Reverse Barometer: NCAA Tourney Edition
Have you filled out your brackets yet? There’s still time, so let me give you some tips. A warning, you may want to go with the reverse of what I suggest below. After all, this is the Reverse Barometer with a track record.
- Wichita State won’t get there. Yes, they’re undefeated and a No. 1 seed. They’re a good team, but they also got a terrible draw. The Shockers will probably have to play Duke and Louisville just to get to the Final Four. I’m not buying. I imagine that not many people will pick them to return to the Final Four, but this No. 1 seed is fool’s gold.
- Iowa State looked great in winning the Big 12 Tournament last week, but keep in mind that a big part of that was the Cyclones shooting 52 percent from the three-point line in those three wins. Can they keep it up? Nope. A trendy pick to make the Final Four, here’s betting Iowa State won’t make it.
- Cincinnati – forget it. There’s always a 12 seed that beats a 5, and it just might be the Bearcats who go down to the Harvard Crimson. Expect this game to be low-scoring. If Cincy gets past them, they won’t go far.
- Michigan is not a safe pick, despite their #2 seed in the Midwest. Don’t get caught chasing the Wolverines a year late. They went to the Final Four last year and chances are they will not come close to repeating that success.
- Sorry, Bears fans, but Baylor is not going far, despite a pretty good regional draw. The problem – defense. Baylor’s provides large gaps in point production. Look for Nebraska to beat them in an 11-6 first round match-up.
Five Possible Sleepers to Pick
- North Carolina has proven they can beat some of the big boys – Duke, Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky. Yeah, the Tar Heels took all of them down this season. Guard Marcus Paige has the ability to take over a game, and he may just do that.
- Tennessee played Florida tough twice this season, and that’s enough for me. They almost beat the mighty Gators in both contests, but fell just short. They’re hot, including a 76-38 beatdown of rival Vanderbilt on March 1.
- New Mexico is dangerous for one reason – defense. They held their last 10 opponents to a combined 39 percent shooting from two-point range and could cause some noise.
- Mercer may give Duke some issues in the first round. A No. 14 seed, Mercer shoots the ball very well, including from beyond the three-point line. This Duke team is not known for its defense and Mercer’s offensive balance could prove costly.
- Josh Baskin’s alma mater of George Washington are a stingy defensive bunch that will face a Memphis team that turns the ball over on nearly 20 percent of their possessions, don’t get to the free throw line, and don’t shoot the ball well from deep. Tom Hanks (who played Baskin in “Big”) would be proud.
Barometer Final Four Picks
West: No. 2 Wisconsin is the pick here. Not so much because I like the Badgers. I just don’t trust Arizona.
Midwest: First off, what was wrong with “North” as the name of this region? I mean, no one really cares if it is in the Midwest and the other three are straight-up South, West or East. But I digress. Everyone is picking No. 4 Louisville here, and steering clear of Wichita State. OK fine, so do we. Go Cards.
East: The trendy pick here is Michigan State. No one seems to have faith in the Cavaliers, but the Barometer does. No. 1 Virginia is the pick.