid-Major Teams to Watch: George Washington, Pacific. Alright, maybe George Washington is not a mid-major, but they are not one of the major conference teams. The Colonials are extremely athletic and have the scorers to stay in the game with anyone. Pacific dropped a few seed lines with a loss to Utah State. Guillaume Yango and the rest of the Tigers got a tough draw, but can still win a game or two.

Top Five Players:
1. Chris Paul, Wake Forest
2. Francisco Garcia, Louisville
3. Nate Robinson, Washington
4. Adam Morrison, Gonzaga
5. Ronald Ross, Texas Tech

Chicago Region Preview

The Chicago Region, in many people's minds, is the easiest region to project. They say that Illinois has a cakewalk to the Final Four. Well, they may have a bus ride to each game (Chicago, St. Louis), but they sure do not have a cakewalk. They have probably the best #3 seed and one of the top #2 seeds in Arizona and Oklahoma State, respectively. Just by that, it's obvious that the Illini are not going to waltz through the Chicago Region like it was the Big Ten.

Favorite: Illinois. The obvious front-runner from the Chicago Region heading into the Tournament. Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head are a great perimeter trio, while Roger Power and James Augustine are underrated inside players. However, down the stretch, the Illini struggled a little bit. If a team has a go-to post man, Illinois could have some trouble guarding him.

Other Contenders: Arizona, Oklahoma State. Arizona is one of the more streaky teams in the country, capable of winning the championship or losing in the first round. Salim Stoudamaire is the best shooter in basketball, while Channing Frye is one of the best post players in the country. Oklahoma State is experienced and has John Lucas and Joey Graham to carry them throughout the tournament, as they did last season. Lack of a true center and inability to play against zones could hinder them.

Sleepers: LSU, Alabama. LSU has one of the best post tandems in the country in Brandon Bass and Glen Davis. If Tack Minor and the rest of the guards can hit shots, the Tigers can make some noise. Fellow SEC team Alabama has one of the top starting fives in the nation. However, they lack depth. Kennedy Winston is great at taking it to the basket. The turnover-prone Tide need to take care of the ball better.

Mid-Major Teams to Watch: Southern Illinois, UW-Milwaukee. Southern Illinois is tournament-tested, and have one of the best players in the Field in Darren Brooks. He can do it all. The Salukis also play great defense. UW-Milwaukee has won 17 of 18 and runs a press that can disrupt any team's offense. Ed McCants and Noah Tucker can carry the Panthers.

Top Five Players:
1. Salim Stoudamaire, Arizona
2. Brandon Bass, LSU
3. Luther Head, Illinois
4. Kennedy Winston, Alabama
5. Darren Brooks, Southern Illinois

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Best First-Round Match-ups


Chicago Region:
#5 Alabama vs. #12 UW-Milwaukee
#8 Texas vs. #9 Nevada
#7 Southern Illinois vs. #10 St. Mary's (CA.)

Albuquerque Region:
#7 West Virginia vs. #10 Creighton
#8 Pacific vs. #9 Pitt
#5 Georgia Tech vs. #12 George Washington

Syracuse Region:
#8 Minnesota vs. #9 Iowa State
#5 Villanova vs. #12 New Mexico
#7 Charlotte vs. #10 NC State

Austin Region:
#4 Syracuse vs. #13 Vermont
#6 Utah vs. #11 UTEP
#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Iowa


Toughest/Easiest Roads to the Final Four


When looking at a bracket right after the pairings are announced, people will always say "Oh, so and so has a cakewalk to the Final Four." It obviously helps to have a fairly easy road to the national semi-finals. This ranking only took the top four teams in each region into consideration. Here are the teams in each region with the easiest and the hardest roads to the promised land.

Chicago Region
Easiest Path: Illinois. Nevada or Texas in the second round should not be too difficult a match-up because of the Illini's guards. Alabama/BC/UW-Milwaukee in the Sweet 16 is an easier game than anyone else in the bracket.
Hardest Path: Oklahoma State. Southern Illinois or St. Mary's in the second round is going to be a very tough game, while Arizona or LSU awaits them in the Sweet 16 if they can survive the first two rounds.

