IT’S GREAT TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!
B1G Tourney CHAMPS!!!!!
In what can only be described as one of the (if NOT THE) Greatest Weekends of Michigan Basketball, the Michigan Wolverines made history by winning the B1G Tourney as the highest seed ever!!! They were a favorite to beat the Illini, but after that, they were Kenpom and Vegas DOGS against Purdue, Minnesota and Wiscy. Even the ‘ole MMPG didn’t have the guts to pick the Maize and Blue to pull off 4 wins in 4 days in Maryland’s back yard (who I thought would make the final) in the conference tourney. Only other team to pull anything like that off this season? Duke, except the dookies were not underdogs in all the games they played. More on the dookies in a minute…Derick Walton Jr. wins the Tourney MVP (deservedly so – I mean, who else was there?) and Michigan completed one of the most compelling 5 day stories in all of basketball by winning the Tourney. I know it’s way too soon for this…but should the plane run off the runway this week too?
Michigan earns a 7-Seed in the Midwest Region, making Rounds 1 & 2 a very short 5.5 hour drive down to Indy if anyone wants to catch them. Do I have a bitch (as was texted to me multiple times, so everyone gets credit), yes, I do. Michigan got hosed…A little, but upon further analysis maybe not as much as you think.
Apparently, according to the Tournament Committee Chair, jolly green giant AD Hollis, Michigan and Wiscy swapped spots with Michigan’s victory over Wiscy in the B1G Championship Game. So, Michigan would have been the 8-Seed in the East Bracket playing in Buffalo and would have had to face Villanova (last year’s NCAA Champion). In the Midwest, they have to face Louisville in Round 2, assuming they beat the Okie State Cowboys. My issue with that match-up: I was going to have Okie State as a double seeded Sleeper team that could easily make the Sweet 16 because they can SCORE!!! A lot. Okie State is the Big iiX’s Michigan, in a weird, twisted way. (OKIE State is #1 In Adj. Off. Eff. And #123 in Adj. Def. Eff.) Michigan is going to have to score early and often to beat the Cowboys – but that doesn’t seem to be an issue at the moment. Can Michigan then beat Louisville? Of all the 2-Seeds (as they are now ranked), I’m actually not terribly upset with this one. Arizona and Duke will be in my Final 4 and the other 2-Seed, Kentucky, runs so hot and cold this season that they could be a final 4 team or lose to Witchy State…And the other part of my wish – getting the Kansas bracket, came true. In fact, I like Purdue to take care of business for a possible regional final re-match between Purdue and Michigan…but I’m getting way ahead of myself.
Back to the underseeding: Lunardi’s last bracket had Michigan as high as a 6-Seed as did Palm (who got all 68 teams correct, by the way) and, apparently, per the committee, there was no way Michigan was every going to play up to the 6-seed line. Which, I dunno. I look at some of the teams on the 6-line, and I’m thinking there’s at least 2 or 3 (Maryland, Creighton and SMU – which Michigan destroyed early in the season) that Michigan could EASILY Beat right now. Again, I guess it doesn’t matter as eventually, you’re going to have to play good teams….
So, be happy!!! The way Michigan’s playing right now, you could do a lot worse than picking them as a sleeper to make some noise as a 7-Seed which kind of makes it more fun, in a weird twisted MMPG kind of way!!!
Other Bracket Bitches: Not too many this season, but if I’m a dookie and I beat UNC twice and won the ACC Tourney and I didn’t get the 1-Seed, I guess I can understand where you’d be a little pissed. I can take credit for this one, but somebody said yesterday: MSU being a 9-Seed and Wichita State being a 10-Seed ought to get the Selection Committee Chair fired. I guess we know who Hollis voted for….
The Brackets – An Early Look
I’ve watched the 3-hour March Madness Special on CBS (2x) and the BTN Bracket Special (1x) and I’ve made a few opinions from all that and derived a few of my own. Some of those clowns know what they’re talking about and others don’t have a clue. Without further ado:
Let’s analyze the East First. I’m not completely buying the SMU hype train that other pundits are jumping on. In fact, the Providence/USC winner, IMHO, has a chance to knock off the Mustangs. I know others are taking SMU all the way to the FF, but I just can’t do that. I may take the Mustangs to beat Baylor as they’ve cooled off recently and didn’t do much in the Big iiX Tourney, but then I’m off the Mustang train (again, not saying I’m picking SMU, just sayin’ – MAYBE). Baylor is the better team, but I’m cursed because I am just remembering what Baylor did to my bracket: losing to Yale last season as a 5-Seed IMMEDIATELY COMES TO MIND!!! I’m pretty much chalk in this bracket with the only exception that I have a very hot Duke beating Jay Wright’s Villanova Team in the Regional Final to get to the FF. UNC Wilmington will be a fashionable 12-5 pick, but don’t do that. Virginia will find a way to make it to the 2nd round and knock off a Florida to make the Sweet 16, only to fall to Villanova. Speaking of Florida, some are calling for ETSU to pull off the13-4 upset of center-less (injury in the SEC Tourney) Florda 9who has lost 3 out of the last 4), but I think there might – MIGHT be a better 13-4 pick out there if you’re into that sort of thing…But ETSU is definitely worth a look.
