March Madness bracket talk in your office will soon reach its feverish peak with Selection Sunday just a few days away,
By now you probably know that the person who knows the least about college basketball somehow lucks into a great bracket, while you may tend to over-think it and pick some crazy upsets that, mathematically, rarely happen.
The key to success in your office pool is to be somewhere in the middle. In certain games, you should go with what your gut tells you, but it’s also nice to be well-informed about what teams are capable of a few upsets during the NCAA Tournament.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas offered up some helpful hints on a conference call this week as to which mid-major teams (aside from Gonzaga) could make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
I think Nevada may be the best of the non-power conference teams.
[Nevada head coach] Eric Musselman has done a really good job and I know they just lost to San Diego State but that game was on the road. They’re legit. Kendall Stephens transferred in from Purdue and hit over 100 three’s.
I think Caleb Martin is second in the league in scoring if I remember right and his brother Cody Martin transferred in from NC State.
Jordan Caroline is one of the best players in the country that doesn’t get enough pub. He’s a good rebounder, plays incredibly hard and is productive at a high level. He does it against the best teams they play and not against the worst teams.
Musselman was just named Mountain West Coach of the Year after guiding the Wolf Pack to a 26-6 record and a Top 25 ranking. Caleb Martin was named Newcomer of the Year and first-team All-MWC, along with his teammate Jordan Caroline. Cody Martin was named second team All-MWC with Kendall Stephens being named to third team.
And Bilas didn’t stop with the Wolf Pack.
Loyola-Chicago is good. I’ve seen them play a few times and they’re tough and talented.
I happen to like Boise State a lot. Chandler Hutchison is the real deal. He’s a first-round draft pick.
You mentioned Middle Tennessee. They’re right there with Nevada as being the best of the traditional mid-majors.
Loyola Chicago (28-5) won the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday and will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 33 years.
The Ramblers will enter the tournament having won 10 games in a row and 17 of their past 18.
Boise State is 23-7 and is led by MWC Player of the Year Chandler Hutchinson. Middle Tennessee is 24-6 and won Conference USA and should be in the mix for an at-large bid even if the Blue Raiders stumble in their conference tournament this week.
Now, you as a fan have some useful information from the best in the business to use while making your bracket selections. Time to make that know-it-all guy in your office a little nervous when it comes time to enter your bracket pool.