ARU: Bracket Breakdown–East
The ARU will be breaking down each portion of the bracket, giving you statistics and opinions on how you can beat everyone in your bracket tournament. The first round games will be played in Cleveland, Tampa and Charlotte, while the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 will be held in Newark, NJ.
#1 Ohio State vs. #16 Texas San Antonio/Alabama State: OSU has shot lights out this season, shooting .494: that’s good enough for 3rd best in the Nation. The Buckeyes have been outstanding in every contest throughout the season, their only losses coming on the road at Wisconsin, and Purdue (both of whom were ranked). No matter who wins the Texas San-Antonio/Alabama State game, they’ll have their hands full against what looks to be one of the best teams in the country. Expect a close game to start, but the Buckeyes depth, and overall talent should boost them to the second round, and beyond.
#8 George Mason vs. #9 Villanova: Everyone’s favorite team is back in action! This time, there will be no surprises as to who exactly the Patriots are. George Mason collected 18 straight wins to finish out the season, but eventually lost to the Colonial Athletic Association Champion Virginia Commonwealth Rams. They’ll be going up against the Wildcats of Villanova, who lost 10 of their final 15 games this season. Interesting scenario here–you have a team from a no-name conference coming in on top of their game; against a struggling major conference school. This one all depends on which Villanova team shows up, and if I were a betting man–I’d say the Wildcats have the upper-hand in this one due to their conference strength.
#5 West Virginia vs. #12 UAB/Clemson: Looking first into the battle of 12-seeds, both teams possess very similar statistics (Record: UAB 22-8, Clemson 21-11; Shooting %: UAB 44%, Clemson 44.2%). Flip a coin. I’ll take Clemson, you take UAB. More often than not, a #12 seed brings down a #5 seed. This match-up doesn’t look extremely likely that WVU will fall to either team. The Mountaineers have strong depth off the bench, and fared extremely well in the Big East (11-7). If Casey Mitchell can solidify his 3-point shot, West Virginia should advance no sweat.
#4 Kentucky vs. #13 Princeton: What a season Kentucky has had. After all of the hype of a highly touted recruiting class, the Wildcats lost momentum each time they hit the road. All 8 of their losses came on the road, six of which to SEC opponents. Here’s what you don’t see–their worst loss was only by seven points to Georgia. They’re in each ballgame–now it’s all about playing at their tempo, and not slowing down to the opponents. Princeton will rely heavily on two players: Kareem Maddox (13.9 ppg, 2.5 apg, 10 straight games of double digit scoring), and Ian Hummer who also averages 13.9 points per game. I’ll take Kentucky by 17.
#6 Xavier (OH) vs. #11 Marquette: Xavier will look quite often to shooting guard Tu Holloway, who averages 20.2 points and 5.5 assists per game. The Golden Eagles finished their season with a loss to #14 Louisville, 81-56. Sure, the loss looks bad, but you have to remember that the team played 3 games in as many days (Not every team can do what UConn did). Xavier has often times looked shaky this season, and they never really got their foot in the door as far as media spotlight, not that it’s needed. Being from Cincinnati, I’m on the cusp of choosing Xavier in this one; but realistically speaking, I’ll take Marquette by seven. Don’t expect Xavier to go down without first throwing some punches.
#3 Syracuse vs. #14 Indiana State: Syracuse knocked off a hot team in St. John’s early in the Big East tournament, but ran into tough luck in overtime against Connecticut. The Sycamores won eight of their last nine games in a below mediocre conference. They lost to Eastern Kentucky. Enough said. Orange win big.
#7 Washington vs. #10 Georgia: Washington’s resume to me looks to be the most impressive in the East region. The Huskies are 3rd in points per game, 8th in assists, 12th in rebounds and 25th in field goal percentage. They’ve played Arizona three times, defeating them twice (once when it mattered–conference championship). Georgia just slid into the tournament with one solid win (against UK). The Bulldogs have lost twice in their last three games to Alabama. I’ll take the hot hand with this one, Washington on top.
#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Long Island: The Tar Heels hit the glass, and they hit it hard. They lead the Nation in boards (42. 5 per game). The Blackbirds have won 21 of their last 22, dating back to December 19th. LIU puts points up on the board, and they also clean the glass well (82.6 ppg and 41.8 rpg). Those numbers rank them Nationally 4th and 3rd, respectively. UNC should have no problem. Winner buys everyone Long Island Tea‘s.
Good luck to everyone with your playoff brackets!
Posted on March 15, 2011, in ARU, Basketball, NCAA Sports and tagged Big East, Big East Conference, Casey Mitchell, NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, Ohio State Buckeyes football, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Connecticut, West Virginia, Win–loss record. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.