Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NCAA First Round Preview: West Region

12:20 Thursday, Oklahoma City69.7 possessions
10 Florida18.6%69.247.418.229.024.0
7 BYU81.4%80.554.215.834.627.2
BYU is criminally underseeded (honestly, how can you seed New Mexico, who won the two meetings with the Cougars by a total of six points, four lines higher?), but they get the functional equivalent of a 13-seed opponent in Florida.

2:30 Thursday, San Jose68.7 possessions
13 Murray St.48.5%72.949.620.537.729.1
4 Vanderbilt51.5%73.352.021.636.835.4
Murray State played a laughably weak (#290 nationally) schedule this year, but they romped through it with little difficulty. The Racers' only game against a BCS opponent was their season opener at California, a game they lost by only 5 points.

2:50 Thursday, Oklahoma City71.4 possessions
15 North Texas7.5%
2 Kansas St.92.5%83.953.016.358.133.8
North Texas are the champions of the Sun Belt Conference, and the sun belt could sure use a diet. It would take 34 hours to drive from the University of Denver to Florida International University.

4:55 Thursday, San Jose66.2 possessions
12 UTEP42.4%64.950.719.822.725.1
5 Butler57.6%
If the officials decide to swallow their whistles, Butler could be in trouble. The model has the Bulldogs taking 28 free throws in this game, but the combination of unfamiliar officials and greater reluctance on the officials' part to call fouls in the postseason could lead to frustration for Brad Stevens' team.

12:25 Friday, Milwaukee69.4 possessions
11 Minnesota50.5%74.050.916.428.924.0
6 Xavier49.5%73.850.819.838.429.6
The 6-11 games project to be closer in three of the four regions than the corresponding 8-9 matchups. Was the committee just picking random names out of a hat from positions 10-45 on the S-curve?

2:55 Friday, Milwaukee63.3 possessions
14 Oakland16.0%61.742.916.732.824.8
3 Pittsburgh84.0%73.453.616.046.627.4
Pitt should have no problem with Oakland, but the Panthers will be underdogs in the second round to either Xavier or Minnesota.

7:10 Friday, Buffalo68.4 possessions
9 Florida St.61.8%69.350.020.131.624.1
8 Gonzaga38.2%65.647.923.132.832.5
Gonzaga is a fashionable pick to upset Syracuse in the second round, but few people seem to have noticed that Gonzaga just isn't a very good team this year. If TAPE was building the tournament the Zags would have been NIT-bound. Florida State has the nation's best defense, and while the Seminoles tend to bog down in a halfcourt game, the Zags aren't likely to be able to force them into one.

9:40 Friday, Buffalo71.5 possessions
16 Vermont6.5%64.543.223.133.423.6
1 Syracuse93.5%83.757.319.945.929.3
Other games in the late Friday time slot include UCSB-Ohio State, Houston-Maryland, and Louisville-California.

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