Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 NCAA Tournament: Game by Game Analysis & Possible Upsets

Last year, I did a series of posts analyzing the NCAA tournament based on Ken Pomeroy's Efficiency Ratings. I updated those posts with the 2009 info and this is the last part of my analysis for the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Here's the schedule for the analysis I will be doing and links as I post each Part:

Part I: Historical Analysis of Final 4 Teams (Offensive & Defensive Efficiency Ratings)
Part II: Historical Analysis of Top Seeds (1 through 4)
Part III: Historical Analysis of Upsets (5 vs 12 & 6 vs 11)
Part IV: 2010 NCAA Tournament Game by Game Analysis & Possible Upsets

In this post, I will be posting the efficiency rankings for each matchup and will predict the winners of each 1st Round game and also give my predictions for the Final 4 and National Championship Game.

Midwest Region:

Kansas (2) vs Lehigh (180)

Overall Efficiency: Kansas (2), Lehigh (180)
Offensive Efficiency: Kansas (2), Lehigh (133)
Defensive Efficiency: Kansas (5), Lehigh (242)

Efficiency Prediction: Kansas
My Prediction: Kansas

UNLV (37) vs Northern Iowa (32)

Overall Efficiency: UNLV (37) Northern Iowa (32)
Offensive Efficiency: UNLV (58) Northern Iowa (81)
Defensive Efficiency: UNLV (29) Northern Iowa (13)

Efficiency Prediction: Northern Iowa
My Prediction: UNLV

Comments: Neither one of these teams is going to light the world on fire offensively and with Northern Iowa being one of the slowest paced teams in the nation, I expect this game to be an extremely low scoring one. Northern Iowa’s strong defense is driven by their defensive rebounding, which is 7th best in the country. If they can hold UNLV to one shot per possession, then it could be a long game for the Runnin’ Rebels. UNLV is no slouch defensively as well holding opponents to the 21st lowest 2-Point FG% and turning teams over at the 45th best percentage. Their pressure D might give Northern Iowa problems. UNLV’s Tre’von Willis is the best scorer on either team and that might be the difference in this game where points should be hard to come by.

Michigan State (24) vs New Mexico State (115)

Overall Efficiency: Michigan State (24) New Mexico State (115)
Offensive Efficiency: Michigan State (38) New Mexico State (46)
Defensive Efficiency: Michigan State (27) New Mexico State (222)

Efficiency Prediction: Michigan State
My Prediction: Michigan State

Comments: Offensively, New Mexico State matches up well with Michigan State as they have strong ratings in almost every category except offensive rebounding and getting to the free throw line. However, defensively is where Michigan State separates themselves from New Mexico State, who is the 2nd worst defensive team in the tournament. Unless Michigan State gives little to no effort on the defensive end, then I can’t see them losing this one.

Maryland (10) vs Houston (85)

Overall Efficiency: Maryland (10) Houston (85)
Offensive Efficiency: Maryland (6) Houston (40)
Defensive Efficiency: Maryland (40) Houston (165)

Efficiency Prediction: Maryland
My Prediction: Maryland

Comments: I know some people will probably be looking for an upset here, but Maryland is much better than they have gotten credit for. Their only real weakness is defensive rebounding(313th) and Houston is not strong on the offensive boards(232nd), so I don't think they will be able to exploit that weakness. Plus, they are even worse than Maryland at defensive rebounding(336th) and their defense is general is pretty atrocious. I don't see how they will be able to stop Maryland's offensive attack, which is the 6th best in offensive efficiency. Eric Hayes and Sean Mosley could be the keys to run Maryland makes in the tournament.

Tennessee (35) vs San Diego State (40)

Overall Efficiency: Tennessee (35) San Diego State (40)
Offensive Efficiency: Tennessee (99) San Diego State (43)
Defensive Efficiency: Tennessee (8) San Diego State (42)

Efficiency Prediction: Tennessee
My Prediction: San Diego State

Comments: I think this will be one of the closest games of the 1st round with two very evenly matched teams squaring off. Tennessee is pretty poor on offense for a tournament team and they struggle on the offensive boards(195th), shooting the three(282nd), and hitting their free throws(240th). Usually a higher seeded team with a shaky offense is ripe for an upset, but Tennessee has knocked off Kansas & Kentucky this year and has a Top 10 defense. They are 22nd overall in forcing turnovers and San Diego State has turnover issues(205th) on the offensive end. However, I still think San Diego State can pull off the upset here.

