Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Michigan Protects Home Court!!! BIG WIN!!!

First – congrats to all the skiiers that Skied in the Michigan State Finals on a very bright and beautiful Winter Day in northern Michigan!  If every winter day was like yesterday, everyone would love winter!!!

Now, about that game at Crisler last Saturday….


Matt Painter has never gotten much “ink” from the MMPG.  But I had stated earlier in one of my posts that I thought that Purdue was not only the best the B1G had to offer, but I thought (Kind of like Dan Dakich) that Purdue could be a Final Four Team.  As Michigan has only played Purdue sporadically over the last couple of seasons, it’s hard to get to know a coach and a team.  I “thought” Purdue was better than what they put on display on Saturday.  And I still think they might be.  But Wagner, I think it’s safe to say, outplayed the B1G POY and left him shell shocked in the 1st half.  Yes, Swanigan got his, but that was expected.  I also expected that Painter would have figured that Michigan would double team or somehow try to stop Swanigan.  Which is why I would have dusted off the Spike Weapon and turned him loose.  But Painter didn’t.  Thankfully….

Michigan really took their foot off the gas.  This is where SuperFan will comment and emphatically yell at Beilein, “DON’T DO THAT!” – Which I wholeheartedly agree with, BTW.  Michigan has a pretty slow to develop a shot offense, anyway.  Just run the offense.  And again, for the life of me, I’m not sure why Spike didn’t get more minutes...

In the 2nd half, Michigan decided to give everyone a heart check and slowed things down to eat time off the clock.  I hate that.  If Michigan had kept pressuring and played in rhythm as they were playing when they were 22 ahead, I’m not sure Purdue could have stopped them from scoring 90.  Whatever the case, an argument could be made that Michigan could be one of the top teams in the country if they could play each and every game at Crisler.

It was a Big Game!  

At times, the FMQ and the MMPG (two of the most pragmatic of the alter egos) get into discussions about stuff...  In these discussions to discuss things (in my head – not out loud…at least not out loud, yet) to get a better understanding of the situation that’s current, I thought I’d share one of them with you so you would get a better sense of what’s going on.

FMQ:  How big was this game?

MMPG:  Big.  So Big, that we’ve gone from discussing Michigan as a “Bubble Team” to the discussion,  “What Seed Line Makes Sense for Michigan”???   I’d already chalked the Purdue game up as a loss in my mind, and to a certain degree, I’m sure the committee members were thinking the same thing…So if Michigan was in the Dance they were still in, even with the loss.  However, Michigan won!  That’ll hurt Purdue more than it helps Michigan.   

FMQ:  So Michigan hurt Purdue more than they helped themselves?

MMPG:  Probably.  Purdue will still get the highest B1G Seed, and I think they will stay on the 4 Line, but that loss hurt.  With respect to Michigan:  There’s going to be two or three losses we’ll talking about heading into the NCAA’s:  Losing in OT at Minnesota (DAMN YOU TEDDY VALENTINTE!!!! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!),

losing at home to the suckeyes and losing at Iowa…  Those three wins would have moved Michigan up in the B1G standings and probably gotten them into the top 4 of the Tourney for the B1G byes....  The Gophers win would have definitely moved Michigan up in the national standings and more than likely up on the NCAA Seed line as well.  A 7 would be so much better than an 8 right now.  (Some of the Bracketologists have Michigan as high as a 7 already)

FMQ:  Why’s a 7-Seed so much better than an 8-Seed?

MMPG:  The 2-Seeds this season (As of today in no particular order:  Kentucky, Louisville, Baylor, Oregon) are bouncing around all over the place and look EXTREMELY BEATABLE.  Not only that, historically, the percentages are higher for the 7-10 Seeds to come out of the 1st weekend into the Sweet 16 vs. the 8-9 Seeds (that have to play the Number 1’s).  I think Michigan matches up pretty well with any of the two seeds right now.  I’d take, in order of who I think Michigan can beat and then getting more difficult:  Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky. 

