13) When I first saw the brackets, it upset me that USC was left out; they’re a very good team and surely deserved to get in, right? Same with Oklahoma State and to a lesser extent, Louisville.
Then I read something Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports posted on Twitter:
“Louisville out. USC out. Oklahoma State out. What do they have in common? Part of the federal investigation of college hoops.”
That actually made me feel better, that there was a reason those teams got left out, but still don’t think Syracuse belonged in, but they are in, so we move on despite that.
12) Turns out Davidson’s win over Rhode Island knocked Notre Dame out of the field of 68.
11) Middle Tennessee State won Conference USA, the #12 league in country, but lost in their conference tournament; the Blue Raiders played #13 non-conference schedule in the country, losing to USC by 5, Miami by 3- they beat Vandy, Ole Miss, Murray State, but they get left home.
10) Texas Southern deserves special mention; coached by Mike Davis, who replaced Bob Knight at Indiana, the Tigers won the SWAC tourney, after starting this season 0-13.
In November/December, Texas Southern played guarantee games at:
Texas Southern may not be a great team, but their players probably pack really well, and their accountants are really happy, because all those guarantee games pay a lot of bills.
9) Something to ponder when the Sweet 16 rolls around: looking back over the last 12 NCAA tournaments, the eventual national champ went 21-3 vs spread on the first weekend, so look for teams who were impressive on the first weekend to maintain that momentum.
8) Since 2006, 46 of 52 #1-seeds got to the Sweet 16, so if you’re filling out a bracket and are tempted to predict an early out for a #1 seed, please don’t do it. For your own good.
7) Last three years, #1-seeds are 7-5 vs spread in the first round.
Last four years, #2-seeds are 9-7 vs spread in the first round.
Last three years, #3-seeds are 4-8 vs spread in the first round.
6) Penn is a 16-seed, the first time since at least 2002 the Ivy League champ is a 16-seed; they were a 15-seed only once in last 15 tournaments, back in ’06.
Over the last eight years, Ivy League teams are 7-1 vs spread in NCAA first round games.
5) Since 2003, only 8 of 60 Final Four teams lost their first conference tourney game: Here are those teams:
2003— Marquette, Texas
2005— Michigan State
2010— Michigan State (only team to do it twice)
2017— South Carolina
4) Over the last 15 years, of the 60 teams who made the Final Four, 26 won their conference tournament. Over last six years, only 7 of 24 Final Four teams won their conference tourney; from 2004-11, 19 of 32 Final Four teams did.
7 of the last 15 national champs won their conference tourney, but only one of the last six.
3) Since the NCAA tournament went to 64, and then 68 teams, #2 seeds are 124-8 in their first round tournament games; here are the eight #2 seeds who lost in the first round:
1990— Richmond (+9) 73, Syracuse 69
1993— Santa Clara (+20) 64, Arizona 61
1997— Coppin State (+17) 78, South Carolina 65
2001— Hampton (+17.5) 58, Iowa State 57
2012— Lehigh (+12) 75, Duke 70
2012— Norfolk State (+21.5) 86, Missouri 84
2013— Florida Gulf Coast (+13.5) 78, Georgetown 68
2016— Middle Tennessee State (+18) 90, Michigan State 81
2) First Four point spreads for Tuesday/Wednesday games:
Tuesday: Radford -3.5 vs LIU; UCLA -3 vs St Bonaventure
Wednesday: Texas Southern -4.5 vs NC Central; Arizona State -1 vs Syracuse
1— Must be nice to have lot of money: Michigan State’s basketball team spent couple of days in Chicago last week, practiced in the Chicago Bulls’ practice facility, just to get away from campus.
Big 14 teams have extra time to prepare for the NCAA’s this year, because the Big 14 tournament was a week earlier than usual. Lot of people think the layoff will make those teams fresher.