Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stallings thinks SEC teams will "outperform" in NCAA tournament — don't bet on it

Kevin Stallings is quoted in the Nashville City Paper saying that he thinks LSU, Tennessee and Miss State will "outperform" their seeds.

If you go solely by how those teams performed against Vanderbilt then, yes, they should do very well. Vandy had a combined record of 1-3 against those teams, getting swept by the Vols and manhandled in Starkville but catching LSU in premature celebration mode in Baton Rouge, which was probably the young Dores best game of the year.

But we don't agree. We've got all three teams getting bounced in the first round.

No. 9 Tennessee has the best shot at advancing, and has the athletes to beat No. 8 Oklahoma State and with some breaks upset No. 1 Pitt and advance as far as the Elite Eight. Could happen, but don't think it will.

And No. 13 Miss State faces the best possible option for them at No. 4 — Washington instead of Xavier, Gonzaga and Wake Forest. They could even beat No. 5 Purdue and advance to the Sweet 16, but no way the Bulldogs get past UConn. Again, it could happen, but we don't think they get past the Huskies and the first round.

And No. 8 LSU could certainly beat No. 9 Butler, but no way they get past No. 1 UNC in the second round. You saw how A.J. Ogilvy manhandled the skinny Tigers. Wait till they face the Tar Heels... if they get the chance, which we don't think they will.

Our first round upsets, as defined by a lower seed beating a higher seed:

• No. 12 Western Kentucky over No. 5 Illinois.
• No. 9 Butler over No. 8 LSU.
• No. 10 USC over No. 7 Boston College.
• No. 11 Utah State over No. 6 Marquette

Our Sweet 16:

• No. 1 seeds: Pitt, UNC, Louisville, UConn
• No. 2 seeds: Duke, Oklahoma, Memphis (Mich St upset by USC)
• No. 3 seeds: Villanova, Syracuse, Kansas (Missouri upset by Utah St)
• No. 4 seeds: Xavier, Gonzaga, Wake Forest (Washington upset by Purdue)
• No. 5 seed: Purdue
• No. 10 seed: USC
• No. 11 seed: Utah State

Our Elite 8:
• No. 1 seeds: Pitt, UNC, UConn (Louisville upset by Wake)
• No. 2 seeds: Oklahoma, Memphis
• No. 3 seeds: Villanova, Kansas
• No. 4 seed: Wake Forest

Our Final 4:
• No. 1 seeds: Pitt, UNC, UConn
• No. 3 seed: Kansas

National Championship game:
• Pitt over UConn

We made these picks based on statistics like turnover percentage, FTs per FG, shooting accuracy, field goal defense, overall team strength and offensive rebounding.

Do we really want to see Pitt play UConn for the championship? Heck no. For entertainment value, our Final Four would have been Pitt, North Carolina, Louisville and Memphis, with UNC playing Louisville. And we'd have Kansas getting bounced out early.

The fact that we don't like our picks makes us feel better about them. But we'll see in a couple of hours.

Happy March Madness everybody.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're right. MSU and UT are gone and LSU will be out tomorrow.