March Madness Momentum – Teams Up, Teams Down

Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology is one of my favorite things to follow during the college hoop campaign.

Born and raised in the Philly area and a Marketing Communications employee at St. Joe’s, Lunardi’s annual predictions of what the NCAA Basketball Committee will put forth come Selection Sunday are what many of us have come to anticipate we’ll ultimately work with once the country’s workplace copiers start cranking out Tournament Brackets next week.

Use recycled paper whenever possible people.  Think of the trees.  The Lorax thanks you.

I have mentioned in prior posts how I enjoy watching teams come together…and get better…during the season.

I offer the following as a potential guideline as to who may indeed be improving as we get to March Madness…as well as those teams that look to be regressing.  Of course, the NCAA Basketball Tournament is ultimately about the match-ups.  You may have a solid team…but if play the “wrong” team in Bracketville…you can find your bags packed before you know what hit you.

I personally don’t consider the conference tournaments a measuring stick (yeah, I DO remember UConn…).  Just too many teams playing out the string and having nothing to lose, playing loose…too many teams struggling to get into the Dance, playing relentlessly…too many teams already safely in the Tournament and just trying to stay healthy for when their Madness begins.  I am not a big believer in sliding teams up and down the Seed process based on conference tourney results.

I decided to take a look at what Seed line/number Joe had projected teams at come the end of January…and compared it to where they sat in his eyes as of yesterday.  Observations below.  Keep in mind “movements” came from conference play…giving you an idea of how highly (or not so highly) certain conferences are thought of…and in relationship to each other…

Eight teams who consistently have been the best of the best…

Kentucky and Syracuse are still on the #1 line.

Kansas and North Carolina…on the #1 line now…were #2’s at the end of January.

Duke and Ohio State…on the #2 line now…were #1’s at the end of January.

Michigan State was a #3 in January…on the #2 line now.

Missouri is still on the #2 line.

Teams who hovered near the top…

Baylor, Georgetown, Michigan and Marquette are all #3’s now.  Baylor is down from a #2 in January…Georgetown stayed a #3…Michigan and Marquette came up from the #4 line.

Teams who decisively headed in the right direction…

Notre Dame went from the #12 line to the #6 line (+6).  Iowa State from #12 to #8 (+4).  Temple from #9 to #5 (+4).  Wichita State from #8 to #4 (+4).  New Mexico from #10 to #7 (+3).  Louisville from #8 to #5 (+3).

Teams who decisively headed in the wrong direction…

West Virginia went from the #5 line to the #10 line (-5).  Creighton from #3 to #7 (-4).  St. Mary’s from #5 to #8 (-3).  Connecticut from #7 to #10 (-3).  Mississippi State from #8 to #11 (-3).  Harvard from #8 to #11 (-3). (Harvard may have a one-game playoff with Penn just to make the field)

What does any of this mean?  I dunno.  I read and digest as much as I can before filling out my bracket.  Maybe on the surface we can draw “soft” conclusions as to who has gotten hot…or not…and they will somehow translate into how the teams might perform in the Tournament…but it really does depend on who draws who from one round to the next.  That being said, I think it is safe to say those top eight teams I noted above deserve major consideration for maintaining their “linescape” on the landscape as the college hoop season has wound down.

I know once I fill out my Bracket at least one person will finish ahead of me whose sole criteria for selecting winners was which mascot can beat up, kill and/or eat the opponent’s mascot.  Take this information as lightly or as seriously as you like as you watch Championship Week conclude…and Selection Sunday arrive.

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About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside Philadelphia PA. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen US states (most just one time each) and Canada (twice). 50-plus years - married 30-plus years. Love massive quantities of sports, television and movies (viewed in a movie theater).
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13 Responses to March Madness Momentum – Teams Up, Teams Down

  1. Lowdogg says:

    Hoping BYU makes it in this year. He has us as a 12 seed, which likely means adios in the first round, though we could secure one of those 5-12 upsets.

    We’ve been a pretty inconsistent team this year.

    Like

    • I saw BYU lose to Wisconsin back in December but even in defeat thought they had the nucleus for a pretty good season, which is what I would rate they’ve had. The loss at home to LMU confused me. I think they’re in for sure, but let us hope that their 5-12 game doesn’t turn out to be Temple-BYU. One of us will be in for a very early exit…and I don’t think it will be the Owls!

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  2. chappy81 says:

    Isn’t it kinda crazy how much better a program Michigan State is over Michigan the last decade or so. When I was growing up watching the Fab Five, I never thought that would happen.

    I can’t wait to fill out ten brackets only to have them all busted by the elite 8!

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    • It seems now BOTH Michigan programs will have what it takes to achieve sustained success. Tom Izzo is going to have to work even harder on the recruiting trail to maintain the big edge MSU has enjoyed in these last years. Chappy, if you fill out ten Brackets you just gotta have one of ’em still alive by the Elite 8! Law of averages!

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      • chappy81 says:

        True, I usually have some teams still left by then, but not enough to win the pool when some teams have 6 or so teams right still haha. I guess as long as your champion isn’t out you’re still in it…

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  3. I play one Bracket each year. In the last eight years I am ashamed to admit I only picked a National Champ correctly once…the ’08-’09 North Carolina Tar Heels. I get my share of Final Four teams more often, but picking the overall Champ is a challenge indeed!

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  4. Where do you think my Badgers will go? Right now, Lunardi has us at four, but a good or bad performance at the Big Ten tournament could very well change that.

    If you would like to join the Bloggers’ Fantasy Baseball League, just leave a comment on my blog, hit me up on Twitter or send me an email through the ‘contact me’ page on my blog- http://sambrief.com

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  5. Mike Patton says:

    I would love to see the University of Tennessee make it into the tournament. Teams like UT need the tournament to enhance their chance to make it in. Cuonzo Martin has done an amazing job. I think, unfortunately, that conference tournaments will matter more this year due to the eveness of most of the field besides UNC, UK and Syracuse. Should be fun to watch. Keep up the good work.

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    • I think you’re gonna get your wish, Mike. I was sorry to see Cuonzo leave Missouri State after doing such a great job there but he was destined to be at a power school asap. If the Vols keep playing like they have been of late, they won’t have to worry about play going on elsewhere. Thanks for the kind words and stopping by.

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  6. Sitting here, pouring over my brackets, still undecided.

    Oh to be able to see the future.

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    • I am going to do mine Tuesday night while the play-in games are going on…flipping back and forth between that and reruns of the Big Bang Theory on TBS. You can take from that as much as I love college hoops…when the field expanded my interest did not…at least in this “First Four Round.”

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