FMQ:  But wait a minute MMPG, don’t you eventually have to beat the #1 anyway?  Isn’t it better to get them early in the 2nd round?

MMPG:  Depends on which #1 seed you get.  Right now, several of the Bracketologists have Michigan against either UNC or Kansas.  I’d take Kansas in the 2nd round as they have historically had trouble getting out of the 1st weekend.  The other #1 seed I’d like Michigan to play would be Gonzaga.  Villanova and UNC I’d rather play later when the pressure was building on them a little bit more…

FMQ:  Well can’t Michigan win out and improve their Seed line up through a 7 to a 6?  And is the 6 Seed that much better??

MMPG:  Let me start with the 2nd part of your question first:  The 6-Seed dumps into the 3-Seed vs. 14-Seed game winner.  All the NCAA Projected 3-Seeds all look pretty good right now (UCLA, Florida, Florida State and Arizona) and 1 of them (UCLA), Michigan already lost a shoot-out with.  Granted Michigan wasn’t playing a lot of defense at that point in time.  The answer to the first part (Can Michigan move up):  Doubtful.  Michigan can go 2-0 or 1-1 in the next two games and not much is really going to change from a “Best Wins”, BPI, RPI and Kenpom standpoint.  Even losing the next two won’t change that much.

FMQ:  What about winning some of the games or winning the B1G Tourney?

MMPG:  That COULD change the Seed Line.  Especially if they were to win the Tourney.  Winning some games only helps if you’re TRULY ON THAT BUBBLE LINE.  Winning the B1G Tourney would give Michigan 4 more victories and assuming they win the next two games, that would get them to 25 wins, equivalent with the best in the conference.  Maybe, just maybe, the committee would reward them with the 6 or the 5 LineBut DON’T hold your breath….things are pretty much in place in the NCAA’s. Short of the Mid-Major Conference upsets.

FMQ:  So I think you’re saying that the things that “have” happened are more important than the things that COULD happen?  I thought Conference Tourney’s were important!   I’m not following you… 

MMPG:  Well, you have to remember that resumes are built over the season.  The committee in the past has rewarded some Conference Tourney Champions, but other times, they just leave teams where they’re seeded.  For example:  Last Season, EVERY TALKING HEAD OUT THERE stated that if Sparty won the B1G Tourney, they’d lock up a 1-Seed.  Guess what?  Sparty won the B1G and still ended up as the same 2-Seed they were going into Conference Tourney Weekend!!!  And promptly lost.  Don’t get too hung up on what you “deserve” if you start winning a bunch late in the season. The Committee has things pretty much set in place at this point in time. 

FMQ:  But I’ve been hearing about how this is a “Historically Weak” Bubble for the last two weeks!  Why wouldn’t Michigan move up with a B1G Tourney Win?

MMPG:  I hate it when announcers and radio talking heads are stating this is “a historically weak bubble”!!!  Would you really like to know what’s “Historic” about this season: Look at the KenPom and BPI and you will see there aren’t many Mid-Majors in the top 50 (3 I think) that are sitting with better than 23-24 wins and as a result, have extremely high RPI’s, BPI’s and Kenpom rankings.  That makes the SOS of the Middle finishers in the Power 5 (6 with the BEast) Conferences look that much better!  So really, the power conferences are just doing what they always do.  But there’s so many fewer mid-majors to pick from this season and the Syracuse’s, Vanderbilt’s and California’s are sitting there with less than 20 Wins and are actually the best teams available!

FMQ:  Well, isn’t there ANYTHING that can be done to help Michigan’s seeding?  And if the answer’s no, why even bother playing the games?

MMPG:  Yes –Michigan fans need to root for the teams that they’ve beaten and even the teams that have beaten them.  Actually, when I was reviewing Michigan’s BEST WINS, they also end up being some of the WORST LOSSES for those opponents! 