Albuquerque Region:
Easiest Path: Wake Forest. Creighton and West Virginia are both three-point shooting groups that can just as easily be cold as they could be hot. Gonzaga should be a very tough match-up in the Sweet 16, but the guards of the Deacons are better than the Bulldogs.
Hardest Path: Louisville. The Cardinals got shafted with a #4 seed, but can make up for it. After UL-Lafayette, Georgia Tech, possibly the hottest team in the country, awaits them. Then Washington/Pitt/Pacific are all going to be a tough match-up.

Syracuse Region:
Easiest Path: Connecticut. After being very lucky to get a #2 seed, the Huskies somehow got the best draw in the region. An inconsistent NC State team or a struggling Charlotte squad await them in the second round. After that, an overrated Kansas or a Wisconsin with no guards will be the opponent in the Sweet 16.
Hardest Path: Kansas. First of all, Bucknell is no walk-over in the first round. Then Wisconsin and its slow down game are going to be difficult for the Jayhawks. Then the ridiculous frontcourt of UConn will be waiting to feast on Christian Moody and Sasha Kaun.

Austin Region:
Easiest Path: Oklahoma. After an easy first round game, the Sooners are going to have to deal with either UTEP or Utah, neither being a good team. Then an extremely overrated Kentucky team or possibly Cincinnati/Iowa will await them in the Sweet 16. I honestly don't see a remotely difficult game.
Hardest Path: Kentucky. Although Eastern Kentucky should be a win, Cincinnati or Iowa in the second round is going to be prime time upset material. The Wildcats simply can not score. If they survive those two, Oklahoma and their balanced offense are ready to pick apart Kentucky.

Super Six Sleepers from Major Conferences


Although people sometimes overlook this category, identifying the teams from the power leagues that are apt to making a run is also crucial. These teams are usually seeded 6-10 and have the potential to take down one of the top seeded teams in a region. Last year's surprise team was Alabama, an 8 seed. Here are the teams most likely to spring a few "upsets" in the tournament:

Cincinnati: With Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell dominating on the interior and a plethora of wing-type players, the Bearcats and their NCAA-leading field goal percentage defense could make a run.

Pittsburgh: Although they have some bad losses at home, the Panthers have experience and know how to win on the road. In addition, their second round opponent, Washington, can't play at the slow-down speed Pitt does.

LSU: Too bad they get Arizona in the second round. The Tigers are loaded in the paint with Brandon Bass and Glen Davis. However, their guards are erratic; if they are hot, LSU can go a long way.

West Virginia: Their run in the Big East Tournament demonstrated what the Mountaineers are capable of doing if their shooters are hot. Kevin Pittsnogle is a tough match-up for opposing centers, and they have a plethora of guys that can nail threes.

North Carolina State: Thanks to their late-season play, the Wolfpack got into the tournament and a potentially favorable draw. Julius Hodge can take over a game, and they have a group of three point shooters that can get hot and win a game or two.

Iowa State: Yes, they play North Carolina in the second round. However, the Cyclones have won tough road games, including one at Kansas, and can pull off a win or two. Curtis Stinson is nearly impossible to stop. By the way, I don't think that Iowa State is beating UNC, though.

Super Seven Sleepers from Outside the Major Conferences


In addition to identifying the teams ripe for an upset in the first weekend, one must find the smaller conference clubs that have the potential to make a run into the second week. Every NCAA Tournament has them; you just have to figure out which ones. Last season saw Nevada make a run to the Sweet 16. Here are the top sleepers from the mid-majors:

Southern Illinois- A tournament-tested team, the Salukis play stifling defense and have Darren Brooks, one of the best all-around players in the country.

UW-Milwaukee- Their pressing style creates havoc against teams with weak ballhandlers. Ed McCants and Noah Tucker can carry the Panthers.

St. Mary's (CA)- They have a solid duo in Paul Marigney and Daniel Kickert and are not intimidated by bigger and stronger teams.

New Mexico- Outside of the Top 3 seeded teams, Danny Granger may the best player in the tournament. The Lobos also have all 5 starters in double figures.

UTEP- Filberto Rivera and Omar Thomas are a great inside-outside combo, and the Miners almost pulled an upset last season.

Nevada- The Cinderella of a season ago, Nick Fazekas and Kevinn Pinckney are tough to stop down low, while Ramon Sessions is a steady point guard.

Creighton- When their threes are falling, the Blue Jays can beat anyone. Nate Funk is the team's best offensive and defensive player.

