Monday, February 19, 2007

Field of 65--version 7

(about 1 week has passed since last version)
Wisconsin (26-2); Florida (24-3); UCLA (23-3); North Carolina (23-4)
*How is it possible that Wisconsin is my overall number 1? They play hard every game. Plus, the Big 10 is a little down this year. Moreover, it’s a testament to Bo Ryan, Alando Tucker, and hard-nosed defense. However, I’d be willing to bet that they won’t be in this position at the end of the conference tourneys.
Ohio State (24-3); Texas A&M (22-4); Kansas (23-4); Washington State (22-4)
*Question: Why do I have Ohio State as a 2 seed and North Carolina as a 1 seed, despite the fact that the Tar Heels lost to Virginia Tech at home this past week? Answer: Ohio State’s second-half performance against Penn State. The Buckeyes were outscored by 19 and ended up with a 2-point win.
Pittsburgh (23-4); Memphis (23-3); Nevada (24-2); Georgetown (20-5)
*Is Memphis tournament-tested? Well, Memphis has won all but one of its C-USA games by double digits. This past weekend they squeaked by a Gonzaga club that I don’t even have in the field this week.
Southern Illinois (23-5); Air Force (23-4); Virginia (18-7); Butler (24-4)
*Let me be the first to admit that, with the exception of Southern Illinois, none of these teams deserve a 4 seed. Unfortunately, with all of the upsets this past week, no one deserves these slots. Virginia, tied with North Carolina for first in the ACC, has one of the best backcourts in the nation. Both J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary average 18.4 ppg. Plus, the Cavaliers are 9-1 over their last 10 games.
West Virginia (20-6); Virginia Tech (18-8); Marquette (21-7); Oregon (20-7)
*Virginia Tech had an opportunity to become a legitimate 4 seed after beating North Carolina on the road. Then came a 25-point loss at North Carolina State. How exactly does a team that sweeps UNC get swept by the Wolf Pack? That being said, I still think the Hokies could be dangerous come tournament time (unless, of course, the NC State loss was the beginning of the end). They have 3 seniors that play more than 20 minutes a game, 4 guys averaging at least 11 ppg, and they play unselfish basketball. Definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Marquette is still 8-5 in the Big East, but Tom Crean’s team had a horrible week, with losses to DePaul and Louisville.
Boston College (18-8); Texas (19-7); Duke (20-7); Vanderbilt (18-8)
*Well, I guess all that Duke not making the tourney talk is over. They bounced back with wins over Boston College and Georgia Tech. I love Vandy’s Derrick Byars. He’s one of the most versatile players in the nation, and I’m starting to think he might be the SEC player of the year.
Maryland (20-7); Kentucky (18-8); Notre Dame (20-6); Stanford (17-8)
*Last week, I predicted that Maryland wouldn’t make the tournament. Well, the Terps proved me wrong. They’ve won their last 3 ACC games by double digits, and 2 of those were on the road. I won’t even go into the Kentucky situation. For more on Kentucky, see the immediately preceding post by Runs with Two Horses.
BYU (20-6); USC (19-8); Indiana (17-8); Villanova (18-8);
*Like Virginia Tech, USC also missed a chance to move into a 4 seed. They completed the sweep of Arizona earlier in the week and then fell to Arizona State, giving the Sun Devils their first conference win of the season. It hurts me to give the Hoosiers an 8 seed, but they’re really struggling. After beating Wisconsin on January 31, Indiana has lost away from home against Iowa, Purdue, and Minnesota. Their only win during that span came at home against Illinois. Fortunately, they close the season out with back-to-back games against Northwestern and then at home against Penn State.
Louisville (19-8); Alabama (19-7); UNLV (22-6); Arizona (17-9)
*Louisville might have had the best week of all. At the beginning of the week, the Cards were a respectable 7-4 in the Big East but lacked any signature wins. One week later, Louisville has added road wins against Pitt and Marquette to its tourney resume. Plus, that Syracuse victory is starting to look a little more respectable, as Jim Boeheim’s team has started playing better.