Georgetown (11) vs Ohio (100)

Overall Efficiency: Georgetown (11) Ohio (100)
Offensive Efficiency: Georgetown (10) Ohio (105)
Defensive Efficiency: Georgetown (33) Ohio (109)

Efficiency Prediction: Georgetown
My Prediction: Georgetown

Comments: Georgetown has issues with turnovers and rebounding or else they would be a legitimate contender for the National Championship. They probably still could pull off a Final 4 run. Ohio has the height to to matchup with Georgetown, but they don't rebound well enough to exploit Georgetown's main weakness.

Oklahoma State (44) vs Georgia Tech (27)

Overall Efficiency: Oklahoma State (44) Georgia Tech (27)
Offensive Efficiency: Oklahoma State (37) Georgia Tech (57)
Defensive Efficiency: Oklahoma State (63) Georgia Tech (17)

Efficiency Prediction: Georgia Teach
My Prediction: Georgia Tech

Comments: Georgia Tech is actually rated higher than Oklahoma State in overall efficiency and if they didn't turn the ball over so much they would rank even higher. Luckily for them, Oklahoma State does not force turnovers. The key matchup in this game will be the offensive rebounding(18th) of Georgia Tech vs the defensive rebounding(20th) of Oklahoma State. Georgia Tech certainly has the size and athleticism to slow down the offense of Oklahoma State, which may be slightly overrated since they don't have much else besides James Anderson.

Ohio State (4) vs UC Santa Barbara (152)

Overall Efficiency: Ohio State (4) UC Santa Barbara (152)
Offensive Efficiency: Ohio State (7) UC Santa Barbara (209)
Defensive Efficiency: Ohio State (22) UC Santa Barbara (99)

Efficiency Prediction: Ohio State
My Prediction: Ohio State

Comments: Ohio State won't have any problems in this game and will be a tough out in general. The only areas they do poorly in are Offensive Rebounding(265) and getting to the free throw line(227). Those shouldn't be enough to trip them up until they face either Georgetown or Kansas.

West Region:

Syracuse (5) vs Vermont (129)

Overall Efficiency: Syracuse (5) Vermont (129)
Offensive Efficiency: Syracuse (9) Vermont (140)
Defensive Efficiency: Syracuse (20) Vermont (135)

Efficiency Prediction: Syracuse
My Prediction: Syracuse

Comments: Vermont is probably not the team Syracuse wanted to see in the 1st round, since they upset the Orange a few years back. However, they don't rebound well on the defensive end(213th), they don't protect the ball(199), they don't shoot the three well(258th), and they don't have T.J. Sorrentine and Taylor Copenrath. I think the Orange will cruise in this one.

Gonzaga (56) vs Florida State (19)

Overall Efficiency: Gonzaga (56) Florida State (19)
Offensive Efficiency: Gonzaga (44) Florida State (119)
Defensive Efficiency: Gonzaga (67) Florida State (1)

Efficiency Prediction: Florida State
My Prediction: Gonzaga

Comments: Florida State is a monstrous team that is # 1 in the country defensively. Gonzaga actually matches up with them pretty well height-wise, but they aren't tough on the boards. I have a hard time picking Florida State to win because their offense is horrible and I can't see them winning unless they crash the boards and get a lot of second chance points. I'm not terribly high on Gonzaga either and I think both of these teams would lose to Syracuse anyway.

Butler (26) vs UTEP (34)

Overall Efficiency: Butler (26) UTEP (34)
Offensive Efficiency: Butler (55) UTEP (78)
Defensive Efficiency: Butler (15) UTEP (14)

Efficiency Prediction: Butler
My Prediction: UTEP

Comments: Both teams are solid in most areas, except the both struggle on the offensive boards and also shooting the 3-point shot somewhat. This one should be a war between a Butler team that has won 20 straight and a UTEP team that has won 16 of their last 17. It's really a shame one of these teams won't get out of the 1st round. I'm going to roll with UTEP in an upset.

