Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More GOLD and Ink to Stone!


For the UPSET LOVERS, tomorrows first three scheduled games are:

Notre Dame – Princeton               12:15

Virginia – UNCW                             12:40

Butler – Winthrop                           1:30

Could we have 3 HUGE UPSETS in the first 3 Games of the day????


So, once again, lots of good feedback and some things I need to reconsider:

Virginia Sucks…and UNCW was THIS CLOSE to beating Duke last year...Well, yeah, I kind of know that Virginia sucks and I knew it about a month ago (go back and read the blog entry for what I thought about a team only averaging 0.85 points per possession!!!).  But they’re a little better on Offense now.  Not a lot, just better. (how could you get any worse, right?)  I know they were on a 5 game skid and limped into the conference tourney and got beat by the undersized over-achieving Domers….I know all that.  But do I THINK that UNC Wilmington is good enough to beat them?  That’s the question.  UNCW returns all the starters that almost beat Duke….I guarantee that Virginia KNOWS that UNCW almost beat Duke last year and they are preparing for this game with that knowledge.  You can’t take every upset that looks good on paper.  SOME of them DON’T happen and the higher seeded team actually wins!  That’s why I was thinking the trendy pick would be UNCW and the not so trendy and larger separator from the field is the Nevada over Iowa State (I don’t necessarily trust the Big iiX in basketball, hence the pick).  So I think I’m leaning towards a hot Nevada team and shying away from UNCW.  Put it another way:  EVERYONE is picking UNCW.  If I take Virginia, (or you) you might separate yourself more from the field if the chalk holds.  If you take NEVADA, nobody is picking that one and I think there’s just as good a chance to see that upset….Just saying. 

Florida is not good right now.  This too, I know.  Which is why ETSU was thrown out there as a potential 13-4 upset.  But again, sometimes the higher seeds win.  And Florida did lose a bunch of games to Vandy – inexplicably – and I’m questioning the SEC as a whole.  I suppose I could be talked out of my Winthrop pick over Baylor, but I don’t want to flood my bracket with upsets…Again, which chalk line do you think is going to win?

Xavier is riding in on Fumes….Looked at the Maryland-Xavier match-up again.  Thank you for that tip and you’re right.  I really hadn’t looked at Xavier, but now see that they lost quite a few of their last games (and have an injury) leading up to the NCAA’s and Maryland should be able to beat these guys….Interesting.

I think you like Wichita State too much….Maybe.  I know I have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Greg Marshall and the Shockers.  I think they’re a good team but I didn’t see them play a game this season, but I know Gregg’s style and it seems like the Shockers will be motivated and playing with their hair on fire.  Dayton is actually a pretty good team in their own right and have some quality wins under their belt…Still, the Shockers I think are better than that.  But Kentucky might be too much for them.

Winthrop?  Seriously?  Well, yeah.  Look – I like point guard play and they have a great one.  I think.  No, I haven’t seen them play.  Either way, my thinking is Butler still loses to MTSU.  Why not ride an early upset?

2015 Didn’t Have ANY 12-5 upsets.   Yes.  Thanks for reminding me.  Some years, the 12-5’s are obvious.  Other years, you’re searching for them.  I may just take one this year and focus on the 13-4 problems I see….

Oregon - Rhode Island is kind of an important decision, isn’t it?  Yeah, it really is.  AS is the Michigan/Okie state vs. Louisville.  Any of those 3 could make it past RI or Oregon and make it to the FF.  I really don’t like Louisville that much and there are times when they just check out.  In all the games I saw this season, I saw them check-out, but I know they won some big games. 

The Brackets –Ink to Stone

The General Guidelines for your 2017 Bracket picks.  This is the GOLD…The INFORMATION that may make or break that bracket…Stuff you might have to pay other people and experts for the MMPG is giving away for FREE!!!!

