Picking the Elite 8

  • ###@lulufulu85’s post, migrated:### (I moved your thread over here, so we can lock the daily threads)

    I want to add a thread for today. Would anyone care to venture a very premature guess at this years elite 8 teams? I say that because IMO the field is still too wide open to pick just 4 teams out of the 20 or so teams that could possibly make it to the Final 4. But, there are some really good teams out there that have started to separate themselves from the pack. Back in November during the time KU played in the Champions classic with Dookie, Michigan St and Kenstinky, I made a guess that that line up could be the '14 Final Four. shakes head Nope, not gonna happen. And without further ado, but a lot of rambling because I work the night shift and I have been up since 6pm yesterday, I will start with my 8 teams whom I think at this point in the season will make it to Elite status.

    I have to pick Arizona though I don’t want to. I’m definitely not a Sean Miller fan and I think that Arizona is a bit overrated. Strength of Schedule #'s don’t look too bad as per KenPom But, they are in the Pac 12 and its annually one of the weakest of the BSC conferences. That’s the right acronym right, BSC? Zona has just a hand full of good wins. Their 3rd game they beat Sandiego State (boy do I want a rematch of those dirty rats), and they beat Duke & Michigan in the non conference. I personally think/hope that Zona will overlook a very good and experienced mid major team who will spank them good and hard before Elite 8. BUT, for now they are my first pick.

    Second is Michigan State, They are undefeated in their conference so far and if they win or share the league title then surely they can make it to Elite 8. There is an elephant in their locker room though…getting beat by the bipolar UNC? wtf to that.

    Third pick is Syracuse. Their S.o.S. is a bit weaker than Zona’s but the ACC is a tougher conference I feel. and also they haven’t lost yet either. Im not a fan of the bigger conferences though because Cuse wont play a home and home with Duke or UNC and whoever else. So, IMO it doesn’t give a real feel for how they would do on the road against those teams. Sure, Duke and UNC are down this year but you know what I mean.

    4th pick is our beloved KU. #1 S.o.S and #1 RPI have to be good for something right? There’s just got to be some dividends from such a hard schedule for our team this year. They just have to figure out how to NOT turn the ball over against zone and against traps. Shouldn’t be too hard to tighten that up right!? Im hoping for some positive reinforcement here people.

    5th pick is Wichita State. The Shockers definitely wont surprise anyone this year but they have a seemingly tough and definitely experienced team. Everyone playing them in the tourney will not want to play them… except us right? 😉 Only thing is, no losses for a team that has a middle of the road S.o.S means a loss is coming at some point. With no early losses to expose weaknesses the chances that they will get exposed by a bad match up in the dance becomes more likely. It would be pretty funny to see Creighton smoke them like they did 'Nova. Btw, Jay Wright is a sucker. Seriously haven’t let go of that grudge against him for dissing Chalmers and RussRob.

    6th pick is Florida, As much as I dislike Scotty Wilbeken (sp?) the guy is a baller and UF looks like a tough team this year too. But since 08, UF has had a bad habit of getting bounced early in the tourney. Although I don’t sense that will happen this year. They are experienced, talented. Good combos for a deep run if they can make it.

    7th is Michigan. If they can share or win their conference, then they should make it at least this far.

    8th is Iowa State. We all know they are good, and personally I just want to see another Big 12 team make it this far. Im going to add a sleeper team also. Im going to put SMU in here. Their Kenpom Offense and Defense #‘s look good and plus it would be nice to see Ol’ Larry Brown back in the big dance again. I hope they make it.

    Yep, that’s it. Im sure this will change in a week or two. Im off work for the next 10 days so I plan on watching a lot of college ball, and hopefully learn a thing or two.

  • I’ll go with Arizona, Syracuse, KU…obvious reasons. Michigan State…assuming they get healthy…Dawson is out for a while and joins Payne on the “injured” list. OSU…Smart, Nash. and that pest Forte get to the elite 8…but no further. SDSU…not just because they beat us but because of that defense. Iowa…I think 2 from the Big 10 is a good bet and they are as good a guess as any. Florida…based on their record so far.

