NCAA Tourney Nuggets
Published on Monday, 3/18/13, at 8:23 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
—Totals to keep in mind: Cincy has seen the ‘under’ go 22-4 overall, while Iowa St. has watched the ‘over’ go 20-4 overall. The ‘over’ has hit at a 10-1 clip in Oklahoma’s last 11 games.
—Dangerous Sleepers based on their head coaches and/or style of play: Butler (Brad Stevens, No. 6 in the East), Wisconsin (Bo Ryan, No. 5 in West), Pittsburgh (Jamie Dixon, No. 8 in West), Davidson (Bob McKillop, No. 14 in East), VCU (Shaka Smart, No. 5 in South) and North Carolina (Roy Williams, No. 8 in South).
–Potential Sleepers based on a dominant player who can get hot and carry a team: Boise St. (Derrick Marks), Ole Miss (Marshall Henderson), Creighton (Doug McDermott) and South Dakota St. (Nate Wolters).
—Most Unpredictable Squad: Minnesota – Final Four talent with a head coach that has won a national championship, but Tubby Smith is on the hot seat because the Gophers are a No. 11 seed that is capable of getting blasted in their first game (vs. UCLA).
–UCLA’s Jordan Adams broke his foot in the Pac-12 Tourney and is done for the season. Adams was averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. His absence is why the sixth-seeded Bruins are three-point underdogs vs. Minnesota.
—Slumping Squads coming into the Tourney: Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and Cincinnati.
—Coaching Mismatch that might be the difference: Missouri has much better talent than Colorado St., but the Rams have the heavy advantage in the coaching department with Larry Eustachy vs. Frank Haith.
1-Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin
2-Creighton vs. Cincinnati
3-Butler vs. Bucknell
4-Oregon vs. Oklahoma St.
5-Wichita St. vs. Pittsburgh
6-Michigan vs. South Dakota St.
7-UNLV vs. California
8-Davidson vs. Marquette
9-Villanova vs. North Carolina
10-Colorado vs. Illinois
—Best Head-Coaching Matchups:
1-Marquette’s Buzz Williams vs. Davidson’s Bob McKillop
2-Pitt’s Jamie Dixon vs. Wichita St.’s Gregg Marshall
3-UNC’s Roy Williams vs. Villanova’s Jay Wright
4-Arizona’s Sean Miller vs. Belmont’s Rick Byrd
5-Michigan St.’s Tom Izzo vs. Valpo’s Bryce Drew
—Best Long-Range Shooters:
1-Jordan Hulls (Indiana)
2-Rotnei Clarke (Butler)
3-Seth Curry (Duke)
4-Marshall Henderson (Ole Miss)
5-Ian Clark (Belmont)
6-Scott Wood (North Carolina St.)
7-Doug McDermott (Creighton)
8-Nik Stauskas (Michigan)
9-Tyrus McGee (Iowa St.)
10-Michael Frazier II (Florida)
11-Christian Watford (Indiana)
12-Erik Murphy (Florida)
–Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger is the first coach ever to get five teams (Kansas St., Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma) to the NCAA Tournament. With the exception of the Sooners, Kruger led the other four schools to at least the Sweet 16. He led Florida to the 1994 Final Four before eventually losing to Duke in Charlotte.
—Toughest Draw: Akron just got its starting point guard Alex Abreu suspended following a felony arrest less than two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the Zips won the MAC Tourney by beating Ohio, which had all of its key pieces back from a team that went to the Sweet 16 last year before losing in overtime to North Carolina. Anyway, without its point guard, Akron has to face the toughest full-court press team in the country in VCU.
–Even though it is a No. 3 seed in the South region, most books have made Florida a +140 ‘chalk’ to make it to Atlanta (risk $100 to win $140). Kansas, the No. 1 seed, has +250 odds and second-seeded Georgetown has 4/1 odds.
–Most books have Louisville as the +450 ‘chalk’ (risk $100 to win $450) to win its first national championship since beating Duke for the 1986 national title behind the play of freshman center Pervis ‘Never Nervous’ Ellison. The selection committee made U of L the No. 1 overall seed but then oddly gave it the most difficult path to Atlanta. The Midwest region is the toughest loop with the Cardinals perhaps needing to get past Duke or Michigan St. if they make the Elite Eight. Also, Rick Pitino’s squad might have to face a Missouri team in its second game that can undoubtedly match its athleticism.
–You know Ben Howland didn’t like seeing Florida as a potential matchup in UCLA’s second game if it gets past Minnesota. The Gators have sent the Bruins packing from three of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. They dealt out ruthless pimpslaps in ’06 and ’07 and slipped past Howland’s bunch two years ago when Erving Walker took over at winning time.
—Intriguing Individual Matchup: Two of the nation’s best point guards will square off when fourth-seeded Michigan (Trey Burke) takes on South Dakota St. (Nate Wolters).
–For more of my Bracket Analysis, check out this link at VegasInsider.com.
–For some First Four Tips for Tuesday’s action, click here.
—Click here to sign up for all of my picks in the NCAA Tournament, in addition to the NIT, CBI and CIT tourneys.