I’m calling this the Bracket of Chaos. Princeton (who hsan’t lost since before Christmas) as a 12-Seed is VERY Tempting to upset the Domers, but again, don’t do it. (Even though the IVY league rep has one a 1st round game in 4 of the last 6 seasons!) The Domers are solid and have a very good chance to make the Sweet 16. I know WVU is hot right now, but stick with the Domers as the 5-Seed Sweet 16 representative. Maryland could beat FSU, but won’t, so there’s your other Sweet 16 team. Arizona was handed a gift to get into the Sweet 16. And here’s the key: Northwestern not only makes the Dance for the first time ever, but they enter the ball in Grand Fashion by beating Vandy and upsetting Gonzaga to make the Sweet 16 in their first appearance! Arizona beats the Domers to make it into the Final 4.
Upset Specials Galore Bracket!!! Pay Attention: Everyone that’s been looking for the BEST pick for a 12-5 upset, here’s the best one going: Michigan’s adopted little brother Middle Tennessee State goes up against the now injury plagued Golden Gophers that is down to 6 players (effectively) having lost one of their leading scorers to injury on Saturday. MTSU is actually a better team this season and let’s not forget who they beat LAST year as a 15-Seed. (BTW: Vegas has an early spread out and this is a “Pick ‘Em” game). Another upset special, if you have to have a 13-4 Seed: Winthrop over Butler would put you into a class by yourself. But it’s not that crazy of a pick. The only team Butler has beaten is Villanova, and Butler looks pretty average otherwise and Winthrop is the real deal. Dakich made a comment that he likes Winthrop over Butler in that game!!! Witchy State, by unanimous agreement, was grossly under-seeded as a 10-Seed and Dayton was destroyed by Cinci in the tourney final. I know I should never go against Calipari in March, but I’m doing it anyway: Take Witchy State over Kentucky to make a Sweet 16 Appearance this season to atone for the loss they suffered to Kentucky as a 1-Seed a few years back. Another reasonable upset pick is the 9-8 with Seton Hall over way over-seeded Arkansas (should have been on the 10-line at best). Take UCLA as the 3-Seed upset over North Carolina to the Final 4. I reserve the right to change my mind on that one as I think Carolina can manage defenseless UCLA, it’s just how I feel this AM.
Jeez….I actually think Michigan got lucky with this seeding, I really do. Kansas – Beatable. Louisville – Beatable. Oregon – Also lost their top scorer (Boucher) in the Pac12 Tourney – VERY BEATABLE. And Michigan has already beaten 4-Seed Purdue twice…So how’s it all going to play out?
First, Sparty and Miami deserve each other. This is another one of those times when I think the committee says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we took two teams that have each lost 3 out of their last 4 games and pit them against each other?” Miami is probably the better misfit, but who knows. They looked lackluster in the ACC Tourney but could wake up again now that the dance is here. Otherwise, if Sparty proves to be March Ready, I still think they will go down to Jayhawks if they manage the upset over the Canes. I know Iowa State just won the Big iiX Tourney, but Nevada is only a 6-point dog and is, I think, a better team than the Cyclones. If you always need to have two 12-5 seed upset picks, this is probably your best bet for the other one after MTSU over the Gophers.
Purdue should hold serve and they will upset Kansas to make the Elite 8. On the lower half of the bracket is where things get interesting. Rhode Island could be this year’s 11-Seed to make a lot of noise and make the Sweet 16. Creighton and Oregon are banged up with leading scorers out and The Rams can easily beat those two teams. Michigan, assuming they can handle Okie-State and the Cardinals will face off against the Rams in the Sweet 16. And there I have to take Michigan winning. Why I believe Michigan can beat Louisville: Louisville hasn’t won a road game (of importance) for the entire season. That leaves us with Michigan and Purdue in a battle for the Final 4. Michigan has already beat Purdue twice. Why not 3 times?
In the end, Vegas favorite to win the whole thing, Duke proves to be too much for Arizona and Michigan pulls off the upset/re-match with UCLA. It’s a 1992 Championship Game Re-Match between the dookies and the Wolverines….And of course, the Zany MMPG has the Michigan Wolverines winning the entire enchilada!!!
Now, taking off my Michigan hat: I still think Michigan can beat Purdue but UNC might beat UCLA and is playing very good basketball right now and may prove to be too much for the Wolverines…Whatever the case, I have a weird feeling this is Duke’s year, love ‘em or hate ‘em, and Coach K will be hoisting yet another National Championship trophy with a win over UNC – for the third time this season.
There will be two brackets this year…Coming soon!!!