Friday, February 18, 2022

If the NCAA Were 16 Regions

The deeper we go into the season, the happier I am that we don't use this approach.  Here is the latest breakdown with Ken Pom rankings:

1st:  Connecticut (18)
2d:  St. John's (71)
3d:  Villanova (8)
4th:  Virginia Tech (28)
5th:  Duke (10)
6th:  Auburn (5) (Alabama 19)
7th:  Louisiana St. (16)
8th:  Kentucky (3) (Tennessee 9)
9th:  Ohio St. (17)
10th:  Purdue (13)
11th:  Illinois (15)
12th:  Kansas (6)
13th:  Baylor (4) (Houston 7, Texas Tech 12, Texas 14)
14th:  Arizona (2)
15th:  Gonzaga (1)
16th:  UCLA (11) (Saint Mary's 20)

Assuming that the favorites won out, and the draw for the national tournament was the same as the draw for the KHSAA Sweet 16, the NCAA's would look like this:

Wednesday, March 16:
Kansas v. Auburn
Kentucky v. Villanova
Purdue v. Arizona
Gonzaga v. Baylor

Thursday, March 17:
Duke v. St. John's
UCLA v. Ohio St.
Connecticut v. Illinois
Louisiana St. v. Virginia Tech

Meanwhile, everyone in the 8th Region appears to be hot.  Murray State has won 15 games in a row and is now 25-2.   Memphis has won six straight and is now 15-8.  Tennessee has won 8 of 9 and is 19-6.  Belmont has won nine straight and is 23-5.  And Western has six straight wins and is 16-11.  Here's what the District Finals would look like if the favorites advanced:

29th District:  (3) Kentucky, (115) Morehead St.
30th District:  (23) Murray St., (116) W. Kentucky
31st District:  (9) Tennessee, (67) Chattanooga
32d District:  (37) Memphis, (61) Belmont

Which would set up the following quarterfinals:

Murray St. v. Morehead St.
Tennessee v. Belmont
Memphis v. Chattanooga
Kentucky v. W. Kentucky


  1. Under this system, UK would have to go to Nashville, and then beat Western, Memphis, and Tennessee just to reach the round of 16. No thank you.

  2. Murray State had all kind of trouble in Martin today, but pulled out a 62-60 win over UT-Martin anyway. Murray State is now 16-0 in the OVC and 26-2 overall.

  3. Kentucky kept Sahvir Wheeler and TyTy Washington on the bench so that they can heal, fell behind 44-32 with 4:27 left in the first half, and still stormed back to lead 47-46 at the half. Then UK rolled to a 90-81 victory. Kellan Grady hit 7-9 three-pointers, scored 25 points, and led the Cats to the win. It was a fantastic game, and the folks at Rupp were going nuts.

  4. Cats are now 11-3 in the SEC, and 22-5 overall.

  5. Here's how close things are between UK and Auburn. Auburn is 12-2 in the conference; UK is 11-3. Auburn has scored 1,096 points in conference play; UK has scored 1,097 points. Auburn has allowed 961 points in conference play; UK has allowed 970. So Auburn has a net point differential of 135; UK's is 127. They are only eight points apart -- and Auburn beat UK by nine points in a game where Wheeler and Washington both had injury problems.

  6. Arkansas beat Tennessee 58-48 in Fayetteville to end UT's eight-game winning streak in the SEC. Top of the SEC now looks like this:

    Auburn: 12-2
    Kentucky: 11-3
    Arkansas: 10-4
    Tennessee: 10-4

    After those four there is a four-way tie at 7-7 between LSU, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina.

  7. Here are the standings in C-USA:

    102. Mid. Tennessee St.: 10-3
    116. W. Kentucky: 9-6
    127. Fla. Atlantic: 8-6
    192. Charlotte: 7-9
    209. Old Dominion: 5-9
    239. Fla. International: 5-9
    241. Marshall: 3-11

    41. N. Texas: 13-1
    49. Ala-Birmingham: 10-4
    98. Louisiana Tech: 10-4
    166. Tex-El Paso: 9-5
    211. Rice: 6-8
    218. Tex-San Antonio: 2-13
    344. So. Mississippi: 1-12

  8. UConn against Villanova tonight, in a matchup of likely regional winners.

  9. UConn is apparently wearing throwback uniforms, but I thought these were just their regular uniforms. In my mind, UConn has been wearing the same uniforms since the 1990's.

  10. UConn scores the last five points of the game to stun Villanova 70-69 in Hartford. This is the first time since 2013 where I felt like I was actually watching a Big East game. Fantastic stuff. I like the Big East almost as much as I dislike the ACC.