Teams Most Likely to be Busts


When filling out your bracket, there are always those high-seed teams that are going to be upset early and ruin your predictions. It would be nice to know which clubs are the ones bowing out in the first couple of rounds. I made a list of the top 5 overrated teams in the country back in January, and coincidentally, the same teams on that list made it here:

1. Utah- Name someone other than Andrew Bogut that can hurt the opposition. Exactly.
2. Kentucky- I've seen them several times, and I still don't see how they score at all.
3. Boston College- Guard play wins in March, and they play with essentially four forwards.
4. Kansas- Other than Wayne Simien and Keith Langford, no one else strikes fear into opponents.
5. Oklahoma State- Lack of outside shooting and an inside presence will come back to beat them.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Top 20 Three-Point Shooters


Going towards a national championship, a team is going to hit some obstacles. Having a long-distance gunner lessens some of those roadblocks. If a team zones you, the shooter takes it away by shooting right over the top of it. Here are 20 of the best long-range shooters in the land:

1. Salim Stoudamaire, Arizona
2. JJ Redick, Duke
3. Taquan Dean, Arizona
4. Dee Brown, Illinois
5. Gerry McNamara, Syracuse
6. TJ Sorrentine, Vermont
7. Derek Raivio, Gonzaga
8. Brandon Plavich, Charlotte
9. Allan Ray, Villanova
10. Justin Gray, Wake Forest
11. Troy Devries, New Mexico
12. Earnest Shelton, Alabama
13. John Lucas, Oklahoma State
14. Anthony Roberson, Florida
15. Tre Simmons, Washington
16. Luther Head, Illinois
17. Ed McCants, UW-Milwaukee
18. Daniel Kickert, St. Mary's
19. Ben Jacobsen, Northern Iowa
20. Nate Funk, Creighton

Top 10 Go-to-Guys


Every national championship teams has that one player that they can go to with the game on the line and he will come through in the clutch. Carmelo Anthony was that guy for Syracuse two years ago and Connecticut had Ben Gordon last season. Here are the top 10 go-to-guys in the country:

1. Salim Stoudamaire, Arizona
2. Keith Langford, Kansas
3. Francisco Garcia, Louisville
4. JJ Redick, Duke
5. Chris Paul, Wake Forest
6. Kennedy Winston, Alabama
7. Will Bynum, Georgia Tech
8. Curtis Stinson, Iowa State
9. Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
10. John Lucas, Oklahoma State

Mid-Major Stars That You Will Get to Know


Guys that will not last more than one round:
Rawle Marshall, Oakland
Obie Trotter, Alabama A&M
Juan Mendez, Niagara
Tim Begley, Penn
Tiras Wade, UL-Lafayette
Spencer Nelson, Utah State
Leon Williams, Ohio

Guys that can carry their teams to a win or two:
David Doubley/Guillaume Yango, Pacific
Nick Fazekas, Nevada
Ed McCants/Noah Tucker, UW-Milwaukee
Darren Brooks, Southern Illinois
Paul Marigney/Daniel Kickert, St. Mary's
Filberto Rivera/Omar Thomas, UTEP
Alex Loughton, Old Dominion
Ben Jacobsen, Northern Iowa
Taylor Coppenrath/TJ Sorrentine, Vermont

Top 10 Trios


In addition to a solid inside-outside combo, which many teams have, the thing that sets apart the elite from the also-rans is that third option. Opponents can set up a game plan to shut down the top two players, but it is nearly impossible to contain a solid troika. Here are the Top 10 trios heading into March Madness:

1. Arizona
2. Illinois
3. Alabama
4. Louisville
5. Wake Forest
6. North Carolina
7. Charlotte
8. Alabama
9. Florida
10. Connecticut

Top 10 Inside-Outside Combos


Even if you are stacked in the backcourt, you may be weak on the interior. Conversely, a team may be loaded in the paint, but not very powerful at the guards. To win the title, production from both inside and outside are necessary. Here are the top ten perimeter-post duos:

1. Syracuse
2. Kansas
3. Duke
4. Arizona
5. North Carolina
6. Oklahoma State
7. Vermont
8. Wake Forest
9. Gonzaga
10. Connecticut

Top 10 Frontcourts/Backcourts


As we all know, guard play is what wins games in March. Teams need solid perimeter production if they want to make a deep run in the Madness. The following teams have the best backcourts in the nation:

1. Illinois
2. Washington
3. Wake Forest
4. Georgia Tech
5. Louisville
6. Duke
7. North Carolina
8. Texas Tech
9. Villanova
10. Michigan State

However, teams with just guards do not usually make it to the Final Four. Rebounding and post presence are also keys to success. The following teams have the best frontcourts heading into March:

1. Connecticut
2. Cincinnati
3. Gonzaga
4. Louisville
5. Alabama
6. LSU
7. Charlotte
8. Boston College
9. Oklahoma
10. North Carolina

AOL Sports Radio

Tonight at approximately 7:15, March Madness All Season founder and lone writer Jeff will appear on the radio show "Sports Bloggers Live" through AOL Sports. The show begins at 7:00 pm and will be replayed throughout the week. To listen, go to I will be breaking down the Chicago and Syracuse regions.

NCAA Tournament Preview

Over the next few days, concluding Thursday morning with predictions on every game, March Madness All Season will be providing everything you need to know for the NCAA Tournament. Every team and match-up will be analyzed; players to watch will be looked at; and each region will be broken down in depth. The following shows what we will be previewing and when:

- Top 10 Frontcourts
- Top 10 Backcourts
- Stars that can carry mid-major teams
- Top 10 Go-to-players
- Top 10 Inside-outside combos
- Top 10 Trios
- Top 20 Three-point shooters

- Best first-round match-ups
- Major conference sleepers
- Teams most likely to be busts
- Easiest road to the Final Four
- Toughest road to the Final Four
- Mid-major sleepers

- Every region broken down to the Final Four
- Every first-round game analyzed and previewed

- Predictions on every game in the bracket, all the way until the National Championship

Bracket Prediction Accuracy

After the committee selected the teams, I looked back at the bracket predictions by me and many other "bracketologists". Here is the breakdown; choose for yourself as to who was the most accurate:

March Madness All Season (Me): 64/65 teams correct, 37 seeded exactly, 59 teams within one seed line

Joe Lunardi (ESPN): 64/65 teams correct, 38 seeded exactly, 58 teams within one seed line

Stewart Mandel (CNN/SI): 65/65 teams correct, 35 seeded exactly, 57 teams within one seed line

Tony Mejia (CBS Sportsline): 64/65 teams correct, 37 seeded exactly, 58 teams within one seed line

Michael Lazarus (FoxSports): 64/65 teams correct, 36 seeded exactly, 56 teams within one seed line

Jerry Palm ( 64/65 teams correct, 38 seeded exactly, 54 teams within one seed line

Bracketology 101: 63/65 teams correct, 37 seeded exactly, 57 teams within one seed line 64/65 teams correct, 29 seeded exactly, 57 teams within one seed line

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Final Bracket Breakdown

AS OF MARCH 13, 2005 AT 5:00 PM


1: Illinois, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest
2: Washington, Louisville, Kentucky, Oklahoma State
3: Arizona, Kansas, Gonzaga, Syracuse
4: Boston College, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Florida
5: Villanova, Wisconsin, Michigan State, LSU
6: Utah, Alabama, Cincinnati, Texas Tech
7: Georgia Tech, Pacific, Southern Illinois, West Virginia
8: Pitt, Nevada, Stanford, Charlotte
9: Minnesota, Iowa State, Creighton, Texas
10: Iowa, St. Mary's, Mississippi State, UCLA
11: North Carolina State, George Washington, UTEP, Vermont
12: Northern Iowa, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Ohio
13: Buffalo, UL-Lafayette, Utah State, Penn
14: Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Winthrop, Bucknell, Niagara
15: Central Florida, UT-Chattanooga, Eastern Kentucky, SE Louisiana
16: Delaware State, Montana, Fairleigh Dickinson, Alabama A&M, Oakland

LAST FOUR IN: Buffalo, Northern Iowa, UCLA, North Carolina State
LAST FOUR OUT: UAB, DePaul, Notre Dame, Miami (Ohio)