    Of course there will be some interloper…impossible to predict who that might be.

    Not making the cut: WSU…guess I’m just not sold on them based on their schedule…although their seeding will make it easier for them to get there…also I think they had their run last year.

    ISU…too dependent on the 3 Villanova…ditto.

    I thought about picking Missouri…Ha! just kidding!

  • @approxinfinity - Thanks for moving over this post into it’s own thread!

    @lulufulu85 - Solid post!

    There is a good write-up that goes into detail about the 4 undefeated teams (now 3, bump Wisconsin) going back to January 13th on Kenpom. It is a measurement of high and low leveraged cumulative game seconds of these 4 teams. I’ll let Nic explain it, but basically, it puts into question the quality of this Shocker team over the other 3 teams. The Shockers represent the outlier of the group because of having such a big number of high leveraged seconds while having the lowest SOS of the four schools. So since WSU has the lowest SOS moving forward, they are most-likely to finish undefeated in the regular season, but probably least-likely to win 6 games in March Madness.


    This made for a good read and had plenty of solid statistical data, but it doesn’t (and can’t) take into consideration each teams’ own personality. I’ve caught most of WSU’s games this year, and the Shocks often like to play a soft first half, often falling behind. The seem to feed off of that in order to play a motivated second half. They seem to have the confidence to still swagger going into halftime behind.

    So while I enjoy reading this “over-stat” story I still remain skeptical for giving too much credence to its use as a predictability tool.

  • lulufulu85 mentioned “Jay Wright’s diss of RussRob and Chalmers” --> I dont recall what happened…Can someone tell me what Jay Wright said? (thanks)

    Regarding the Elite8…my brain is still trying to figure where THIS Jayhawk team may peak or plateau. The 5 straight quality W’s is nice, but is it a nice little lucky streak, or is it really who we are (showing that we have turned a corner)? FL, MichSt, Syracuse, AZ, SDSU, WSU???

  • @ralster he coached the under 19? National team and chose Scottie Reynolds over Mario when Mario clearly out performed him in tryouts

  • @ralster


    So when it came to the Villanova game, Coach Self called Sherron and me into his office and said, “How do you feel about this Villanova game?” I said, “Coach, this is personal to me. I don’t like Jay Wright.” He was like, “I understand that, but keep it out of the media.” So when the media asked if it was a personal game, we’d say, “No, it’s not personal. It’s just another game.” But during the game we were talking all kinds of s–t to Jay Wright. We’d run by him and tell him, “Sit your ass down! We got this!” Another time we said to him, “This is what you get for cutting us. We’re about to dog you!” Anytime we were throwing the ball in from the sideline, when he was standing up trying to call a play, we’d tell him to shut his mouth and sit down. There was one play where I threw a lob to Shady on an inbounds pass and he dunked over Scottie Reynolds. Right before I threw it I looked at Jay Wright and said, “Watch this!” That game was definitely personal for Sherron and me.

  • @drgnslayr Thanks Drgn

  • @Hawk8086 Bummer! I didn’t know Dawson was out too. That changes things a bit doesn’t it? Picking Mizzou…HAHA! Good one Hawk.

  • @approxinfinity The teams are better than most. Izzo seems to always have his teams ready in time for the tourney. Syracuse will likely be ready, as Boehiem is an experienced tourney coach. I’m not too sure about Florida. They beat us early, but not a guarantee they will be ready. I’d think Donovan will have them ready based on experience. He has the tools. I doubt Michigan is going to make much noise without McGary? Lastly, I think zona is set up for a major disappointment. I’ve reviewed their wins/loses and their schedule. I don’ t see how they rank too high in any matrix. They’ve played NO ONE. They will play some stiff comp in the second and third rounds to be bounced. It can happen to any team. But I’d like to go into the tourney with 3-4 loses and be tested, than go in with an undefeated record. Zona’s numbers have been padded for the most part and are at risk of falling early. I say this because KU has done this before too, so I’m speaking from a fan’s experience.

