Friday, March 30, 2012
You can find the editorial here (it is the last one), and you can find Brian's blog entry about it here.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
The first two days of the NCAA tournament provided a number of upsets. Two 15-seeds, one 13-seed, two 12-seeds and two 11-seeds all won, along with one 16-seed who may have won without the hindrance of the refs. Most commentators seem to be describing the upsets as being due to more general parity. That parity has been evident in the last few years with Butler's multiple trips to the Final Four, along with VCU's and George Mason's runs as well. However, an additional factor likely on display this year was the overall quality of the lower seeded teams. In particular, the usual bottom feeders that inhabit the 15 and 16 seed lines looked much better than usual. I think part of the reason was that many of these weaker conferences put their best team forward. In past years, many of these leagues would see their top team get knocked off in the conference tournament. The conferences ranked 20th, 21st and 23rd – 27th by RPI all sent their regular season champion. Of the higher ranked conferences only the Sun Belt sent a clearly inferior team that belonged on the 16-seed line, Western Kentucky. A couple of them sent teams that weren't their strongest, Detroit from the Horizon and Loyola from the MAAC, but those conferences sent teams that were at least in their top four teams. Add it all up and there was a logjam of teams that typically would have been 13 and 14 seeds getting pushed down to the 15-seed line. If you have enough good teams, some of them will pull off the upset.
Of course this might not be a sufficient excuse for Mizzou, as the one 15-seed that seemed like a typical 15-seed was Norfolk State.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
As I did last year, and the year before I tried to come up with what my projection would be for the NCAA field if it was 96 teams instead of 68. One assumption I make is that they will take no losing teams. Two years ago this was a strong assumption, but this year it probably would not have made a difference. Unlike in last year's projection I will not assume that all of the NIT at-large teams will make it. While there were a lot of automatic bids to the NIT, like in years past, the different thing this year was that there were a lot of automatic bids who would have made the NIT without the automatic bids (Washington, Drexel, Nevada …). What that means is that we cannot assume that all of the NIT at-large bids would have made the NCAA tournament. In particular, it is hard to imagine Iowa making a 96-team NCAA tournament. However, being a large university with a large fan base who could host an NIT game made them a good choice for the NIT. I was also skeptical of Stanford, but they received a 3-seed so maybe my view of them is probably lower than that of the people making the decisions.
Clear additions to a 96-team field: Washington, Tennessee, Arizona, Seton Hall, St. Joe's, Mississippi, Miami, Dayton, Oregon, Drexel, Oral Roberts, Northwestern, Mississippi St., Akron, Nevada, Marshall
Likely additions: La Salle, Middle Tennessee, UMass, Central Florida
Bubble teams: Cleveland St., Northern Iowa, LSU, Valparaiso (The Horizon was a pretty highly rated conference so I think Cleveland St. and Valpo would have been selected)
Last 4 in: UMass, Bucknell, Stanford, Minnesota
Last 4 out: George Mason, Weber St., Princeton, Buffalo
I ended up taking all of the at-large teams from the NIT except Iowa (RPI in the 120s) plus two additional auto bids from the NIT that had 7 or 8 seeds (Valparaiso and Bucknell)
Thursday, March 1, 2012
My picks for the AL MVP:
I had the top 3 reversed from the actual voting (Verlander winning). Obviously, I am not afraid of picking a pitcher as MVP, as I had Verlander 3rd and Sabathia 7th, and in the NL I had Halladay 3rd, Kershaw 5th and Cliff Lee 8th. I just didn't have Verlander winning this year.
Among the other players, Kinsler did not get as much support as he probably should have.