1 Illinois
16 Fairleigh Dickinson

8 Charlotte
9 Texas

5 Villanova
12 Northern Iowa

4 Florida
13 UL-Lafayette

6 Utah
11 NC State

3 Arizona
14 Niagara

7 Pacific
10 Iowa

2 Oklahoma State
15 Central Florida

1 Wake Forest
16 Montana

8 Nevada
9 Minnesota

12 New Mexico

4 Boston College
13 Buffalo

6 Texas Tech
11 George Washington

3 Gonzaga
14 UW-Milwaukee

7 West Virginia
10 Mississippi State

2 Washington
15 SE Louisiana

1 North Carolina
16 Alabama A&M/Oakland

8 Stanford
9 Creighton

5 Wisconson
12 Ohio

4 Connecticut
13 Penn

6 Cincinnati

3 Kansas
14 Bucknell

7 Georgia Tech
10 St. Mary's

2 Kentucky
15 UT-Chattanooga

1 Duke
16 Delaware State

8 Pitt
9 Iowa State

5 Michigan State
12 Old Dominion

4 Oklahoma
13 Utah State

6 Alabama
11 Vermont

3 Syracuse
14 Winthrop

7 Southern Illinois

2 Louisville
15 Eastern Kentucky

Tournament/Bubble Watch

Happy Selection Sunday, folks. The most important date of the college basketball season is upon us. With about five hours left until the NCAA Tournament is revealed, the Field of 65 is almost filled. After Utah State and New Mexico won their conference tournaments and a bid to the tourney, bubble teams across the nation got a little more nervous. Those two clubs may have taken two bids away from the squads on the tournament fence. The last two or three days of the major conference tournaments have made the teams going to the Big Dance fairly obvious. The breakdown of the tournament as of 12:40 PM is as follows:

Automatic Bids from outside the major conferences: 24
ACC: 5 (North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State)
Big East: 6 (Syracuse, Connecticut, Boston College, Villanova, West Virginia, Pitt)
Big Ten: 5 (Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa)
Big 12: 6 (Oklahoma State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Texas)
Conference USA: 3 (Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte)
Pac-10: 4 (Washington, Arizona, Stanford, UCLA)
SEC: 5 (Kentucky, Florida, LSU, Alabama, Mississippi State)
Others: 5 (Utah, Pacific, Southern Illinois, Nevada, St. Mary's)

That adds up to 63 bids, leaving two bids up for grabs.

For the final two bids, there are several teams fighting for them. DePaul, UAB, Buffalo, Miami (Ohio), Notre Dame, Northern Iowa. In addition, Maryland and Wichita State have an outside shot, in my opinion. Both teams were awful down the stretch.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Tournament Update

After a week or so of conference tournaments and two days of power-league tourneys, the field of 65 is beginning to take shape. According to our calculations, the breakdown is as follows:

Mid-Major Automatic Bids: 24
ACC: 5 (UNC, Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State)
Big East: 6 (Syracuse, Boston College, UConn, Villanova, Pitt, West Virginia)
Big Ten: 5 (Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa)
Big 12: 6 (Oklahoma, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa State)
Conference USA: 3 (Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte)
Pac-10: 4 (Arizona, Washington, Stanford, UCLA)
SEC: 5 (Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State)
Others: St. Mary's, Nevada, Southern Illinois

That adds up to 61 bids, leaving four up for grabs, in my opinion. Realistically, some of these teams probably are less safe than we portray them, but for the sake of complication, this is the way it is.

For the final four bids, there are several teams making a run. New Mexico, UAB, DePaul, and George Washington are the final four teams in heading into the weekend. However, depending on what happens around the country, things can change in a hurry.

The other teams that are still in contention for an at-large bid are:
Maryland, Notre Dame, Wichita State, Northern Iowa, Miami (Ohio), and the loser of Buffalo-Ohio

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bubble Update

Teams that are playing their way in: North Carolina State is officially a lock after their victory against Wake Forest...Iowa and Minnesota are also definitely in after their wins over Michigan State and Minnesota, respectively...UTEP, George Washington, and New Mexico all reached the conference finals to make their resume look more impressive...Ohio's profile is looking better and better and will face Buffalo, who also is fighting to be the #2 team from the MAC, tomorrow...Georgia Tech clinched a berth with their blowout win against Virginia Tech...

Teams that are looking less attractive: Miami (Ohio) lost in the semi-finals of the MAC tournament to potential fellow bubble team Ohio and don't have a very solid overall profile...Virginia Tech no longer has any chance despite an 8-8 ACC record after their loss to Georgia Tech...Indiana is gone as well after their disappointing loss to Minnesota...