Monday, January 25, 2021

The Top Teams in College Basketball Today, as Listed in the Style of Sports Illustrated in the 1970's

EAST:  1.  Villanova (10-1)  2.  Virginia (10-2)

MIDEAST:  1.  Michigan (13-1)  2.  Iowa (12-3)

MIDWEST:  1.  Baylor (14-0)  2.  Houston (13-1)

WEST:  1.  Gonzaga (15-0)  2.  USC (12-3)

44 comments:

  1. Here are the final rankings for 2020:

    EAST: 1. Duke (25-6) 2. W. Virginia (21-10)
    MIDEAST: 1. Dayton (29-2) 2. Michigan St. (22-9)
    MIDWEST: 1. Kansas (28-3) 2. Baylor (26-4)
    WEST: 1. Gonzaga (31-2) 2. San Diego St. (30-2)

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    1. Kansas and Dayton were really hurt by the decision not to hold last year's tournament.

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  2. 2017 was the last time that UK was one of the top 2 teams in the Mideast. The Cats also reached that level in 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

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  3. Here are 2018 and 2019 for the Mideast:

    2018: 1. Purdue (30-7) 2. Michigan St. (30-5)
    2019: 1. Michigan St. (32-7) 2. Michigan (30-7)

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  4. Here are the final rankings for 2019:

    EAST: 1. Virginia (35-3) 2. Duke (32-6)
    MIDEAST: 1. Michigan St. (32-7) 2. Michigan (30-7)
    MIDWEST: 1. Texas Tech (31-7) 2. Houston (33-4)
    WEST: 1. Gonzaga (33-4) 2. Nevada (29-5)

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  5. If we were still under the system that prevailed until 1974, whereby you could only have one team per conference make the tournament, the six teams in the 2021 Mideast Regional would currently look like this:

    Big 10 Champion (wins a bye): Michigan
    SEC Champion (wins a bye): Alabama
    MAC Champion: Toledo
    OVC Champion: W. Kentucky (I think Western would still be in the OVC under this scenario)
    Independent: Florida St.
    Independent: Loyola of Chicago

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  6. This would have been the 2020 Mideast Regional:

    Big 10 Champion (wins a bye): Michigan St.
    SEC Champion (wins a bye): Kentucky
    MAC Champion: Akron
    OVC Champion: Belmont
    Independent: Dayton
    Independent: Florida St.

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    1. Then, according to Ken Pom, FSU would beat Belmont and Dayton would beat Akron.

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    2. So the Mideast Regional would have been played at some place like the University of Iowa, with these matchups:

      Kentucky v. Dayton
      Michigan St. v. Florida St.

      And then the winners playing each other the next night.

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    3. I am rooting for Kentucky in this tournament.

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  7. Here are the final rankings for 2018:

    EAST: 1. Villanova (36-4) 2. Virginia (31-3)
    MIDEAST: 1. Purdue (30-7) 2. Michigan St. (30-5)
    MIDWEST: 1. Cincinnati (31-5) 2. Kansas (31-8)
    WEST: 1. Gonzaga (32-5) 2. Nevada (29-8)

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  8. Here's the 2018 Mideast Regional:

    Big 10 Champion (wins a bye): Michigan St.
    SEC Champion (wins a bye): Tennessee
    MAC Champion: Buffalo
    OVC Champion: Murray St.
    Independent: Xavier
    Independent: Butler

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    1. Loyola of Chicago, which went to the Final Four in 2018, would have missed the tournament under the old system.

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    2. Under the old system, UK would have gone to the tournament in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020.

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  9. So let's start with the 2010 Tournament. As the SEC Champions, the Cats are making their first appearance in the tournament since 2005. Here's the Mideast Regional:

    Big 10 Champion: Ohio St.
    SEC Champion: Kentucky
    MAC Champion: Kent St.
    OVC Champion: Murray St.
    Independent: Butler
    Independent: Xavier

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    1. I've changed my mind. I'm giving that Big 10 title to Michigan State. It was a three-way tie, but I think the Spartans were the best team.

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    2. This is getting very exciting.

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  10. This regional is loaded. The preliminary games are played at Freedom Hall. In the first game, Xavier gets past Kent State without too much trouble. But the nightcap between Butler and Murray is played in a maelstrom of noise. Butler has a big fan base, but most of the gym obviously pulls for Murray. It's a spectacular game, but in the end, Butler survives 54-52. You can look it up.

