March 14, 2010

The IUPUI Connection: Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oakland, and Ohio are Dancing

True, IUPUI didn't make the NCAA Tournament, falling short to Oakland in the Summit League Championship game.  But that doesn't mean they have zero connection to this year's bracket. Here are IUPUI's opponents and my take on their Road to Indianapolis - Or Providence or Spokane or wherever their road ends.

Kansas State
A 2-seed coming from the Big 12, the Wildcats come into the tournament after a very successful year. They take on the Mean Green of North Texas, the winners of the Sun Belt conference. Unfortunately for UNT, Kansas State will be too much and advance through the first round. But is the Big 12 runner up good enough to advance all the way to a Sweet 16, or even a Final Four? They would have to beat a tough BYU team (or Florida, but I really don't see Billy Donnovan's club advancing this year)...and I think they can. I just don't see them getting to a Final Four though; Butler, Syracuse, BYU, Xavier, Vandy, and Gonzaga are all potential opponents, and all of them could knock KSU out.
My Prediction: Sweet-16 or Elite-8

Oakland drew Pitt, which I think is great for Greg Kampe's squad. Pitt's big losses came to teams who had athletic big guys: UND, WVU, Texas, Georgetown; And their other losses came to teams with super speedy guards: Indiana, USF, and Seton Hall. Oakland has one of the best guards that I've ever seen in person (Johnathan Jones) and the Badland's POY Keith Benson (6'11 & 20pts, 6reb, 4blk against KANSAS, holding Aldrich to 2-10 shooting), then F Derick Nelson and G/F Larry Wright who both average 11+, three guards that can shoot from anywhere on the floor (Will Hudson, Ledrick Eackles, and Blake Cushingberry), and a great coach in Greg Kampe. *Whew!* That's a lot to take in, I know. My point is, Oakland didn't lose but a single Badland's game for nothing. They'll beat Pitt.
My Prediction: Second Round or Sweet-16

Ohio was the MAC's 9-seed, but some how powered their way through to an auto-bid in Cleveland. They draw Georgetown, which sucks. Ohio is a good team, but are too back and forth, for instance beating IUPUI amist a 1-5 run. Armon Bassett is clutch, and DJ Cooper can flat out BALL...but I think they are strong enough to pull out a 14 over 3 upset. Georgetown handled guard-heavy teams well this year (despite a few more blemishes than they would have wanted). They played the nations toughest schedule and have a great seed to show for it. If the Bobcats could manufacture the upset, they would get Tennessee or San Diego State...Which are both winnable games for them. But the chances (in my opinion) are about 1:200.
My Prediction: Out in the First Round

Notre Dame
Notre Dame was "on the outside looking in" accord to a ton of different "Bracketologists". "Somehow" they played their way to a 6-seed and a game against Old Dominion. This game is a hard choice, ODU was the winner of the inaugural CIT ( Tournament) and beat Georgetown earlier this season. While I like the match up here, I think the Irish are playing too well for ODU. They beat Gerogetown, UConn, Marquette, Seton Hall, and Pitt all in a row before losing to WVU (by 2) in the Big Ego (I mean East) Tournament. UND will survive and advance here, going on to play Baylor and losing there.
My Prediction: Second Round or Sweet-16

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