2014 East Region Forum

I think this is the most wide-open bracket. I struggle to see Virginia getting to Arlington, which would seem to clear the way for the Spartans. But there are a lot of tough teams on the two side of the bracket. I could see Villanova, Iowa State or North Carolina reaching the Elite Eight. And they’re all solid candidates to knock off MSU. We forget: before the Big Ten tourney, Izzo’s bunch was not playing all that well. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. It may pay to stay off it.

As for upsets, plenty of models like the chic Harvard pick. There’s one that even sees them shocking Sparty. Providence is another low seed that’s made it to the Elite Eight in a couple of models.

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26 Responses to 2014 East Region Forum

  1. Jared says:

    UNC could pull the upset.

  2. John says:

    Why is Nova slept on so much? Anyone seen them play a good amount?

    • Tom says:

      Only one regular taller than 6’7″. They’re a really guard-heavy team.

    • Brad says:

      Also, no team has ever lost their 1st game in a conference tourney and then won the whole thing. I liked Villanova until that stupid loss to Seton Hall

  3. Mike L. says:

    I believe John asked about UNC in another Forum. Here’s my take.

    First off, full disclosure, I am a UNC fan and alum. Second off, I don’t consider myself a homer and my tourney record backs that up. In the last 7 tourneys, I have called our exit from the tourney correctly and to the correct team in 5 of those years (the other two, 09-10 UNC failed to make NCAA, and in 10-11 I projected us to lose to WASH in 2nd rd, which to my credit, was a close game that WASH had a chance to win under 10 seconds to play).

    Third off, to answer your question, I think our team peaked sometime around the home wins vs dook and vs fake worest. During our 12 game win streak, it was our defense that propelled us. The dook home game was the first game in which we deployed the 1-3-1 defense, and to much success. If there was a 2nd factor, we were playing to our strengths without our opponent’s attacking our weaknesses. Since that peak, we have not been playing anywhere near that level, even though we squeaked out a few more wins. The most-telling sign of our crumbling defense is the fouls on our guard play (Paige, Britt, McDonald, and Tokoto). Another sign, but you actually have to watch the games to see it because it doesn’t show up in the stats sheet, is open-paint syndrome. None of our big men stay home and protect the paint. Our best paint defender is Desmond Hubert, followed by Brice Johnson. Unfortunately, opponents run pick and roll with the 5-man, bringing Meeks, James, and Hubert to the perimeter leaving McAdoo and Johnson to guard the paint. McAdoo tries to take charges and ends up picking up fouls instead. Johnson is afraid to leave his own man and help defend the P ‘n’ R action. Thus, open paint syndrome. I could go into much more detail, but I’ll sum it up like this: This looks like the team that went 1-4 to start ACC play rather than the team that went on a 12-game win streak.

    If you want to get a feel for the team, read any of Coach Williams comments and read any of Marcus Paige’s comments. For Paige to be a Sophomore, he has that feel for the team that you would expect from a floor-general of a UNC basketball team.

    As far as our matchup and our tourney path goes, I don’t really see this team in the Sweet 16. Three weeks ago, if the tourney started and we had IAST, PROV, and NCCU in our pod, I would have penciled us in the S16 without any hesitation. Now, not so much. As far as PROV goes, I watched the PROV-CREI title game. They run what looks like a variation of the FLEX offense. I don’t recall seeing the FLEX offense from an opponent this year, but Coach Williams has coached against it when BC was coached by Al Skinner, so Roy knows how to disrupt it. Getting this team to play to their potential on defense and to the game plan is the $1 Billion Question.

    Hope this helps. If anyone has insights into their team, I would greatly appreciate them.

    • Jared says:

      So you’re guessing that they are going to lose to ISU?

    • Mike L. says:

      The only bracket I have filled out at the moment is my GUT bracket, where I simply went with my gut. I haven’t looked into detail at any matchups, much less UNC’s. So to answer your question, I don’t really have any team go anywhere. When I went with my gut, I asked myself, which team from each pod could I see winning 2 straight games (an S16 appearance). Right now, I’d go IAST just on my gut to do that. Three weeks ago, looking at those same 4 teams, I would have said UNC.

    • John says:

      Michigan State win came at home on Senior Day. OSU is a tremendous defensive team, but is very limited offensively. They thrive on their defense creating offense. They do not have any really good 3 pt shooters and they lack an offensive big man. Aaron Craft has zero confidence in his jump shot right now and defenses have been sagging off of him to help on defense. When teams pack in a zone the Buckeyes really struggle.

      Bottom line is this team is athletic as any in the country, but you win games by putting the ball in the basket and this team has trouble doing that. I think if they get past Dayton (which is not a given) they stand very little chance against Syracuse’s zone and length.

      • John says:

        It seems the top of my post above got cut off. Here is what it should have said.

        Thanks Mike for your insight on UNC. I would like to do the same with a post on Ohio State. In my opinion this team is very overrated. And I am a huge Buckeye fan! They non-conference was very weak. In conference their big wins seem impressive (at Wisconsin, at Iowa and vs. Michigan State) but the road wins came when the opponents were in a big slump and their Michigan State win came on Senior Day.

  4. marktearle says:

    There are really only two decisions to make in this bracket. VA or Mich St. and the winner of that game vs Nova – who is the only team that wins each of paul’s champ tests. Now im not saying nova wins it all, but you gotta at least give them serious f4 consideration, especially considering their path.

  5. Brady says:

    I haven’t seen much of Providence but what I have seen I really like them. Has anyone watched them play much and do they stand a good chance against UNC?