Michigan 79 – Marquette 61:   Marquette’s WORST LOSS on the season!

Michigan 75 - SMU 54:  SMU’s WORST LOSS of the Season!

Michigan 90 – Indiana 60:  IU’s WORST LOSS of the Season!

Michigan 82 – Purdue 70:  Purdue’s WORST LOSS of the Season!

So, Michigan has that going for them and the Committee will take note of stuff like that when seeding them.   And you have to play the games!  They’re on the schedule!

FMQ:  What about this Kenpom thing and why isn’t it used over RPI again?  Everyone agrees that Kenpom is a much better predictor of outcomes, right??  Is Michigan’s RPI in the same rank (for B1G Teams) as the actual rank?

MMPG:  Good Question.  At 46 RPI, Michigan is ranked 6th out of the B1G Teams that are in this order:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Purdue
  3. Maryland
  4. Wiscy
  5. Sparty
  6. Michigan
  7. Northwestern – Which is why the Northwestern game on Wednesday is critical for them…The Wildcats NEED THIS WIN!!!!

So Michigan is actually a notch higher than the Wildcats and should win this game…Except for the Road Worries, of course.

With respect to Kenpom, here it is:

  1. Purdue
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Michigan
  4. Minnesota
  5. Northwestern
  6. Maryland
  7. Indiana
  8. Sparty!

Michigan sits at 3rd in Kenpom’s Predictive Index and has just recently beaten the two teams ahead of it….

FMQ:  Okay – you’re jumping around.  This isn’t necessarily anything Michigan can do to improve their seeding in the NCAA, right?  All you’re stating here is that the Kenpom has Michigan higher and the selection committee sees that kind of thing, right?

MMPG:  Sorry, yes, that’s correct.  In reality, All Michigan can do is start a 12 game winning streak beginning Wednesday night in Evanston against Northwestern. According to Kenpom, Michigan is on a fantastic 5 game roll and is one of the best teams statistically out there.   

FMQ:   Wait – What did you just say?  A 12-Game Winning Streak???

MMPG:  Win the last two games of the regular season, Win 4 games that would win the B1G Tourney and then win 6 games in the NCAA’s!!!  

It’s all very Academic.

FMQ:  That seems like a tall order.  Winning 12 in a row, I mean.  Would Michigan be better off losing in the B1G Tourney and getting whatever seed they have now?

MMPG:  That’s kind of what everyone thinks going into the conference season tourney and it’s why coaches absolutely hate the Conference Tournaments.  Nobody wants to play a tournament thinking, “If we lose no big deal” because EVERYONE IS SO WIRED TO WIN!!!  But if Michigan is rolling…Let It Roll, Baby, Let It Roll!!!

So here’s where it stands:

The Michigan Resume

Record:        19-10

BPI:              23  24  25  25

Kenpom:      28   27  27  27

RPI:              52   52  50  46

Opponent     Location       Date   Day and Time          Result

Indiana          Home             1-26    Thursday, 9:15        90-60 Blow-Out

Sparty             Away              1-29    Sunday, 1:00          70-62 Loss

Suckeyes     Home             2-4      Saturday, 6:00         70-66 Loss

Sparty            Home             2-7      Tuesday, 9:00         86-57 BLOW-OUT

Indiana          Away              2-12    Sunday, 1:00             75-63 SWEEP OF IU!!!!

Wiscy             Home             2-16    Thursday, 7:00        64-58 Win

Minnesota     Away              2-19    Sunday, 7:00              83-78  LOSE

Rutgers          Away              2-22    Wednesday, 6:30     66-64 WIN

Purdue          Home             2-25    Saturday, 4:00         82-70 WIN

Northwestern Away             3-1      Wednesday, 7:00

Nebraska       Away              3-5      Sunday, 8:00

Lunardi updated yesterday and Michigan SOLIDLY in as an 8 seed in GREENVILLE!!!! (Superfan!!!)  That’s a jump up from the 9-Seed line they were on last week.   