  • @approxinfinity-“beyond the Phog” is an absolute must read for KU hoops junkies. One of my sons gave it to me for Christmas when it first came out, but now you can get it from amazon.com very reasonable. When I read the chapter about Mario my sides hurt from laughing so hard. Another very informative one is “Bill Self-Beyond the Phog.”

  • Arizona = best team on paper, although not being tested much in PAC12 may hurt their tournament toughness. (Side note: I would love to have Embiid give Tarczewski an up close look at what could have been in the championship game.)

    San Diego St = Their only loss is to Arizona. I don’t think their win at the Phog was a fluke. Sure we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn that game, but a lot of that was their excellent defense. I think they have the tools to make an elite 8 run.

    OK St = I hesitated to include them, but I think the Big 12 is too strong not to put 2 teams in the final 8. Ultimately I think they will be the second best tourney team in the Big 12.

    Mich St = even with injuries, don’t bet against Izzo to advance in the tourney

    Florida = another team battling injury (and eligibility) issues. They are deep and talented and seem to be clearly one of the best 8 teams in the country.

    Kentucky = They could flame out first round, but they have the talent to make a run as well. I think they make it to the elite 8 and lose.

    Memphis = my “darkhorse”, although it’s not that big of a stretch. They have a lot of talent, size, and athleticism and a few veteran leaders. But then again, they have Pastner. A nice guy but someone who seems in over his head in the big games.

    KU = if they continue on their current trajectory, would be the best team heading into the tourney. Tested by a rigorous schedule, they could easily cut down the nets in New Orleans. I worry, however, about their youth and turnover problems showing on any given night and an early exit against a pressing team (VCU?) is a real possibility.

    My omissions:

    Wisconsin = come on, they’re Wisconsin. They always under perform in the tourney.

    Louisville = too many injuries/suspensions, but they will be a dangerous out and wouldn’t want to see them on our side of the bracket as a 3 or 4 seed.

    Syracuse = They’re not battle-tested and I’m not a believer.

    Wichita St = not enough solid competition through the year to really be a tourney-tough team. I mean they’re barely squeeking by some of these MVC teams.

    Villanova = would have included them until that beatdown by Creighton. Granted it was an epic shooting display, but still it was a 30 point loss at home. Elite Eight teams don’t do that

  • @JayDocMD -

    I think you give a rational view of how things could happen in March.

    My one challenge concerns leaving out the Shockers. Their schedule could be stronger… but if you go off of what they did last year, they were probably the most consistent playing team in the tourney. The Shockers always came ready to play. Many people don’t like Marshall, but he does seem to know how to get his guys ready to play. For that reason alone, I think I’d consider them as a probably Elite 8 team.

    They are a better team this year than last year, and they will be seeded higher, so their path to the top should be easier.

    I know they are unpopular with many of our fans, but I certainly wouldn’t discount what they are capable of. That would be a big mistake… especially if our team gets stuck playing them and we don’t take them serious. Last year was not a fluke. They executed at a high level and clearly dominated most of their opponents and they did it with a similar SOS.

    The Mo Valley has always been underrated. Creighton is suddenly the favorite to win the Big East this year in their first baptismal year in that league. Pretty amazing if they do win it.

  • @drgnslayr I agree with everything you said. I certainly wouldn’t want to see them on our side of the bracket - they will be a tough out. That said, if you take the rest of the AP top 10 and have them play WSU on a neutral floor right now, is WSU a favorite for any of those games? Maybe. I wouldn’t pick them. Granted, that may be my heart speaking more than my head. I’ve had enough of their whiny coach and fans.

  • OK I just noticed Iowa was in the AP top 10. So I’d have to pick WSU over Iowa - but OkSt is 11th and I would pick them over WSU.

