NCAA Conference Madness

From the disheveled old growth oak Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog

Now down to the Sweet 16 of the 2015 Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament, let’s have a look at the conferences that remain.  The 16 teams represent 8 different conferences, the number of teams left for each is in parenthesis.

  1. ACC (5)
  2. PAC 12 (3)
  3. Big 12 (2)
  4. Big 10 (2)
  5. Big East (1)
  6. Missouri Valley (1)
  7. SEC (1)
  8. West Coast (1)

But there’s something odd about these conferences to which which no one seems to be paying any attention.  And the oddity is this: they are not true to their names, most of them anyway.  Let’s look at the conferences still standing in the Sweet 16 and have a peek at a few more.

  • The PAC 12 Conference actually only has 11 teams, so why isn’t it the PAC 11?
  • The Big 10 is way out of whack with 14 teams in the conference.
  • And get this, the Big 12 isn’t so big after all and should be renamed the Big 10; boy wouldn’t that be confusing – two conferences with the same name, or the Big 10 could become the Big 14.  Or the two conferences could merge and become the Big 24.
  • Now the West Coast Conference is curious in that member BYU in Provo, Utah is no where near a coast, let alone the West Coast.
  • Look at the ACC.  Most of the schools are no where near the Atlantic Coast, except Boston College.  Notre Dame is nearer the Great Lakes and Louisville closer to the Mississippi River and nearly 1,000 miles from the Atlantic Coast.  Both schools are more geographically suited to be in the Mid American Conference.
  • And as far as the SEC goes, Missouri would be hard pressed to prove its Southeasterness.  Arkansas switched from the Southwest Conference to the Southeastern Conference.  Geographically speaking, Arkansas belongs in the Southland, Southern or SWAC.
  • I don’t know how tiny Creighton of Omaha, NE became a member of the Big East; it is neither big nor east.  Go figure.
  • Though not a conference with any teams still in the tourney, the Atlantic 10 now has 12 schools.  And not sure how St. Louis became a member, being no where close to the Atlantic, Mid Atlantic or even Atlanta for that matter.

Let the March Madness continue!

2015 March Madness Sweet 16 Fun Factoids and Matchups

Updated 3/25/2015

From the cluttered Sports Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog, here are some fun factoids about the 2015 NCAA Sweet 16 and some intriguing matchups to consider for the Final Four and Finals.

  • 5 of the 16 teams or 31% are from the ACC:  Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame, Duke and UNC.
  • There could be an all ACC final four: UNC (West), Duke (South), Notre Dame (Midwest) and either NC State (East) or Lousiville (East)
  • If UNC, Duke and NC St. make it to the Final Four, there’d be three North Carolina teams from the ACC.
  • All NC Final: UNC v Duke, UNC v NC State
  • All people mascots/nicknames Final Four: Sooners (East), Fighting Irish (Midwest), Musketeers (East), Utes (South)
  • PAC 12 Final: Arizona v. Utah or Arizona v. UCLA
  • Big 12 Final: Oklahoma v. West Virginia
  • 7 of UCLA’s 11 losses this year were to Sweet 16 teams including a loss to Gonzaga by 13 and a 39 point loss to Kentucky.
  • 7 of North Carolina’s 11 losses this year were also to Sweet 16 teams including a 14 point loss to Kentucky.
  • Utah went 0-2 against Arizona and was 1-1 against UCLA.
  • 2 of Duke’s 4 losses were to Notre Dame.
  • Michigan State lost to Wisconsin twice, including an overtime loss by 11 points.
  • Oklahoma lost to Wisconsin earlier in the season and went 1-1 against West Virginia.
  • 6 of Louisville’s 8 losses were to Sweet 16 teams including going 1-2 against North Carolina and losing to NC State in their only meeting during the year.
  • Two ACC teams face off in the Sweet 16:  Louisville and NC State
  • ACC Finals:  ND v Duke, ND v Lou, ND v NC St; UNC v Duke, UNC v Lou, UNC v NC St
  • Underdogs Final Four: UCLA (11), North Carolina State (8), Wichita State (7), Xavier Musketeers (6)
  • Underdog Final:  UCLA v Wichita State
  • Straight Final Four – 1234:  Kentucky (1), Gonzaga (2), Oklahoma (3), North Carolina (4)
  • Straight Final Four – 4567:  Louisville (4), Utah (5), Xavier Musketeers (6), Wichita State (7)
  • Two Pairs Final Four – Duke (1) Wisconsin (1) Michigan State (7) Wichita State (7)
  • Number of players on Kentucky’s Roster from Kentucky: 3
  • Number of players on West Virginia’s Roster from West Virginia: 4
  • Homegrown talent: North Carolina – 9 players on roster from NC
  • Importers:  Arizona – 9 players from California
  • Gonzaga has two 7-1 players and 5 players from 4 different countries: Canada, Poland, Lithuania, Brazil

