March Madness 1: Bold Predictions
When it comes to sports, I have little to no interest in following anything on a daily basis. I used to consider myself to be an avid Major League Soccer fan– but I have found my interest waning these last few season– to a point where I barely watched a match in 2013– though I had the online season pass account through the league. I predict my interest to increase this season, with my side DC United getting considerably stronger in the off season.
In any case, one of the sports I really dig is NCAA basketball- for a few reasons. First off, unlike other major sports, the Western NY region boasts quite a few middling programs… which gives me a little something to cheer about. Secondly, the Tournament is so random at times, that it is quite a bit of fun to load all of the plethora of statistics out there into spreadsheets– and find the dark horses before anyone else. As I said earlier, and which also applies to basketball, my interest in doing this was reduced to nothing over the last three years– the brackets I did submit were based on increasingly random guesses with each passing year.
When I do play in excel for hours, like in 2009, the brackets I came up with were between 95 to 98% accurate. 2010 I was way off target— and from that point on I was basically throwing darts at the board to come up with results.
Like with MLS, I am going to put in a little more effort to the endeavor this year. Partly because I miss heavy excel based projects at home over a few beers. Partly because Buffet is offering a billion dollars for a perfect bracket. Odds are no one will do it– but it is by far a more entertaining form of gambling for me than playing the lottery or black jack tables.
We’re about a month away from Selection Sunday– and I would like to make a few bold predictions. As my readership is relatively low right now, I might as well do it here– better than being saved in a Word Doc somewhere.
1- The SEC and ACC will get thrown a bone in bids at the expense of the Atlantic 10. By the numbers, the Atlantic 10 should get 6 bids at this point to the SECs 4 and the ACCs 5. There is no way I can see this occurring. My money is on Richmond and Saint Josephs being on the outs with an undeserving Florida St or NC St and Mississippi or LSU being added. The BOLD PREDICTION is as follows– it will be NC ST and LSU based on who is on the selection committee. Additionally the Atlantic 10 will retain 4 bids and the election committee will do nothing about propping the Big East up past the three bids they get.
2-Seeding. I think the following teams will be over seeded and struggle as a result – San Diego St, Louisville, Iowa, Memphis, UConn– and WV. Teams that will be seeded too low and that will surprise from the get go are VCU, UMass, Toledo(if they make the tourney), UCLA and New Mexico. The BOLD PREDICTION here, and one that has one of the smallest chances of occuring out of anything I say in this post, is that Toledo knocks off UConn in the round of 64. I ran the numbers two different times independent of each other, and this is one of the first round match ups that keeps coming up.
3- In the round of 32, look for Louisville and San Diego St to collapse. BOLD PREDICTION: UCLA goes deep in this tourney at the expense of San Diego St. Look for UCLA to be the darlings of the Sweet 16, making it to the Elite 8
4- From the Elite 8 forward, there are far too many variables in the preceding steps to really get a very clear picture. The BOLD PREDICTIONS that are a little clear are:
a- Wichita St exits the tourney at the Elite 8.
b- If Arizona has Kansas in the Elite 8, Kansas upsets Arizona.
c- If Arizona has anyone else, I believe they win the tourney over Florida in the final. Otherwise look for Florida-Kansas final or even potentially a Florida-Villanova final of all things. Kansas wins the former, Florida wins the later.
d- As for Syracuse– I don’t see them getting past Florida, Arizona or Kansas. The only way they get to the final is if they somehow face Villa in the final 4– it’s like a 10% chance of that specific match up there
5- Probable final 4: Arizona, Florida, Syracuse, and Kansas. BOLD PREDICTION: actual final 4 is Syracuse-Florida Kansas-Villanova with Kansas winning the championship.
6- Overall ranking of teams chances winning the Tourney are 1) Arizona 2) Kansas 3)Florida 4)Syracuse 5)Villanova 6)Wichita St 7) Duke 8)UCLA DARK HORSES (who will probably be in the Sweet 16) Wisconsin, Michigan St, Kentucky, Creighton, Cincinnati, Michigan, Saint Louis AND while we’re at it
7- The last Sweet 16 Participant will be whoever faces Louisville in the Round of 32… and that could be practically anyone. Most likely teams are Ohio St, Pitt, Memphis— and MOST interestingly, Toledo. Louisville probably beats Toledo, but not the rest– but could you imagine Toledo of all teams in the Sweet 16?