Conventional Wisdom - Sweet 16

by Coltrane

Source:  ESPN Tournament Challenge.  Listed below are the odds that “America” gave each team to make the Sweet 16.

Seed, Team, Odds Rank
1 Kansas – 90.3% 1
1 Kentucky – 83.9% 2
1 Syracuse – 82.7% 3
2 West Virginia – 76.1% 4
1 Duke – 73.6% 5
2 Kansas State – 62.6% 6
2 Villanova – 58.5% 7
2 Ohio State – 46.8% 8
3 Georgetown – 41.8% 9
3 Baylor – 30.6% 10
3 Pittsburgh – 25.7% 11
3 New Mexico – 13.0% 12
5 Texas A&M – 8.7% 13
9 Louisville – 8.2% 14
4 Wisconsin – 8.0% 15
6 Notre Dame – 7.6% 16
6 Tennessee – 7.0% 17
6 Marquette – 6.7% 18
4 Purdue – 6.5% 19
4 Vanderbilt – 6.5% 20
5 Butler – 5.7% 21
5 Michigan State – 4.8% 22
7 Brigham Young – 4.6% 23
6 Xavier – 4.5% 24
4 Maryland – 3.7% 25
8 Texas – 3.5% 26
8 Gonzaga – 2.9% 27
5 Temple – 2.8% 28
7 Oklahoma State – 2.1% 29
7 Richmond – 1.8% 30
10 Georgia Tech – 1.5% 31
7 Clemson – 1.5% 32
11 Washington – 1.2% 33
11 Minnesota – 1.2% 34
10 Missouri – 1.2% 35
13 Siena – 1.1% 36
8 California – 1.1% 37
10 Florida – 1.1% 38
12 Cornell – 1.0% 39
10 Saint Mary’s – 0.9% 40
9 Florida State – 0.8% 41
12 UTEP – 0.8% 42
12 Utah State – 0.6% 43
9 Wake Forest – 0.5% 44
11 San Diego State – 0.4% 45
13 Murray State – 0.4% 46
9 Northern Iowa – 0.3% 47
11 Old Dominion – 0.3% 48
8 UNLV – 0.3% 49
15 North Texas – 0.3% 50
15 Morgan State – 0.2% 51
15 UC Santa Barbara – 0.2% 52
16 Vermont – 0.2% 53
15 Robert Morris – 0.2% 54
13 Houston – 0.2% 55
16 Lehigh – 0.2% 56
16 East Tennessee State – 0.2% 57
16 AR-Pine Bluff – 0.2% 58
14 Ohio – 0.2% 59
14 Montana – 0.2% 60
12 New Mexico State – 0.1% 61
14 Oakland – 0.1% 62
13 Wofford – 0.1% 63
14 Sam Houston State – 0.1% 64

When filling out my bracket I was looking for:

1.  Teams that had guys who could create their own shot with the shot clock running down.  This could either be a quick, slashing guard or a Wally Szerbiak equivalent.

2.  Teams with experienced guards who share the ball.  Note that this is often incompatible with the first point, above.  Some teams like Texas lack a true point guard, running  combo guards out there instead.   Generally speaking I try to avoid teams with one guy who dribbles too much.

3.   Teams with good size and length (duh).  Ideally the team will have a Tyrus Thomas type, to shut down the J.J. Reddicks of the world.

4.   Teams with a high basketball IQ.  I was looking for guys who know how to play.

Teams I liked better than everyone else:

#21 Butler – They have the Szerbiak type and they’re fundamentally sound.  Good size too.

#23 BYU – I put too much faith into the spreadsheets.  Ken Pomeroy’s stats loved them.

#25 Maryland – Another Szerbiak type in Greivis Vasquez.  This one didn’t work out either.

#31 Georgia Tech, #34 Minnesota, #41 UTEP, #42 Florida State — I liked them for the same reason I liked Baylor.  They’re big, physical teams that I thought would “eat” smaller teams.

#37 California — Pac 10 Player of the Year Jerome Randle is a small guard with a great jump shot and good quickness, he can score on anyone.  They had the misfortune of running into Duke early.

#47 Northern Iowa.  A whole team of guys who know how to play.  Good size, good shooting.  I didn’t pick them to beat Kansas either.

Teams everyone else liked more than I did:

#14 Louisville — I never watched Louisville and thought that they’d succeed when the sledding got rough.  No real team identity on offense.

#16 Notre Dame — The media picks one Great White Hope every year.  This year it was Luke Harangody.  Combined with the Big East pedigree it was no surprise that they were really overrated.  It was also no real surprise that Notre Dame played just as well when Harangody was out with an injury.

#17 Tennessee, #22 Michigan State, #26 Texas — All teams built around little combo guards who dribble too much.  It’s ok to have a *big* combo guard, but little ones can be disaster when they get a long athelete harassing them.

#20 Vanderbilt — I didn’t “get” Vanderbilt.  Nobody on that team really grabbed me.

#33 Washington — After looking totally disfunctional all year the Huskies turned it on in the tournament.  Far and away my biggest surprise.

3 comments to Conventional Wisdom – Sweet 16

  • Junior Joey Jo-Jo Shabadu

    Hey – did you have Butler in the final 4? I did and I still can’t win my damn pool!

  • Coltrane

    I didn’t think Butler would be physical enough to get past either Syracuse or Kansas State. Oops.

    My current feeling is that if a team is about an 8-seed or higher they can probably match up physically with about anyone. The “brawlers” that I liked (#31 Georgia Tech, #34 Minnesota, #41 UTEP, #42 Florida State) certainly experienced a mixed bag of success this year.

  • Annie S.

    I had WV and Duke and that was enough to win my pool. Watching all those basketball games my BF watches all year, paid off this year. I even beat him.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>