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  11. So we go to Columbus, Ohio for the regional. Here are the match-ups:

    Kentucky v. Xavier
    Michigan St. v. Butler

    Wall and Cousins overcome a very tough Xavier team. But the Michigan State/Butler game is another war. In the end, Brad Stevens's men survive a 52-50 slugfest. You can look it up.

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  12. So Kentucky advances to the final against a Butler team that hasn't lost since December 22. They don't lose here, either. Kentucky shoots itself out of the game with too many three-point shots, and Butler moves to the Final Four.

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    1. Butler loses to Duke at the buzzer, and Duke beats Baylor 78-71 for the title. You can look it up.

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  13. The Cats miss the Tournament in 2011, but they get very hot down the stretch and go to the final of the NIT, where they are beaten by UConn. Ohio State wins the NCAA with wins over Notre Dame, Florida, North Carolina, and Kansas.

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  14. I'm pretty sure UK won both of these NCAA tournaments, unless Western did.

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  15. Here is the Mideast Region for 2012:

    Big 10 Champion: Ohio St.
    SEC Champion: Kentucky
    MAC Champion: Akron
    OVC Champion: Murray St.
    Independent: Marquette
    Independent: Florida St.

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  16. The preliminary round was played at Memorial Gymnasium, on the campus at Vanderbilt. In the first game, Florida State had a fairly easy time with Akron. In the nightcap, Murray State -- backed by its usual array of vociferous fans -- hung around for most of the game, but were ultimately worn down by Marquette 62-53. You could look it up.

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  17. So we advance to the regional at East Lansing, Michigan. Here are the matchups:

    Kentucky v. Marquette
    Ohio St. v. Florida St.

    Everyone understands that this is just the warm-up; Ohio State is the defending national champion and UK is number one. No one expects them to have too much trouble. And they don't. UK and OSU both advance to the regional final.

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  18. It's been fourteen years since UK won the Mideast Region. In 2003 they lost to Marquette. In 2005 they lost to Illinois. In 2010 they lost to Butler. But this year, they beat Ohio State in a thriller and advance to the Final Four in New Orleans.

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  19. Here's what happened in the other regions:

    EAST: In College Park, Maryland, Syracuse edged North Carolina.
    MIDWEST: In Manhattan, Kansas, they had an epic regional. Louisville beat Wichita State and Kansas beat Baylor. Then Kansas edged Louisville to punch its ticket to New Orleans.
    WEST: In Salt Lake City, Utah, New Mexico beat Gonzaga.

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  20. Having gotten past its toughest opponent -- Ohio State -- UK didn't have too much trouble in the Final Four. They beat Syracuse by about ten points in a game where they led the whole way. And they beat Kansas in the final: 67-59. You could look it up.

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    1. HOORAY! This actually does make me really happy.

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  21. In 2013, UK went 21-10, missed the NCAA's, and wasn't invited to the NIT. (Only 16 teams get invited, so it's not easy to get in.) The 2013 Final Four featured Duke, Florida, Louisville and Gonzaga. Louisville beat Gonzaga and Florida to win its third national title.

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    1. I'm sorry; I made a mistake here. Michigan beat Florida 79-59 in the Mideast Regional Final. And then Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 to win the National Championship. You can look it up.

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  22. In 2014, UK again got hot toward the end of the year, reached the final of the NIT, and lost again to UConn.

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    1. UK beat Wisconsin in the semi-finals of the NIT.

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  23. That 2014 NCAA tournament was a cracker. In the East, Virginia edged Villanova to reach the Final Four. In the Mideast, Florida got revenge on Michigan to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2007. In the Midwest, Wichita State knocked off Kansas but lost to Louisville, as the Cards returned to the Final Four for a second straight year. And out West, Arizona crushed everyone.

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  24. So the teams assembled at the American Airlines Center in Dallas for the Final Four. In the first game, Florida's veterans and Billy Donovan's Big-Game experience were too much for UVA, and the Gators advanced to the Final. The nightcap was a high-flying war between Louisville and Arizona, but in the end Louisville pulled out a very close one in overtime.

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  25. That set up a final between two great teams: Louisville going for its second straight title, and going up against Florida, the last school to go back-to-back. UK fans could only suffer as Pitino and Donovan played for all the marbles. But they knew the Cats would be really good in 2014-15.

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