Saturday, March 8, 2014
I'm stuck in a two-year drought of not winning any March Madness pools, and put simply, that sucks.
I have not been following college basketball since November, but I'm hoping a serious cram session can get me - and you the beneficiary of said cramming - up to speed by the time the tournament starts. Especially now that Warren Buffett has offered a BILLION dollars for a perfect bracket.
My goal is to provide conference tournament updates daily for the next week and a half and analyze which auto-qualifiers have the best chance of pulling off an upset or two in the Big Dance.
The exact format is TBD, but by the time Selection Sunday rolls around, I'm hoping this post can be my (and your) one-stop upset shopping hot spot. Just don't get into the same pools as me, please. If you do join Warren's pool and strike it rich, remember to tip your primary information source, TSB.
College Basketball Talk put together this easy-to-use schedule for all the conference tournaments.
The things I'll be looking for when trying to find a team capable of pulling the upset(s):
1. A guy that can win a game by himself. This player doesn't need to be a consistent superstar, just a guy that has proven he can get hot in stretches.
2. Size. It's possible, just not very probable, that a team lacking any rotation player over 6'8" can win against a much higher seed who typically play in the power conferences and attract that highest-skilled bug men.
3. A team that scores. Yes, I would like a superstar, but at the mid-major to low-major level, that's likely not going to happen. But, a team featuring a few double-digit scorers can see all those guys getting hot at the same time to shock someone.
On to the Dancers...
(In order of ticket punching)
Roster / Stats
You'll notice the Ivy League isn't on the schedule above, and that's because they think they are better than everyone else so they choose not to have a postseason tournament. [Minor truth to the rumor that the Ivy League has adopted a new conference logo for next year of: The Fun Stops Here.]
Anyway, Harvard secured the auto-berth from the Ivy for the third straight season by virtue of winning the regular season, and they have a very good chance of pulling off a first round upset like they did last year as a 14-seed against 3-seed New Mexico.
The Crimson sit at 25-4 (with a meaningless game against Brown on 3/8 remaining). They have six guys that all average between 9 and 14 points per game and play the majority of the team's minutes, which I love. Wesley Saunders, their leading scorer, has gone for 20 or more in five games this season, and their second-leading scorer has hit the 20-point mark three times on the year.
All low seeds are going to have warts, and the biggest one for this team is its size. None of their regulars is taller than 6'7" so they could be in trouble if they match up with a bigger team (Captain Obvious Alert). Still, there's plenty of reason for hope here.
Things I'll Be Watching Saturday:
-Can Wichita State remain undefeated as they try to capture Arch Madness?
-After upsetting a higher ranked Murray State team tonight, can Eastern Kentucky pull the upset over Belmont to secure the Ohio Valley ticket? The Colonels start four guards which won't be an issue tomorrow but will be if they reach the Dance.
-Can Hofstra pull off a miracle and run the table in the CAA? Very doubtful as the 8-seed Pride (although they'll always be the Flying Dutchmen to me) take on top-seeded Delaware.
-Can Green Bay - a team I love - get to the Horizon final? I can say with near certainty that if the Phoenix make the Dance, I'll be picking them to advance to the Sweet 16. They have all three of the components I look for.