Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Breaking Down the Field (Part II)

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Let’s get right to the continuation of the top 25 breakdown. For the top 13 teams, please see yesterday’s post by clicking here. And good night UConn - can we please stop talking about them? They are not on the bubble, and cannot even see the bubble they are so far away after mailing it in last night against St. John's.

14. BYU Cougars
Why They Will: They can score points. They have scored over 100 three times and over 90 points on 6 other occasions. Yet the amazing part is that they only gave up over 80 three times, losing two of those 3 games. Guard Jimmer Fredette averages over 20 points a game and just dropped 49 on TCU last week. Much like an Australian model, they have talent, though it’s mostly unknown and you probably don’t want to cast her as the star of your blockbuster movie.

Why They Won’t: They are not battle tested, with no signature wins (Arizona & Arizona St do not qualify as quality victories. In addition, they were swept by New Mexico during the regular season.

Bottom Line: Their ability to score can make them a tough matchup in the first round, but they will struggle to get much further than that.

15. Tennessee Volunteers
Why They Will: They have already beaten both Kansas and Kentucky, the top two teams in the country during the season. They play pressure defense and have one of the more charismatic coaches in the country in Bruce Pearl. With Scotty Hopson playing like he is capable combining with Wayne Chism, this team has the skills to make a long run.

Why They Won’t: Since they jettisoned Tyler Smith from the team, the Vols have jelled, but they are not deep and have been extremely inconsistent. Are they too emotional? Like Katy Perry, they can wow you at times, but you know it’s going to be a rollercoaster ride.

Bottom Line: This is a team that will be very dependent upon their seeding. They have the talent to get to the elite eight, but they could also be ripe for a first round flop if they get a disciplined, methodic team from a mid-major conference.

16. Pittsburgh Panthers
Why They Will:
Jamie Dixon teams are always tough defensively and bring full effort on every play. They are Christina Aguilera, a little rough around the edges, tough, and kind of a scary matchup.

Why They Won’t: They don’t have a consistent enough scoring threat, which can be a problem in the clutch. They are only 5-5 when they give up 70 points or more, and are 19-2 when they keep teams under 70, which will be tough if they get deep against some of the more prolific offensive teams.

Bottom Line: Their defense will propel them into the sweet 16, at which point they will likely run into a team that can play enough defense to stifle the Panther attack and send Pittsburgh home.

17. Temple Owls
Why They Will: The Owls have shown flashes of brilliance, beating Villanova, Penn State, Seton Hall and Virginia Tech. They tied for the conference title in the surprisingly tough Atlantic-10, which was a better conference than the Pac-10 this season.

Why They Won’t: They got annihilated by Kansas at home, and don’t have anyone averaging more than 14.5 points per game. Like Jenna Fischer, they are among the top choices in a small town/conference for the girl-next-door type. Unfortunately, the bright lights of the tournament want more flash.

Bottom Line: Their disciplined play will allow them to avoid an early upset, but they will be the #4 or #5 seed that the cinderella teams are hoping to catch in the second round. But look at the bright side, they still have Bill Cosby as their most recognizable fan.

18. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Why They Will:
Like Butler, their status as an underdog expired a few years ago. They don’t sneak up on anyone, yet they continue to dominate their conference during the regular season.

Why They Won’t: Because they don’t sneak up on anyone anymore, they are consistently overseeded at this point, potentially protecting them in the opening round. Like Kathryn Heigl, they went from underrated to overrated and were exposed as lacking the talent to compete with the best competition.

Bottom Line: They are a prime candidate to get knocked off in the first round in a 12-5 or 11-6 upset.

19. Maryland Terrapins
Why They Will: Their best player, Greivis Vasquez, is not afraid of the big moment, and he actually thrives on them. They tied for the ACC regular season title, and have Shooter from Hoosiers stalking the sidelines – Gary Williams.

Why They Won’t: Vasquez has the ability to make or break a team, because when he’s hot he’s as good as anyone. Yet when he’s cold, he’s too arrogant to know that he should look to contribute in ways other than heaving another 3-pointer. Like Sienna Miller, they can draw you in with her flashes of talent, but you’re not sure if she’s stable enough that you want to hitch your wagon to them for the long-term.

Bottom Line: Because the ACC was unbelievably weak this year, the co-champs of the conference will likely end up as a #5 or #6 seed, which means they are in danger of a first-round flame out. Expect them to sneak through to the second round, where they will be dropped.

20. Vanderbilt Commodores
Why They Will: You cannot write off a team that won at Tennessee and swept Florida with an inside-outside attack from Jermaine Beal and AJ Ogilvy. They are like Rachel Bilson – well-rounded, and very likeable.

Why They Won’t: Consistency has not been their strength, evidenced by losses to Western Kentucky, Cincinnati and at Georgia. They have the talent to play with most teams, but they don’t seem to have the focus, which brings into question the ability of their coach to take them to the next level.

