Christian Watford, Joseph Bertrand

Final Bracket: One hour to go…

5 Comments

Depending on your viewpoint, it’s a 50-50 call on whether Indiana or Louisville will be the No. 1 overall seed and thus the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.  Early this morning, we had Indiana in that spot.  After a few more hours to think about it, the Hoosiers stay put.  An outright regular-season title in the Big Ten and the strength of road wins at Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan could be enough to keep IU close to home.  Ironically, back in November, we had Indiana and Louisville as the top two seeds on our pre-season bracket.  And here we are, back where we started.  If the Selection Committee tabs the Cardinals as the overall No. 1 seed, no argument here.  Both teams are very deserving.

We may never know if Ole Miss had a spot in the Field of 68 before winning the SEC tournament title today.  The Rebels took care of business, beat Florida, and secured a spot.  There are bound to be a few close calls, and we could see a surprise team in the bracket.  We’ll know soon.  It’s been a great season, and it’s going to be a great tournament.

UPDATED: March 17, 2013 | 4:30 p.m. ET

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Tennessee vs. Saint Mary’s | East Region
  • Boise State vs. La Salle | South Region
  • JAMES MADISON vs. NO CAROLINA AT | East Region
  • SOUTHERN vs. LIBERTY | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTWashington, DC MIDWESTIndianapolis            
Lexington Dayton
1) LOUISVILLE 1) Indiana
16) JAMES MADISON / NC A&T 16) LIBERTY / SOUTHERN
8) Illinois 8) NC State
9) Wichita State 9) San Diego State
San Jose Kansas City
5) UNLV 5) Marquette
12) Saint Mary’s / Tennessee 12) BELMONT
4) SAINT LOUIS 4) Kansas State
13) DAVIDSON 13) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Dayton Austin
6) Notre Dame 6) VCU
11) MISSISSIPPI 11) California
3) Ohio State 3) Florida
14) NORTHWESTERN STATE 14) HARVARD
Lexington Philadelphia
7) UCLA 7) CREIGHTON
10) Temple 10) Minnesota
2) MIAMI-FL 2) Georgetown
15) ALBANY 15) IONA
SOUTH – Dallas WEST – Los Angeles
Philadelphia Kansas City
1) Duke 1) KANSAS
16) LIU-BROOKLYN 16) WESTERN KENTUCKY
8) Missouri 8) Colorado State
9) MEMPHIS 9) Cincinnati
Austin San Jose
5) Oklahoma State 5) Arizona
12) Boise State / La Salle 12) BUCKNELL
4) Syracuse 4) Wisconsin
13) AKRON 13) NEW MEXICO STATE
Auburn Hills Auburn Hills
6) Butler 6) Pittsburgh
11) Oklahoma 11) Iowa State
3) Michigan State 3) Michigan
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) VALPARAISO
Salt Lake Salt Lake
7) OREGON 7) North Carolina
10) Villanova 10) Colorado
2) NEW MEXICO 2) GONZAGA
15) PACIFIC 15) MONTANA

NOTES on the BRACKET: Indiana is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Louisville, Duke, and Kansas. Next in line: Gonzaga, Georgetown, New Mexico, Miami-FL

Last Five teams in (at large): Oklahoma, Boise State, Tennessee, La Salle, Saint Mary’s

First Five teams out (at large): Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts

Next five teams out (at large): Iowa, Alabama, Southern Miss, Arizona State, Stephen F. Austin

Breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova

Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois

Mountain West (5): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise State

Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, California

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis

ACC (4): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL

SEC (4): Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi

Missouri Valley (2): CREIGHTON, Wichita State

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Conference USA (1): Memphis

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … BELMONT (Ohio Valley), WESTERN KENTUCKY (Sun Belt), BUCKNELL (Patriot), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit), VALPARAISO (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC), IONA (MAAC), NORTHWESTERN STATE (Southland), AKRON (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), PACIFIC (Big West), JAMES MADISON (Colonial), ALBANY (American East), MONTANA (Big Sky), NORTH CAROLINA A&T (MEAC), LIBERTY (Big South), LIU-BROOKLYN (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)

Duke knocks off No. 13 Louisville in first game of critical four-game stretch

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Leave a comment

Grayson Allen scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half and Brandon Ingram added 18 points, 10 boards and four assists as Duke picked up a critical win over No. 13 Louisville in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night, 72-65.

A call this a critical win for the Blue Devils because it kicks off what may be the most important two-week stretch of Duke’s schedule This weekend, the Blue Devils square off with No. 9 Virginia. Next Wednesday, they’re at the Dean Dome to take on No. 7 North Carolina. Four days after that, they head to the Bluegrass State to pay a visit to Louisville.

 

With the way that Duke has been struggling on the defensive end of the floor without Amile Jefferson, that’s a stretch that could derail Duke’s season; entering Monday, all four of those games were losable. But a four-game winning streak — or even going 3-1 in that stretch — could completely change the tenor of what has been a fairly disappointing year for the defending champs, and that’s before they get Jefferson back to 100 percent.

And the difference was defensively, at least in the first half.

I’ve written in this space a number of times about how opponents know what they’re going to get from Duke defensively. Coach K, traditionally, plays half court man-to-man defense, switching every exchange — ball-screen, off-ball pick or simply when two players run by one another — that doesn’t involve the center. In recent years, he’s played some zone in situations where he defense has struggled or, like this season, when he doesn’t have the depth to risk foul trouble. We’ve even seen some 2-2-1 pressure from him of late.

But on Monday night, Duke played straight man-to-man for much of the game, and in the first half, it seemed to fluster the Cardinals. They scored just 24 points in the first 20 minutes, and while Louisville did find a way to break Duke down defensively in the second half — they shot better than 55 percent from the floor after the break — but part of the reason Duke was able to win this game was the lead they built. After a three from Allen opened scoring in the second half, the Blue Devils were up by 14, and while Louisville made a run down the stretch, they could never get control of the game.

Duke is becoming appointment viewing for basketball nerds like me that pay too much attention to X’s-and-O’s to see what kind of wrinkle Coach K is going to put in to try and compensate defensively, so I’m not sure that this performance sticks. But it is worth noting that this was the first time in eight games the Blue Devils gave up less than 1.0 PPP, and the first time since Dec. 19th they did so against an NCAA tournament-caliber team.

As far as Louisville is concerned, you have to tip your hat to those kids. They played their hearts out and fought back from a big deficit in one of the toughest places in the country to play. They did all that three days after their school ripped their hearts out with an NCAA tournament ban for this season.

So good for them. You never know how a team is going to react to something like that, but the Cardinal players showed that they have some serious fight in them.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Leave a comment

Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.