Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012 NCAA Tourney

Top Ten (by the numbers) for the 2012 NCAA Men`s Basketball Tourney

Man, is this a great time of the year?!?! I should say so...Weather improving...Baseball season upon us...And of course, the Madness...

The FBI estimates that in addition to the legal gambling there will be over $2 Billion in illegal gambling for March Madness...Employers annually lose over $1 Billion in productivity from their employees during the Madness too

In this entry we will take a fun look (I hope!) at a few tidbits re the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament...

Surely we will all want to pay close attention to the top seeds...5 of the last 7 Finals have had a #1 seed (3 of those Finals were #1 seed vs #1 seed), while of the 48 schools to have made the Final Four in the 2000's 35/48 were a Top #3 seed...Cinderella's like George Mason, VCU, and Butler are so damn fun to watch, but the absolute majority of the time the 4 school names printed on the Final Four t-shirts are well known top-seeds

Here is a look at some Top 10 (by the #'s) Final Four tidbits...  

I have to start with 2 quick Honorable mentions for number 11

#11 is the seed that last seasons Cinderella VCU Rams were, and they danced alllll the way to the Final Four

#11 is the amount of times UCLA has won a National Championship...By far the most in NCAA Men's B-Ball

#11 is the amount of Final Four births for Mike Krzyzewski (wow wow wow)

10 teams shoot better than 40% from 3-point range in the NCAA...5 are in this year's Tourney...Temple, Creighton, Indiana, plus bombers Colorado State and Murray State actually meet up in the 1st Round! (Who has the Over?!?!)

10 is the number of Conference Champs in the t-o-u-g-h West Region

Fav #10 seed is likely Xavier...The Musketeers have a nice mix of Senior's, plus young talented (and productive) JR's and Freshman too...They draw an underwhelming Notre Dame in Round 1

9 out of every 10 #1 seeds make the Sweet Sixteen

9 Blocks per game is the highest in the Country for any team...Kentucky Wildcats

The #9 vs #8 1st Round match-up is a coin-flip...In the 2000's the #8 has a 23-21 record vs the #9's...Heck, that is pretty much the dictionary definition of "coin-flip"...This year I do like the #8 in most of these match-ups, but I will say that I could see the #9 in the South Region - UCONN - and Jeremy Lamb deal with a very balanced Fred Hoiberg squad from Iowa State

8 teams in NCAA average over 40 Rebounds per game...2 are in the Tourney - NC and New Mexico State

Memphis (West) and Creighton (Go Bluejays!!!...MidWest...Creighton's Super-Soph Doug McDermott is the highest scorer in the Tourney) are both #8 seeds that are Conference Champs

8 W's per every 10 games played...That is the clip that #1 seeds win at

7 Conference Champs are in the East (including UNC-Asheville...(INSANE call here, but I like the Bulldogs to give Syracuse all it can handle in the East #1 vs #16 "battle"...Battle is in quotes because the #1's are a nifty 108-0 vs #16's)

7 teams in NCAA average over 80 Points per game...All made the Tourney...Creighton, UNC-Asheville, NC, Mizzou, Belmont, LIU Brooklyn, plus Iona is in one of the Play-In games

7 is the amount of National Championships Kentucky has won, most in the Field

#7 seed has never made the Final Four...Here's hoping that Kevin Pangos, Robert Sacre and the Gonzaga Bulldogs (#7 in the East Region) are the first...Saint Mary's (#7 in the MidWest...ironically enough the Champs of the WCC where they beat Gonzaga in the Title game) seemingly has a nice path to at least the Sweet 16

7 is the amount of losses Michigan State has...By far the most for any #1 seed in the Tourney

6 teams average over 6 Blocks per game in the NCAA...3 are part of the Madness (UCONN...Syracuse...Kentucky)

6 is the number of Conference Champs in the South (where Kentucky is #1)

Murray State (#6 in the West) is the only #6 that I give value to...The OVC Champs are a gaudy 30-1, and the only #6 seed that is a Conference Champ...Feb 9 loss to Tennessee State is the only blemish for 1st time Head Coach Steve Prohm's Racers...They actually avenged that loss in the Conference Title game

5 is the amount of Conference Champs in the MidWest (where UNC is #1) 

#5 vs #12...This is traditionally THEE match-up to pay attention to...21 of the last 23 years a #12 has upset a #5 in Round 1...In the 2000's the #12 has won 18 times vs #5, and 11 other times the #5 had to sweat out a win that was 5 points or less...If you are looking for a Final Four pick outside of a Top 3 seed then the #5 actually packs more punch than the #4 seeds...#4 seeds have 3 Final Four appearances in the 2000's, with 0 National Championship games...The #5 though has 5 Final Four in the 2000's, plus 3 National Champ games

So while your bracket absolutely requires a #12 upset over a #5, don't just discard the #5's either...

#5 in the MidWest Temple was a #5 seed in 2010 too and they were defeated in Round 1 by Cornell (no doubt making Andy Bernard very happy)...This year Temple is again a #5 with a 1st Round opponent being the winner of the California vs South Florida (I like South FLA in that game)

#5 in the South is Wichita State...The Shockers are certainly my fav #5 seed in this field (they play last years Cinderella VCU Rams...Kudos to Shaka Smart for getting his Rams back into the Big Dance)

Both New Mexico (#5 in West) and Long Beach State (#12 in West) are Conference Champs...The East also has Conference Champ vs Conference Champ in the #5 (Vandy) vs #12 (Harvard) match-up...By the way kudos to Tommy Amaker and the work he has done to revive Harvard B-Ball and get the program back in the Tourney for the first time in decades

5 is the number of National Championships for Indiana and North Carolina

...as in Final Four...Here is my take...Kentucky (great chance to be the Champs)...Mizzou (survival of the fittest in that West Region...Why I separate Mizzou from that pack is their ability to make Free-Throws)...Ohio State in the East (but come on Gonzaga!)...North Carolina in the MidWest (that #7 Saint Mary's team could be a Cinderella in that Region) 

4 is the number of National Championships for Duke

4 #1 seeds all making the Final Four has happened one time, 2008

3-ball your thing?!?! The Tourney has some 3-point sharp-shooters...Joe Ragland (Wichita State)...Jordan Hulls and Matt Roth on Indiana are bombers...Doug McDermott on Creighton was born to shoot and score the basketball...Georgetown will need to be sure to get out on Belmont (S) Guard Drew Hanlen in their 1st Round game as Hanlen is a skilled chucker...

Amazingly only 1 #2 seed is a Conference Champ (Mizzou)...

The 20 year anniversary of that classic 1992 game between Duke and Kentucky will get a lot of play potentially as Duke is the #2 in the South (Kentucky #1)

#2 seeds have made the Final Four 10 times in the 2000's

Only #2 Mizzou (West) had a good record vs Ranked teams (6-2)...Ohio State 7-5...Duke 5-3...Kansas just 5-4

Only one #1 seed won their Conference Tourney (Michigan State)

Norfolk State (MEAC Champs) and South Dakota State (Summit) are both making Tourney appearance numero uno

1, as in there can only be 1 Champ...Kentucky lost guys like Brandon Knight, DeAndre Liggins, Josh Harrelson, and the Enes Kantner thing never worked out, yet John Calipari continues to work the Wildcats into an absolute B-Ball factory...Their depth is amazing with Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Darius Miller, and Kyle Wiltjer all giving great depth and skill every game...UK was 6-0 vs Ranked foes this season...UK scores, defends, and rebounds very very well...Hardly an out-on-the-ledge pick, but man there is just so much to like about Kentucky IMO

Shout-out to the Ragers!

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