Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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. On the other hand, some teams get shafted in the seedings and end up with plenty of potential pitfalls. 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.

Midwest Region
Easiest Path: Florida. The committee clearly rewarded Florida as the top overall seed, giving them a very easy region to navigate. Wisconsin is arguably the weakest two seed, and Oregon might have used all its momentum in the Pac-10 tourney. UF should roll.
Hardest Path: Wisconsin. Giving Wisconsin the worst #2 seed was unfair to the Badgers. Without Brian Butch, they simply don’t have the guns. Georgia Tech or UNLV awaiting in the second round is very tough, and they also drew the toughest #15 seed.

West Region
Easiest Path: UCLA. Who’s going to give the Bruins a test? Gonzaga and Indiana don’t have the personnel to beat the Bruins, and Pittsburgh isn’t really playing well right now. Plus, UCLA doesn’t have to leave the state of California until the Final Four—if they get there.
Hardest Path: Southern Illinois. The committee did no favors for a team that should have been a #3 seed. Holy Cross is a very tough team in the first round, and Virginia Tech or Illinois aren’t pushovers. Moreover, they don’t match up well with Kansas. Tough break for SIU.

East Region
Easiest Path: Georgetown. There’s probably not a team in the bottom half of the region that can beat the Hoyas right now. BC and Texas Tech backed into the field, and Washington State struggles offensively. The Hoyas should coast to the regional final, where they’ll get a test.
Hardest Path: Texas. Whoever thinks that the committee wanted to give Kevin Durant an easy path should look at their games. New Mexico State has the athletes and size to give them trouble, USC is the best #5 seed, and UNC is very talented and deep. Durant has his work cut out for him.

South Region
Easiest Path: Ohio State. The Buckeyes, who are the most vulnerable of the one seeds, got a cakewalk to the regional final. BYU and Xavier won’t pose problems, and Virginia and Tennessee are inconsistent 4-5 seeds that don’t have the size to match Greg Oden and co.
Hardest Path: Memphis. The Tigers were rewarded for their C-USA run, but they didn’t get an easy road. Nevada and Creighton are teams that can pull an upset in the second round, and Memphis also drew the best #3 seed in the Tournament in Texas A&M.

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