Bottom Line: They appear to be a prime candidate for a first round upset due to their inconsistency. They tend to play up or down to their competition which could lead them to losing to a Sienna or the other upset sweethearts.

21. Baylor Bears
Why They Will:
They are very overlooked in the sneaky tough Big 12, where they swept Texas and Oklahoma and beat Arizona State on the road. Like Tina Fey, they are sneaky attractive, in that you don’t think about them in that way at first. But then after you look past the 2003 incident where a Bear player was convicted of killing a teammate, the school brought in Scott Drew (brother of NCAA Tournament legend Bryce Drew) who has turned the program around.

Why They Won’t: They don’t have the required go-to guy that can generate his own offense when things break down. That’s the biggest weakness I can see on this sleepy team that no one is talking about.

Bottom Line: They are a great sleeper pick to get to the elite eight, as they have a team that plays well together and if they get hot, could knock off a top seed in the sweet 16.

22. Georgetown Hoyas
Why They Will:
They have the Lt. Aldo Raines coach in John Thompson III, a leader that the players believe in and will do whatever he needs them to do. That measured approach to the game allows them to play well in big games because the team doesn’t get overly emotional. They also have the Jenni Farley, “J-Woww”, frontcourt with Greg Monroe and a guard in Austin Freeman that everyone is rooting for after learning he is dealing with diabetes.

Why They Won’t: They are not a great outside shooting team, and despite the strong play of Monroe & Freeman, they go into scoring droughts which can be the end of teams in the tournament.

Bottom Line: This is a team that lost to Syracuse, beat Duke, lost to South Florida and then beat Villanova all within 2 weeks. Yet, when they are hot, they are as good as anyone, and it would not surprise me to see them in the elite eight.

23. Texas A&M Aggies
Why They Will:
Like Maggie Gylenhaal, some people are into this team, yet I don’t really understand how or why they are successful. The Aggies finished tied for second in the Big 12, and played Kansas close during their only meeting. They play tough defense and can grind it out in the tournament.

Why They Won’t: They don’t still have Acie Law, do they? Because he was pretty good and that was a Texas A&M team that had the skills to go deep in the tournament. They can’t win without Law.

Bottom Line: Another team ripe for a first round upset, and if they do manage to get by the opening round, they will be cannon fodder in the second round.

24. Xavier Muskateers
Why They Will:
Like Anne Hathaway, they are disciplined, a little uptight and talented. They are still a mid-major from the Atlantic-10, yet they are viewed as closer to one of the big boys. Guard Jordan Crawford leads a strong offensive attack and has the ability to take over games when needed.

Why They Won’t: They played a fairly tough schedule, but did not come away with a signature non-conference win, losing to Marquette, Baylor, Kansas State and Wake Forest, and beating LSU & Cincy.

Bottom Line: if they can snag a #6 seed, they will be a dangerous matchup for the #3 seed in the second round. Look for them to win one and then be eliminated.

25. UTEP Miners
Why They Will: This is the school that hasn’t been relevant since they produced a third of the best backcourt in the NBA – “Run TMC” in Golden State. Tim Hardaway is a UTEP alum and made famous his cross-over which he called the UTEP-Two-Step. In his honor, they get the Kim Kardashian backcourt award. Does this UTEP team actually have a strong backcourt? I have no idea.

Why They Won’t: Quick – name the conference UTEP plays in! You can’t. Most people can’t. It’s Conference USA, which has been dominated by Memphis for years. They have a high-scoring guard in Randy Culpepper, but they have not beaten anyone of note outside their conference.

Bottom Line: They are the classic team for the 8-9 seed matchup in the first round, meaning it will be a tough call in the first round, and then they will get blown out by a top seed.

So there it is – The Sports Addict breaks down the top 25 like no one else. We will continue to focus on the tournament as we are only 8 days away from Degenerate Christmas when the tournament tips off. It’s the most wonderful time…..of the year…….

Make sure to check back on Monday after Selection Sunday - I'll be setting up a free bracket challenge with an opportunity to win swag from your favorite college team.


  1. It should be "Gonzaga Bulldogs" instead of Zags. This isn't their deepest team, but I think "overrated" when they are projected as a 7-seed is a little much. Last year they lost to the eventual national champions--UNC--a couple hundred miles from Chapel Hill. The year before they lost to Stephen Curry in Davidson's backyard. It's hard to say GU is overrated when you look at their consistent body of work: winning the Maui Invitational by beating Colorado, Cincinnati, and Wisconsin on a neutral court, winning true road games at Illinois, Memphis, Saint Mary's, and losing out to Michigan State by two in East Lansing. Who else schedules--and wins--like these guys?

  2. Pretty fun how you know nothing about Temple and resort to attacking us for being a non-Big Six.

  3. This is the third blog that has referenced Tina Fey in relation to Baylor.

    No go-to guy? Dunn, Carter or Udoh. Take your pick. Only weakness is 3point defense. With the zone, if you can hit the 3 you can beat the Bears. I agree, they are a sleeper pick. And they have a chip on their shoulder.