Michigan is still 7th overall in the B1G Standings.  That can change tomorrow night in Evanston, but doesn’t really change what would happen in the B1G Tourney of the NCAA Seed-line. 

Sparty’s win has also secured them a Seed in the NCAA’s.  Hollis and Izzo have done a much better job managing the Non-Con SOS and Sparty, even without really beating anyone, will more than likely get a bid in this Mid-Major-less season.

Friday, February 24, 2017

What Will The Title of Tuesday's Post Be?

As I won’t be able to post on Monday (My oldest daughter’s Ski Team, The Walled Lake Nothern Knights made the State Finals at Nubs Nob and they will be held on Monday!), I’m wondering aloud what Tuesday’s Title will be?

Michigan Protects Home Court!  Prevails Over Purdue!

The Revenge of SPIKE!!!

This game makes me nervous.  I’m sure Spike holds no ill will against Beilein and Michigan.  RIIIIIGHT……And you can bet he’s going to take (and probably make) whatever shots he can against his former team...I was stunned when Beilein let Albrecht go, but I also understand that this is college hoops.  Frankly, they should have a separate area somewhere in Crisler Arena or on campus where Spike’s NCAA Championship Game accomplishment is played on a continuous loop.  In case you need a reminder:

I could watch that 1:30 video once a day for the rest of my life and die a happy man!!  Dickie V on the call makes it even better…I feel like Spike did something that day that can make every “Too Short, Too Small and Too White to Play At The Next Level” guy out there feel proud and say, “Look at that!!!  See, we CAN play this game!”

And now he’s coming back for the only game Michigan will play against Purdue this season.  Yep, I’m more than a little nervous….

It’s Getting a Little Crazy

Michigan squeaked by a much improved Rutgers team that’s actually in the middle of the pack when you look at the B1G “last 5 games” stats.  They almost beat everyone they played in the last 5 games and will probably surprise someone in the games they have left.  And don’t be surprised if they win a B1G Tourney game also. 

In addition to Michigan, this past Wednesday produced drama in the college hoops world that we usually associate with March.  Big upsets of Top 25 teams by teams that are fighting to win their conferences or fighting for a seat at the 64-(8) team table.  In no particular order and ICYMI:

  1. The “BFF”  (Boeheim Fuck Factor) is alive and well!  Yep, a Syracuse team that is on the outside looking in on The Dance (but probably did a LOT to seal up a bid) beat the 10th ranked Blue Devils on a last second “BANK!” 3-pointer that Syracuse Guard Gillon launched from about the “S” that blazons the floor.  Even Boeheim commented afterward, “We got lucky!”  No shit……
  2. #22 Butler seems to be the only team that can beat #2 Villanova.  For the 2nd time this season, Butler found a way to knock off last years National Champions and secured a much higher seed in the Tourney than they would have received if they would have split with the Cats.  Butler probably moves to a 3-Seed (if they haven’t already) with that win. 
  3. The Golden Gophers continued the tradition of lower ranked B1G schools devouring their own by knocking off #24 Blue Blood Maryland on their home court.  And it wasn’t even close.  Gopher fans have to be loving life right about now as that win will certainly help their seeding.  I would even venture to say that the Gophers have a shot at winning the B1G Tourney if they stay hot on the offensive side of the ball…
  4. Providence defeated #23 Creighton in a last 2nd buzzer beater, 68-66 that kept their slim tourney hopes alive!
  5. UNC soundly defeated Louisville and Pitino might be feeling the pressure.  His reaction to this fan yelling, “Pitino – You Suck!” is quite telling that College Hoops coaches start to feel the pressure in late February.  Not saying Pitino should have ignored this guy…but c’mon!!!  It’s college hoops!  You gotta’ take some shit!!!
  6. Look at this Box Score:


Yes – you’re reading that correctly.  #6 Oregon only scored 16 1st half points and still found a way to come back (scoring 52!!!!) in the 2nd half and may have knocked any hopes or dreams that Cal had of making the Tourney completely out.

