Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 11:24 PM
A busy week is about to get busier. We have four more conference previews for you in today’s report. The next time we’re together, we’ll run through the last four tournaments that tip off Thursday afternoon. We hope you’re printing these out every day and using the data in your handicapping process. We’re not doing this for our health you know! These are so YOU can make better decisions in all the conference tournaments.
If this is your first visit to the NOTEBOOK, we’re featuring in our previews this year the computer rankings from Jeff Sagarin of USA today and college hoop guru Ken Pomeroy. We’re also presenting the offensive and defensive efficiency rankings (points allowed adjusted for possessions and opponents) compiled by Pomeroy. We present the data in bracket order so you can have what you need for the first two rounds in one glance.
Comments will be brief today because we’re trying to fit FOUR large conferences into the entry…
PAC 12 TOURNAMENT (in Los Angeles, CA)
Oregon State (9): 88 in Sagarin, 94 in Pomeroy, 43 on offense, 171 on defense
Washington State (8): 126 in Sagarin, 124 in Pomeroy, 80 on offense, 180 on defense
Washington (1): 58 in Sagarin, 63 in Pomeroy, 77 on offense, 58 on defense
Washington is the top seed in the Pac 12 because of won-lost record in league play, but they’re not considered the top team by the computers. They may only be fourth best in the conference. And, they might actually be on the bubble for the Dance if they don’t win this event. Though, we expect the committee to give some respect to a regular season champion.
USC (12): 216 in Sagarin, 240 in Pomeroy, 322 on offense, 63 on defense
UCLA (5): 61 in Sagarin, 44 in Pomeroy, 54 on offense, 57 on defense
Arizona (4): 47 in Sagarin, 52 in Pomeroy, 59 on offense, 64 on defense
Look at how high Pomeroy has UCLA! That should be a great quarterfinal between teams who could just as easily be #2 or #3 seeds in this event with a few different bounces of the ball. Keep an eye on UCLA. That article by Sports Illustrated seems to have lit a fire under the players who are still there.
Arizona State (10): 215 in Sagarin, 228 in Pomeroy, 231 on offense, 223 on defense
Stanford (7): 54 in Sagarin, 53 in Pomeroy, 118 on offense, 21 on defense
California (2): 30 in Sagarin, 22 in Pomeroy, 48 on offense, 19 on defense
The computers like Stanford more than everyone else does. We happen to think everyone else is right. Stanford has been overrated much of the year by many. We do respect that defense though. Remember to keep a sharp eye on the defensive rankings for everyone you read about today. Those loom large in a postseasons setting. Cal is the true favorite to win the weekend in our view rather than top seeded Washington.
Utah (11): 297 in Sagarin, 306 in Pomeroy, 310 on offense, 269 on defense
Colorado (6): 92 in Sagarin, 96 in Pomeroy, 128 on offense, 71 on defense
Oregon (3): 64 in Sagarin, 57 in Pomeroy, 29 on offense, 131 on defense
Oregon can get hot…and hot offenses occasionally sweep a weekend. This is definitely a “card out of a hat” tournament where one of several teams could string together three wins. Frankly, nothing would surprise us here outside of the truly horrible teams like Utah and USC finding a slipper this weekend.
We move now to the Big 12 Tournament, that has opening round action Wednesday Night for the teams seeded 7-10 (remember, only 10 teams this year in this league). Everyone else plays Thursday, with top seeds Kansas and Missouri slated to play tonight’s winners. To avoid confusion, we’ll present the teams in the usual bracket rotations. Just remember that the worst four teams play tonight, while everyone else starts Thursday.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT (in Kansas City, MO)
Texas A&M (9): 118 in Sagarin, 117 in Pomeroy, 199 on offense, 52 on defense
Oklahoma (8): 85 in Sagarin, 99 in Pomeroy, 111 on offense, 90 on defense
Kansas (1): 3 in Sagarin, 4 in Pomeroy, 8 on offense, 4 on defense
The bottom four teams this year were all from the old Big 12 South division. Sorry state of affairs in the states of Oklahoma and Texas (except for Baylor). Kansas typically plays very well when this event is in Kansas City. They will have their hands full in a projected semifinal against the K-State/Baylor winner.
Kansas State (5): 19 in Sagarin, 19 in Pomeroy, 50 on offense, 15 on defense
Baylor (4): 12 in Sagarin, 15 in Pomeroy, 19 on offense, 23 on defense
Great numbers here. Kansas State has been in better form lately. That doesn’t always hold over into the postseason. Good form and a Kansas City locale might be enough to put them through. Some terrific defenses in this half of the brackets.
Texas Tech (10): 213 in Sagarin, 237 in Pomeroy, 297 on offense, 137 on defense
Oklahoma State (7): 90 in Sagarin, 86 in Pomeroy, 84 on offense, 98 on defense
Missouri (2): 7 in Sagarin, 9 in Pomeroy, 1 on offense, 78 on defense
Hard to see Missouri having trouble with either of those two. Their great offense will match up against a vulnerable defense, and won’t face a top 50 defense until the finals based on the brackets.
Texas (6): 27 in Sagarin, 26 in Pomeroy, 24 on offense, 51 on defense
Iowa State (3): 31 in Sagarin, 27 in Pomeroy, 23 on offense, 55 on defense
The computers have Texas comfortably into the Big Dance by a mile. But, the polls, the controversial RPI, and Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology don’t see things the same way. A win here for the Longhorns should be the clincher. A loss might drop them to the NIT. Note how dead even the stats are here for teams who are seeded a few spots apart.