Vanderbilt (36) vs Murray State (57)

Overall Efficiency: Vanderbilt (36) Murray State (57)
Offensive Efficiency: Vanderbilt (25) Murray State (68)
Defensive Efficiency: Vanderbilt (64) Murray State (45)

Efficiency Prediction: Vanderbilt
My Prediction: Murray State

Comments: Murray State is a dangerous team with many strengths including Offensive Effective FG%(9th), Offensive Rebounding(12th), Defensive Effective FG%(14th), Defensive Turnover%(11th), and 3-Point shooting(55th). Their one weakness is turning the ball over(235th), but Vandy is even worse at forcing turnovers(243). This matchup looks to play right in the hands of Murray State.

Xavier (22) vs Minnesota (25)

Overall Efficiency: Xavier (22) Minnesota (25)
Offensive Efficiency: Xavier (15) Minnesota (23)
Defensive Efficiency: Xavier (50) Minnesota (43)

Efficiency Prediction: Xavier
My Prediction: Xavier

Comments: I really like this Xavier team as they do a lot of different things well on both offense and defense. Their only really weakness is that they don't force turnovers, but they rank in the top 100 on both sides of the ball in all of the other main statistical categories. I also love the playmaking and scoring ability of Jordan Crawford, who I think could have a breakout performance in the tournament. Meanwhile, Minnesota is no slouch themselves and is a good all around team. They are the 8th best 3-point shooting team, but Xavier happens to defend the three extremely well holding teams to just 29.4%. That's definitely going to be a key part of this matchup. I like Xavier in this one when all is said and done.

Pittsburgh (30) vs Oakland (141)

Overall Efficiency: Pittsburgh (30) Oakland (141)
Offensive Efficiency: Pittsburgh (41) Oakland (98)
Defensive Efficiency: Pittsburgh (34) Oakland (212)

Efficiency Prediction: Pittsburgh
My Prediction: Pittsburgh

Comments: Pitt is solid in most areas except forcing turnovers(333rd). Oakland is mostly dangerous because they have won 20 of their past 21 games. Other than that there isn't much to work with considering they are so poor on defense and most of that came against sub-par competition.

BYU (7) vs Florida (49)

Overall Efficiency: BYU (7) Florida (49)
Offensive Efficiency: BYU (12) Florida (34)
Defensive Efficiency: BYU (21) Florida (70)

Efficiency Prediction: BYU
My Prediction: BYU

Comments: I'm not sure how Florida made the tournament. Their best wins are against Florida State(19) and Michigan State(24) early in the season and after that the best team they beat was Mississippi State(41). I'd really like to know what the committee sees in this team and maybe they'll surprise me and pull off the upset. BYU is underseeded for the second year in a row, but that didn't help them last year. They are certainly better this season than last year with their one weakness being offensive rebounding (226th).

Kansas State (9) vs North Texas (149)

Overall Efficiency: Kansas State (9) North Texas (149)
Offensive Efficiency: Kansas State (16) North Texas (157)
Defensive Efficiency: Kansas State (19) North Texas (180)

Efficiency Prediction: Kansas State
My Prediction: Kansas State

Comments: Kansas State is a solid, but not dominant team. They will be a tough out for sure and could take out BYU(7), Xavier(22), and Syracuse(5) in the process. The Final 4 is as far as I could see them advancing though.

East Region:

Kentucky (6) vs East Tennessee State (142)

Overall Efficiency: Kentucky (6) East Tennessee State (142)
Offensive Efficiency: Kentucky (18) East Tennessee State (196)
Defensive Efficiency: Kentucky (10) East Tennessee State (88)

Efficiency Prediction: Kentucky
My Prediction: Kentucky

Comments: Kentucky is one of the most talented teams in the country and on paper they SHOULD make the Final 4. However, they don’t really blow teams out and seem to always have to make big shots at the end of games. Eventually that is going to catch up with them. A 2nd Round matchup with a talented, but underachieving Texas (17) team would certainly be a challenge as Texas has the size to matchup with DeMarcus Cousins inside. If they are fortunate enough to get past that matchup they will have to beat Wisconsin (3) or Temple (18) and then possibly West Virginia (8) to make the Final 4. It won’t be an easy road for sure.

