Forcing Indiana to play Kentucky in the second round punishes Indiana, and the winner getting UNC is even worse.
I was at the game when Indiana stunned No. 1 Kentucky and Anthony Davis before Kentucky refused to keep playing the game, but Kentucky has the best offensive point guard, the most NBA talent, two Breitbart Sports All-Americans.
The Wildcats being seeded too low punishes All-American Jameel Warney, who hit 18 of 22 shots to score 43 points to earn Stony Point their first trip to the dance and a 13-seed. But they may as well be only a 15-seed with Kentucky as their first opponent. Tom Crean and star point guard Yogi Ferrell shocked all by taking Indiana to the Big Ten title, but I do not believe they have quite enough for Kentucky.
I do believe North Carolina does stop Kentucky in the Sweet 16, but that should be the path for the top two seeds. If Providence upsets UNC first they will have a huge win, but anyone who beats Kentucky deserves the same recognition.
Here is how the East teams stack up based on the seven key factors you should consider, and which are explained here. In 2013 and 2015 people sent us thank you letters for these picks, but in 2014 they cursed us. We do go against our own numbers in picking All-American Thomas Walkup to lead the hottest team in the country, Stephen F. Austin, to stun both West Virginia and Notre Dame.
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)
|1||North Carolina||4||100.1||92||2||1.4||3.5||-0.4||1.6 2nd|
|16||Florida Gulf Coast||72.5||70||2||0.2||-1.0||1.2 ASun/1,2|
|16||Fairleigh Dickinson||64.2||64||0||-0.4||0.6 NEC/1|
|13||Stony Brook||77.8||78||-1||-1.4||0.3||0.4||1.4 3rd|
|6||Notre Dame||1||87.7||84||1||2.2||0.1||0.4 ACC/2|
|11||Michigan||80.9||84||0||-3.9||1.8||-1.0||0.0 No All-B10|
|3||West Virginia||94.3||92||2||0.3||-1.0||1.0 B12/2,2|
|14||Stephen F. Austin||2||87.7||81||4||0.1||2.6 3rd,Slnd/2,2|
|10||Pittsburgh||1||85.8||85||0||0.6||0.1||0.0 No All-ACC|
|15||Weber St.||75.3||74||0||0.5||-0.4||1.2 BSky/1,2|
We pick North Carolina to win the Region and go to the Final Four, but have them losing then.
The hardest match-ups to call was Stephen F. Austin’s two upsets.
The team with the best All-American/All-Conference talent is Kentucky, with two All-Americans, but Stephen F. Austin is impressive with two second team All-Southland players in addition to All-American Walkup.
The team hottest team in the Region is Stephen F. Austin (see progress of rating at www.kenpom.com).
The healthiest team is North Carolina, with two great players who missed early action, while Michigan is the most short-handed due to injury. (See Breitbart Sports list of all the players whose injuries were factored into this rating).
The team with the best NBA-level talent that could just dominate is Kentucky, but North Carolina is second in the entire country (see right column at www.valueaddbasketball.com for the percent chance of each player making the tournament).
The most experienced guards are USC, Indiana (All-American Yogi Ferrell), Stony Brook (two experienced guards that feed Warney well), and Providence (All-American Kris Dunn).