The top NBA talent is packed into the East (Kentucky vs. UNC) and the South (potential Kansas vs. Maryland or Cal). Kansas has been better, is hotter now, has more experienced guards – but Maryland can erase it all with one huge upset.
Because they have not lived up to expectations, they could first have to defeat an almost as talented California team in the 4-seed vs 5-seed game. We have Cal winning that game, but Kansas winning regardless.
While the NBA-level talent is in the top of the South Region, except for Kansas the top five overall teams are in the bottom half of the bracket.
When measuring all seven factors, four of the top 15 teams in the entire country are in the bottom of the South Region. Ironically, two of these top 15 start in the 11-seed play-in game (which Charles Barkley correctly called the greatest play-in game ever), when Vanderbilt plays Wichita State for the right to play 6-seed Arizona.
The good news for 2-seed Villanova is they can finally win two games to get to the Sweet 16 without playing any of those three teams. We have Villanova taking advantage of that path to go all the way to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2009 when they stunned UCLA, Duke and Pitt to go to the Final Four.
The number to the left of the team indicates how many lines they occupy on our bracket. (see the Fox Sports bracket to fill in here)
|16||Austin Peay||69.0||67||2||0.1||-0.7||0.6 OVC/1|
|12||South Dakota St.||80.8||78||0||1.8||-0.1||1.2 Sum/1,2|
|11||Wichita St.||2||92.3||87||2||0.6||1.3||1.4 MVC/1,1|
|3||Miami FL||1||91.7||89||0||1.1||1.3||0.4 ACC/2|
|14||Buffalo||75.1||74||1||0.5||-0.4||0.0 No All-MAC|
|15||UNC Asheville||74.2||73||1||-1.0||1.2 BSth/1,2|
We pick Kansas to beat Villanova to win the Region and go to the Final Four, though we pick them to lose there.
The hardest match-ups to call is the triangle of Vanderbilt, Wichita State and Arizona.
The team with the best All-American/All-Conference talent is Kansas, followed by Maryland and Villanova. Hawaii has two first team All-Big West selections, as does Wichita State in the Missouri Valley – one reason we pick them to beat Vanderbilt and then Arizona.
The team hottest teams in the Region are Kansas, Wichita State, UConn, Cal and Austin Peay, while Iowa and Maryland have been cold (see progress of rating at www.kenpom.com).
The healthiest teams are UConn, South Dakota State and Arizona, while Temple and Hawaii are the most short-handed. (See Breitbart Sports list of all the players whose injuries were factored into this rating).
The team with the best NBA-level talent are Kansas and Maryland, with Cal not far behind. (see right column at www.valueaddbasketball.com for the percent chance of each player making the tournament.
The most experienced and best guards play for Wichita State and Miami.