Here is some last-minute bracket guidance from the Rumble, as we prepare to watch a whole lot of basketball this Thursday (and after you have joined the Yahoo Bracket challenge, proving you're a better prognosticator than I am).
- Upsets happen all over the bracket these days, so don't be afraid to pick boldly, based on a cool name, perhaps.
- Always consider picking a 9-seed over an 8-seed. They're usually pretty even
- Read up on what the stats people think in terms of the chances each team has of winning the NCAA Tournament. Take a look at Five Thirty Eight and KenPom, and see which teems seem to be underseeded. Roll with some of those. But not all of them - sometimes, the NCAA Committee sees something that the numbers don't.
- Consistent powers (such as Michigan State) should get a very, very, very long look in your bracket.
- Teams I'm liking to make longer runs than their seed would dictate this year:
- West: Yale (balance and strength), Cincinnati (insanely athletic defense matches up with anyone, they just can't score), VCU (their draw features beatable teams)...
- South: Wichita State (they were in a Final Four with this backcourt a few years ago, are always tough); Arizona (if they get past Wichita State); Connecticut (they just won't die); Maryland (so much talent, were thought to be a Final Four contender at the beginning of the year)...
- East: Kentucky (very talented, best point guard in the country in Tyler Ulis); Xavier (very balanced, strong and ferocious)...
- Midwest: Arkansas-Little Rock is a trendy upset pick. I like it too; Iona (great ability to create shots); Seton Hall (they're on fire right now, have a number of great role players and 2-3 shot creators).
- Teams I'm NOT liking to make long runs:
A link to the Rumble's profiles of every NCAA Tournament team remaining is below - after the printable bracket.
- West: Oklahoma (too jump-shot heavy); Oregon State (missing a very good freshman player, weren't that good in conference); Oregon (which is going to make me eat my words...
- South: Iowa (really sputtered into the tournament, losing five of their last six and not all of those were to better Big Ten teams)...
- East: Notre Dame (bad defense)...
- Midwest: Iowa State (short bench, and just a feeling...); Dayton (poor offense)
|NCAA Profile: Cal State Bakersfield|
|NCAA Profile: Connecticut Huskies|
|NCAA Profile: Dayton Flyers|
|NCAA Profile: Duke Blue Devils|
|NCAA Profile: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles|
|NCAA Profile: Fresno State Bulldogs|
|NCAA Profile: Gonzaga Bulldogs|
|NCAA Profile: Seton Hall Pirates|
|NCAA Profile: South Dakota State Jackrabbits|
|NCAA Profile: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks|
|NCAA Profile: Stony Brook|
|NCAA Profile: Syracuse Orange|
|NCAA Profile: Temple Owls|
|NCAA Profile: Texas Longhorns|
|NCAA Profile: Texas A&M Aggies|
|NCAA Profile: Texas Tech Red Raiders|
|NCAA Profile: UNC Asheville Bulldogs|
|NCAA Profile: UNC-WIlmington Seahawks|
|NCAA Profile: USC Trojans|
|NCAA Profile: Utah Utes|