Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 NCAA Basketball Picks - Round of 16

So, the first two rounds have came and gone and we are now looking at Sixteen Teams, the sweet sixteen. Any surprises? Well, only Arizona in my book since that is the only team I did not pick to be in this round. All the others went according to Hoyle but there were some close calls. Below is what to look for and other misc / inane statistics but if the gods of basketball want to make me happy, then the only loss that I suffer in this round would be Gonzaga beating North Carolina (have I mentioned how I hate the ACC, except for Duke that is).

Sweet 16 Match Ups – (note - when I talk about overall or previous records etc, I am only talking about since 1985, since that was the first year of the 64/65 team tournament. That is also how far back my database goes.)

✰ - UNC vs Gonzaga - No previous match ups in the NCAA tournament the last 25 years. UNC is 12-4 in sweet 16 since 1985, while Gonzaga is 1-3. Odds favor the Tar Heels. Glad that I picked them to win this match up.

✰ - Oklahoma vs Syracuse - These two teams met in 2003 when the number 3 seed Orangemen beat the number 1 seed Sooners. Two very good teams with very similar results in this round. Oklahoma is 4-3 and Syracuse is 4-5.

✰ - Pittsburgh vs Xavier - Pittsburgh has not won a sweet sixteen game in the last 25 years. Xavier has actually won 2, including last year. Will Xavier be able to handle the Panthers bruising style?

✰ - Duke vs Villanova - Duke hasn't been past this round in a while, 2004 they beat Illinois (a 5 seed) for the first win in the third round since 2001. Since 2000 Duke is 2-5 in this round. Significance? Well yes when you see that they are 11-6 since 1985 in the third round. Makes my Villanova pick look better.

✰ - Louisville vs Arizona - In 1994 #2 seed Arizona beat #3 seed Louisville. Since 1997 Louisville is 3-0 (4-5 overall) in this round. I fully expect them to make that 4-0.

✰ - Kansas vs Michigan State - Kansas has won their last 5 sweet sixteen games (10-5) overall. Michigan State has 5 of their last 6 (5-4 overall). This is a revenge game though, earlier this year Kansas was walloped by State. The last time these two teams met in this round was in 1986 when #1 Kansas beat the #5 Spartans.

✰ - Connecticut vs Purdue - Purdue is 2-3 overall but hasn't been to this round since 2000. UConn has made the sweet sixteen 11 times since 1990 and is 7-4 in those games, 5-1 in their last six games. This match up is where I thought they would miss Dyson, but the way they have played in the first two rounds of this tournament, I would not be surprised to see them blow out Purdue in this game.

✰ - Memphis vs Missouri - Next to Duke and Villanova, this may be the most anticipated game of this round. Memphis is 5-1 in this round since '85 but this is the fourth straight year that they have reached the sweet sixteen. Missouri hasn't been here since 2002 but is 2-1 in this round. Still I think I will go with the Tigers from Memphis.

Other miscellanous tidbits - This is the first year since 1989 that the SEC does not have a team in the sweet sixteen. Only the ACC has a longer streak (25), and only the Big East is approaching that mark (16).

The Conferences (6 BCS and those in this years tournament) with the best winning percentages since 85 in this round are; C-USA - 9-2, Atlantic 10 - 11-4, Big 12 - 24-19, Big 10 - 26-21. The worst is the West Coast Conference - 2-3 followed by SEC at 22-27.

Conferences with the best match ups in this round is the Atlantic 10 vs Big East (1-0), Big East vs Big 10 (4-2), Big 12 vs Big East (6-3) and C-USA vs Big 12 (2-1).

♊ - Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is, die of old age before it finds you.