Getting the March Madness itch? Selected members of the media gathered in Indianapolis Friday to get a feel for what it is like as a member of the selection committee. Let’s take a quick look at the simulated bracket that they released today.
The first round, which most know as the first four in Dayton include Alabama/Illinois and Seton Hall/Arizona as well as UTSA/Southeast Missouri State and Mississippi Valley/Stony Brook. The first two match-ups are the only two that seem like they would be good games.
Your number one seeds: Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri, Syracuse.
In the South Region Kentucky is on the top line. This is the region that would be one to watch if this was the actual bracket. Other teams in the region include Louisville, North Carolina, Baylor and Wisconsin. A Louisville/Davidson match-up makes for a fun start to this region.
Syracuse claims the one seed in the East Region. This region has some match-ups that could be some of the best in the entire tournament. 8 Memphis/9 Purdue, 6 Vanderbilt/11 Texas, 7 Murray State/10 Connecticut. Other teams in this region include Duke and Indiana.
Ohio State is the leader in the West Region. Some of the teams that would try to advance to New Orleans include West Virginia, Iowa State, Florida, UNLV, Georgetown and Kansas. The first match-up in this region would be a classic 8/9 seed battle between West Virginia and Iowa State.
Finally in the Midwest Region Missouri is on the top line. Some of the other teams in this region include St. Mary’s, Florida State, Michigan, Xavier, Marquette and Michigan State.
Yet again the Big East led all of the Conferences with 8 bids. The Big Ten had 7 teams and Big 12 had 6 in the dance.
Now we just have to wait for the real bracket to be revealed. 2012 Media Mock Bracket
Here is a quick look at a game each day this week that may catch your attention.
Monday: Syracuse @ Louisville (7pm ESPN) – ESPN’s Big Monday crew rolls into town with Louisville off a win at West Virginia, and Syracuse comes into the KFC Yum! Center with a five game winning streak.
Tuesday: Buffalo at Kent St. (7pm ESPN Full Court) – 2nd and 3rd place in the MAC East Division take the court in a Valentine’s Night game. The Bulls won by one point when these teams met January 7th.
Wednesday: Missouri St. at Wichita St. (8pm ESPN Full Court) – 1st place Shockers host 3rd place Missouri St., the Shockers took the previous match-up at the start of the month by seven.
Thursday: Wisconsin at Michigan St. (7pm ESPN) – 2nd and 3rdin the Big Ten, the Spartans won by three in Overtime last month in Madison.
Friday: Northern Iowa at VCU (7pm ESPN2) – The kickoff game of this years BracketBusters event, two teams that have been busting brackets in March make for a great start to the 10th year of the BracketBusters series.
Saturday: St. Mary’s at Murray State (6pm ESPN2) – The match-up that everyone wanted in BracketBusters. This game should still be a great game even without the Racers being undefeated, plus Dick Vitale is calling the game, should be a great atmosphere.
Sunday: Michigan State at Purdue (1pm CBS) – The Boilermakers get a shot to get a quality win over the Spartans under the lights of CBS.
Here is a quick look at some headlines from those conferences that you may not follow.
Georgia Southern has gone from one league win last season, to nine SoCon wins at this point this season.
Chattanooga Senior Ricky Taylor is 8th on the Division I scoring list, he needs just two points to move to 6th
The Citadel is struggling to find a lineup that works for them; they have had eight different starting lineups with Mike Groselle being the only player in all of the lineups.
Akron has started 8-1 in the Conference and is ties for their 3rd best start ever; the Zips have won 12 of the last 13 in MAC play.
Buffalo ranks 3rd in the country in rebounding (41.6 rebounds per game) and are on a six game winning streak.
Murray State is still the lone undefeated team in the nation (23-0), and the only team undefeated in true road games (10-0), Cleveland State has the most road wins with 11.
The Racers have the programs highest rankings ever (7 in Coaches Poll, 9 in AP), they are the first OVC
team to be in the Top 10 since the 1970-71 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The 23 wins is the longest streak ever for any OVC school.
In the win of SIUE, Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy scored a school record 50 points. He was the first 50 point scorer in the OVC since 1991-92.
Kansas and Missouri will meet for the 266th time tonight (Kansas leads the series 171-94, and have won the last 5 meetings), a rivalry that dates back to 1907, but we may be the seeing last meeting in Columbia, because Missouri will be joining the SEC next season.
As if this game didn’t need any extra meaning, 1st place in the Big 12 is on the line, (Kansas sits on top at 8-1, Missouri is tied with Baylor at 7-2). This will be the 16th time that both teams have tipped-off while ranked in the Top 25, the Jayhawks are 9-6 in that situation, this will be the 3rd time both teams have been in the top 5, and the have Tigers won the previous two meetings.
In all of the meetings, 142 games have been within single digits when the final horn has sounded. 85 of those games have been within 5 points.
Tonight’s game has the setup to be one to remember, as will the game in Lawrence on February 25th. Hopefully both schools can reach an agreement to continue this rivalry not just for their fans but all basketball fans.
By now we all know the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers were the last to run the table (32-0).
Is there any surprise that the last undefeated team this season in Division I is from Kentucky and they wear the color blue? Not Kentucky Wildcat blue, Murray State Racer blue. The Racers have the best start to a season ever by an OVC team, as well as their 25th straight winning season (tied with UConn only trailing Syracuse, Kansas and Arizona) Now the question, will this be the season that we have the next team that runs the table?
On paper Murray State has a great shot, especially since leading rebounder Ivan Aska has returned to the lineup after breaking his hand December 30th. Let’s look at the rest of the Conference schedule.
Four road games – the team with the highest PRI of the four would be Tennessee Tech (RealtimeRPI of 180). When they played earlier this year the Racers won by 8. For the home games, the toughest test based on RPI appears to be Austin Peay (Racers won by 12 last time out).
That leaves us with one game to look at, the match-up that every basketball fan wanted for ESPN BracketBusters. St. Mary’s at Murray State. The Gaels will fly to Kentucky with a RPI Rank of 18, SOS of 115; their two losses, at Denver and vs Baylor (in Las Vegas). Both teams play on Wednesday of that weekend, so no extra time to prepare for either team, Murray State will be returning from Southeast Missouri (who they defeated February 2 at home despite trailing at the half), St. Mary’s will be flying in from a home game. There is no doubt that this will be the most talked about and most watched game, probably the best match-up in BracketBusters history.
Now let’s talk seeding. RPI of 34 (and falling), SOS 236 (ouch, thanks OVC!), quality wins: Southern Miss (RPI 9) Dayton (73) at Memphis (25). Current ESPN Bracketology has the Racers as a 6 seed, playing St. Louis in Columbus. CBS is projecting the Racers as a 3 seed in Nashville against Iowa State.
How has a 6 seed done in the tournament you ask. If they obtain a 6 seed, they have a better chance than as a 7 seed (never advanced to the Final Four). 3 teams have made it to the Final Four as a 6, same for the 8 seed (the 1985 Villanova team won the championship as an 8 seed, the lowest seed to ever cut down the nets). Since 1985, the 3 seed has taken home the trophy three times.
Can they run the table, yes they can, any thing can happen. Will they? That is something we will have to wait and find out, and it should be fun to watch.