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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 7:33 PM

It’s the day before the EXPLOSION of NCAA tournament action. We wanted to spend one day providing an outline of the full scope of the event. Thursday and Friday we’ll offer up game-by-game previews in the same format we’ve been using through all the conference tournaments. TODAY, it’s time to look at the BIG PICTURE.

To do that, we’ve gathered up the postseason computer rankings from the main sources we’ve been showcasing for you all season here in the NOTEBOOK. Those are the rankings from Jeff Sagarin and USA Today, and from college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy. You regulars are familiar with those sites. We thought it calculating “average rankings” for each team would be a great way to evaluate each regional.

*Potential darkhorses would jump out.

*Vulnerable overseeded teams would jump out.

*Cinderella would peak out from behind the door.

*And, the seeding committee would be exposed!

We’re going to run the data for all four regionals in this report. And, we’re going to include all 68 teams even though four began their postseasons Tuesday Night just so you can see what the full picture looked like before things started. We start in the South because Kentucky is the official #1 seed of the whole tourney…


SOUTH: Average Computer Ranking

1…Kentucky 1.0 (1)

2…Indiana 10.0 (4)

2T…Wichita State 10.0 (5)

4…Baylor 13.0 (3)

5…Duke 14.0 (2)

6…UNLV 28.5 (6)

7…Iowa State 31.0 (8)

8…Connecticut 36.0 (9)

9…Notre Dame 41.0 (7)

10…VCU 48.0 (12)

11…Xavier 57.0 (10)

11T…South Dakota State 57.0 (14)

13…New Mexico State 63.0 (13)

14…Colorado 77.5 (11)

15…Lehigh 89.0 (15)

16…Western Kentucky 195.5 (16)

17…Miss. Valley State 245.5 (16)

What jumps out? Indiana is rated as the second best team in this section by the composite of Sagarin and Pomeroy, even though they were only a #4 seed. Well, actually, they’re tied with Wichita State…who was a 5th seed. Duke drops all the way down to #5 (which we agree with because the Blue Devils have been overseeded almost every year going back well into the prior decade). Baylor drops a spot, which we’re less enthusiastic about. We need to see Indiana play well away from home before thinking of them as a top eight team nationally.

Any darhorses or Cinderellas? Depends on how you think of Wichita State. They’ve been so good this year that you can’t really call it a surprise if they go deep. Many pundits are picking them to make a run at the Final Four on the assumption that some of the number one’s are going to fall along the way. If you’ve been with us all year, you know how high we’ve been on the Shockers.

Down at the bottom, the biggest development to us is how far Colorado falls. The seeding committee made them a #11 seed. The computers see them as #14, and not significantly ahead of #15 Lehigh. Note that Lehigh is widely recognized as a dangerous #15 seed…and not just because they’re playing Duke in the opener!


WEST: Average Computer Ranking

1…Michigan State 3.0 (1)

2…Missouri 7.5 (2)

3…Memphis 11.0 (8)

4…New Mexico 14.5 (5)

5…Marquette 16.5 (3)

6…Saint Louis 17.0 (9)

7…Florida 18.0 (7)

8…Louisville 19.0 (4)

9…Virginia 26.0 (10)

10…Long Beach State 39.0 (12)

11…Murray State 42.5 (6)

12…BYU 44.5 (14)

13…Iona 54.5 (14)

14…Davidson 69.5 (13)

15…Colorado State 76.0 (11)

16…Long Island 162.0 (16)

17…Norfolk State 197.5 (15)


Wow did this one get jumbled! The computers have Memphis as the third best team in the region, even though the committee stuck them down at #8. That’s really bad news for Michigan State, who have may to play #3 in the computers over the weekend…just to face another tough team in the Sweet 16…before maybe running into Missouri in the regional finals. Who hates Tom Izzo?!

