First Reaction on the Brackets...

West: KU: Kind of irritated to see KU out West against UCLA, but no worries.

Nova / UK: I see Nova winning this game, but I would love to see UK in the second round.

Tech / Illinois: Tech should win, but maybe Weber can pull out the Orange coat.

So. Illinois: Good seed...they defend well..should be a good 2nd round game.

Duke / VCU: 6 seed is generous to Duke, but I'm guessing they'll play well in the tourney.

Pitt / Wright State: Pitt needs to rebound

Indiana / Gonzaga: Should be a good game, but the Zags are overmatched.

UCLA: Weber State is probably worse than Niagara.

East:

UNC: They won't make the Final Four. By far the toughest draw of any top 1/2 seed, IMO. They've a very small chance of making the Final Four, let alone anything else.

Marquette / Michigan: both good teams, but MSU is underseeded.

USC / Arkansas: USC wins.

UT / NMSU: Watch out for UT. Durant is a huge problem for anyone. He breaks Roy's heart this year if Izzo doesn't break it before that.

Vandy / GW: Upset special. UF dragged SEC teams' seeds up.

WSU / ORU: No one will overlook ORU because of KU. WSU plays slow so ORU could stay close and you all know what happen when Vealy gets hot.

BC / Tech: Give Bob Knight a week to prepare anytime outside of the NCAA tournament, and he'll win. In the NCAA, he seems to like short trips.

Georgetown: A very good team, but beware the B's of March.

South:

OSU: playing very well right now...15 wins in a row.

BYU / Xavier: X shouldn't be in. BYU is big enough to give OSU some heat, but, IMO, OSU has easiest 2nd round game.

UT / Long Beach: UT / OSU will be an interesting game if we see it.

Virginia / Albany: I'll bet we see a close game here.

Louisville / Stanford: Stanford shouldn't have been in.

A&M / Penn: A&M will emerge from this bracket, I think.

Nevada / Creighton: one of the best first round games. Nevada is better than people think, with Fazekas and Kemp. Creighton, I thought before seeing the bracket, would beat somebody in the first round. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? That question will remain unanswered.

Memphis / North Texas: Memphis got a favorable geographic draw. I think they lose in round two.

Midwest:

Florida: Got a lot of credit for last year. They've been apathetic of late, even if they are well balanced. They're going to lose to somebody.

Arizona / Purdue: A potentially tough second round matchup for UF if Zona is able to put it together.

Butler / ODU: Upset special. Butler's good but has limped a bit of late.

Maryland / Davidson: Another upset special. Maryland could do some damage, but they could also bow out early.

Winthrop / Notre Dame: Notre Dame is playing very well. Winthrop is a very good team. Could be upset special number 3 in this bracket.

Oregon is very hot. HOT HOT HOT.

UNLV / GT: Surprised about GT, no idea on this game.

Wisconsin: Can't believe AM slipped to the 15 line!

Using Pomeroy's Predictor to Project a Bracket

This is my first post, so I'll try not to embarass myself.

Last night David sent me a file that can be used to predict games using Ken Pomeroy's ratings. Using this Excel spreadsheet, you can predict the winner of each game, the score, and % of the time that either team will win. There are various uses for this, obviously. What I have done is take Joe Lunardi's current projected bracket (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology) and figure out what percentage of the time each team will advance to each round. As this is fairly time consuming, I have only done the West region (where Kansas currently resides). Here's what I came up with:

Advances to 2nd Rd Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final Four

Wisconsin 98.7% 71.2% 51.6% 22.9%

Central Connecticut 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Jackson St. 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Kansas 98.9% 75.5% 52.0% 37.%

East Tennessee St. 1.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Georgetown 94.1% 79.6% 34.4% 21.0%

