Mason, ACC Madness and the Winthrop Question
Welcome, everyone. All the college writers will be chiming in throughout the day. I drew the 8 a.m. time slot, which is the equivalent of playing the noon game on the opening day of the NCAA tournament. That's fine, unless of course I wind up in the New Orleans regional.
Tonight is all about George Mason. If the Patriots win, who else gets in from the CAA? ODU had a stronger profile than VCU. If Mason wins, where should the Patriots be seeded in the NCAAs? 13??? When would be the last time a returning Final Four team was given a double-digit seed? My final question: When was the last time two teams that reached the Final Four did not qualify for the NCAA tournament the following year? No team in the country has been more disappointing this season than LSU, which returned Big Baby Davis and was projected as a top-10 team in the preseason.
The most compelling storylines Friday should come from Tampa. Assuming no significant upsets on Thursday, any of the eight teams in the quarterfinals could win a game. It could be the sensational Al Thornton making a desperate attempt to upset UNC and strengthen FSU's case for an at-large bid. UVA-Duke could be the 7 p.m. game, which would probably be attractive enough to pull most fans and Adam Kilgore from the beach. And Maryland-Boston College could match two teams that have not met in more than three months. Since then, both teams have been through, well, a lot.
Winthrop seems to be on a lot of people's minds these days. They are the trendy first-round upset pick, but it's all about matchups and seeding. Ok, we know the Eagles nearly lost to VMI, a team with a 300 RPI, but here are Winthrop's four losses: Texas A&M, Maryland, Wisconsin (OT), North Carolina. Jim Colton is a math dude who lives in Chicago and created his own rating system. I talked to him for a while about my mock bracket story and he had an interesting point. Give Duke the same schedule as Winthrop and what would Duke's record be? Probably the same. Duke would probably lose the same four games and win the rest. So why should Duke be a 7 seed and Winthrop be a 11 or 12 seed? I'd give Winthrop a 9 and let them have a shot at slaying a No. 1 in the second round.
Ok, time to do a mock bracket of bracketologists ... Joe Lunardi get a No. 1 seed, Jerry Palm the No. 2 seed and so on and so on ...
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