Louisville falls all the way down to #8 with this approach, as the computers weren’t as impressed with their Big East tournament run as the selection committee was. Murray State hasn’t sparkled in the computers this year either, because strength of schedule is so important amongst those in the know.

This works out to be a gift for Marquette. The #3 seed plays the winner of the 6-11 game. The computers say that all three of 3-6-11 are overseeded. Interesting.


EAST: Average Computer Ranking

1…Ohio State 2.0 (1)

2…Syracuse 6.0 (2)

3…Wisconsin 7.0 (4)

4…Vanderbilt 18.0 (5)

5…Florida State 21.0 (3)

6…Kansas State 22.0 (8)

7…Texas 27.0 (11)

8…Gonzaga 31.0 (7)

9…Cincinnati 32.5 (6)

10…West Virginia 40.0 (10)

11…Harvard 41.0 (12)

12…St. Bonaventure 56.0 (14)

13…Southern Miss 64.0 (9)

14…Montana 95.5 (13)

15…NC Asheville 123.0 (16)

16…Loyola-Maryland 130.5 (15)

Syracuse wasn’t even seen as the best team in the region before Fab Melo was suspended. How far do they drop? The computers would have them below Wisconsin with an adjustment (though, we usually have Wisconsin on the short list of teams who are overseeded every year because they don’t have the athleticism for the Dance). Kansas State may benefit more than anyone. They’re the 8th seed, but the 6th best team according to the computers. The 8-9 game has them matched up against #13 in the computers. If Kansas State beats Southern Miss, they draw a weakened Syracuse squad.

Any darkhorses here? Texas is more respected by the computers than the seeding committee. If the Big 12 is legit this year in terms of national power, that could show all the way up and down for the six qualifiers. Florida State’s not much of a longshot coming from the #3 hole. If they can keep their heads on straight in the letdown spot off the ACC weekend…maybe the Seminoles can sneak through and represent this section. This strikes us as a pretty weak region in terms of depth…unless K-State and Texas do rise up and change our minds.


MIDWEST: Average Computer Ranking

1…Kansas 4.0 (1)

2…North Carolina 5.5 (2)

3…Georgetown 13.0 (3)

4…Michigan 24.0 (4)

5…Purdue 26.0 (10)

6…Belmont 28.0 (14)

7…Alabama 29.0 (9)

8…Creighton 29.5 (8)

8T…California 29.5 (12)

10…Temple 36.0 (5)

11…St. Mary’s 39.0 (7)

12…NC State 44.5 (11)

13…San Diego State 49.0 (6)

14…South Florida 68.0 (12)

15…Ohio 72.0 (13)

16…Lamar 108.5 (16)

17…Detroit 117.0 (15)

18…Vermont 133.5 (16)

Things get messy there in the middle. Purdue and Belmont jump way up…particularly Belmont who may be way underseeded as a #14 (that’s the way Vegas sees it). California should be playing in an 8-9 game according to the computers. Instead they’re stuck in an early week play-in game against South Florida. Temple, San Diego State, and St. Mary’s didn’t wow the computers in the same way they did the committee. We agree with the computers on both counts.

Many in the media consider this the weakest region. We’ll reserve judgment on that until we see how the likes of Purdue, Alabama, and NC State perform from the major conferences. We do agree that the mid-majors in the middle of the seeding pack were probably getting too much credit from the committee. Let’s see how it all plays out.

The next set of college plays from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK will go up Wednesday afternoon for the evening play-in games in the NCAA as well as bonus action from the NIT, CBI, and Insider tournaments. Then, we’ll be up bright and early Thursday for your first set of day games. Be sure you plan your week accordingly so you get all the best plays. You can sign up for the full postseason with a quick phone call to 1-800-323-4453.

Be sure you check back late Wednesday or early Thursday for our game previews. They helped you through the conference tournaments. And, now even more dumb money will hit the Vegas boards because the public comes out of the woodwork to bet the Big Dance.

The excitement is building. Your bankroll will build even faster if you stay linked up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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