Bracketology for Dummies Week 4

Bracketology for Dummies Week 4

Greg Frank ('13), Eastside Sports Editor

Indiana stays at the top for the third week in the row but the poll continues to change.  Here’s where we stand.

 

Fantastic Four

1. Indiana: Three weeks in a row.  The loss to Illinois appeared to hurt them on February 7th but later in that week that bounced back with a convincing win at Ohio State and remained at number one last week when the top five was drastically shaken up after their loss to Illinois.  Last week they cruised over Nebraska and Purdue and this week have a huge challenge in East Lansing against Michigan State.

2. Miami: The best team in the ACC hands down no question in my opinion.  After Duke’s loss to Maryland the gap only widened between the ACC’s two best.   Survivals against Florida State and Clemson weren’t pretty last week but in March it’s all about survive and advance.  I don’t expect Virginia and Wake to give the Hurricanes any problems this week but it’s hard to predict anything in the world of college basketball this year.

3. Gonzaga: They aren’t in a power conference which hurts the strength of schedule, but as the great Al Davis once said “Just win baby!” and they’ve only lost once in 2013 and have streaked all the way to three in the AP Poll.  Undefeated in the WAC they’ll look to keep it that way this week against Santa Clara and San Diego.

4. Michigan State: Tom Izzo’s teams never seem to start off as one of the nation’s best, but now’s a good time to bring out another sports adage that’s particularly apt to Sparty.  It’s not how ya start, it’s how ya finish.  Here they are yet again in late February surging up the polls and making their move as we get closer to Selection Sunday.    They’ll have a chance to continue to move towards the top against Indiana at home this week and also head to nationally ranked Ohio State later in the week.

 

Bubble Watch:

St Mary’s: They could have really boosted their resume with a win against Gonzaga but that didn’t happen last week.  Playing in a mid major conference has its advantages and disadvantages to being a bubble team.  An advantage is that the competition isn’t as deep so it’s easier to get wins and claim the conference’s automatic bid in the conference tournament.  A disadvantage is that the more you lose the more it hurts because if a team plays in a weak league then losses within that league don’t look so hot.  We’ll see where St. Mary’s ends up on Selection Sunday but right now they’re a coin flip.

Arizona State: The way it looks right now the final game of the regular season is going to be crucial for the Sun Devils.  They play in state rival Arizona which could really boost their chances of getting in.  While the Pac 12 Tournament will always be there, a win against the Wildcats would go a long way in getting them in the field.

 

Cinderella Watch

Long Beach State: This is a team that was in the tournament last year as a 12 seed and nearly took out Wisconsin in the first round.  They’re 11-1 in their last 12 and appear to be headed in the right direction.  If they can keep it that way for the next month, keep an eye on the 49ers to see what they’re seed is and who they’re matched up with on Selection Sunday.

Don’t Sleep on Me

Notre Dame: I’m sure after the beat down the football team took in South Beach at the hands of Alabama, Notre Dame fans wanted to get their minds off of the gridiron.  The basketball team has provided a nice alternative.  Last week they beat Louisville in five overtimes in what was by far the best game of the college basketball season so far.  A recent win over Pitt at the Peterson Events Center which is one of the toughest places to play in the nation has Jack Cooley and company on the way up.  Last year one of the regional finals featured a four seed Louisville and a seven seed in Florida.  I see the Irish being in that 4-7 range in terms of seeding and if that’s the case, the 1-3 seeded teams in their regional should watch out.