Texas (17) vs Wake Forest (50)

Overall Efficiency: Texas (17) Wake Forest (50)
Offensive Efficiency: Texas (26) Wake Forest (96)
Defensive Efficiency: Texas (26) Wake Forest (25)

Efficiency Prediction: Texas
My Prediction: Texas

Comments: Texas has struggled in the second part of the season finishing 7-9 after starting 17-0. Somehow they’ve managed to remain the 17th most efficient team in the country in the process. They do almost everything well with their major strengths being Offensive Rebounding (15th) & Defensive Effective FG% (27). The only areas that aren’t strong in are forcing turnovers (199th) & 3-Point shooting (152nd). They also catch a break by drawing an overrated and mediocre Wake Forest team. Wake struggles in almost every statistical category including Offensive Effective FG% (233rd), Turnovers (212th), Forcing Turnovers (219th), Defensive Rebounding (205th), 3-Point Shooting (281st), and Free Throw Shooting (265th). Only their Defensive Effective FG% (4th) and Offensive Rebounding (22nd) keep them from being a terrible a team. Texas should be talented enough to exploit them despite their recent struggles, which have come against teams far better than Wake.

Temple (18) vs Cornell (66)

Overall Efficiency: Temple (18) Cornell (66)
Offensive Efficiency: Temple (77) Cornell (28)
Defensive Efficiency: Temple (3) Cornell (139)

Efficiency Prediction: Temple
My Prediction: Cornell

Comments: Temple is probably one of the worst offensive teams in the tournament. They struggle in almost every offensive category: Off. Effective FG% (165th), Off. Rebounding (162nd), FT attempts per FG attempts (340th), 3-Point Shooting (190th), 2-Point FG% (160th), & FT Shooting (175th). The only thing keeping them as the 77th most efficient offense is that they protect the ball well (20th), which gives them even more opportunities to be crappy on offense. They also play at an extremely slow pace (336th) and have the 3rd best defense in the nation. Obviously with such a subpar offense this team wins game defensively by holding teams to a low shooting % (1st), defensive rebounding (16th), and not fouling (9th), but in the NCAA Tournament I don’t think that will be enough for them to advance very far. At some point they will need to put the ball in the basket. Cornell has no problems in that regard having the 3rd best Effective FG% in the country and being the best 3-Point shooting team. Temple’s defense is probably good enough to slow down Cornell, but their offense is bad enough where I think Cornell can keep this one close and steal a victory.

Wisconsin (3) vs Wofford (87)

Overall Efficiency: Wisconsin (3) Wofford (87)
Offensive Efficiency: Wisconsin (13) Wofford (149)
Defensive Efficiency: Wisconsin (7) Wofford (56)

Efficiency Prediction: Wisconsin
My Prediction: Wisconsin

Comments: Wisconsin is a team that seems to be underseeded considering they rank as the 3rd most efficient team in the country. The combination of being one of the slowest paced teams (340th) in the country and having the 13th most efficient offense could make them deadly in the tournament. They excel at protecting the ball (3rd) & controling the boards defensively (1st), which is a combination that leads to wins more often than not. The only thing that keeps me from picking Wisconsin to go too deep in the tournament is their lack of NBA talent. Don’t be surprised if they end up in the Final 4 though. Meanwhile, Wofford is a solid defensive team who also plays at a slow pace (272nd), so they may be able to keep this game competitive.

Marquette (28) vs Washington (29)

Overall Efficiency: Marquette (28) Washington (29)
Offensive Efficiency: Marquette (22) Washington (32)
Defensive Efficiency: Marquette (48) Washington (38)

Efficiency Prediction: Marquette
My Prediction: Marquette

Comments: This game is the closest matchup of the first round despite being a 6 vs 11 game. A bad draw for Marquette considering they are the higher seed. Washington is a fast paced team (10th) does pretty much everything well except for shooting the three (240th). Of course they also didn’t win a road game until mid-February. However, they’ve now won 7 straight games that were at either road or neutral sites, so they may have fixed that problem. Meanwhile, Marquette is a vertically challenged (341st) team that plays at a slow pace (303rd) and excels at protecting the ball (5th) and shooting the three (7th). They obviously struggle on the boards because of their height, so Washington would be wise to attack hard on the offensive glass. I expect Marquette will try to play a slow paced game and pack things in on defense taking their chances with Washington’s subpar outside game. If that’s the game plan then Marquette will be victorious.

