Once again a few of the top ranked teams in the NCAA have lost to unranked teams. The #1 Indiana Hoosiers lost to the dreaded Minnesota Golden Gophers. This was the same Minnesota team that knocked down the #16 Wisconsin Badgers. #4 Michigan allowed the Penn State Nittany Lions get their first Big 10 win against them last night. Though do these losses mean anything? No they don’t mean anything when it comes to the big tournament coming soon in March. Never judge a college basketball team by their play away, all college teams’ play poorly away. This game is all about play in the home or neutral court, because no team plays too far away from home during March Madness.
So this year I’m hoping my bracket won’t come crashing down on me like it did last year during Upset Madness. There were so many upsets last year that I might have well just thrown my bracket away right after the first round. This year it’s pretty much looking like the same thing, but I’m hoping all the upsets will stay in the regular season.
The teams that you should be putting going to at least the final four this year should be as follows
The Michigan Wolverines
The Michigan Wolverines may have had some noticeable losses like to the Wisconsin Badgers, who are looking pretty good this year, and to Penn State. Though these losses were away games for them, and as I said never judge a team by their play away, all teams are bad away.
The Michigan Wolverines beat teams at home by an average of 19 points a game, that’s a great point differential. Burke is a monster at home averaging 18.8 points per game and with poor defenses in the league this year Burke is almost unstoppable. His assists aren’t bad either with 6.9 per game. The Wolverines are also ranked 6th in field goal percentage. This team will be tough to defeat in the tournament and they should have no problem getting to the final four unless they go up against an Creighton, North Carolina, or Georgetown early, though those three teams are plagued by poor fundamentals.
The Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana has won 20 of their home game, but the issue I have with Indiana is their losses to top 25 ranked teams beating them at home, like Wisconsin and Butler, even though the later was settled in OT. The upside from that is the simple factor Indiana hasn’t won most of their home games by 30 to 40 points which is quite astonishing with the way the teams are playing this year.
Another major factor here is simply Cody Zeller scoring 16.3 points per game, 8.1 rebounds most of them on defense, and his .575 field goal percentage. Zeller’s downside may simply be his lack of any 3 pointers. Indiana is my first choice to win the bracket this year; it’s time for the Indiana Hoosiers to come back. They’re 2nd in points per game and 5th in field goal percentage. Indiana’s only threat will be running into Duke probably in the Final Four.
The Duke Blue Devils
Just like Indiana Duke has won 20 of their home games the issue is the games they played against ranked team or better than average teams are extremely close. They’re average point differential is about 16 points. My other issue with the Blue Devils is that don’t really have any players that really stand out to me.
II can’t really choose just one player in this team, it’s defiantly the combination of Plumlee and Curry, with Plumlee’s 17.5 PPG and .596 FG% and Curry’s 16.8 PPG and his .460 FG%. Not only is Plumlee’s scoring great but his 10.7 rebounds is also a good note to take.
The only fear I would have with the Blue Devils going all the way is the fact they’d most likely have to play Indiana. I don’t think they’re 8th ranked PPG offense can outshoot the relentless Indiana Hoosiers.
Who Else could make the cut?
Gonzaga- Every year this team gets stuck playing tough ranked teams at their home which Gonzaga never seems to be able to handle and thus they get knocked out in the early rounds, sorry Gonzaga.
Miami- These team of seniors is great, but they seem to struggle in the big games and not many of these players scream clutch to me, they may make it the Elite Eight, but it’ll be a challenge.
I’m ready for the Madness, are you?