Whew….And that was just Wednesday night!!!

Last night, OSU continues to screw…well, everybody by beating the top 25 ranked Fraudgers.  That will destroy any chance of Wiscy busting up through and into the 4-seed level.  Assuming the Fraudgers drop to a 6-Seed switching with the Domers who might bump up, the B1G is going to end up with a plethora of middling seeds….

So here’s where it stands:

The Michigan Resume

Record:        18-10

BPI:              23  24  25

Kenpom:      28   27  27

RPI:              52   52  50

Opponent     Location       Date   Day and Time          Result

Indiana          Home             1-26    Thursday, 9:15        90-60 Blow-Out

Sparty             Away              1-29    Sunday, 1:00            70-62 Loss

Suckeyes     Home             2-4      Saturday, 6:00         70-66 Loss

Sparty            Home             2-7      Tuesday, 9:00         86-57 BLOW-OUT

Indiana          Away              2-12    Sunday, 1:00            75-63 SWEEP OF IU!!!!

Wiscy             Home             2-16    Thursday, 7:00        64-58 Win

Minnesota     Away              2-19    Sunday, 7:00               83-78  LOSE

Rutgers          Away              2-22    Wednesday, 6:30     68-64 WIN

Purdue          Home             2-25    Saturday, 4:00

Northwestern Away             3-1      Wednesday, 7:00

Nebraska       Away              3-5      Sunday, 8:00

Lunardi updated yesterday and Michigan is still solidly in as the 9 seed.  So nothing to update there…SMU and Marquette keep winning so that’s good. 

Michigan is still 7th overall in the B1G Standings.  Purdue is a huge game for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Michigan needs every Big Game Victory it can lay its hands on.  On top of that, Northwestern is slumping and Michigan could overtake them in the standings with a win Saturday and with a win in Evanston (Looks much easier now than it did a couple of weeks ago).  THAT would improve Michigan’s seeding in the NCAA tourney and possibly move them up to a 7-Seed.  Not that there’s much difference between 7-8-9-10 seeds…

So, what will Saturday bring?  If you watched the video, I know why you’re nervous, also.  But it is Michigan, it’s in Crisler (where they’ve dominated) and it’s Senior Day. 


Sparty’s win last night keeps them in the bracket for now.  Again, I assumed Sparty would win its home games and struggle on the road.  I may have to eat my words as it looks like Sparty will get to the 18 wins that everyone says will be “Good Enough” for Izzo based on the difficulty of the schedule, which, again, I dunno.  Seems like you have to beat somebody. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Game Tonight - An Early Look At March MADNESS!!!

Tune in for Michigan at upstart Rutgers tonight.  (Early Start!!!  6:30 ET) In case you didn’t see it, Rutgers gave the now stumbling Wildcats everything they could handle over the weekend and Doug Collins could be seen sitting in the stands riding the emotional roller coaster while watching his son coach on the sidelines.  I’m thinking that Rutgers might be better than their record, but part of Rutgers looking good over the last couple of games is the competition they were playing.  The Wildcats also lost at Lowly Illinois last night, only scoring 50 in the process against one of the B1G’s worst Defenses…Starting to wonder what happened to the Wildcat Team that beat Wiscy at Wiscy?  (Side Note:  Northwestern at the bottom of the B1G in overall adjusted efficiency - yikes)

Regardless, every game Michigan has left is a BIG GAME that they need to win.  Not saying desperate, yet.  Just saying they need to take care of business and win.