  6. Mark Barr says:

    I feel the Iowa St / Nova winner takes this region… what do you guys think of that matchup? Who has the edge in your opinions. Thanks!

    • larry k says:

      I’m approaching this whole tourney from a different perspective than most here… that is, i’m trying to view it
      using game theory as a major factor, along with the efficiency ratings of the teams… i am doing this because it
      appears that it will be the most ‘volatile’ of the last 10 or more tourneys (‘volatile’ == high readings on peter’s madometer).

      so, what i must factor in highly is, not just who i think will win, but i think is ‘over-valued’ / ‘under-valued’ by my co-selectors… if i think a team has only a 40% chance of winning, but 90% of my competitors are selecting the opponent, i will take the ‘pot odds’ and take the team that i think only has a 40% chance of winning…

      using this logic, and what i’m hearing /feeling /viewing with all the pre-tourney hype, i am DEFINITELY going to put Nova in my final 4, perhaps in the champ game, upon more investigation…

      of course, what this all says is, my bracket might totally blow up because i’m also going to throw Mich State out of my final four for the very same reasons…

      not sure if anyone noticed, but on the big 2 hours ESPN special with all the talking heads last night from 7-9 pm, EVERY single one of them selected Mich State to win it all… talk about hype city…

      also, an interesting follow on… there is a pool here at work that regularly gets 150-200 entries each year.. i walk by a couple of guys in the hall, who are talking about the brackets and who they like… one guy, acting proud and brash definitely states, i have two really good FOUR seeds that are going to make the final four in all my sheets…
      gee, i wonder what show he was watching last night??? !!! :-)

      back to the drudgery…

      • John says:

        This year, Louisville and MSU are favorites as 4 seeds. In essence, they are to be considered “1 seeds” or “chalk” by people trying to go against the grain with some upset picks to gain some points. That’s why I agree with you that teams like Nova, Michigan, Duke, Whichita, UVA can even be considered “sleeper” final four teams.

        All teams are good enough to get to the final four and you can gain serious points for picking them.

        • Gary Diny says:

          I agree on the MSU and Louisville being likely picks by a good majority of pool entrants.

          BUT, they would be fulfilling the odds of upsets based on the seeds that Pete has been “forcasting” for most of the year. Going against that is a bit hard to do.

          As for the Villanova, I beleive that no team has lost their conference tournament opening round game and gone on to win the NCAA tournament.

          Theses next 2+ days are going to be fun….as always.


          • mark says:

            just because they wont go on to win it all doesnt mean no f4 cosideration or even championship game consideration. If youre hating on mich st, than who else are you seriously considering? Iowa St or Virginia? they seem just as suspect…just saying

  7. Andy says:

    First note on Virginia, maybe the sketchiest 1 seed ever. Has there ever been a 1 score this few points per game? Plus they didn’t go to the torunament last year.That aside, although Memphis has the numbers to pull an upset, I don’t really trust Partner, and this is a weak 8 overall. Not so with Michigan State, however. Izzo looks to finally have his team healthy and ready for a very deep run. It helps that I think Harvard will knock off Cincinnati (although I really think in the West, the Crimson would be in the Sweet 16 with little sweat broken.)

    Meanwhile, I wanted to be high on Villanova, and I definitely think they are Sweet 16. But Jay Wright’s SOAR is only 30 percent. As for a replacement, although Iowa State is the weakest 1-4 seed, they shoot a lot of threes and make them…bad matchup for Nova. I was going to go with North Carolina, and Roy Williams has never lost in the first round. However their momentum is hurting and I was shocked to discover that he has never been to the Sweet 16 as lower than a 4 seed! So I do like the Cyclones in the Elite Eight. But beating Michigan State who is heating up just as much and has a superior coach and superior talent? Can’t see it.

  8. Jared says:

    Does anyone know what the Toss Up Rules look like for Iowa State vs MSU?

  9. Bob says:

    Why is everyone assuming Villanova gets by Connecticut? Looking at the teams’ respective track records this season and how good Shabazz Napier and co. have been recently, I like Connecticut to pull off the upset.

  10. Brad says:

    While Michigan St. may not have looked so good before the B1G Tourney, UConn was the same way in 2011. They were the 9-seed in the Big Least tourney that year and won 5 games in 5 days (and somehow earning a 3-seed for the NCAA Tourney) and then won 6 more games to take the title that year. Sure they were the best seed in the Final Four, but still. I believe Michigan St. could do the same.

    Also, I’m a Hawkeye fan, but I tend to like most B1G schools. As my post shows, hated the old Big East too.

    • larry k says:

      Good points all … its not so much that I dont think m-state can pull it off and win it it all, its more I dont want to
      Be in competition with 30 players in a 200 sized pool coming into the champ game, where a win or loss in the pitt-colorado game ends up deciding who comes 2nd or 15th…..

  11. John says:

    Does any one else have Memphis over Virginia.

    I think UVA is gonna be playing with a chip on their shoulder. But a lot of stands/trends point to Memphis pulling off the big upset.

    In my bracket I have Memphis getting to the Elite 8, ultimately losing to NOVA.

    • Will says:

      Take a look at the Upsets page; 8 seeds that follow the characteristics listed (which Memphis does) are 8-2 vs. 1 seeds. Also helps that UVA is a historically bad 1 seed, but I digress.

    • Marc says:

      The glaring stat that is going against UVA is the lack of scoring prowess. They remind me of Washington back in 06 or 07 when they were a fringe 1 seed. They were beaten by L’ville in round 2. I’m taking Memphis here.

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