  • @JayDocMD -

    “That said, if you take the rest of the AP top 10 and have them play WSU on a neutral floor right now, is WSU a favorite for any of those games? Maybe. I wouldn’t pick them.”

    I’m not sure Kenpom would pick them either.

    I just think they are perhaps the trickiest out. They seem to thrive on being underdogs, and want people to under-rate them to stay motivated.

    Let’s just rate them #1 and see how that goes! I’m curious how they will do when being heavily favored in March. Maybe they will be an early out because of being favored…

    I think the way they deal with that is to come out and play a flat first half. Then, even if they were heavily favored the game is suddenly tilted against them and they become motivated.

    Their game about a week ago when they were down by something like 17 in the second half and came back and won (on the road)… impressive by any standards and showed just how dangerous they are.

    If we do play them we have to go for the jugular. Keep our foot on their throats until the final horn. Consider them like the vampires in “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

  • @drgnslayr

    KenPom has WSU as #6; Jeff Sagarin, on the other hand has them as #14.

    WSU is a solid, experienced team and they are now the top ranked team in the State…at least for the time being. As far as being unpopular with KU fans, I don’t necessarily agree with that. I believe that most KU fans dislike Marshall (and his mouth) but not necessarily the team. A couple of the players that attended the KU-Baylor game were interviewed and they seemed to be really nice, clean cut kids, the kind you would expect from the Heart of America…

    Again, as KU fans we don’t like anyone else in the state wanting to take the place we feel we are entitled to and WSU has been rocking that boat for the last couple of years. Don’t forget that last year they made it to the Final Four where KU (or KSU) did not. Marshall’s message might not play well in Kansas with its heavy KU-KSU fan base, but it does resonate in other places. I hear from friends in other parts of the country, particularly from the basketball savvy East Coast, and they always ask why is it that KU (or KSU) will not play WSU? I understand that for KU to play WSU, the upside is very small and the potential downside is large, where the opposite is true for WSU. If WSU maintains their current success for another year or two, I just don’t see how KU (or KSU) can avoid playing them.ô

  • My E8

    1. Arizona - They will likely be the #1 or #2 overall seed. That means they probably won’t be challenged prior to the Sweet 16, maybe not even then depending on upsets.

    2. Syracuse - A very good team with lots of talent. They defend very well, they are deep and not many teams attack their zone well. I’d be shocked if they aren’t at least into the Sweet 16.

    3. San Diego State - they do everything you expect of a team that gets deep into the tourney - defend, play hard, rebound - all of the things you can do well every single night. They are battle tested, too.

    4. Kansas - starting to come together at the right time. I could see them as either the lowest 1 or the highest 2 seed.

    5. Iowa - There always seems to be a team that makes a push. I don’t think Iowa is the best Big 10 team, but I think they will be the one that emerges.

    6. Florida - If Chris Walker becomes eligible any time before the tournament, look out. That could be what pushes Florida from the Elite 8 (where they have lost 3 years in a row) to the Final Four.

    7. Kentucky - Having that much talent around makes them scary. I look at their losses and don’t see a real stinker on the slate. They have one of the toughest players to stop in the country, so undersized, undertalented teams won’t be able to knock them out early.

    8. Wichita State - with the caveat that this only applies if they get a top 3 seed. If they end up lower, they will take too many shots to get through to the Elite 8.

  • @JayHawkFanToo -

    Good post!

    Personally, I don’t have anything against the Shocks. I’ve been watching them the last two years and am glad to have another quality program in Kansas. They play a different brand of ball (vs Kansas) and I appreciate the differences.

    My comment on Kenpom wasn’t about their ranking… but their article questioning WSU in March:


    Until the brackets come out, I’m not going to guess my Elite 8, but I’ll have a hard time guessing them out before the E8.

  • So much depends on the seeding and match ups… but screw it, Let’s Play.

    Of course, I expect (1) KU to be there.

