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Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 NCAA Predictions revisited

Before conference play began I took a gander (here and here) at who I thought would win each conference regular season and other teams I thought had a shot for the NCAA tournament.  This is where I look back and see how smart (or dumb) I was.

Conference Champ: North Carolina (defeated Duke on the last day to win the title)
Predicted Champ: Duke (conference tournament champ)
NCAA Teams: 4
Biggest miss: Maryland. Maryland played well according to their rate stats but it didn't show up in the win column as they only went 7-9 in conference play.

Atlantic 10
Conference Champ: Xavier
Predicted Champ: Richmond (although they did win the conference tournament)
NCAA Teams: 3
Biggest miss: St. Louis. Last season St. Louis rallied late and made a push for the NCAAs. I thought Rick Majerus could make the jump with those late season improvements. I was wrong.

Conference Champ: Kansas
Predicted Champ: Kansas
NCAA Teams: 5
Biggest miss: Either Nebraska or Iowa St.  I thought Nebraska would be awful yet they beat Kansas and made some bubble noise. I thought ISU would be decent but they were just awful.

Big East
Conference Champ: Pittsburgh
Predicted Champ: Pittsburgh
NCAA Teams: 11
Biggest miss: St. John's.  I thought they could squeak in the tournament if everything went right for them. Instead they kicked some serious butt at home and earned a 6 seed. Well done.

Conference Champ: Ohio St.
Predicted Champ: Michigan St.
NCAA Teams: 7
Biggest miss: Michigan St. is obvious. I also missed on IU. Didn't everyone think they would at least be competitive? They weren't even mediocre. Tom Crean's seat is getting warm.

Colonial Athletic Assocation
Conference Champ: George Mason
Predicted Champ: Old Dominion (minor redemption since they won the conference tournament)
NCAA Teams: 3
Biggest miss: Hofstra. I completely ignored them which proved to be a mistake since they went 14-4 in conference play. A lack of quality wins doomed them.

Conference USA
Conference Champ: UAB
Predicted Champ: Memphis (conference tournament champ)
NCAA Teams: 2
Biggest miss: Conference USA was not good this season. That's it. I even predicted correctly that there would be multiple bids for the NCAA Tournament.

Conference Champ: Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Butler
Predicted Champ:  Valparaiso
NCAA Teams: 1
Biggest miss: Not Valpo.  They had a share of the conference lead before losing three of their last five. I'd say really whiffed on UWM.  They did nothing in pre-conference to make me think they would do anything. Instead they beat Butler twice and earned the #1 seed in the Horizon tournament.

Missouri ValleyConference Champ: Missouri St.
Predicted Champ: Wichita St.
NCAA Teams: 1
Biggest miss: Illinois St. was one of the conference's top surprises in 2010. They were again in 2011 going 4-14 in conference play. I expected much, much more.

Mountain West
Conference Champ: San Diego St. & BYU
Predicted Champ: San Diego St.
NCAA Teams: 3
Biggest miss: New Mexico. Other than two wins against BYU the Lobos didn't do much. On the other side of the coin, Colorado St. exceed expectations.

Pac 10
Conference Champ: Arizona
Predicted Champ: Washington (conference tournament champ. Maybe I should have predicted those instead)
NCAA Teams: 4
Biggest miss: USC. For some stupid reason I was under the impression they were ineligible for post-season play. Wrong! USC squeaked in the tournament and lost the play-in game to VCU.  I also over estimated Washington St.

Conference Champ: Florida
Predicted Champ: Kentucky (won conference tournament)
NCAA Teams: 5
Biggest miss: Alabama. Yes, I put them in the "need a few breaks category" but I really didn't believe it. I just didn't want to group them with Auburn and South Carolina whom I knew were awful. Alabama won the SEC West with a 12-4 record. That accomplishment probably should have given them some extra NCAA consideration.

West Coast Conference
Conference Champ: Gonzaga & St. Mary's
Predicted Champ: St. Mary's
NCAA Teams: 1
Biggest miss: Gonzaga. I didn't think there was much here and the beginning of conference play proved me right. Then something happened in the middle of the season and the Zags rebounded and won the conference and conference tournament. They just upset St. John's in the NCAA's too.

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