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Tournament Pairings at a Glance

First the Bracket

A Beast of an East.

The East is going to be crazy difficult for number 1 seed UNC, ostensibly the number 1 overall, to get to the final four. Granted the Heels get to go to Raleigh and then Charlotte before a trip to San Antonio, but they will likely have to face a murderers' row of Indiana/Arkansas, Notre Dame/Washington State, and then Louisville/Tennessee. Consider that 5 of these teams made my Wild Ass Guess Sweet Sixteen including Tennessee who for most of the last two months was considered a solid one seed.

Kansas' Easy Road.

While the talking heads drone on about RPI, how bad ASU got screwed, and going to a 128 team format to make things fair, thanks Bobby Knight, the most controversial aspect of the pairings is Kansas' cake walk to San Antonio. I mean seriously, they were treated like the number 1 seed overall and their best win before the conference tourney was against USC. Their bracket includes the easiest 8/9 matchup of all the one seeds getting to face either the MAC champion Kent State or a pedestrian UNLV team. Unless Anderson Hunt and Freddie Banks are suiting up, I'm not sure the Rebels could get to 50 against Kansas. Now compare that to UNC's matchup with Eric Gordon/DJ White's Indiana club or a very athletic Arkansas team that beat Tennessee two days ago.

The Sweet Sixteen matchup will likely be Vanderbilt or Clemson which in my opinion is one of the two weakest if not the weakest 4/5 combo depending on how you feel about Drake. If you think Drake would be favored vs. Clemson then call it the weakest. Everyone's regional final will be difficult, but compare Kansas' 2/3 combo of Wisconsin/Georgetown to UNC's which is Tennessee/Louisville and you'll see that the committee did UNC no favors.

Texas Fans get their wish.

As tough a pill to swallow as the game vs. KU was, Texas fans should be rejoicing at the sight of their bracket. A very favorable 7/10 matchup consisting of a team in St. Mary's that the Horns have beaten handily and an undisciplined Miami club who likes to play at a faster tempo and doesn't guard particulary well. I know people will talk about the Frank Haith angle, but Texas is a much better team and the matchup is favorable to a point where familiarity shouldn't matter.

If at the beginning of the year I would have told you that beating Miami is all that stands in your way from playing in a 4 team tournament in Houston with a chance to go to the final four, you'd be ecstatic. I'm a bit leery of the Stanford matchup, but they have struggled on the road against perimeter oriented teams like Tech and USC. Plus I think Texas can throw some different looks at Stanford using the 3 headed big man monster of Wangmane, Pittman, and Chapman at times, or the standard personnel of Atchley and James in an effort to pull the Tree's twin 7 footers away from the basket on offense, while hiding the lack of size with an active zone. Plus, Stanford will have a very hard time exploiting Texas' lack of backcourt depth.

Memphis is another story. Defending their Dribble Drive Motion offense will probably call for a lot of zone and that's not necessarily a bad thing if we can rebound out of it. I'll talk about that in more detail later. But all in all, a great bracket for Texas. Time to go shopping for tickets.

Double digit seeds in the Sweet Sixteen.

Davidson. Might be favored vs. Gonzaga and can certainly outscore Georgetown with a solid backcourt including Senior floor general Jason Richards and a great scoring guard in Stephen Curry. Keep in mind that they gave UNC, Duke, and UCLA all they wanted in nonconference play. They'll compete.

Temple. The tournament is for guard play and Temple has more of it than anyone in their opening round bracket. Senior Mark Tyndale is a hot shooting assist man and Junior guard Dionte Christmas is a stout inside/outside scorer. He might be the best player on the floor in any of their opening weekend game. This duo would probably be one of the best if not the best backcourt if they played in the Big East or Big 10. MSU and Pitt's plodding styles are certainly susceptible to great guard play if Temple can rebound at all.

Western Kentucky. They blew out Michigan and beat Nebraska. They played toe to toe with Tennessee at Knoxville and lost by 3 at Gonzaga. I doubt they'll be intimidated by Drake and if they win, their senior laden 4 guard offense might be enough to confuse an inexperienced UCONN team.

Siena. A solid club that shoots the ball well from 3 and can still rebound the basketball. They beat Stanford earlier in the year and shouldn't be intimidated by what in my mind is the weakest 4 seed Vanderbilt. If Siena can somehow advance they'd have a decent chance at knocking off a streaky Clemson club.

I'll do a more in depth analysis of the 4 regions, but this is the stuff that stuck out to me.

Good Instant Analysis from STF.