The Final Four has passed and there's still no word where the NCAA East Regional for 2013 will be held, or when they will even announce it. ESPN's Andy Katz reported last week that Madison Square Garden is trying to find room on it's schedule for the NCAA's, but in doing so, it's holding up the NBA and NHL from making their schedules for the Knicks and Rangers(those are in the preliminary stages). If the scheduling concerns can't be cleared up soon, the NCAA maybe forced to hastily move the East Regional to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. That should be done by the June meetings of both the Division I Men's Basketball Committee and the Championships/Sports Management Council. But if June passes and no word has come out, you can pretty much assume it will be at the Garden.
Chris Myers(No, not that one) of 1500 ESPN in the Twin Cities is reporting that the arrival of both the Big Ten Hockey Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, not to mention the permanence of the WCHA, may make it unlikely, if not prevent outright the NCAA hoops tournament from ever considering the Twin Cities for 2nd/3rd round games ever again(Unless the Metrodome or whatever replaces it is available). Read it here: http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Myers_Changes_afoot_but_college_hockey_tourneys_likely_to_stay_031512
If this is indeed the case, the NCAA's promise of early round action may go unheeded, but simply because the arenas in question have chosen to go the safe route of guaranteed attendance, rather than having unfamiliar audiences.
Now that the field is settled, it's time to reveal my picks for how the tournament will go.
Notable 2nd Round Upsets: (S14) South Dakota State over (S3) Baylor, (W12) Long Beach State over (W5) New Mexico, (E12) Harvard over (E5) Vanderbilt Sweet 16 Teams: South: Kentucky, Wichita State, UNLV, Duke West: Michigan State, Louisville, Murray State, Missouri East: Syracuse, Harvard, Cincinnati, West Virginia Midwest: North Carolina, Michigan, San Diego State, Kansas
National Semifinals: Kansas over Syracuse Kentucky over Missouri National Championship: Kentucky 88 Kansas 73
The rest of the bracket will not be divulged, so one cannot gain a competitive advantage against me.
Well now that the dust has settled, a take on what the committee did well, and did not.
Top Seeds Kentucky and Syracuse were the obvious top choices for the top line, joined this weekend by North Carolina and Michigan State. The placement of Kentucky in the South was a minor surprise. Sure, St. Louis is closer to Lexington than Atlanta is, but the Wildcats are a natural fit for the South region. This placement forced North Carolina(3rd on the seed list) to go to St. Louis, rather than the Spartans. On the second line, Kansas stayed in the Midwest region, and Missouri, 8th overall and the lowest of the 2 seeds, was put in with the weakest #1 Michigan State(and the Tigers had 30 wins overall).
The Bubble The lack of bid poachers(until last weekend) meant that more mediocre resumes made it in. Like South Florida, who played rather badly vs. the Big East establishment. The most questionable inclusion was that of Iona, who made it in despite losing in the Metro Atlantic semifinals. By far the most controversial exclusion was that of Washington. The Huskies won the Pacific-12 regular season title outright, but consecutive losses(the last to Oregon State by 2 in the Pacific-12 tournament) combined with bad OOC numbers and a poorer overall showing by the rest of the conference, left the Huskies with an apparent unwanted first. As in being the first BCS 6 outright regular season champion to not get an at-large. Also missing out was Drexel who was hurt by the Colonial's unbalanced slate, as well as the Dragons' own unimpressive ooc fixture list. For the record, Oral Roberts was the NCAA's own last team left out, meaning that the good folks down in Olean, NY will be at the receiving end of some very angry F U notes from Tulsa. Miami(FL), Nevada, Mississippi State and Seton Hall were also left behind.
Questionable placements Apart from the having the awkward situation of having North Carolina in the Midwest(which allows the ACC to complete the "Completing the Top seed rounds"), the biggest beef could be Ohio State's placement in Pittsburgh. With the real possibility of facing a well-supported West Virginia in the 3rd round. Seed wise, I'm sure Creighton and Murray State are well underseeded. Overseeds, Xavier as a 10 looks primed for an easy defeat at the hands of Notre Dame.