New Mexico (47) vs Montana (105)

Overall Efficiency: New Mexico (47) Montana (105)
Offensive Efficiency: New Mexico (21) Montana (110)
Defensive Efficiency: New Mexico (87) Montana (121)

Efficiency Prediction: New Mexico
My Prediction: New Mexico

Comments: New Mexico is strong on the offensive end, but if it wasn’t for their excellent defensive rebounding (5th) their defense would be even more suspect than it already is. They rank worse than 100 in every other major defensive category. Montana, despite their poor offensive rebounding (262nd) and slight turnover issues (101st), is pretty dangerous on the offensive end when they have the ball. They rank 16th in Off. Effective FG% thanks to their impressive shooting from inside (33rd) and outside (11th) the arc. I actually think they will give New Mexico problems in this game, especially since Montana also plays at a slow pace (306th). Don’t be shocked to see an upset here or at least a near one.

Clemson (16) vs Missouri (21)

Overall Efficiency: Clemson (16) Missouri (21)
Offensive Efficiency: Clemson (47) Missouri (50)
Defensive Efficiency: Clemson (9) Missouri (12)

Efficiency Prediction: Clemson
My Prediction: Missouri

Comments: This looks like a bad draw for a Clemson team that has some big time turnover issues (218th) and also struggles shoot the three well (197th). Missouri is known for forcing turnovers and is 3rd best in the country in that department and the best thieves overall in the NCAA Tournament. They also shoot the three at a decent clip (57th) and protect the ball well (50th), which will come in handy against Clemson, who just happens to be the 2nd best team at forcing turnovers (8th) in the NCAA’s. The one area Clemson might be able to exploit in this one is Missouri’s poor work on the defensive boards (323rd), which plays into Clemson’s strength on the offensive glass (53rd). However, if Clemson doesn’t protect the ball they might not have enough opportunities to exploit that weakness.

West Virginia (8) vs Morgan State (149)

Overall Efficiency: West Virginia (8) Morgan State (149)
Offensive Efficiency: West Virginia (11) Morgan State (136)
Defensive Efficiency: West Virginia (24) Morgan State (190)

Efficiency Prediction: West Virginia
My Prediction: West Virginia

Comments: West Virginia is a tough team to figure out. They profile well overall on both offense and defense, but when you start looking at the individual components it’s tough to figure out why they rank so high. Other than Offensive Rebounding (5th), protecting the ball (60th), and Defensive Rebounding (92nd); West Virginia ranks higher than 100 in all the other offensive and defensive categories; including both Offensive (143rd) & Defensive (118th) Effective FG%. Normally this would mean they are a long shot for the Final 4, but Michigan State and Villanova made it last season with similar profiles, so perhaps West Virginia can continue that trend. The matchups certainly play out in their favor for them to at least reach the Elite 8.

South Region:

Duke (1) vs Arkansas Pine Bluff (238)

Overall Efficiency: Duke (1) Arkansas Pine Bluff (238)
Offensive Efficiency: Duke (1) Arkansas Pine Bluff (307)
Defensive Efficiency: Duke (4) Arkansas Pine Bluff (111)

Efficiency Prediction: Duke
My Prediction: Duke

Comments: Duke has a pretty easy road to the Elite 8 and a ranking as the most efficient team in the country. They don’t shoot the strongest percentage from the field (95th), but they make up for it by excelling in ball protection (10th) & offensive rebounding (10th). They also both shoot (30th) & defend (3rd) the three well. They do struggle from inside the arc (205th), which explains why teams with quick guards who can get up and defend them from the outside give them trouble. They simple do not have much going on in the low post. Villanova (15) and Baylor (12) are the only teams in this region with a legit shot of knocking them off.