Sneak Peek

Instead of Cramming for the Final during Conference Championship Weekend, the MMPG thought you might find it interesting if I shared a little insight over what I’ve seen in college hoops over the last three or four weeks.  If you’ve been following college hoops at all (after the Super Bowl, of course), you’re getting a really good look at some teams that are going to make a difference in March and also a REALLY good look at who the pretenders are…

You can Thank the MMPG later for this insight when it comes to filling out your brackets (If it works, of course.  Follow my advice and lose and I’ll simply tell you to consider the source!!!!).  I’m only commenting on teams that I’ve watched in games for the last couple of weeks.  No statistical reasoning here (yet), just the eye test….

First, the MAJOR PRETENDERS (Also known as March Madness FRAUDS)!!!  I’m defining these as teams that currently have a projected high seed or a very high RPI, BPI and Kenpom but carry the burden of being a Blue Blood or Old School that are false gods and idols that should be avoided in the tourney at all costs! (or you should AT LEAST consider picking them to lose when the opportunity presents itself!)

  1. Gonzaga – (WCC Conference)  Ever since The Zags “Shocked” the world and advanced to the elite 8 in 1998-99 as a 10-Seed, they’ve been an upset darling for Bracket Pickers all over the country.  Only problem is, they’ve since earned the respect of the hoops community and they get much higher seeding as a result, but have never made a Final 4.  I’ve seen the Zags play this season.  I know you CANNOT put all your picking eggs into one game.  But the game I saw convinced me that this is not Mark Few’s best team that he’s ever had.  I’m going to contradict myself as they have an extremely high BPI/Kenpom rank, but based on the visuals and the quality of their opponents, I will be looking to hop off the Zaga train early this season…As early as the 2nd round of 32, depending on the match-up.  For sure scrutinize the Sweet 16 opponent when you get to that decision…
  2. Virginia – (ACC) possibly the most overrated team in the tourney (if not the country at this point), IMHO.  Virginia started out on fire this season, but has taken a dive in the last 4 games.  I tuned into Monday night’s Miami-Virginia game and gleaned WAY TOO MUCH information on exactly how bad Virginia is (on offense).  Granted, they’re playing like beasts on the defensive side of the ball, but they can’t score for crap (right now).  They are scoring 0.85 Points per Possession in the last 4 games.  That’s the exact BOTTOM of the ACC right now.  And they just don’t look good on offense.  I know things can turn around quickly in hoops, but when I’m looking for momentum teams heading into March, Virginia does NOT fall into that category.  1st or 2nd round upset would be an easy pick here….But I may revisit this one after the ACC Tourney.
  3. Kentucky – (SEC) I shouldn’t say this, and I’ve learned my lesson about betting against Calipari in March.  But this is NOT a great Kentucky team.  They play down to the level of their competition and go long streaks without scoring.  Still, they’re the cream of the crop in the SEC and Calipari knows how to get to the FF.  But if I see a shaky match-up in the 64-team bracket, I’ll be looking or an early exit by the Wildcats….
  4. Saint Mary’sThe Gaels have only lost to Gonzaga and UTA, but they lost both times and they didn’t look that formidable in the loss that I tuned in for (I obviously have a bit of a bias AGAINST the WCC).  Also – They lost to University of Texas Arlington (UTA) early in the season.  Again, they have a high BPI/Kenpom, but I could easily be swayed if they come in as a 5-Seed where they’re projected to be one of my 12-5 upset picks….Depending on the match-up.

Also Considered:  Kansas.  Kansas is kind of a mess (both on and off the court) and while I respect Coach Self, this team has problems.  And Kansas has “Exiting in the First Weekend” Issues.  I’m sure the committee will give them an easy road, but I could be easily persuaded with statistical evidence to jump off the Jayhawks bandwagon when the time comes. 

MAJOR CONFERENCE Teams that will be High-Seeded Difficult OUTS!!!

