Up the Creek Without a Melo
Our team of NCAA gurus chats with readers about March Madness.
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at 7:04 PM
Josh Levin: I'm starting to believe the St. Bonaventure hype. They've got a star player in Andrew Nicholson and a first-round opponent, Florida State, that's struggled with consistency all year. If they can get through that game, I like their chances against either Cincy or Texas.
John Gasaway: Sign me up for Purdue.
Ken Pomeroy: I suppose if you call UNLV a mid-major, which would offend every Rebel fan in the country, they are a solid option, too.
John Gasaway: Josh, FSU had disastrous outings, obviously, against Princeton and Boston College. Also lost, less disastrously, to Harvard. Basically any opponent that’s an Ivy or in close proximity to one is an issue. With the Bonnies safely ensconced in Western, N.Y., that shouldn't come up. The ’Noles certainly seemed alert and focused in the ACC tourney.
Chris Jagalla: Do you think teams winning in the “First Round” (like BYU) suffer a disadvantage going into the real first round (“Second Round”)? How big of a disadvantage?
Ken Pomeroy: I do think it’s a disadvantage, although in BYU’s case maybe not much of one since it’s merely a long cab ride from Dayton to Louisville. The good news for the Cougars is that they had 10 days or so between their conference tournament and yesterday’s game. So fatigue is less of a factor.
Josh Levin: I think the matchup with Marquette is going to be a bigger problem for BYU than any possible hangover from Tuesday. The Golden Eagles are a bigger, stronger, more defensive-minded version of Iona. I’m thinking it’ll be like last night's first half, but for the whole game.
David Storm: We'll say that 130 miles from Olean to Ithaca isn’t close enough for the ‘Noles. How about Missouri; can Frank Haith lead them to the Final Four? With as much history as that program has, is it surprising they haven’t reached that level even once?
John Gasaway: What's more surprising, David, that Mizzou’s never been to the Final Four or that they went as far as they've ever gone under Quin Snyder? (2002 Elite Eight.) This group has a great shot at equaling or exceeding that high standard. Yesterday I wrote that if KU’s Thomas Robinson is smart he'll tell his grandchildren simply, “I won Big 12 POY in Marcus Denmon’s senior year.” What a season.
Josh Otis: Missouri had a ridiculous season, with the only blow-out losses coming against Kansas State (who it seems like they just can't match up with). Are there any teams that present similar matchup problems for them in the bracket? It seems to me like they have one of the easier paths to the Final Four (not that any are easy).
John Gasaway: The team that wants to score more points than Missouri will have to seize the advantage presented by an average Tiger D. So that would be more Florida, for instance, than, say, Virginia, from my chair at least.
Kevin Morris: Is Georgetown one of the more disrespected 3 seeds in recent memory, or is Belmont just a very good team, underseeded, and (potentially) a bad match for the Hoyas?
Ken Pomeroy: Belmont is very good and Georgetown is very good. Second year in a row the committee didn’t give the Bruins a break with their matchup. If the Hoyas can sneak by, they have the skills to go far. That said, Belmont is going to be a pain for them.
Josh Levin: Georgetown lost to Davidson in 2008, Ohio in 2010, and VCU in 2011, so if you pick them losing to a small-conference school in this year's tournament then maybe you’re rating them properly. I think Belmont was everyone’s Cinderella before the start of the season, since they did well last year and had everyone coming back. They were a little disappointing in the regular season, but they certainly have the ability to beat Georgetown if they make threes.
Thomas Laughlin: Ken, does Jeff Goodman actually hate A) you or B) actual objective data, or is it mostly shtick? Ken and John, I know both of you are rather bearish on Baylor (no pun intended) and think that SDSU has more than a snowball's chance to pull an upset. Have you considered that the Bears are finally playing more man to man (as appropriate) and won't be as susceptible to SDSU as they would if they played 2/3?
John Gasaway: Although I do think Baylor was overrated by some observers during the season, I also think the Bears received a very nice draw. I will be stunned if they're not in the Sweet 16 and merely surprised if they don't reach the Elite 8.
Ken Pomeroy: Goodman truly hates objective data (he likes to watch the games, you know) but not me. As for Baylor's defensive metamorphosis, I’m not completely sold that man is the way to go for them. Their zone was always pretty aggressive and a pain for non-conference teams to prepare for.
John Gasaway: I don't hate Ken, objective data, or Jeff Goodman. I save my hate for intrusive officiating and people who recline in front of me on airplanes.
David Storm: All this time and no questions about Harvard? Anyone think Harvard will knock out Vanderbilt?
Ken Pomeroy: Their chances are overrated by 5 percent or so, but a 12-15 percent chance for a 15 seed is still mighty impressive. Lehigh’s combo-guard C.J. McCollum does just about everything a basketball player can do except block shots.