Bracketology for Dummies: Syracuse plays role of survivor

Bracketology for Dummies: Syracuse plays role of survivor

Greg Frank ('13)/ Eastside Staff

February 28, 2012

Follow Greg Frank on Twitter: illbFRANKwithu

Fantastic Four (Projected Number One Seeds):

Kentucky: A closer-than-expected win against Vanderbilt in Lexington on Saturday improved Kentucky’s record to 28-1 and 14-0 in the SEC.  They have two games this week.  They are home to the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday and travel to Gainesville to play the nationally ranked Florida Gators on Sunday.  Florida will be coming off back-to-back losses and could prove they’re for real by winning that game.  We already know Kentucky’s for real.

Syracuse: With single-digit victories against two of the lower teams in the Big East (South Florida and UCONN) the Orange continue to win ugly.  However, in the tournament you know what they say: survive and advance.  Syracuse has done their fair share of surviving so far this season including a one-point win at Louisville earlier this year who they host in their regular season finale.  We’ll see if they can continue to survive in the big dance.

Kansas: If you read last week’s edition of Bracketology for Dummies you’d have realized that I haven’t been too good in calling the sleeper teams as most of the teams I have picked have lost at least once since being picked.  However, it looks like I got this one right.  Last week I was expecting Kansas to win against Missouri and lock up their 8th straight Big 12 regular season title.  Mission accomplished for the Jayhawks.  After rallying from a 19-point deficit against what looked to be a Missouri team out to prove their loss earlier in the week to K-State was a fluke, Kansas took matters into their own hands and pulled out a gritty win in overtime.  They’ll wrap up their regular season schedule against a bubble-hungry Texas team on Saturday.  Kansas certainly isn’t bubble-hungry.  They’re in, and looking good.

Duke: Not a big fan of the Blue Devils but had to put them in as a number one seed with Michigan State’s loss to 20th ranked Indiana they had to slide in here.  Duke completed a perfect conference road schedule winning Tuesday night at Wake Forest.  It’s surprising that they’ve lost twice at Cameron this year as that previous notion of Duke dominance at home seems to have disappeared a little bit.  We’ll see if they can revive some of that dominance on Saturday when the hated North Carolina Tar Heels pay a visit.

Bubble Watch

Colorado State: If you’ve been reading every week, you’d have realized that the Mountain West Conference has gotten a lot of recognition.  But not so much in this section, as opposed to the possible cinderellas that could come out of the Mountain West.  If Colorado State wants to join that party, they’re going to have to make the tournament first.  They sit at 17-10 overall and 6-6 in conference.  It’s all or nothing for them against UNLV on Wednesday.  A win and no letdown in their final game of the season against Air Force, and then a win or two more in the Mountain West conference tournament should get them in good shape.  It sounds like a lot but it really isn’t.  Air Force isn’t good and so if they can beat UNLV they should enter the Mountain West conference tournament with a decent seed and then be able to beat up on a couple more of the lower teams in the Mountain West.  But it all starts with beating number 17 UNLV tomorrow night.  If they lose, their chances for an at-large bid go way down.

Virginia Commonwealth: You’re probably thinking…haven’t we been here before? And yes we have.  VCU was part of the set of tournament play-in games which is called the first four.  They were able to manage their way in just barely to a date with USC and the rest is history.  Final four appearance, and just about everyone in America knew who Shaka Smart was.  They’re in a similar position this year and with the regular season having concluded over the weekend in the CAA, they’re going to need some big wins in the CAA tournament.  Of course, winning the CAA tournament would expel the doubt for the Rams.

Cinderella Chance?

Drexel: I’m going to stay in the CAA here and pick the Dragons as this week’s Cinderella team.  They’ve locked up the number one seed in this week’s CAA tournament as a result of their 25-5 record in the regular season and 16-2 in the CAA.  Bruiser Flint’s squad may be in for a tournament bid for the first time in a while.  And don’t be surprised if they open some people’s eyes and make the most of that tournament bid.

Don’t Sleep on Me

Vanderbilt: Yes, last week’s sleeper team lost to as K-State had a letdown from their big win at Missouri last Monday, falling at home to Iowa State on Saturday.  However, Purdue’s win over Michigan over the weeked in Ann Arbor made me feel a little bit better about at least one of my sleeper picks.  However, I must move on and keep picking.  At 21-9 and 10-5 in the SEC the Commodores are quietly having a nice season.  They’ve played Kentucky tough twice now and have been the closest any team has gotten to beating the Wildcats since Indiana.  They have a good veteran core that could be primed for a run with guys like Festus Ezeli, Jeffery Taylor, and John Jenkins.  Vanderbilt wraps up their regular season over the weekend with a winnable game against Tennessee and is coming off a big win over nationally ranked Florida.  Kevin Stallings’ bunch is a team to keep an eye on in March.