ACC Basketball

NCAA Tournament | First Thoughts

Virginia

FIRST THOUGHT…

Duke gets the only one-seed, over Virginia. Some might gripe, but I won’t, as I saw it coming. Yes, the Cavaliers won the regular season title, but that means less to me now that we have unbalanced schedules. Both the Blue Devils’ non-conference SOS (39) and their conference SOS (19) were better than Virginia’s 40/61. I think the fact that the Cavaliers have lost two of three and Justin Anderson does not look close to 100% hurts them. Duke had more top-25 wins, Duke had more top-50 wins and they also have two wins over two teams seeded two or higher, including that all important road win at Virginia.

SECOND THOUGHT…

The committee stuck three ACC teams into the same conference. That kind of blows my mind. Virginia, Louisville and NC State all made it into the East. The Cavaliers are the 2-seed, the Cardinals get the 4-seed and NC State earned the 8-seed. Louisville and NC State could face off in the Sweet Sixteen.

THIRD THOUGHT…

North Carolina got the toughest region, but a lot of that has to do with the fact they would potentially need to beat both Wisconsin and Arizona to reach the Final Four. Of course many of the teams in this region are battle tested, as seven of the top eight played in their conference title game, although five of them lost it.

FOURTH THOUGHT…

While North Carolina’s region will probably be called the toughest (I just did), the team in the NCAA with the toughest road to the Final Four is Notre Dame. By earning the three-seed in the Midwest, they are the only team in the conference that will need to beat Kentucky to reach the Final Four.

FIFTH THOUGHT…

Two former Duke Blue Devils are back in the NCAA Tournament as coaches. Harvard, led by Tommy Amaker is back and gets to face an old foe, North Carolina. Of course, the Crimson beat Cincinnati last year in the NCAA Tournament and went the distance against Michigan State.

Bobby Hurley returns to the NCAA Tournament as the head coach of Buffalo. The 12-seeded Bulls will be a popular Cinderella pick against West Virginia and if they can somehow put on that slipper and reach the Sweet 16, Buffalo would face Kentucky. Everyone knows Bobby Hurley’s history with the Wildcats, but this is a team that actually led Kentucky by five at halftime earlier this season.

SIXTH THOUGHT…

NC State will face LSU in the second round, which may mean more for senior Ralston Turner only because he transferred out of LSU to join the Wolfpack. I’m not really into fate, but man, wouldn’t that suck if your college career was ended by the team you left?

SEVENTH THOUGHT…

Virginia will be facing a former teammate, as Taylor Barnette was part of the 2012 class, but transferred out. He played in 26 games in his one year as a Cavalier, starting two, hitting 58.8% of his 17 threes. He averaged 2.6 points per game, 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists. More importantly, it was his fadeaway 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining against Murray State in the OVC Championship Game that sent the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament.

EIGTH THOUGHT…

I’m not really bothered that UCLA got in over Miami. In fact, I thought Colorado St. deserved to be in more than both of them. I’m just not sure why the Bruins were 42nd on the committee’s seed list, but the Hurricanes weren’t even in their first four out?

Miami had one more win, while both teams were just 1-7 against the top-25. Both earned two wins against the top-50 and both had losing records against the top-100 (Miami was 6-8, UCLA was 6-10).

UCLA’s strength of schedule was better, 19 vs 77, but the Bruins managed just one road win against the top-100, two road wins total. The Hurricanes had four top-100 road wins, including one at Duke. Again, if UCLA was one of the last teams in and Miami was one of the last ones out, fine…but I just don’t get the disparity.

NON-ACC THOUGHTS

NO LOVE FOR THE MISSOURI VALLEY
Wichita State was only a 7-seed? I had them as a five. Northern Iowa only managed a 5-seed, despite most likely ending the season as a top-10 team.

TOO HIGH
Oregon shouldn’t be an 8-seed, Arkansas is one spot, maybe two, too high, as is Georgetown as a 4-seed. I’d probably have West Virginia one spot back and the same can be said about Louisville, but overall, not too much to complain about.

TOO LOW
As I mentioned above, both Wichita State and Northern Iowa are too low. Ohio State should have been an 8-seed and San Diego State should have been a six, not an eight. Davidson is way too low by a large margin.

NON-RESEARCHED SLEEPER PICKS

10 Dayton (after beating Boise State) over 7 Providence
Th Fryers haven’t beaten anyone good (and healthy) since early February. Dayton finished second in a underrated Atlantic 10.

10 SF Austin over 7 Utah
The Utes get a lot of Ken Pom love (currently top-10), but they haven’t beaten a top-30 team in Ken Pom’s ranking since early December. The Lumberjacks have lost just once since Thanksgiving and they have solid interior play.

13 Eastern Washington over 4 Georgetown
The nation’s leading scorer is a Eagle and Eastern Washington is 13th in field goal efficiency. The Hoyas are seeded too high and historically are good at one thing…losing way too early in the NCAA Tournament.

11 UCLA over 6 SMU
Call it karma for all the trash that was talked about them by Doug Gottlieb on the Selection Show.

16 Hampton over 1 Kentucky
Just kidding…making sure you are paying attention.

12 Buffalo over 5 West Virginia
Come on, it’s Bobby freaking Hurley, it’s a 12-seed, it’s going to be magical.

11 Texas over 6 Butler
I have to believe if the Longhorns were playing in the Big East, they would have won five more games this year. Of course this is a Rick Barnes coached team, so please don’t place any bets on this.

14 Georgia St over 3 Baylor
Kevin Ware (formally of Louisville) and Ryan Harrow (formally of NC State and Kentucky) play for the Panthers and neither of those two are this team’s best NBA prospect.

10 Ohio State over 7 VCU 
it was a nice little tournament run for the Rams, but I can’t overlook how bad they looked down the stretch. Besides, D’Angelo Russell is a Buckeye.

MY TOO-EARLY FINAL FOUR…

Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa State, Arizona

My TITLE GAME…

Virginia vs. Kentucky

MY CHAMPION

I’m not high…Kentucky Wildcats.

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