    I like to see the other Kansas schools doing well, so I’ll pencil in the (2) Shockers, even though I have a suspicion they will fall short.

    Getting away from sentimentals-- I think two teams have the potential to surprise: (3)Ohio State and (4)North Carolina. These teams have been inconsistent, but have talent, quality coaches and tradition. Craft is not to be underestimated. I will say that until they are bumped from the tournament, which I do not expect to come easily or early.

    Now here are four teams that are obviously solid and not too controversial to pick: (5) Michigan State, (6) Syracuse, (7) Florida, (8) Arizona.

    Some of these teams won’t have the chance to make it to the elite 8 because they will face off in an earlier round. So, playing probability, I would guess that there’s another Big 12 team and another mid-major.

    OSU? ISU? Texas? Who knows. I’d put more money on ISU.

    As for the mid-major, San Diego State is a popular pick… But it wouldn’t shock me to see McDermott put the team on his back and push for the Regional Final (Davidson 2008 anyone?).

    And what of Kentucky? Could they? Would they? I suppose if you follow the logic that KU will make it, you can’t deny Kentucky’s chances.

    That’s more than 8, but hey, it’s all hypothetical.

  • Y’all make a great read. I need to get busy watching more games outside of the big 12. Still find it strange that the big 12 and big 10 aren’t twelve and ten.

  • @JayDocMD …Watch out what ya wish for: “love to have Embiid give Tarc an up close…” (he might just size him up, and give him a backhand whap, just like he did to that KSU player…). I’d settle for a swat…‘JoJo says no-no!’

  • @drgnslayr Yah, last year Wichita State was an underdog. This year, how will they handle being the “Target”?

  • @bskeet Creighton is in the Big East, not quite what I’d call a Mid-Major anymore!

    @JayDocMD I’ve got to defend my Badgers! Just as we get on the defensive when people say we choke in the tourney a lot, I get defensive by what you wrote. Bo Ryan has lost twice in the first round of the tourney, including last year when they had 10 or 11 regular season losses. He has made the sweet 16 half of his seasons in Madison. At that point he has lost, games which usually match how they’re seeded, so not upsets. When he has lost in that game to higher seeded teams, it’s been teams like Davidson in '08. Remember how close they came to derailing our NC dreams? Another was Butler which came within a bank shot of winning the NC.

    The year that hurts the most for Badgers team was 07 when they were top ranked at one point in February. Their center, a guy named Brian Butch, got hurt against OSU and didn’t play again. Without their starting center they lost in the 2nd round to UNLV.

    So it’s not as it seems with the Badgers whom I was high as a kite on before their 3 game skid which hopefully doesn’t turn to 4 games today against Purdue.

    As for the rest of these, good analysis!

    @Lulufulu85, Dawson broke his hand during a film session! He slammed the table in disgust in something he saw.

  • @JayDocMD - You sent me scurrying to the NCAA website to see if there was something I missed. Being just 55 miles north of Nawlins I was surprised by your post that KU “could easily cut down the nets in New Orleans.” I thought shirley if the FF was in New Orleans again already I would’ve heard something about it. But alas, it’s going to be in Jerry Jones monument to himself in Dallas.

    Overall excellent analysis by everyone. But for some reason I do detect some favoritism for the team with the goofy looking bird painted garishly at its center court. lol

  • Smart CBS would have us play thru WSU to get to F Four, and in some ways helps us if they are in the whites. No reason to give them 100% motivation as being dissed, not favored and a lower seed. Then we wear lower ranked colors, very rare air that we could play WSU as underdog. I am hoping we give them the only loss of the year. PS Anyone know how to start a new topic, did you folks see the ESPN this a.m. and the huddle shot of one of our own smacking Wiggins in the nose in a huddle, just before the flipping dogs in AFH at halftime showed 20 seconds of that stuff, did not say who it was, maybe Greene or Selden, anyone know or see it.

  • Zona - battle tested team. Great athletes all over the floor. Veterans.

