Monday, March 8, 2010

Office Pool Prep 101; Part 3

This segment focuses on the always-hard-to-pick 7,8,9 seeds. Flip a coin. And don’t bank on them winning more than one game.

9 seeds—UTEP, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Oklahoma State
--I don't like any of these teams in the tournament. UTEP is 24-5, but has no marquee wins, and most of their out-of-conference games against anyone of significance were a loss. They are 0-2 against top 50 teams. Virginia Tech is 23-7, and their biggest wins are against Clemson and Wake Forest. Louisville is 20-11, but has only won 3 straight games once since January 1. They did manage to somehow hand Syracuse two of their three losses. Go figure. Oklahoma State is 21-9 with wins against Kansas State, Texas A and M, Baylor and Kansas. But they too have not been able to put a winning streak of more than three games together since January 1. They also have 6 losses by double digits. They have one and done written all over them.

8 seeds—UNLV, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State
--UNLV is 23-7 with some nice wins against Pitt, Louisville, Arizona and BYU. They go 9 deep, but are very young—no seniors of significance. Baylor is a team to watch out for. They are 24-6 and none of their losses were by more than 7 points. They’re my “All Name Team.” Baylor’s top 3 scorers are named LaceDarius, Tweety, and Ekpe. Clemson is 21-8 with wins over Butler, Maryland and Florida State. They don’t have any losses to “bad” teams. Clemson has just one go-to guy though—Trevor Booker. Florida State is 22-8 with wins over Marquette, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. They suffered big losses at Florida, at Ohio State, and at Duke, and are 0-6 against the top 25. They are dominated by underclassmen. Watch out for FSU in the next couple years.

7 seeds—Xavier, Maryland, Missouri, Richmond
--All seven of Xavier’s losses came to opponents that will make the NCAA Tournament, although they are 2-6 against the top 25. They beat Florida, Richmond and Dayton. They have great guard play, led by Jordan Crawford. Maryland has won 7 straight and 9 of last 10. They are peaking at just the right time. The Terps are led by a solid group of seniors, that includes leading scorer Greivis Vasquez. They have one of the best freshmen in the nation in forward Jordan Williams. Missouri is 22-8. 4 of their losses are by 5 points or less. Their best wins are against Old Dominion, Kansas State and Texas. Richmond is 23-7 with wins over Mississippi State, Missouri, Old Dominion, Florida, Temple and Dayton.

In summary, I really don’t like many of these 7,8,9 teams. The best of the bunch are Baylor and Maryland. Maryland is the team I would choose to do some damage.

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