  1.  Minnesota – I know Michigan just played them and there was a ton of fouls that shouldn’t have been called, but Minnesota could be an 8 or 9 seed that might upset a 1 seed, depending on the match-up.  If they sneak in as a 7-Seed, that would also make for an interesting 2nd round game against whatever 2-Seed they might face. 
  2. Michigan – IF THEY GET IN.  I know I’m putting the cart before the horse here, but I do think Michigan slips into the field of 64. And I’ve written enough about them so you all know what I’m thinking at this point, anyway…But as an 8-9 or 10-Seed, I think Michigan can do damage to higher seeds…Or at least give them headaches.
  3. USC – IF THEY GET IN.  This is a team I saw early against UCLA (where they won) and I came away very impressed.  Unfortunately, the PAC 12 grind has caught up with this middling, height challenged team and they were subsequently DESTROYED by UCLA, but again, they have good guard play and can easily get on a roll.  And let’s not forget that former FGC Coach Andy Enfeld’s wife Amanda was a “Hot Seat Mascot of the Week”

    and maybe I think that has something to do with what they might be able to pull off in the tourney….
  4. Syracuse – IF THEY GET IN.  I hate to write this as, at this point in time, but I really do believe that Syracuse is OUT OF THE TOURNEY!  Which in reality means that the BFF (Affectionately known to the readers of this blog as the “Boeheim Fuck Factor”) is in full effect. The Orange will probably make it in, have enough talent to make a run as a 12-Seed against whatever 5 they face, and somehow get to the Sweet 16.  You’ve been warned:  After being the first 10-Seed ever to make the Final 4 (in 2015), The BFF is real.  Deal with it.

Also considered: 

K-State – I wanted to put them in, but they went on a 3-game slide after losing a close rivalry game to Kansas (which I watched and came away impressed).  However, they barely squeaked by Texas to get back to winning and I would probably treat K-State very Chalky at this point when it comes to tourney picks…

Georgia - This is a pretty good team that has lost a lot of close games to the top heavy SEC where they lucked out and had to play everybody twice.  With the loss of their leading scorer (Monte Teyam) I doubt they make the tourney at this point but they would have been a nice upset pick …

Mid-Major Dark Horses That You Need To Be Aware Of  

This is the section where I try to call out the previously unknown but make a lot of March Noise George Masons, Butlers, Middle Tennessee State U’s, and Florida Gulf Coasts of the world!

  1. Cincinnati – While not EXACTLY under the radar, the Bearcats are always a tough out and have enough weapons on offense to make a deep run, in my opinion.   I watched them play and blow out South Florida and that was no competition. Depending on their seed, Cinci will be another in vogue pick to make the Sweet 16.  If they get the 4-Seed, It’ll be very tempting indeed.  IF they get the 5-Seed, the road will be a little trickier….
  2. Akron – A solid, gritty team that is not an unknown to a lot of March Madness experts and novices alike, but they are kind of a sleeper they may become an oft talked about upset pick depending on their seed and match-up.   
  3. Marquette IF THEY MAKE IT IN.  Marquette has some great wins on their resume, but they were also destroyed by a hot shooting Michigan team early in the season. Still, they beat Villanova (that’s worth something) and you’ll hear every pundit talking about these guys like they are the best kept secret of the tourney.  Very high RPI (81!!!) but better BPI and Kenpom ranking.  Beware the opponent and choose wisely with the Golden Eagles. 
  4. UTA  (Sun Belt) IF THEY MAKE IT IN.  This is a team I have NOT SEEN PLAY, but I’ve read and heard things…This is a pretty good Mid-Major that has owned some teams early (but lost) and needs to win their conference to get to the dance.  IF they get in, I’ll get you more details….