    MSU - this is the team to beat in my opinion. They will be healthy by the time March is upon us. They have veterans and they have guys who can score and they have Izzo. Not one group of seniors has ever played for him and not gone to a Final Four.

    Okie St - I hate this pick but I do feel they have all the pieces to make a run. No need to say what they are as we know.

    KU - We may have the most pure talent in the country.

    Cuse - Their zone is as tough as ever and Ennis and Fair are dynamic.

    Kentucky - I don’t think Cal can coach but I think that Julius is one of the toughest guys to guard in basketball and that they have too many guys who can score.

    Florida - we all saw first hand what they can do. Veterans (this is a trend in my picks) who know how to win. They seem to go to the Elite 8 every year!

    Duke - I hate making this pick as well. Jabari and Hood are a great tandem and you can’t count out a Coach K team.

  • @lighthawk You are right and I have been thinking that that could very likely happen. The tournament is all about TV and they love to set up those kind of matchups.

  • @approxinfinity Nice subject. I will give you my Elite 8 as of this minute:

    1. AZ - Stubby Miller has them playing good, although they haven’t been challenged yet by a team that matches up with them.

    2. KU - We’ve only just begun. The focus on the turnovers led to more manageable numbers. We’re refining our product.

    3. Florida - They defend. They have size. I think we’ll see them in the Final Four.

    4. Syracuse -They might have one of the most annoying fanbases ever. Like AZ, they haven’t played a team with a large front line, and won’t until the tournament. Except Baylor. 1-5 Big 12 Baylor. And they struggled with Baylor’s size, finally winning by 7.

    5. Michigan St - It depends on their health. Payne has missed numerous games this year. W/O Payne, their offense sticks. I know, you saw Harris go wild against Michigan. Michigan doesn’t defend.

    6. Kensucky Mildcats - I’m hoping they get stuck in the AZ, or the Syracuse bracket. They are a huge team, with some talented one on one players.

    7. Wisky - I think Bo Ryan will get his team serious about their defense. They are already a better offensive team than in year’s past.

    8. SDSU- I think their overall record gets them a nice draw in the tourney. I don’t think they have the offensive firepower to advance further than this, but the Elite 8 is pretty good for the likes of SDSU, right?

  • @brooksmd sorry. Brain freeze. Of course it’s Dallas.

  • @wissoxfan83 didn’t mean to step on toes. Just couldn’t remember the last time the Badgers went beyond a sweet 16 and recent memory for me was of an underachieving program in the big dance.

  • @JayDocMD Not stepping on toes. Just proud of the Badgers, making sure people understand who they are! By the way, they made the elite 8 in 05 when Roy won his ring. We played UNC in that game and lost by four or five, although I think a three ball from half court made it four or five instead of seven or eight. But we were in that game the entire way.

  • Anybody have a Cinderella team? Not in the top 25.

  • @lighthawk

    “Smart CBS would have us play thru WSU to get to F Four,…”

    Gosh… imagine if both KU and WSU win out from here… and one team is a 1-seed the other a 2-seed and in the same bracket. In this case I think I’d prefer to be the 2-seed and carry a chip.

    Funny… but I have a feeling we could even lose one more time to a ranked opponent by a close margin and still squeeze out a 1-seed!

  • @bskeet

    I just can’t agree on Ohio State or North Carolina.

    All of Ohio State’s wins and one loss were against teams outside the top 50; The do not have a single signature win against a top 50 team as per Sagarin and Ken Pom. I believe their record was good at one point because they had such weak schedule, and now that they are playing stronger conference teams, they are losing regularly,

    North Carolina is the most dysfunctional/bi-polar team I have seen in a long time. They can beat MSU, Kentucky and Louisville and then lose at home to a no-name team. They are currently 10th in the 15 team ACC that is projected to send 5 teams to the dance. If the tournament were to start now, they would not even make it. If by a miracle they do, I hope they play in KU’s brackets as Coach Self has Coach Williams number.

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