California (14) vs Louisville (39)

Overall Efficiency: California (14) Louisville (39)
Offensive Efficiency: California (3) Louisville (20)
Defensive Efficiency: California (81) Louisville (77)

Efficiency Prediction: California
My Prediction: California

Comments: This should be a good barometer for us to see if a middle of the pack Big East team is better than a top tier Pac-10 team this season. Cal for all their ups-and-downs is pretty damn efficient on the offensive end thanks for some sold deep shooting (49th), ball protection (32nd), & offensive rebounding (89th). They also board well on the defensive end (79th) and defend the three admirably (76th). This should help negate Louisville’s strength on the offensive boards (17th) and probably limit the outside looks of an already poor three-point shooting (187th) team. The only thing Louisville might have as an advantage over Cal is “toughness” and I’m not sure that will help them win this game.

Texas A&M (23) vs Utah State (20)

Overall Efficiency: Texas A&M (23) Utah State (20)
Offensive Efficiency: Texas A&M (39) Utah State (14)
Defensive Efficiency: Texas A&M (23) Utah State (54)

Efficiency Prediction: Utah State
My Prediction: Utah State

Comments: This is another matchup between teams ranked pretty evenly. Utah State is ranked 14th in offensive efficiency, 8th in off. effective FG%, 13th in preventing turnovers, and 2nd in 3-point shooting. The offensive is definitely stellar. The question is whether or not Utah State has the athleticism to defend Texas A&M. I'm not sure they do and I compare them to BYU in that sense. Both of these teams play at a slow pace, so that should help Utah State. They almost pulled off the upset last year against higher-seeded Marquette and this year I think they seal the deal.

Purdue (13) vs Siena (58)

Overall Efficiency: Purdue (13) Siena (58)
Offensive Efficiency: Purdue (49) Siena (66)
Defensive Efficiency: Purdue (6) Siena (59)

Efficiency Prediction: Purdue
My Prediction: Siena

Comments: Purdue is not the best offensive team (138th in effective FG%, 234th in offensive rebounding, & 263rd in three-point shooting) and that doesn’t even fully show the impact of losing Robbie Hummel. He was their best three-point shooter, defensive rebounder, and ball protector; so without him both the offense and defense suffers. Siena is a tourney tested team who is balanced and has won 21 of their last 23 games. They also surprising strong on both the offensive (91st) & defensive boards (46th). I’m looking for Siena to pull off the upset here.

Notre Dame (38) vs Old Dominion (33)

Overall Efficiency: Notre Dame (38) Old Dominion (33)
Offensive Efficiency: Notre Dame (12) Old Dominion (47)
Defensive Efficiency: Notre Dame (12) Old Dominion (47)

Efficiency Prediction: Old Dominion
My Prediction: Notre Dame

Comments: Notre Dame is the 6 seed here, but Old Dominion actually has a better efficiency ranking. However, this isn't the same Notre Dame team that we saw at the beginning of the season. It's possible they are playing at a better efficiency level than Old Dominion right now. Their main weakness is their defense (140th overall), but it seems they have improved a great deal in that area late in the season. Old Dominion struggles a bit offensively (167th in Effective FG% & 145th in Turnover%) and they don't shoot the three well (273rd). They did beat Georgetown, but they lost 5 other games in their non-conference schedule to teams that were pretty highly ranked efficiency wise and also not as good as Notre Dame offensively. The slow pace (298th) that Old Dominion plays at won't bother Notre Dame, who plays even slower (304th) than they do. Notre Dame will have to keep Old Dominion off the offensive boards though where they rank 1st in the nation. In the end, I think Notre Dame squeaks this one out thanks to their superior offense.

Baylor (12) vs Sam Houston State (102)

Overall Efficiency: Baylor (12) Sam Houston State (102)
Offensive Efficiency: Baylor (5) Sam Houston State (56)
Defensive Efficiency: Baylor (52) Sam Houston State (178)

Efficiency Prediction: Baylor
My Prediction: Baylor

Comments: Sam Houston State is a strong offensive team, who hits a lot of three-pointers (24th), but they don't have the defense to put a scare into a strong Baylor team. Baylor is well-round and versatile on offense. They shoot both the two (17th) and three-point shot (22) extremely well and it will take a very strong defensive team to slow them down. Their weakness is their defense, but that's only because they don't force turnovers (309th). However, they are top notch at defending inside the arc (7th) and are solid in most other areas. I think they could advance to the Elite 8 and put a scare into Duke and possibly beat them.