Tourney Coaches You Should Never Bet Against    

Ranked by EXPECTED WINNING PERCENTAGE based on Seeding expectation. This is a stat that looks at more than winning percentage in the NCAA Tourney. It actually looks at your seeding and whether or not you over or underachieve based on that seeding.   In other words, depending on your Seed, you have a projected win percentage.  A 16-Seed has a 0 wins expectation factored into their percentage and a 1-Seed has 4 wins expected factored into their percentage that count as additional appearances.   If you’re a 2-seed, the expectation would be 3.5, for a 3 seed 3.25, and a 4-Seed, 3 wins on down to the 16-Seed.  Everything after 4 wins in any tournament for any Seed is gravy (meaning if you were a total overachiever, you could be over 100% winning percentage!).  Michigan’s Beilein has one of highest percentages due to upsets (from being ranked a lower seed) and his Championship run in 2013.  Coach K has a lower winning percentage than what you’ll see for his “Tourney Record Percentage” (around 86%) due to the fact that he was upset as a high seed many times.  Vice Versa for a coach that doesn’t get there a lot, but makes the most of it. 

EXAMPLE:  Steve Fisher was at 185% with this stat!!!

When he won every game in 1989!!!  (6 wins out of the expected 3.25 wins when Michigan was a 3-Seed!)

  1. I’ve already mentioned him: Michigan’s Beilein (76.5%) is one of the winningest NCAA Tourney Coaches by Expected Winning Percentage when factoring in Seeding!
  2. Krzyzewski (74%) – How do I remember how to spell that name?  Easy.  Krazy Zewski.  Take out the “a” and you’ve got it!  You’re welcome.  Coach “K” is another coach you really shouldn’t bet against in the tourney and that’s partly due to his Final 4 appearances and NCAA Championships. 
  3. Calipari (74%) – Already mentioned, but his expected wins vs. his results is also offset by his multiple Final 4’s and Championships.  I believe the website I use also looks at the vacated appearances, because, let’s face it:  He’s probably still cheating at Kentucky….
  4. Roy Williams – (71%)  I can’t pick Roy Williams to win…Anything.  But his UNC Tarheels are poised to win the ACC and will end up with the ACC Tourney 1-Seed and a 1-Seed overall in the field of 64.  That DOESN’T MEAN I like UNC at this point.  When shit happens to you like what happened in the NCAA Championship last year against Villanova…Well, You’re Jinxed.  Just sayin’…..

General Observations (I will be repeating these and more stuff like this A LOT as we get closer to Tourney Time):

  1. Nationally, the B1G gets “ZERO” Respect when Sparty and the Hoosiers suck.  Don’t let that fool you come tourney time!  Wiscy is Wiscy and Purdue is Purdue this season.  Maryland will also be a pain and difficult to beat.  Sort of like when the MMPG (along with everybody else)  dissed the Beast last season and Villanova wins the whole thing, I would NOT BE SURPRISED to see a B1G Final Four team this season (depending on seeding).  Advice:  Two Brackets – One B1G Centric and One with whatever everyone else will be doing.  Actually, that’s never bad advice. If you believe there’s a conference that’s unusually strong, lean towards a conference in 1 bracket.  Last year:  the ACC for example….
  2. While I was sort of right on the Beast last season (everyone but Villanova was OUT after the first weekend), the ACC is giving me the same feelings this season.  The top is strong, but the rest…I dunno.  (Although the ACC did get 6 teams to the Sweet 16 last season!)
  3. Last Season (first time ever), 9(x3), 10(x2), 11(x3!), 12(x2), 13, 14, and 15-Seeds (THANKS AGAIN Middle Tennessee State!!!) won games.  Keep that in mind when filling out your brackets, but know that picking 13,14, and 15 seeds will always be against the oddsbut if you can pick your 9-12 seeds correctly (with the upsets last season prevailing), you’re going to have an edge on the field. And Don’t Forget: two years ago in 2015, TWO 14-Seeds made it to the Sweet 16!!!
  4. The Big 12 is also quite top heavy and if they get 6-7 in, I don’t expect any more than 3 to the round of 32.  Less to the Sweet-16.

So, that’s enough before we actually see brackets unless I see a game that I think you should know about.