Sunday, March 14, 2010


Kansas is the best team in the country. Kentucky and Syracuse can beat anyone. Teams 4-7 are solid, and maybe even 8-12 are all capable of picking off a better team and holding on versus an upstart.

Someone below that will catch lightning in a bottle for two games. Others will get their one surprise. But there's a real dropoff after #12 and I don't see any of those teams able to beat top teams consistently.

I don't know who I'm rooting for. I have positive regard for all 12 of those except Michigan State. And now that I think of it, Syracuse. Never liked them. I may have most fondness for Kentucky.

One method I heard recently is to compare team's 4th-best players. If there is a big talent gap, particularly if they play the same position, that can be exploited in tournament play, even more than the advantage the best player has.

Kansas' 4th best player is Marcus Morris, who is just much better than Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe (turnovers), and a little better than Syracuse's Rick Jackson (fouls). Syracuse does have that very deep rotation, however, with 4-7 about equal. Duke's Brian Zoubek, O-State's Jon Diebler, Purdue's Chris Kramer, and WVU's Wellington Smith are all a cut below even Bledsoe.


Ben Wyman said...

The new one I heard was that most people pick upsets early and then play it safe later, but the smart strategy is to do the opposite - stick to the Vegas odds early, then start messing around with the Elite 8, when the gaps between the teams are smaller. Everyone'll pick the favorite, but they rarely win it all, so your championship pick should be somewhere between the third-best #1 and the second-best #2.

I'm still playing my "the 5-seed vs. 12-seed gap is much closer than people think" trick, though, for fun. Plus, rooting for underdogs is fun, so if the Vegas odds put the game under 2 points difference, I'm picking the lower seed. Upset specials: St. Mary's, Minnesota, and Washington, and Cornell. I want to put a fork in Tennessee, but I don't know anything about San Diego State.

So I'm riding Ohio State, WV, Duke, and Syracuse. I feel okay, though not fantastic, about it.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think that's true, and what I tend to do. Because Kansas would beat Kansas State three times out of four, I don't feel I could go against them. But Kansas State could legitimately beat them that one time, not just catch them unaware, and a certain number of those will happen.

This is apparently the year to do multiple brackets because of the fluidity 1-10.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Oh, and yeah, as of last year seeds 5 through 12 were still virtually identical, though there have been yearly differences.