Now how I rank them won’t solely be based on who the best team, but also on potential matchups and easiest path, especially in the regionals where the games are already set. Here we go…
The Hoosiers could have some problems with the Syracuse’s matchup zone, but will either face a Marquette team they are much better than or a Miami team that lost big Reggie Johnson for the Sweet 16. Their path has really opened up.
Louisville is probably the tournament’s best team, but they are also in a bracket with a red hot Oregon team, Duke and Michigan St. The Final 4 won’t be as tough as the their regional.
I think Michigan could route Kansas. I really do. Their backcourt will give Jayhawks all kinds of trouble, and at their best they are better than Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
Even with Johnson’s injury Miami is still very dangerous. They still have arguably the country’s best PG in Shane Larkin. I like the matchup with Marquette, but the potential game with Indiana is that much tougher with Johnson out.
Florida either blows you away or loses. They are talented and deep. If they get on a roll they can win it all. The matchup with Florida Gulf Coast should be favorable. Uh yea never mind that.
6. Ohio State
I like Shane Larkin and I like the Buckeyes PG Aaron Craft, the nation’s best on the ball defender. If you can win the Big 10 tournament like Ohio State you can the next 4 games especially when your Elite 8 opponent is LaSalle or Wichita St.
Arizona is a very skilled team. I saw them play at Clemson earlier this year and I came away really impressed. They do go through moments of indifferent play, but being out West near their fan base will help.
If Duke were in any other region, they would be in my top 3, but the Mid West is just too brutal. Michigan St. is a toss up, and Louisville is sitting on the other side of the bracket.
9. Michigan St.
I’d probably have the Spartans in my top 3 or 4 like Duke in any other region. Physical, well coached but unfortunately in a region with this generation’s best coach and Louisville.
Syracuse’s defense always gives them a chance, but if the Hoosiers starting running it could get out of hand quickly.
Bill Self is a solid coach, but I don’t care for this team. Their guard play is not elite, and outside of a 8 minute stretch against UNC they haven’t played very well in this tournament. Michigan could run them out the gym. We’re not playing anymore games in Kansas either.
12. Florida Gulf Coast
This can’t be happening can it? A 15 seed with a shot to win it all? These guys are athletic enough to play with anyone, and sometimes pure emotion can carry you a long way.
13. Wichita State
I’m not taking anything from Wichita State, but I can count on 1 hand the number of people that had Gonzaga in the Final 4. It was a perfect matchup for the Shockers. They have a pretty even game with LaSalle, but the Arizona/Ohio State winner then a Louisville maybe Duke Michigan St in the Final 4 and another elite team in the Championship game? Not happening…
I’m not taking anything from LaSalle, but I can count on 1 hand the number of people that had Ole Miss even in the NCAAs prior to their SEC Tournament run. It was a perfect matchup for the LaSalle. They have a pretty even game with Wichita State, but the Arizona/Ohio State then a Louisville maybe Duke Michigan St in the Final 4 and another elite team in the Championship game? Not happening…
For Wichita State and LaSalle there’s still possibility of something magical just becuase they are playing with nothing to lose.
There is no way the Ducks are the 15th best team on this list. We’ve talked plenty about that difficult MidWest bracket. Should the Ducks advance out of there and I re-rank the teams then they are moving way up.
It’s a miracle Marquette made it to the Sweet 16. They have won their 2 games by 3 points. They are a gritty team, but I can’t envision any scenario where I see them running the table.