This is going to be fairly short; it is time to get to work on the four play-in games, and 28 first-round games where we know the matchups.
— Last time the #1 team in top 25 on Selection Sunday won the national title title was Kentucky in 2012. Gonzaga is the #1 team right now.
— When Richmond upset Davidson Sunday to win the A-14 tournament, they bounced Dayton out of the tournament.
— High drama for the San Francisco Dons; their matchup with Murray State was second-last one revealed on CBS; they had to be thinking they were on the outside looking in, before CBS showed that matchup. Just getting in is a big deal; USF was last in the NCAA’s in 1998.
— Murray State-Kentucky second round game would get Racer fans fired up, getting to play their in-state big brother. I’m thinking Murray-USF is my favorite first round game.
— I thought Gonzaga got a tougher draw than Duke; Memphis in the second round? Gonzaga has to hope Penny Hardaway’s Tigers look past Boise State and get beat by the Broncos.
Georgia State won its last ten games; I’d rather play Cal-Fullerton than the Panthers. Sun Belt is a better league than the Big West.
Duke plays a Fullerton team that won Big West final by a point- Titans shot 11-20 on arc and won by a point? Fullerton is 0-3 vs top 100 teams, losing by 7-10-13 points. Whoever survives the Davidson-Michigan State game won’t be as tough an opponent as Memphis-Boise winner.
— Big 14 got nine of its 14 teams in tournament; they got nine teams in last year, too, going a combined 8-9. Michigan was only team to survive the first weekend last year.
— Tennessee just won the SEC tournament for first time since 1979, winning on Sunday; they got a Thursday/Saturday draw, which is tough, but they’re playing Longwood in first round, a Lancers’ squad making its first NCAA appearance.
— Shaka Smart got to the Final Four back in 2011; he lost his second round game in both 2012 and 2013, but since then, he is 0-5 in NCAA Tournament games. Marquette-North Carolina is an excellent 8-9 first round game. Winner will be a tough second-round game for #1-seed Baylor.
— Purdue is 3-7 this season when they score less than 70 points, 24-0 when they score 70+; Yale won’t run with Boilers, but they’re also 0-5 vs top 100 teams this season, with four losses by 14+ points (closest of those losses was 61-53 at Vermont). Ivy League teams are 9-2 ATS in last eleven first round games.
— Vermont won its three America East tourney games by 39-32-39 points, but America East is a cruddy league. Vermont is 22-1 since December 10; Catamounts lost by 11 at Maryland, by 10 at Providence, their highest-profile games this season. Vermont-Arkansas is an intriguing 4-13 tilt.
— Wisconsin gets to play the first weekend in Milwaukee; their second round game is the winner of Iowa State-LSU. Cyclones lost their last three games, are 8-12 in 2022. LSU just fired their coach for being a shameless cheater. Seems like an easy first weekend for Wisconsin.
Back to Iowa State; they lost their last three games, scoring 48.3 ppg, they look like a dead team, but were carried into the tournament by their 12-0 pre-conference mark, which included wins over Iowa, Creighton, Memphis.
— Wright State plays Bryant of the NEC in a play-in game; last two years, Wright State is 4-0 vs Robert Morris, winning by 9-30-10-2 points. Robert Morris jumped from the NEC to the Horizon League two years ago, so Wright State appears to be a superior team there.
Bryant lost to these higher-profile teams:
— 83-64 at Rhode Island
— 93-70 at Clemson
— 111-44 at Houston
— 73-58 at Cincinnati
Bryant’s only wins over team in top 200 were two wins over Wagner, whose best player was hurt and didn’t play.
— South Dakota State is 30-4; they haven’t lost since December 15. Jackrabbits are making 44.2% of their 3’s, best in country. Intriguing matchup with Providence- opponents shot 31.2% on arc against the Friars this season (#57 in country).
Jackrabbits are 2-2 vs top 100 teams; they beat Bradley/Washington State, lost to Alabama by 16, by 12 at Missouri State.
— I’ll obviously be back every day with more tidbits; sometimes you can learn stuff when you look at the times when these games will be played. If the powers-that-be sense an upset, that game ain’t going to be played at 3 in the afternoon, I’m just saying.
Time to get to work.