Archive for 2009 NCAA Tourney

Sweet Sixteen

Posted in NCAA Basketball with tags , , on March 24, 2009 by nathanelwell


And finally, the first two torturous rounds of the NCAA tournament are complete.  This morning, I couldn’t help but look at all 24 of my brackets with a sigh of disdain.  “Why?” you should ask….  I’ll tell you why.  My red pen has run out of ink!  I think that maybe 2 of my 24 brackets have remained quasi-intact.  My first mistake was choosing Illinois over Western Kentucky in the first round.  My second mistake was choosing Ohio State to beat Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen.  The Buckeyes?  They have enough trouble with Siena.  Does anybody have a coin?  I might as well have flipped it for all my picks.

This year’s tourney hasn’t been devoid of excitement, as it has had its share of upsets.  Three different #12 seeds (Arizona, Western Kentucky, and Wisconsin) made it past the first round by defeating some overrated #5 seeds (Utah, Illinois, and Florida State).  One #13 seed (Cleveland State) was able to pull off the upset against Wake Forest and make it to the second round, before falling to #12 Arizona.  All #1, #2, and #3 seeds have made it to the Sweet Sixteen, as well as two of the four #4 seeds.  So that leaves two teams that are the “oddballs” in the tournament: #12 Arizona, and #5 Purdue.  If we based the tournament strictly by ranking, they would be the only 2 teams that shouldn’t still be in the tournament.  If I were a betting man I would pick Purdue to make it further than Arizona.   And maybe, just maybe, I have Purdue making it to the Final Four in several of my brackets.  But the Big East has shown how dominant of a basketball force they are, with 5 of their teams representing the Sweet Sixteen (Louisville, Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova, and Pitt).

So what can we expect in the Sweet Sixteen?  Well, I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t quivering with anticipation to see #2 Michigan State against #3 Kansas, #1 Connecticut vs. #5 Purdue, #2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Syracuse, and #2 Duke vs. #3 Villanova.  Honestly, I believe that any of the #1, #2, and #3 seeds could win it all.  In my mind, the only team that has the smallest chance of making it to the Championship is Arizona.  But history has taught us that it is not impossible for a team with a double digit seed to make it to the Final Four (George Mason in 2006).  But that is the mystery in the tournament isn’t it?  You never know who is gonna win.  Its like playing the hand crane game at the local bowling alley.  You never know which cheap stuffed animal you’ll pick.  Ok, well maybe I’m the only one thinking that, but it brought back nostalgic memories of my time at Wheaton Bowl growing up.

So when Thursday arrives, get in your favorite chair with your favorite beverage, and get ready for some serious excitement!


Tournament Thursday

Posted in NCAA Basketball with tags , , , on March 20, 2009 by nathanelwell


The tournament is finally here!  The 64 to 1 journey has begun for several eager teams who desire an NCAA title.  Unfortunately for several of the teams, their dreams will have been shattered before the tournament begins, with probabilities and statistics against their favor.  Four of those teams are Morehead State, East Tennessee State, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Radford, who had to respectively face Louisville, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and North Carolina.

For sure the tourney will go well into the wee hours of the morning.  So far the upsets have been minimal, however, the Fighting Illini forgot to show up against Western Kentucky, and ultimately lost the game.  In terms of seeding, it was the largest upset of the day. beyond the usual #8 vs. #9 and #7 vs #10 upsets. See the results here, and get out that red pen for your brackets!

Barack’s Brackets

Posted in NCAA Basketball with tags , , , , , , , on March 19, 2009 by nathanelwell


By now, you are probably frantically filling out those last few brackets before the NCAA tournament begins.  And some (ahem, several) of you may even be placing a small bet on your brackets, in the hopes of a little extra recession cash.  Which teams to pick?  Which #1 seeds will be upset?  And how late is Taco Bell open, again?

