Thank You Supporters

March 10, 2010
By K. Becks

The title may be misleading, because this post isn’t going to be a drawn out thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. However, it is just a little shout out to everyone who has been promoting the blog during the last few days. I’m really anticipating the day when I get more than ten readers in one day. I really do appreciate all the help, guys.

As we continue to move right along in championship week, the excitement of March Madness keeps growing. I’m really looking forward to some of the major conference tournaments starting up in the next few days. However, as I promised, my focus will continue to be on the smaller conferences.

Horizon League

Automatic Bid: Butler
Projected Seed: Anywhere from 5 to 7
Probability of Being a Cinderella: N/A

Butler has been a tournament regular for the last decade or so now, which is an extremely commendable feat for a team from a mid-major conference. However, a five seed is probably the highest seed they could receive (even with their stellar record), due to the general perception of the Horizon League. Like Northern Iowa, I wouldn’t consider them a Cinderella unless they make it past the Sweet 16. If they get a favorable region, they have the talent to pull that off.

Sun Belt

Automatic Bid: North Texas
Projected Seed: 15
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Unlikely

Although most people didn’t get a chance to see this team play until their conference tournament final, they were very exciting to watch. They won their three conference tournament games by a combined 13 points. They have a balanced scoring attack (four players averaging double-digits in scoring), and are a sound defensive team. However, last time they made the Big Dance (in 2007), they were bullied by a more physical and athletic Memphis team. It is likely that they will have to face a similar team this time around as well. Their backcourt will have to play extremely well if they want to have a chance to move on to the second round.

Summit

Automatic Bid: Oakland
Projected Seed: 13 or 14
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Unlikely

The Grizzlies rolled through their conference schedule as well as their conference tournament, going 17-1 in league play and recording double-digit wins in all three of their conference tournament games. There is no doubt that they can score the ball (1st in the Summit league with 76.8 PPG), but the challenge for them will be stopping the other team from scoring as well. They have suffered blowout losses against Kansas, Michigan State, and Syracuse, in which they gave up more than 85 points in all those games. If they can find a way to stay with the opposing team on the offensive end, they may be able to make it interesting, but they will need to play better defense if they want to win.

Northeast

Automatic Bid: Robert Morris
Projected Seed: 16
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Very Unlikely

The representative from the Northeast Conference tends to have their “Welcome to the NCAA Tournament” greeting in the form of a sound beating by a top seed. The Colonials will be playing hard, but should remember take in the experience of an NCAA tournament game, one that many do not ever get to experience. Keeping the game moderately close would be a commendable effort. If they manage to keep it close for a half, then they will have done well.

West Coast

Automatic Bid: St. Mary’s (CA)
Projected Seed: Anywhere from 8 to 10
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Good
Other teams from the conference that will probably be in: Gonzaga

The Gaels finally got the win against Gonzaga that eluded them in the regular season by beating them in the finals of their conference tournament. This was important, as their schedule did not really have a signature win before this point. Unlike many teams from mid-major conferences, St. Mary’s relies on the down low presence of their big men. Senior center Omar Samhan, a big 6’11 bruiser who leads the team in scoring (20.9 PPG), will carry the team on both ends. In addition to being a scorer, he was the WCC defensive player of the year. If Samhan and the rest of the team can stay out of foul trouble, they have the potential to be the darling of the tournament.

Southern

Automatic Bid: Wofford
Projected Seed: 14 or 15
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Decent

Wofford comes in to the NCAA tournament with a lot of confidence. In addition to being the first Wofford team ever to go Dancing, they are riding a 13 game winning streak. It really depends on the seed they get for whether or not they can be an upset special. Another factor will be their free throw shooting, which has been suspect at times throughout this season. If they shoot the ball well and play tight defense (and that’s a fairly big if), then they could surprise a lot of people.

- K. Becks

One Response to Thank You Supporters

  1. Coleman on March 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Butler is always dangerous, St. Mary and Gonzaga could make some noise, but Kyle… why even bother mentioning these other teams? they will get pulverized

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