On the whole…the stage is set for the old Big 12 North to have a very good weekend in friendly territory. Missouri may have a chip on its shoulder too after blowing what should have been a road win at Kansas.
The Big 10 tournament doesn’t start until Thursday morning. But, because that first game is a very early tip-off, we’re posting the matchups and data for you today. Do your research today and tonight so you’re ready for that monster Thursday schedule!
BIG 10 TOURNAMENT (in Indianapolis, IN)
Illinois (9): 57 in Sagarin, 68 in Pomeroy, 113 on offense, 40 on defense
Iowa (8): 95 in Sagarin, 87 in Pomeroy, 55 on offense, 145 on defense
Michigan State (1): 6 in Sagarin, 3 in Pomeroy, 17 on offense, 2 on defense
Michigan State finally took its eye off the ball in the second half of the Ohio State game this past Sunday. Nobody was playing better ball than they were until that stunning collapse. Will that shake their confidence at the worst possible time? This tournament is known for bracket shenanigans.
Penn State (12): 128 in Sagarin, 123 in Pomeroy, 154 on offense, 104 on defense
Indiana (5): 9 in Sagarin, 10 in Pomeroy, 3 on offense, 43 on defense
Wisconsin (4): 8 in Sagarin, 7 in Pomeroy, 31 on offense, 3 on defense
We think the computers have greatly overrated the Big 10 this year. We won’t know whether or not that’s true until the Dance starts. We certainly respect Indiana and Wisconsin. We don’t think they’re national juggernauts. Indiana in particular can be inconsistent away from home. And, that’s all they have left.
Minnesota (10): 53 in Sagarin, 58 in Pomeroy, 64 on offense, 72 on defense
Northwestern (7): 50 in Sagarin, 50 in Pomeroy, 15 on offense, 177 on defense
Michigan (2): 20 in Sagarin, 20 in Pomeroy, 21 on offense, 41 on defense
Michigan probably isn’t as good as “co-champions” would suggest. Their defense measures up well nationally, but not as much within the league. Northwestern will get some media run as they try to earn a trip to the Big Dance for the first time ever. History says you’re supposed to look for surprises. Will the move to 12 teams from 10 teams alter that river?
Nebraska (11): 138 in Sagarin, 158 in Pomeroy, 179 on offense, 136 on defense
Purdue (6): 26 in Sagarin, 25 in Pomeroy, 21 on offense, 79 on defense
Ohio State (3): 2 in Sagarin, 2 in Pomeroy, 13 on offense, 1 on defense
You’ve seen enough basketball the past month to know that Ohio State really isn’t the second best team in the country. Purdue probably isn’t 25-ish either for that matter! This is the easier half of the brackets though…so the Buckeyes might be less battle tested if the favored seeds to manage to keep advancing.
The ACC also starts Thursday, and also has one very early starter. So, same deal here. We’re presenting the information early so you have plenty of time to get your ducks in a row. We’re saving the SEC, Mountain West, WAC, and Big West previews for Thursday since those events get underway a bit later in the day.
ACC TOURNAMENT (in Atlanta, GA)
Wake Forest (9): 179 in Sagarin, 190 in Pomeroy, 176 on offense, 215 on defense
Maryland (8): 135 in Sagarin, 140 in Pomeroy, 119 on offense, 163 on defense
North Carolina (1): 4 in Sagarin, 5 in Pomeroy, 10 on offense, 10 on defense
Carolina clearly outclasses the others in their quadrant, which is standard for the 1-8-9 series. There’s a chance they could let down this weekend after playing so aggressively at Duke. Something to keep in mind. The Tar Heels have a stunning knack for bad surprises.
B. College (12): 244 in Sagarin, 253 in Pomeroy, 288 on offense, 188 on defense
NC State (5): 46 in Sagarin, 48 in Pomeroy, 33 on offense, 99 on defense
Virginia (4): 23 in Sagarin, 24 in Pomeroy, 104 on offense, 7 on defense
Virginia is quite the mystery team. The computers are fond of them. And, we have great respect for that defense. They’re more likely to be a one-game spoiler than a Cinderella story in our view. This is a conference that often sees its brackets get spoiled.
Va. Tech (10): 79 in Sagarin, 88 in Pomeroy, 95 on offense, 93 on defense
Clemson (7): 86 in Sagarin, 70 in Pomeroy, 115 on offense, 44 on defense
Duke (2): 10 in Sagarin, 16 in Pomeroy, 6 on offense, 55 on defense
We’re glad to see the computers have Duke way below where the pollsters have them. That soft defense killed them vs. North Carolina the other night, and is going to be a problem vs. any good team they face. A neutral site rubber match with FSU in the semi’s could be very interesting.
Ga. Tech (11): 160 in Sagarin, 169 in Pomeroy, 223 on offense, 120 on defense
Miami-FL (6): 44 in Sagarin, 39 in Pomeroy, 32 on offense, 75 on defense
Florida St. (3): 25 in Sagarin, 28 in Pomeroy, 98 on offense, 13 on defense
FSU and Virginia are very similar…in that their great defenses allow them to compete with everybody…but their substandard (by championship standards) offenses keep them from stringing together wins vs. quality.
That’s enough for today. Best of luck with your picks. We’ll cover the last four leagues the next time we’re together. Don’t forget that game day releases from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK in college and pro basketball go up a few hours before first tip every day right here at the website. You can also sign up for the rest of the season by calling 1-800-323-4453.
IT’S A BASKETBALL BONANZA AND JIM HURLEY IS ABOUT TO SET THE MAP ON FIRE!