Clemson (19-7); Oklahoma State (19-7); Kansas State (19-8); Tennessee (18-9)
*Oklahoma State has gotten worse over the course of the season. Plus, they can’t win on the road. I think these guys are just exhausted. Apparently, they’re playing with 7 or 8 scholarship players. It would be a real shame (for the viewing public) if Mario Boggan doesn’t get an opportunity to do his thing in the Big Dance.
Michigan State (19-8); Purdue (17-9); Syracuse (19-8); Xavier (19-7)
*Michigan State makes a return to the field after picking up double digit wins against Michigan and Iowa. Drew Neitzel may be the Spartans’ MVP, but freshman Raymar Morgan is the key to their tourney chances.
Winthrop (23-4); VCU (22-6); Akron (18-5); Creighton (18-9)
*I finally got a chance to see Winthrop in action, and they didn’t disappoint, as they picked up an 11-point road win at Missouri State. They won’t be seeded this high, but, for now, they deserve to be.
Appalachian State (21-6); Davidson (21-4); Santa Clara (20-7); Long Beach State (18-7)
*How can I justify giving the Southern Conference 2 bids? I probably can’t, but I’ll try. Based on Appalachian State’s Bracketbuster win at Wichita State, the Mountaineers’ stellar record, the fact that they beat Davidson at Davidson earlier in the season, and their wins over Vanderbilt and Virginia, I think Appalachian State is the best team in the Southern Conference, despite the fact that they’re 2 games back in the conference. Still, I’m giving them the Southern Conference automatic bid. Davidson gets the last at-large by virtue of their 21-4 record. That leaves Illinois as the first team out. Santa Clara’s 11-point victory at Gonzaga made me a believer. Steve Nash U gets the nod over a Gonzaga team that is really going to miss Josh Heytvelt.
South Alabama (20-8); Vermont (21-6); Oral Roberts (19-9); Holy Cross (20-8)
*Well, Runs with Two Horses, your South Alabama Jaguars picked up a pretty good win against Houston this past week. Unfortunately, they turned around and dropped one to lowly Florida International, which snapped the Jags’ 13-game winning streak. So, I had to drop them down to a 14 seed. Still, I must admit, they deserve the Sun Belt bid over my Hilltoppers.
Marist (21-7); Austin Peay (18-8); Texas A&M-Corpus Christie (19-5); East Tennessee State (20-8)
*I think it would be awesome if the selection committee matches 2 seed Texas A&M against 15 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christie in the first round of the tourney. Does anyone else think that would be awesome?
Weber State (18-10); Pennsylvania (17-8); Central Connecticut State (17-11); Jackson State (16-11); Delaware State (15-11)
*I don’t have the energy to try to make up an imaginary team joke about Central Connecticut State this week. I’ll try again next week.

IN: Appalachian State; Louisville; Michigan State; Santa Clara; Syracuse
OUT: Florida State; Gonzaga; Hofstra; Missouri State; Washington


Blogger Thelonius Monk said...

I knew that as soon as us UK fans got a little cocky about Pitino "having fallen off" he would go and do something like this.

February 19, 2007 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger El Fuser said...

Just happy to see the Hoosiers might actually make the tourney!

February 19, 2007 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Jesus' Son said...

I'm amazed you have Louisville lower than ESPN now has them. I thought for sure after last week you'd have them as a "well-deserved" 4 seed.

February 19, 2007 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

I am a huge Louisville fan. However, a wise man once told me, "one week does not a season make."

February 19, 2007 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Jumping Bull said...

I ♥ David Teague

February 20, 2007 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger Runs With Two Horses said...

I'm delighted that your number 4 seeds are Southern Illinois, Air Force, Virginia, and Butler. If that actually ends out happening, I wonder what the Las Vegas line would have been on that in the preseason?

February 20, 2007 at 1:57 PM  

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