Today’s task is simple: which top seeds could end up torching their NCAA men’s tournament bracket? These are pieces of equipment you should be very careful with before you write them on your Yahoo Group Fantasy Tourney Pick’Em. I’ll give you a warning team for each region.
Duke (Seed No. 2, West)
The overall problem for Duke is that they’re in the Gonzaga region, and the Bulldogs are the obvious favorites to win it all. But I’m not sure the Blue Devils will make it to that matchup. Perhaps the pressure of playing in Coach K’s last season has been a burden for this group. How do you lose to North Carolina in mike krzyzewskiThe end of the Cameron Indoor Stadium? Virginia Tech was a late story, but Duke didn’t look good during a crushing loss in the ACC Tournament Final.
Duke is simply number 12 overall in the KenPom performance rankings, perhaps the second seed was charitable. It is a young team. Duke doesn’t get many easy baskets, rarely turns around an opponent, and doesn’t even rank in the Top 100 in offensive efficiency. Don’t fall in love with brands. If you want to see Duke win at the end of the tournament, go watch Christian Laettner 30 of 30 again.
Tennessee (No. 3 seed, South)
I know, they’re a lovely team right now. They prevailed in the SEC Tournament. They could easily have been in the No. 2 line. There’s NBA talent here.
and there is also rick barnes, Mr. Mediocre in the NCAA Tournament. He’s 24 up, 24 down at the dance. This is the coach who had Player of the Year Kevin Durant on a talented Texas team and somehow lost ten games. Remember how Oregon State knocked out a talented Volunteers team last year, Round 1?
I’m not saying Tennessee has to get out so fast this time, mind you. they defend. They are 92 percent away from beating Longwood, according to the invaluable analysis site KenPom.com. But I’m concerned about how much this team relies on the 3-point shot, and I’m concerned about the tendency to turn the ball over at times. And I don’t trust Barnes this time of year.
And even if the Volunteers do come to a matchup with Villanova, that’s a bad draw for them. It was months ago, but the Wildcats beat them by 18 points earlier in the season.
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Purdue (Seed No. 3, East)
About five weeks ago, I loved this team. I wanted to put it in an afghan, make it soup. But the Boilermakers stumbled to a 6-4 finish, exposing some flaws. Defense is inconsistent, opponents get too many open stares. Not a good free throw shooting team.
Purdue also fell into a tough spot; it should beat Yale, but Texas or Virginia Tech look like juicy, pesky candidates in the next round. I don’t have Purdue coming in the second week.
Providence (Seed No. 4, Midwest)
Advance disclosure, this is where I signed up. This is my school. And sometimes I’ve wondered if I’m being too tough on the teams I care about, if I’m so worried about appearing biased that I veer too far in the other direction.
Providence was easy to love this year. Experienced team, without ego, cohesive. Head coach Ed Cooley is the guy you wish you had, a combination of emotion and intelligence. When Providence sat first at the KenPom lucky table, that’s one way of saying you’re winning too many close games, I shrugged. This team has multiple ball handlers and guys who take free throws when it matters, especially the closer, Al Durham. Sometimes you make your own luck.
I didn’t worry too much when Creighton dominated the Friars in the Big East Tournament: Providence had to play offside. But the PC giveaway in the Midwest made me want to throw up. South Dakota State is on a 21-game winning streak and is the best 3-point team in the country. Providence is a modest favorite despite a nine-seed seeding disparity. And if the Friars survive, Iowa will likely call next, an unseeded No. 5 issue. The committee obviously didn’t give the Hawkeyes much credit, if any credit, for winning the Big Ten Tournament. Keegan Murray must not stop.
My heart wants what my heart wants. I will support Providence as long as they live. But this is a draw from hell.