Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NCAA Bracket Sleepers

Hello all,

Normally, I stick to football. With March Madness approaching, many have asked me to do a post about who are good sleepers in the tournament. Here are just a few of my suggestions- sorry if they don't end up working out.

St. Louis (4th seed in midwest)-
I know the 4th seed doesn't seem like much of a "sleeper" pick but with a top heavy bracket, I think St. Louis qualifies. Also, it's ST. LOUIS! This team qualifies for a sleeper for being a relatively unknown team. The Billikens have a 27-6 record, which is good in itself. It is more impressive when you consider their 13-3, first place record in the Atlantic Ten. Nine out of those 10 teams earned postseason bids, which is an NCAA record. And, they are hot right now- 15-1 over their last 16 games. They also have a very good mix of tough defense and effective offense, allowing only 62.4 ppg and scoring 72.4. That's a double digit point differential, which is hard to do in a small program. So, lets review: St. Louis is a small, effective, under the radar team which plays in a difficult conference. That is the very definition of a sleeper! And, they have a relatively easy schedule. They play New Mexico and then either an overrated Oklahoma State team or an underachieving Oregon. I think they will make it to at least the sweet 16. The question is, can they beat Louisville?

Arizona (6th in the west)-
A 6th seed is also not a traditional sleeper, but Arizona is a team that is easy to overlook. They were 25-7 and 12-6 in the PAC 12 and certainly have the depth of a big team to do better. Their schedule starts off difficultly off the bat, against an underrated Belmont team and then a very difficult Ohio State team (probably.) However, Arizona could end up going very far depending on one player: Mark Lyons. When Lyons, a transfer from Xavier, was playing well the Wildcats were 14-0! He seemed to get lazy, content, and the Wildcats struggled. He has been pretty vocal recently as to why he needs to step up his game. I think this team has the potential to go TO THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP. Like I said, they have depth and are, possibly, the best defensive team in the game. With a weak west division, Arizona could do it.

Davidson (14th seed in the east)-
This is a very deep sleeper and is just kind of a guess. Davidson is an intense team that feeds off of the Cinderella pride. They were 26-7 but 17-1 in their division (given a rather weaker one.) When Jake Cohen plays well and Gardner playing NBA level defense, this team has a shot to make it deep into the east. I don't think they can beat Miami, and it will be tough against Butler. But, Marquette? The same Maquette that is 7-8 away from home? That shows much more mental weakness that physical ability. The former is where Davidson is the strongest.

Now, here are some FAQ's: 

Brian, who will win it all?
Miami- most balanced and experience team.

Who will be the first #1 seed to fall?
Gonzaga- their record is misleading, sos is 75th in the nation.

Missouri or Colorado State?
This is the matchup that most people have asked about- I'll take Missouri.

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