Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Early Bracket-Busters

By Paul Foeller

Every year after Selection Sunday, the second-guessing of the Selection Committee's decisions begins for fans everywhere. It's so much fun, I just couldn't wait any longer, and compiled a list of teams that will be ranked too high or too low in a couple weeks.

Teams That Will Be Seeded Too High

Duke Blue Devils

They have a virtually identical record within their conference as the Michigan Wolverines do in the Big Ten, with the added caveat that the ACC is not even in the same stratosphere as the Big Ten in the category of top-to-bottom talent. So it's weird to think that Duke will almost certainly be seeded two spots higher than Michigan. The reason? Just because they're Duke — that's all — no other logical argument exists.

Creighton Blue Jays

The MVC tournament champions seem like a sexy pick to be a sleeper team in the coming weeks, but don't be fooled. They've only played 8 games away from home against teams over .500, and gone only 5-3 in those games — and 1-2 in the last month. They'll probably end up with 7 or 8 seed, and depending on the 9 or 10 seed they face, could very easily be bounced in the first round of the tournament. If they're pitted against a truly quality opponent on the opening weekend, make sure you're not caught scribbling down Creighton for a win.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are always thought of as a good pick in March, and usually for good reason. But this year's team is 0-2 against quality opponents when playing away from home. There's not much to say here except they just don't have what it takes this year.

Teams That Will Be Seeded Too Low

Murray State Racers

The Racers are simply as good as their record would indicate. The 30-1 team has played two ranked teams this year — one on the road — and won both times. They can play both up-tempo and half-court styles when they need to, and can absolutely shoot lights out when their backs are against the wall. They've proven in the past to be a resilient bunch in the tournament, and don't expect anything different this year. If they're seeded below 4, you may want to pencil them in for a "surprise" Sweet 16 bid.

Wichita State Shockers

The regular season MVC champs may have suffered a setback in their conference tournament, but that has been the exception rather than the rule for a team that has gone 6-1 in road games against winning teams this year. With a seven-foot center and a guard shooting 50% from three-point range on the year, this is a team that — when they play to their potential — is not limited in how far they can go in the tournament.

Kansas State Wildcats

They could easily end up getting knocked out early, but with 3 wins against top-10 teams this year, the Wildcats have proven that they can beat the best teams in the nation. With that as the case, the fact that they're probably looking at either an 8- or 9-seed means two tournaments wins should be less surprising than it would otherwise be. If you're looking for one if the middle seeds that always seems to make noise in the tournament, you might not need to look any further than Kansas State.

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