Richmond (48) vs St. Mary's (43)

Overall Efficiency: Richmond (48) St. Mary's (43)
Offensive Efficiency: Richmond (67) St. Mary's (19)
Defensive Efficiency: Richmond (36) St. Mary's (82)

Efficiency Prediction: St. Mary's
My Prediction: St. Mary's

Comments: St. Mary's has the height and shooting ability (4th in 3-Point shooting & 22nd in 2-Point shooting) to matchup well with Richmond. I know a lot of people like Richmond in this one, but I think St. Mary's will pull this one out.

Villanova (15) vs Robert Morris (139)

Overall Efficiency: Villanova (15) Robert Morris (188)
Offensive Efficiency: Villanova (8) Robert Morris (200)
Defensive Efficiency: Villanova (62) Robert Morris (154)

Efficiency Prediction: Villanova
My Prediction: Villanova

Comments: Villanova is strong offensively, but will only go deep into the tournament if they step up their defense. Getting away from the Big East might help them, but they will have a tough time with whoever wins between Richmond and St. Mary's and also with Baylor if they meet in the Sweet 16. This team is capable of repeating last year's Final 4 run, but it won't be easy.

Possible Upsets:

High Probability: San Diego State(11) over Tennessee(6), UTEP(12) over Butler(5), Murray State(13) over Vanderbilt(4), Old Dominion (11) over Notre Dame (6), Siena (13) over Purdue (4), Utah State (12) over Texas A&M (5), Washington (11) over Marquette (6)

Medium Probability: Minnesota(11) over Xavier(6), Cornell(12) over Temple(5)

Low Probability: Montana(14) over New Mexico(3), Houston (13) over Maryland (4), New Mexico State (12) over Michigan State (5)

Elite 8 Predictions:

Efficiency Predictions:
Kansas (2) vs Ohio State (4)
Syracuse (5) vs BYU (7)
Wisconsin (3) vs West Virginia (8)
Duke (1) vs Baylor (12)

My Predictions:
Kansas (2) vs Georgetown (11)
Syracuse (5) vs Kansas State (9)
Kentucky (6) vs West Virginia (8)
Duke (1) vs Baylor (12)

Final 4 Predictions:

Efficiency Predictions:
Kansas (2) vs Syracuse (5)
Wisconsin (3) vs Duke (1)

National Championship Game: Kansas (2) vs Duke (1)

Winner: Duke (1)

My Predictions:
Kansas (2) vs Syracuse (5)
West Virginia (8) vs Duke (1)

National Championship Game: Kansas (2) vs Duke (1)

Winner: Kansas (2)

Comments: I'm not completely happy with my picks. I would have liked to include Kentucky, but I didn't want to pick all 4 # 1 seeds and I'm a little nervous they might get clipped early. West Virginia doesn't really profile as a Final 4 team, but I think they have a smooth ride to the Elite 8 and if Kentucky isn't there to face them then that's an added bonus for them.

I feel pretty strongly about Kansas and Duke making the Final 4, but that doesn't mean one of them won't get knocked off. As easy as Duke's road is to the Elite 8, I think Baylor and Villanova would both have a shot to knock them off. I really like Baylor and I wouldn't be surprised to see them sneak into the Final 4. The only problem is they are Baylor and just as easily could get knocked out in the 2nd Round. Kansas will have to get through the Maryland vs Michigan State winner and also the Georgetown vs Ohio State winner. Kansas is deeper than both Ohio State and Georgetown, so I think that will be the difference no matter which one they face.

Syracuse will probably have a tough time in their Elite 8 matchup no matter who it is. The most likely candidates are Kansas State, BYU, and Xavier. I kind of like Xavier as a sleeper to get to the Elite 8, but they also have a tougher than expected matchup with Minnesota in the 1st round.

More: March Madness

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