Comparing The Brackets
As many of you know who visit the blog regularly, every Tuesday I take a look at what the experts have predicted for the field of 65, and compare their predictions with mine. So, without further ado, here are the links to Joe Lunardi's picks, as well as Bracketology's 101 picks, and Michael Lazarus picks. Michael Lazarus as of Tuesday night at 11:30 did not have his picks up yet on FoxSports.com. Therefore, I am not going to compare my picks to his this week, because I want to post this now.
Joe Lunardi had 4 teams that he picked that I did not and they are UTEP, Minnesota, Wichita State, and Farleigh Dickinson.
Craig and Chris from Bracketology 101 had 6 picks which differed from mine and they are Minnesota, NC State, Creighton, Farleigh Dickinson, Buffalo, and Denver.
I examined all of these teams while making my selections and let me explain why they did not make the field of 65.
UTEP: They lost at Pacific on Bracket Buster Saturday by 7 points. Right now, I think the WCC is only strong enough to get one team into the tourney. Nevada will definitely get in, because they have had a great season. UTEP has 3 remaining games all at home and if they win those 3, and then win at least 1 game in their conference tourney, I think they are in.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers had a tough week having to face Michigan State and Ohio State. They beat Ohio State by 2, and lost to Michigan State by 19. My problem with the Golden Gophers is that they are only 7-6 in the weak Big Ten. They have 2 games which when you look at the Big Ten standings may not seem tough, but they really are. They have to play Iowa at home and then travel to Purdue. When they travel to Purdue, it will be Senior Day at the game for the Boilermakers. Also, it will be Gene Keady's last home game as Purdue's coach. If they win both of those games, I think they will be in next week.
Wichita State: I am sorry but losing your last 3 games does not bode well to get an at large spot in my predictions, even if the losses were against good teams. Wichita State lost to Bradley (12-12, 5-10 in conference), and then lost to Creighton, and then to the leader of the MAC, Miami (Ohio). This team has a huge game against MVC leader Southern Illinois on Saturday. I cannot wait to see the outcome of this game. They won by 2 the last time these two teams faced, but this time the game is at Southern Illinois with first place in the MVC up for grabs.
Farleigh Dickinson: This team is in second place in their conference, but because of their win against first place Monmouth (N.J.) last week, analysts are picking them for the field of 65. They are still a game behind Monmouth in the standings, and the two teams split the season series. Both teams have 3 games left against teams they should beat, which means one thing: the automatic bid for this conference is going to come down to the conference tournament. Plain and simple.
NC State: This team is only 5-7 in the ACC, and yet some people are still picking them for the field of 65 (I almost picked them myself). Why is this? Well, because they are a good team that has beat some very good opponents this year (Georgia Tech and Maryland twice, VA Tech). They have two absolutely critical games this week against North Carolina and VA Tech. If they can keep the Carolina game somewhat respectable and then beat VA Tech, they might get into my predictions next week, even with a record of 6-8 in the ACC.
Creighton: Talk about giving love to the mid majors! I do not see Creighton getting in right now as they stand at 17-10 overall and 8-7 in the MVC. They have beaten Wichita State twice, Ohio State, Xavier and Northern Iowa. But for me to consider them, they must win their next 3 games (including a tough one against Illinois State) and then win a few games in their conference tournament. Then, and only then, will I pick them.
Buffalo: The MAC might get two teams into the tournament, but in order for Buffalo to get in I feel they must win their final 3 games, including a matchup that will determine who gets second place in the MAC against Akron. Miami (Ohio) looks more and more like a sure thing out of the MAC. Buffalo has some good wins, but they haven't done enough yet to warrant a bid.
Denver: Conference tournament. Those two words explain how you know which team will make it out of the Sun Belt Conference. LA Lafayette is currently in first place in the west division and has the best conference record. Denver has beaten them twice this season, but is in second place. In reality, it does not really matter what their records are in conference, but the bid from the conference is going to be determined by who wins the conference tournament.