Pennsylvania 5.9% 1.6% 0.1% 0.0%

Air Force 94.7% 56.3% 20.2% 5.3%

Vermont 5.3% 0.5% 0.2% 0.0%

Virginia Tech 75.8% 37.2% 12.3% 2.9%

Santa Clara 24.2% 6.0% 1.1% 0.0%

Virginia 62.8% 13.4% 2.0% 0.5%

Winthrop 37.2% 5.4% 0.5% 0.1%

Southern California 30.6% 4.7% 1.4% 0.5%

Michigan St. 69.4% 19.8% 9.5% 4.9%

Notre Dame 67.6% 22.3% 12.4% 3.5%

Tennessee 32.4% 6.3% 2.1% 0.3%

Obviously, a lot of this depends on the draw, but Kansas will be the favorite to advance in just about any draw they have, as they are #2 in Pomeroy's ratings. What I found interesting was Wisconsin and Kansas reach the Elite 8 almost the exact same percentage of the time, although Kansas is clearly superior when they play head to head. This is a byproduct of Kansas having both Georgetown (Pomeroy #7) and Michigan St. (Pomeroy #11) in their half of the bracket. I would expect that in an average bracket, Kansas would have a greater chance of reaching the Elite 8, but if they were paired with a stronger #1 seed, their chances of winning their Regional Final game would decrease.

I'll probably do another one of these with a future Lunardi bracket, and compare the two.

KU's ranking next week?

KU is 8th in one poll and 9th in another. Since A&M, Pitt and UNC in front of KU have all lost, it's only natural that KU move up. But how much is the question? Why do I care? It's getting down to crunch time now and I really want to see KU with a 1 seed and / or trips to Chicago and St. Louis, and I think we've got a good shot at both. Here are the rankings:

1. FU - No change anticipated 2. OSU - No change anticipated 3. UW - No Change anticipated 4. UNC - Will drop to at least 5th, more if they lose at BC on Saturday. 5. UCLA - at ASU and at Arizona this week. The game at Arizona is HUGE for Zona given their recent skid. Up to 4 if they win. 6. A&M - Will drop a couple spots for a home loss. 7. Pitt - Will drop to at least 10 for getting drubbed at home by a suspect Louisville team 8.5 KU - Will move up at least two - three spots if we can win both at CU and against NU at home. 8.5 Memphis - I think they've hit their ceiling in terms of ranking this year. Everybody knows they play in a crappy conference and wouldn't have one 13 in a row. They might move up to 7/8, but I doubt we see them much higher.

At present, I think KU will skip both A&M and Pitt, and perhaps UNC. If UCLA loses, KU *might be able to hop up to 4th, but it's unlikely. In any case, I like where things are going. OSU and UW play each other and one of them has to lose. The winner of that game gets a one seed in my opinion, but I don't think they'll both get ones...the big 10 just isn't that great this year.

Here's how I see the one seeds:

1-1 - Florida 1-2 - OSU / UW winner assuming no other losses 1-3 - ?? 1-4 - ??

I think those other two slots are up in the air. UCLA is in a prime spot for one of them and UNC will probably grab the other, but I really don't think it's as locked up as the punditry seems to have assumed.

Human Power Rankings: Movin on Up

CNNSI's Luke Winn has us at number 2. And ESPN has us as its first number 2 seed.

I agree w/ Hoopinion that we're probably in the 5-8 range at present overall, and this week didn't do too much to fill me with glee. Julian was sick though and I'll wait to fill myself with glee or something else until after this Saturday, which was circled as a potential L since day one.

CBS Big 12 Preview

Gary Parrish takes a look at the Big 12 basketball season and not surprisingly, KU comes out on top. Way on top. KU's schedule in the Big 12 is, on paper, about as easy as it could be, with the top teams from the South all visiting Allen and the North still mired in coaching change mud. Indeed, as soon as Nebraska finds a new coach, Bill Self will have the most tenure of any coach in the North if I'm not mistaken.

Back to Parrish, you should definitely check out the whole article, but here's the concentrated essence of what he says:

There are three teams in the nation that, heading into the season, appear to be a level above everybody else. Kansas is one, with the others being Florida and North Carolina. So any Jayhawks fans worried about a third consecutive loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament need not worry. This team will be playing deep into March, and perhaps into April.

KU will likely be favored by 5 or more in every big 12 game this year. I think the toughest game will be in Manhattan for some reason. If Huggs knows one thing, it's that he has to stop the multi decade streak and win one for the first time in Bramlage.

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