Well, this evening I did a double take while surfing  It appeared that President Obama was being interviewed by Andy Katz regarding the NCAA Tournament Brackets.  And the appearance did not deceive me.  Prez Obama followed Andy Katz through all picks of his bracket from start to finish.  Between scolding AIG, Lehman Brothers, and Madoff, Obama was able to find the time to make his picks and tell everyone about them.  Regardless of what “side of the aisle” you sit on, you have to admit it is pretty amusing to see a sitting U.S. President actually be interviewed by a mega-sports network about his NCAA picks.  Perhaps one of the best parts of the video (which you have to watch) was when Katz asked Obama if he picked Utah over Arizona because Arizona is where McCain is from (or something along those lines).  Obama assured Katz that it had nothing to do with it.

His bracket was respectable, but having three #1 seeds in the Final Four may seem a bit idealistic to me.  In case you are curious and interested, please take a look at President Obama’s brackets below.  Or if you wouldn’t mind seeing the video in its entirety, have a look at it.  But if you are Coach K of the Blue Devils, you will probably have nothing to do with it.  After hearing that Duke was not included in Obama’s Final Four picks, here is what Coach K had to say: “Somebody said that we’re not in President Obama’s Final Four, and as much as I respect what he is doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets.”  You can cut the tension with a knife!  As to how accurate Obama’s picks are, we will just have to see.  But click on his original bracket below, if you are unsure of what teams you should pick!


Bracketology – Working the statistics

Posted in 1 with tags , , , on March 17, 2009 by nathanelwell

So its Tuesday, and you’ve surely begun the painstaking task of choosing which teams will be upset, which teams are sure fires, and which teams will make it to the Final Four.  Undoubtedly you have 7 or 8 different brackets that you’ve printed out from CBS Sportsline, Sporting News, ESPN, Yahoo, Facebook, CNNSI, and Fox Sports, and they are pegged to your wall.  When I was in college, I used to create a picture window sized poster with all of the brackets for the tournament, and hung it on my dorm room wall.  It wasn’t exactly symmetrical (i’m no artist), but it gave me a great idea of where I was at in the bracket challenge.  By the end of the tournament there were red x’s all across my poster.

I decided to get serious about Bracketology.  So I spent a week and researched the last 15 years of NCAA tournaments to figure out what the probabilities were of upsets, which upsets consistently happened, and which teams have been relatively hot in the tourney.  Below are some pointers for your own brackets.  Keep these facts in mind before you decide to choose a #16 seed to defeat a #1 seed (it hasn’t ever happened).  But check twice before you have that second round #3 seed defeat a #6 seed.  There have been plenty of those upsets throughout the years.  Enjoy!

1st Round upsets

Since 1994, there have been 12 times where a #13 seed has defeated a #4 seed (it last occurred in 2008 TWICE)

-Since 1994, there has never been a #16 seed that has defeated a #1 seed

-Since 1994, there has only been 2 years where a #12 seed has not upset a #5 seed (2000 and 2007)

-Since 1994, there have been only 3 years where a #11 seed has not upset a #6 seed (97,99, 04)

-2007 was the only year that a #10 seed did not defeat a #7 seed.

-in virtually every year since 94, there has been a #9 seed that upset a #8 seed (if you can call it that)

2nd Round

-In the past 6 years, a #5 seed has defeated a #4 seed

-Since 94, there have only been 2 years where a #6 seed has NOT upset a #3 seed

-In the past 6 years, a #7 seed has defeated a #2 seed

-Since 94, there have been 10 instances where a #10 seed has defeated a #2 seed.

Championship notes:

Since 1979, only 1 time has all for #1 seeds made it to the Final Four (in 2008)

-The National Championship has matched two #1 seeds only 6 times (the last in 2008)

-At least one #1 seed has made it to the Final Four except in 2006 and 1980.

-The lowest seed to make it to the Final Four was #11 George Mason in 2006.

-The lowest seed to win the National Championship was #8 Villanova in 1985.

Hope you enjoyed some fun statistics.  Enjoy the tourney, and may the best bracket win!!