  1. Never, EVER pick a 16 over a 1 or a 15 over a 2-Seed.  Just doesn’t happen that often.  But South Dakota State (+22.5) might give the Zags match-up problems in the 1st round as they have a Super Point Guard (Mike Caum) that averages over 25 points per game!!!  Lest we forget, Sparty was a 15 point favorite last year vs. MTSU…Just saying…
  2. 14 Seeds have had some success over the years.  ONE 14-Seed upset pick may be okay for your bracket, but you’re giving up a 3-Seed for the rest of the tourney. 
  3. Better to ride an 11-Seed against a 3-Seed in the 2nd round if you do not like that particular 3-Seed.  This Seasons best 11-Seeds to take:  Rhode Island and Xavier.
  4. 13-Seeds have also enjoyed some recent success.  This season’s 13-Seeds (listed in order by Kenpom Strength):  Vermont (KP 63), ETSU (KP 64), Bucknell (KP 80), and Winthrop (KP 112).  Meaning that if you want the BEST 13-4 upset, take Vermont over Purdue.  However, the 13-4 upsets of the past have not been the best Kenpom ranked team.  Vermont and Bucknell are more team oriented (put it this way – lots of white guys) and spread the ball around to a lot of players that score.  I like point guards in March in the Dance.  (Think of that kid Steph Curry that played for Davidson that made a run that one year).  Winthrop has a great point guard (Keon Johnson) that averages 22.5/game.  He is going to give Butler fits.  I think that might be the 13-4 to focus on….ETSU is the next on my list with another guard (T. J. Cromer) that’s averaging 19.1 points a game and might be a lot for Florida to handle. 
  5.  You have to have TWO 12-5 Picks.  Over the last 10 years, the 12-Seed is 20-20 against the 5-Seeds.  Exactly 50% win rate!!  Some seasons you get three 12-5 Upsets, others only 1, but you more or less have to pick two. When in doubt, always go with a low point spread and a team with a better than their KenPom rank Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (AOE).  And look at the Point Guards!!! This Season, MTSU (KP48 AOE 55)  vs. Minnesota and Nevada (KP 55  AOE 34) vs. red hot Iowa State seem to be the lowest point spreads.  Nevada has a super PG in Marcus Marshall averaging 19 and change a game, which is another reason to like Nevada.  The other 12-Seeds Princeton (KP 59 OAE – 84, yuck) and UNC Wilmington (KP 60, AOE 18) are very tempting, but be careful.  UNCW is playing the number 1 ranked DEFENSE of Virginia and Princeton is playing the Domers….
  6. We’ve already talked about the 11 Seeds with Rhode Island and Xavier.  The only 11 Seed I’m taking to the Sweet 16 is pre-Season top 25 ranked Rhode Island. 
  7. 7-10 Seeds, kind of like 12-5 Seeds, are a coin flip.  Take who you like and keep your fingers crossed.  9-Seeds hold a slight edge over 8-Seeds for the last 10 years if that helps.  Again, can’t make a decision?  Look at individual stats and go with anyone that has good guard play… 
  8. Most OVERSEEDED Teams by Computer Rank in this Year’s Tourney – when compared to final Kenpom and Sagarin Stats and where they would have been seeded straight up (HT to
    1. #6 Maryland – should have been a 10-Seed.  MMPG – Agree.  Avoid Maryland going too deep….
    2. #2 Arizona – should have been a 6-Seed.  MMPG – I dunno…Wait, I DISAGREE!!!  This is a little misleading.  The AZ PG (Trier) that had to sit out half the season is back and is on fire.  So, half the season stats for AZ are skewed…  I like Arizona still to win that bracket. 
    3. #5-Seed Minnesota – Should have been a 9-Seed.  MMPG – Agree…or even lower based on how they finished the season?
    4. #4 Butler – Should have been a 7-Seed.  Hence the reason for me liking Winthrop so much…Or at least riding MTSU to the Sweet 16.  The MTSU to the Sweet 16 is kind of a no-brainer for me at this point.  MTSU was one of the more UNDERSEEDED teams (should have been 10)
    5. #7 Seed Dayton – Should have been a 10-Seed.  MMPG – Agree.  Even more reason to take Witchy State.  Actually, probably just flip the seeds on those two and everything’s fine!
    6. #9 Seed Seton Hall – Should have been 11-Seed.  This is tricky because I thought Arkansas was way-overseeded, but they appear (stats only) to be seeded correctly.  Seton Hall still a slight dog to Arkansas (-1) so flip your coin….
    7. #3 Seed FSU – Should have been a 5-Seed.  MMPG – Agree.  The way FSU finished the season and losing 6 of their last 13 was not a good look after starting out 18-2.  I thought they were a better team, but the ACC has proven that not to necessarily be the case.  I still think they’re good enough to beat FGCU, but if you want that upset based on this evidence…by all means pick it.  Looking at the West bracket, you have three of the most over-seeded teams (FSU, Arizona and Maryland) coming out of the same bracket.  Again, I think AZ is a little misleading, but Gonzaga got a pretty easy road to a FF, assuming they make it to the regional final.  Still, I think I’m going AZ in the FF.
  9. MOST UNDERSEEDED Teams by Computer Rank:  take the same analysis and flip it to figure out who might surprise as a lower seeded team. 
    1. #10 Wichita State  - Should be a 3-Seed.  MMPG:  Maybe NOT QUITE a 3-Seed, but they should be higher….I’m still debating about the Witchy State Kentucky pick…But leaning towards Kentucky right now.
    2. #11 Seed K-State – The Wake/K-State Winner should be a 9-Seed.  MMPG:  Eh.  Whatever.  I think Cinci has the firepower to handle K-State and did not come away from last night’s game that impressed with K-State.
    3. #10-Seed Okie State – Should be a 7-Seed.  MMPG:  Haven’t I kind of been saying this all along?  Michigan and Okie state will be in a dog fight…. FYI:  Michigan, by computer, should have only been on the 6-Seed line, for what it’s worth
    4. #4-Seed WVU and #10-Seed Marquette (tie).   Should have each been 2 seeds higher.  WVU 2-Seed and Marquette 8-Seed.  MMPG:  Sort of, kind of agree?  But again, I DON’T TRUST THE Big iiX nor do I trust the BEAST.  Careful how you used this information…

Okay…I’m done.  Spent…I can’t process any more information and my brain is full.  Time to start watching games and drowning sorrows for picks gone wrong….

Here’s the bracket.  The crazy MMPG one with Michigan winning the whole thing!!!!  The Sane Bracket I will post upon request (assuming it actually wins any money….)





Final Four

Arizona prevails over a feisty Duke and Michigan hangs on against UNC for an Arizona Michigan Final that nobody sees coming….Michigan pulls off the final piece of the miracle season and cuts down the nets in Phoenix.

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