Two-seed Villanova has been lights-out so far. They’ve crushed UNC Asheville by 30 (no surprise), and then turned around a hung 54 in the first half on Iowa. That game was way over by half-time, and the 19-point final score only shows that the wildcats played their bench most of the second half. They play Miami on Thursday.
The story going around is that Gonzaga performs better as an underdog, but the data doesn’t really support that. Check this out:
As you can see, Gonzaga does about the same, regardless of seed, with a tiny trendline of higher-seed meaning more wins. But think about this, the higher your starting seed, the worse your early opponent is, or at least, is supposed to be.
This is a good Gonzaga team. Sabonis is for real, and Eric McClellan’s play can only be called a positive surprise for Bulldog fans. If he can keep is play at the elevation it’s been, Gonzaga could finally break through to the final four this year.
Winner: Taurean Prince
I know Baylor lost but Prince gets a big congratulations for his “snappy-answer-to-stupid-question” here. The interviewer should be embarrassed, and hopefully is.
Winner: the ACC
The ACC has six teams in the sweet sixteen: Notre Dame, Miami, Duke, UNC, Virginia and Syracuse. Thus far, the only team that has lost from the ACC is Pitt. That’s a very impressive record, and shows the depth of their conference, especially considering Louisville was disqualified this year.
Loser: the Pac-12
The Pac 12 was already the big loser of the CFB play-offs in 2016, as the only Power-5 conference left out. But with the way the Pac has acquitted itself so far in the NCAA tourney, the “Power” label may be worth re-examining. Let’s look at the results:
- Perennial Pac-12 hoops power UCLA failed to make the tournament completely.
- Four-seed California lost 66-77 to 13-seed Hawaii in the first round.
- Six-seed Arizona lost 55-65 to 11-seed (and play-in-game participant) Wichita State, who immediately got beat by Miami.
- Seven-seed Oregon State lost 65-75 to 10-seed VCU in the first round.
- Eight-seed USC lost 69-70 to nine-seed Providence in the first round, and Providence then turned around and got spanked 66-85 by UNC.
- Three-seed Utah lost 59-82 to 11-seed Gonzaga in the round of 32.
This is exactly how not to defend an in-bounds with seconds-left. Ugh.
The only team still in the tournament from the Pac-12 is one-seed Oregon, who beat a Holy Cross team (from the Patriot League, in case you were wondering) with a losing record, and then followed it up with a close game against Saint Johns. Now they face a Duke team on a roll, and it’s not hard to imagine Duke winning that game.
Loser: Tom Izzo and Michigan State
I like Tom Izzo (he seems like genuinely good guy) and get no pleasure from his failure, but boy did he fuck up my bracket: I had Sparty going all the way to the championship game. Instead, they lost to Middle Tennessee State (who?) in the first round, only the eighth time a two-seed has lost to a 15 seed. This was easily the biggest upset I’ve ever seen in the tourney, bar none.