Friday, March 5, 2010

Office Pool Prep 101; Part 2

This segment focuses on seeds 10, 11, and 12. Again, these are based on Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology predictions on February 22nd.

12 seeds—St. Mary’s, Cornell, Siena, Dayton
--I would disregard Siena. They don’t have any big wins and most of their losses are by 10 points or more. Same thing with Cornell, although they did play well at Kansas, losing only by 5, and they are one of the most dangerous three-point shooting teams in college basketball, ranking third with over 9 made per game. Dayton is a team to keep an eye on if they get in. With a 19-10 record, they probably need a couple more wins, but the Atlantic 10 conference is one of the most under-rated in the country this year. All of Dayton’s losses are against good teams and most of them were within 4 or 5 points. They beat Georgia Tech, Old Dominion and Xavier and they go 10 deep. The team I like the best out of this group is St. Mary’s, a potential Cinderella. They are 24-5, with 3 of their losses coming against top 15 teams. St. Mary’s is the 13th highest scoring team in Division 1, and rank #14 in three-pointers made per game. They have 5 players that average double figures in scoring, led by 6’11” senior center Omar Samhan, who averages 21 points and 11 rebounds. So far, if I had to pick one Cinderella, the St. Mary’s Gaels are my choice.

11 seeds—Rhode Island, Old Dominion, Florida, Marquette
--Rhode Island is 20-7 with wins against Oklahoma State and Dayton. Florida is on the bubble at 20-10, but has quality wins against Michigan State and Tennessee. They have balanced scoring with 5 players that average double figures, but they are quite young yet. Old Dominion doesn’t have a big win. Marquette is the best of the bunch and a sleeper to watch out for. They are 20-9 in college basketball’s best conference. They have wins against Xavier, Georgetown and UConn, and three of their last four wins were all in overtime, all on the road. 3 other losses were by a combined 5 points to Villanova and West Virginia, both top 10 teams. Watch out for Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler, and the Marquette Golden Eagles.

10 seeds—Georgia Tech, Cal, Illinois, UAB
--Illinois is on the bubble (18-12). I’m really not impressed with them or Georgia Tech (19-10), who plays in an overrated ACC Conference. GT has lost 4of last 6. UAB is 23-5 with two of their losses against Kentucky and UTEP, both top 25 teams. Their best win is against Butler, but I’m not sold on them. The team I like the most out of this group is Cal. They began the year with a lot of injuries, but everyone is healthy now. They are 20-9, with three of those losses against top 10 teams. They have great guard-play and senior leadership—two big things that lead to success in the tourney. Their top four scorers are all seniors, led by Jerome Randle’s 19 ppg. Even though the Pac 10 is way down this year, I think Cal is a real sleeper team.

In summary, the teams I like seeded 10-12 are: St. Mary’s, Marquette, and Cal. Next segment, I’ll review the 7,8,9 seeds.

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