Did you turn your clock forward?
Before conference tournament play began these were your top 12:
1 Kentucky (31) 30-1 775
2 Syracuse 30-1 744
3 Kansas 26-5 703
4 North Carolina 27-4 690
5 Missouri 27-4 620
6 Duke 26-5 604
7 Ohio State 25-6 568
8 Michigan State 24-7 540
9 Marquette 25-6 537
10 Murray State 30-1 526
11 Baylor 25-6 422
12 Wisconsin 23-8 417
So far, KY, agreed to be the best team in the nation, barely squeaked out a win in the SEC semifinal, Syracuse, Kansas, Duke and Marquette did not make it to their conference finals, and MO and Baylor exceeded expectations. The remaining teams have performed as expected – the Big 10 final result will not be an upset; however, if UNC loses in the ACC final, or if KY loses in the SEC final, that will be a surprise. There is no qualitative difference worth mentioning between being a one seed or a two seed in the NCAA Tournament – if form follows, you get easy sledding for the first two games. Everybody then is on even ground in the Sweet 16, because we have just seen that top 16 teams can all beat each other on a given night.
Match-ups matter. Baylor is big and fast, but has defensive lapses that a team consistent in spreading the court with good three point shooters and good passing to take advantage of spacing will exploit. Baylor cannot beat a Missouri or a Duke. Syracuse can beat anyone if they are shooting well. But they have the most trouble with a Missouri or a Duke, too, because they play zone. KY, UNC, and Kansas all play like NBA teams, although not quite as talented. Ohio St. is almost in that crowd with KY, UNC, and Kansas. Michigan State is a testament to the best coach in America, Izzo, who has good but not great talent and makes them tournament tough by the end of the year.
On another note, about human capital: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/friedman-pass-the-books-hold-the-oil.html?src=me&ref=general
My sis was graduated from Mich. St., PhD from UNC. Good luck to UNC and Mich. St. today!
Addendum: KY and UNC lost their conference finals. UNC benched one of its stars as a health precaution. Both teams are probably still “ones”. The Big Ten gives us its two premiere teams in the conference final, next.