Top seed outlook: Gonzaga is the best club in the West by a substantial margin, but the Zags, despite reaching haven’t always performed well beneath the glowing lights of the tournament. However, Gonzaga has a 70 percent probability of reaching the Elite Eight, based on our model, and the third-best chances of any team to reach the national championship match (26 percent).
Should Gonzaga face Syracuse in the next round, the Bulldogs trouble could be given by the Orange’s zone defense. This is the very best offense Mark Few has experienced Spokane, but it could possibly be tested by some of the terrific defenses from the West: Four of the best 15 can be found within this area, including the top two at Texas Tech and Michigan.
Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 4 Florida State. A fixture at the KenPom Top 20 for most of the season, the Seminoles are hoping to build on last season’s tournament run, which saw them come inside a 4-point margin of creating the Final Four. FSU has a dominant defense (No. 9 in Pomeroy’s evaluations ) plus a balanced roster that saw four players accumulate at least 2.5 win stocks. This draw is not terrible, either: Vermont isn’t particularly tough as a first-round foe, and Marquette is very beatable (more on this below). No. 1 seeded Gonzaga probably looms after that, and also we give FSU a 24 percent chance from the Zags — but the Seminoles would have a 48 percent probability of creating the Final Four when they had been to pull off the upset.
Do not bet : No. 5 Marquette. Teams seeded fifth aren’t usually good bets to make it past the Sweet 16 anyway, but Marquette could be a particularly terrible pick. As stated by the FiveThirtyEight energy ratings, the Golden Eagles are by far the worst No. 5 seed in the area, and a first-round date using breakout mid-major celebrity Ja Morant didn’t do them any favors. Marquette has some star power of its own in junior guard Markus Howard, who ranks sixth in the country with an average of 25 points per game, but this team dropped five of its final six matches and has a challenging tournament road ahead of it.
Cinderella see: No. 10 Florida. The Gators might have been one of the bubble teams to sneak in the area of 68, however they are poised to do some damage today they are here. They brought Nevada, a so-so No. 7 seed, in the very first round, and also we give Florida a 42 percent chance of pulling the upset that. Last year’s nationwide runner-up, Michigan, probably waits in Round 2, and that is a tough matchup (23 percent odds for Florida) — however if the Gators win, then they have a 38 percent likelihood of making the Elite Eight. In a region with quite a few possibilities that are good-but-flawed, Florida appears better than the typical 10-seed.
Player to watch: Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga The linchpin of this Zags isn’t the consensus lottery selection, nor the two veteran guards that have together started 87 percent of Gonzaga’s games over the past two seasons. It is a move from San Jose State who’s in his first active season with the team, Brandon Clarke. He is possibly the most underappreciated player in the country.
On a team that features a 7-footer shielding the rim, it is Clarke. Clarke has responded by setting a single-season blocks record and submitting the highest block speed of any team under Couple.
« Should I feel like if I can find a good, fast jump first, I will pretty much jump with anybody, » Clarke told me. « I mean, I have seen Zion (Williamson) coming down through the street before TV, and when I can not jump at the right time, I probably wouldn’t jump , but… I do not actually see myself not jumping with anybody. »
Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Baylor over No. 8 Syracuse (48 percent); No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Nevada (42 percent); No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette (32 percent)

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