My personal performance After missing three last year, I missed out on only Iona, having Drexel in instead. In seeding, 52 of 67 were within +/-1 seed, with 30 exactas. I was also able to correctly guess 5 games(Mississippi Valley State vs. Western Kentucky; MVSU/WKU vs. Kentucky; Indiana vs. New Mexico State; New Mexico vs. Long Beach State(albeit with incorrect seeds); and Duke vs. Lehigh).
Well tomorrow, I'll be making out my predictions on how the actual games will turn out. So til then, tootaloo.
With the final games of the early afternoon now complete, here is my FINAL projection of the season, as well as my seed list which will go first.
Seed List 1-Kentucky 2-Syracuse 3-North Carolina 4-Michigan State 5-MISSOURI 6-Ohio State 7-Kansas 8-Duke 9-Baylor 10-Marquette 11-Wisconsin 12-FLORIDA STATE 13-Michigan 14-Indiana 15-MURRAY STATE 16-VANDERBILT 17-LOUISVILLE 18-Georgetown 19-UNLV 20-Wichita State 21-SAINT MARY'S 22-Cincinnati 23-Temple 24-CREIGHTON 25-Gonzaga 26-NEW MEXICO 27-MEMPHIS 28-Notre Dame 29-San Diego State 30-Florida 31-Iowa State 32-Kansas State 33-Virginia 34-Alabama 35-Purdue 36-HARVARD 37-Connecticut 38-LONG BEACH STATE 39-Saint Louis 40-California 41-West Virginia 42-Southern Mississippi 43-Brigham Young 44-Colorado State 45-VCU 46-Xavier 47-Texas 48-North Carolina State 49-South Florida 50-Drexel(Last at-large) 51-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 52-COLORADO 53-NEW MEXICO STATE 54-SAINT BONAVENTURE 55-DAVIDSON 56-LOYOLA(MD) 57-MONTANA 58-BELMONT 59-OHIO 60-DETROIT 61-LEHIGH 62-UNC ASHEVILLE 63-LAMAR 64-LONG ISLAND 65-NORFOLK STATE 66-VERMONT 67-MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE 68-WESTERN KENTUCKY
Just missing: 69-Seton Hall 70-Washington 71-Mississippi State 72-Iona 73-Northwestern 74-Mississippi 75-Oral Roberts 76-Nevada 77-Arizona
Final Four pairings Midwest(1) vs. West(4) East(2) vs. South(3) First Four pairings Tuesday: MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY; Texas vs. South Florida Wednesday: NORFOLK STATE vs. VERMONT; North Carolina State vs. Drexel
Louisville 1-Kentucky vs. 16-MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE/WESTERN KENTUCKY 8-San Diego State vs. 9-HARVARD Albuquerque 4-Michigan vs. 13-SAINT BONAVENTURE 5-LOUISVILLE vs. 12-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE Omaha 2-Kansas vs. 15-UNC ASHEVILLE 7-Gonzaga vs. 10-Connecticut Nashville 3-FLORIDA STATE vs. 14-DAVIDSON 6-Temple vs. 11-VCU
Columbus 1-Michigan State vs. 16-LAMAR 8-Virginia vs. 9-Kansas State Nashville 4-VANDERBILT vs. 13-North Carolina State/Drexel 5-Georgetown vs. 12-Xavier Omaha 2-MISSOURI vs. 15-DETROIT 7-NEW MEXICO vs. 10-LONG BEACH STATE Columbus 3-Marquette vs. 14-BELMONT 6-CREIGHTON vs. 11-Southern Mississippi
Pittsburgh 1-Syracuse vs. 16-LONG ISLAND 8-Iowa State vs. 9-Alabama Portland 4-Indiana vs. 13-NEW MEXICO STATE 5-Wichita State vs. 12-Colorado State Greensboro 2-Duke vs. 15-LEHIGH 7-MEMPHIS vs. 10-California Louisville 3-Wisconsin vs. 14-LOYOLA(MD) 6-Cincinnati vs. 11-Brigham Young
Greensboro 1-North Carolina vs. 16-NORFOLK STATE/VERMONT 8-Florida vs. 9-Kansas State Portland 4-MURRAY STATE vs. 13-COLORADO 5-Unlv vs. 12-Texas/South Florida Pittsburgh 2-Ohio State vs. 15-OHIO 7-Notre Dame vs. 10-Saint Louis Albuquerque 3-Baylor vs. 14-MONTANA 6-SAINT MARY'S vs. 11-West Virginia