And then there were 16

Well, with only 9 of the 16 teams left in the 2014 NCAA tournament, a 9 I’ll call the Devine 9, my bracket is busted, but of the Devine 9, I have 3 of them going on to the final four and my championship game and champion are still intact.  I have the Florida Gators taking down the Louisville Cardinals.  So, what to make of this year’s Sweet 16?  Here’s a little breakdown:

  • 16 teams, 13 states
  • Most teams from a state:  3 – CA (SD State, Stanford, UCLA); 2 – MI (Michigan, Michigan State); KY (Kentucky and Louisville)
  • 2013 Final Four teams not in the Sweet 16: 2 – Wichita State and Syracuse
  • 2013 Final Four teams in the Sweet 16: 2 – Louisville (last year’s champion) and Michigan
  • Number of teams left from the Deep South (defined as LA, MS, AL, GA, SC): 0
  • Seeds:  1 – (3); 2 – (2); 3 – (1); 4 – (4); 5 – (0); 6 – (1); 7 – (1); 8 – (1); 9 (0); 10 – (1); 11 – (2)
  • Final Four of Four Seeds:  San Diego State, UCLA, Louisville, Michigan State
  • In State Matchup:  Kentucky (8) v. Louisville (4)
  • Conference Matchups in the Sweet 16: 0
  • 9 of the 16 teams from 3 conferences:  SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12
  • Teams with nicknames that refer to people:  4 – Virginia Cavaliers, San Diego State Aztecs, Michigan State Spartans, Dayton Flyers
  • Wildcats: 2 – Arizona, Kentucky
  • Bears: 2 – UCLA (Bruins), Baylor
  • Birds: 2 – Louisville Cardinals, Stanford Cardinal
  • Cinderella Final Four:  Dayton (11), UCONN (7), Tennessee (11), Baylor (6)
  • Favorites Final Four:  Florida (1), VA (1), AZ (1), MI (2)

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned for more maddening facts.





More Odd Sweet 16 Fun NCAA Fun Facts

Sweet 16 teams come from 10 different states: Texas, Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Indiana and Michigan.  In the 2008 election, McCain/Palin only won three of the 10 states: Texas, Kansas and Kentucky.

There are only two teams located West of the Mississippi: Baylor and Kansas.

7 of the teams made the Sweet 16 in 2011: Kansas, Ohio State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida and Marquette.  4 of the 7 made the elite 8: Kansas, North Carolina, Florida and Kentucky.

According to research compiled by the Journal Sentinel, two conferences account for half of the field: Big Ten – Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin; and the, Big East – Syracuse, Marquette, Louisville, Cincinnati.  The last time the Big Ten had 4 teams in the Sweet 16 was in 1999.

The lowest seeded team, Ohio (13) beat Michigan from the Big Ten in the second round. The second lowest seeded team, North Carolina State (11) advanced to the Sweet 16 by beating Georgetown from the Big East.

RPI Ratings of the lowest seeded teams left:

(47) Ohio – 13 seed

(49) NC State – 11 seed

(41) Xavier – 10 seed

(30) Florida – 7 seed

(42) Cincinnati – 6 seed

Jim Boeheim of Syracuse at 67 is the oldest coach in the tournament; 39 year old Buzz Williams of Marquette is the youngest coach, based on data from Stat Sheet.

Climate Change in the NCAA Tournament

If these Sweet 16 teams win two more games, we’d have a final four like never before.  Talk about climate change!

A preview of the Sweet 16 match ups:

Midwest – Northern Iowa (9).  MSU’s leading scorer is hurt.  UNI’s leading scorer is not.

West – Xavier (6).  Xaiver made the Sweet 16 last year.  Kansas State did not.

East – Cornell (12).  The Big Red have home court advantage over top seeded Kentucky.  And they may have a secret press weapon – 6-7 blogging Forward,  Jon Jaques who writes for The Quad, the New York Times college sports blog. Check out Jon’s latest entry.

South – St. Mary’s (10). Baylor has yet to play a team seeded below 11.  They will face their toughest game so far with the pressure of winning close to home.

Sweet 16 Reseeded – Duke favored

Now that the grueling second round NCAA tournament games are over and we have a Sweet 16, I thought it would be interesting to reseed the teams based on measures other than basketball talent.  So I picked up the 2007 edition of the The Princeton Review of The Best 361 Colleges and ranked the teams based on academic reputation, selectivity and diversity.  To my surprise, Duke scored highest in all three categories.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Duke had the largest endowment of any of the teams left in the tournament.   Louisville, Memphis and Missouri were not listed in the guide, perhaps undeservedly so, and are seeded 14, 15 and 16 respectively, in alphabetical order.

Based on the new seedings, assuming the highest seed always wins, Duke, North  Carolina, Arizona and Connecticut will make the Final Four.  Duke will defeat UCONN to become the national champion.

Here are the Sweet 16 reseedings:

  1. Duke
  2. Villanova
  3. North Carolina
  4. Syracuse
  5. Gonzaga
  6. Connecticut
  7. Pittsburg
  8. Arizona
  9. Xavier
  10. Kansas
  11. Oklahoma
  12. Michigan State
  13. Purdue
  14. Louisville
  15. Memphis
  16. Missouri