Here are the start times for all 16 NCAA tournament games Thursday, followed by which team has the overall edge in the six different categories. For example, in the 12:15 ET tip, Valparaiso is hotter and has more experienced guards, but Michigan State has a better overall team (based on Value Add), more NBA talent, a better trio, and is healthier for an overall edge of 31-20. Bucknell, Memphis, Marquette, Belmont, UNLV and Missouri have edges of five points or less, making those games almost toss-ups.
For more details on each team, go to the alphabetical list by clicking here. A more detailed explanation of the categories appears below the table.
|ET Tip||Our Favorite||Rat||Our Underdog||Rat||Team||NBA||Top3||Hot||Sr.Gu||Heal|
|12:15 PM||Michigan St.||31||Valparaiso||20||m||m||m||v||v||m|
|1:40 PM||Pittsburgh||37||Wichita St.||19||p||p||p||p||w|
|2:10 PM||St.Louis||23||New Mexico St.||17||s||s||s||s|
|2:45 PM||Memphis||26||St. Mary’s||23||stm||m||stm|
|4:40 PM||Oklahoma St.||29||Oregon||19||okst||okst||okst||ore|
|6:50 PM||Louisville||49||North Carolina A&T||11||l||l||l||l||l|
|7:15 PM||Michigan||35||South Dakota St.||17||m||m||m||s|
|9:20 PM||Missouri||30||Colorado St.||26||m||m||c||m|
|9:50 PM||New Mexico||28||Harvard||14||n||n|
Team – which team has the overall higher www.valueaddbasketball.com team rating. This is the most important factor – simply which team is better.
NBA – which team has more players likely to be playing in the NBA within two years. Most Final Four teams have three or more NBA-level players, though those teams sometimes get knocked out early when they are looking ahead to the NBA draft. The years that Kentucky or UNC have blown away the field they have had five or six NBA players on their roster, but this year noone has more than three, making it a wide open year.
Top 3 – while depth is nice, winning in the tournament often takes, “three and a half stars,” according to former Marquette coach and NBC Sports analysis Al McGuire. In the tournament, the games usually slow down and there is less substitution, so a valuable 8th or 9th man during the season may not even get on the court. Marquette’s current team is very deep, perhaps having the best 8th, 9th and 10th men in the country, but they do not have a top 50 player and only have one top 200 player, so their Top 3 are not as strong, so they have the 16th best team in Value Add, but only the 40th best Top 3 trio.
Hot – teams peaking before the tournament often do better than expected. We base this measure on how a team has moved up or down in their rating at www.kenpom.com since February 20.
Senior Guard Play – guards need to control the tense play in the NCAA tournament, so sometimes the more experienced guards of a Mid-Major team can over come more talented NBA-level players from a big conference.
Healthy – if one of the teams has an injury or a suspension, such as Akron losing their point guard, then the other team gets the edge for being more healthy.
Specifics on why one team has an edge in a given category can be found by going to the individual team review, which includes the ratings of the top 3 players on each team, which players are going to the NBA, a photo and news if the team has any injuries, is hot or cold, and/or has senior guards. To get the capsule on each team, go down to the “Selection Sunday” story on them on Breitbart Sports, or click on the alphabetical list.
But also remember, we are dealing with 20 year olds here, and sometimes the actual result just doesn’t make sense.