I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Brad Evans of Yahoo sports calling Michigan one of 6 “bracket lames”. States their defense will give them an early departure from the tourney. Other lames they mention: Gonzaga, New Mexico, Marquette, Florida, and Arizona.
Overall, not too kind, including such gems as "Blinding opponents with its retina-damaging florescent yellow uniforms hasn't even helped." Last line of article sums up their whole take; “Michigan is currently in the midst of a rebirth under John Beilein, but unless it maximizes defensively, its Final Four drought will surely continue.”
Congrats to Trey Burke on being named to the first team of the US Basketball Writers Association All-America team. He's the first Wolverine on the USBWA first team since Chris Webber in 1993. Jalen Rose, who was placed on the second team in 1994, is the last Michigan player to earn USBWA All-American honors. Burke is the 15th all-time to be named to either the first or second team. See also the mgoblue.com press release.
After already being named to the Sporting News first team, Burke's in great shape to become Michigan's sixth consensus All-American. The NCAA uses the SN, USBWA, NABC, and AP teams to determine the consensus first- and second-teamers.
Michigan's previous consensus All-Americans, first team:
Cazzie Russell 1965
Cazzie Russell 1966
Rickey Green 1977
Gary Grant 1988
Chris Webber 1993
Most people who fill out their brackets from year to year have little quirks (teams they go for/against, seedings they like, etc.). Here are mine:
- I always pick against Michigan. That way I can cheer for my bracket, and the pain of losing is lessened. They lose to VCU this year. Coincidentally, when Michigan is in the tourney I usually have a team from their region win it all. This year it’s Kansas.
- F#ck Georgetown. In 2010, they were a 3 seed that I had going to the final four. They lost in the 1stround to Ohio (Bobcats). I have never picked them to go past the 2ndround since. This year, they lose to SDSU in the 2ndround.
- I always pick exactly one 12 seed to upset a 5 seed. Don’t ask me why. This year it’s Oregon over Oklahoma State.
- I always put Duke in my final four. They won me 250 dollars back in 2010, so I consider them a bit of a good luck charm.
What are your bracket quirks?
Have them losing to Florida in the Elite 8. We know what this team is capable of, but dare we put them too far in our brackets and add insult to injury in the case of a loss?
Any other upsets/cinderellas? I've got KState in the Final Four and Louisville winning it all.
So now that the brackets are out and Michigan has drawn a 4 seed in the South Region, I thought I'd take a look at how 4 seeds have fared in tournaments past, going back to when the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Surprisingly, Googling "Historical Performance of Seeds in NCAA Tournament" yields a plethora of data that just begs to be analyzed statistically and have conclusions drawn over which one can agonize. I wish the news were better.
The News Is Bad? How Bad?
In the 28 years since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, squads seeded fourth have won grand total of 167 games for a per tournament average of 5.96 wins, give or take 2.06 wins. Essentially this falls in line with confirming chalk. If you're a 4 seed, you're a great bet to win your first game, a 50/50ish bet to win your 2nd, and then you're probably ewww. This probably doesn't come as a surprise, since if you're a 4 seed coming out of the first weekend, you're probably facing the 1 seed, and beating a one seed is hard.
So It's Hopeless Then?
Well no, it's not hopeless. Being a 4 seed is definately better than being a 5 or higher; as the numbers show that fortunes for teams not seeded in the Top 16 of the tourney fall precipitiously. For all the romance that media-types assign to "Cinderellas" in the tounament; runs like George Mason or Villanova are very much the exception.
Since 1985, 11 four seeds have advanced to the Final Four in 10 separate NCAA Tournaments (The 1990 Tournament saw 4 seeds Georgia Tech and Arkansas both advance to the Final Four). Of those 11 teams that managed to make it the Final Four, 2 of them advanced to the Finals (Syracuse 1996, Arizona 1997), with only Lute Olsen's 1997 Arizona Wildcats having the stuff to find themselves hoisting the championship trophy.
The only precedent we have to lean on, but there is a precedent
Only One Champion In 28 Seasons? That Sounds Pretty Hopeless.
Well, it does occur to me that this only has any real meaning if there is something to compare it against, say the 1 - 3 seeds. This sounds like a perfect opportunity for a...
|1 Seed||2 Seed||3 Seed||4 Seed|
|Final Four Appearances||46||25||14||11|
|FF Success Rate||41%||22%||13%||10%|
|Champ. Success Rate||61%||14%||14%||4%|
Lest we forget, one of those four 3 seeds is 1989 Michigan, woo!
So yeah, big surprise here. One and two seeds make up 2/3rds of all the teams that have appeared in the Final Four and have won 75% of all the titles since 1985. This can mean one of two things. One, that the Selection Committee is very good at seeding teams based on their relative strength or two, the path of the one and two seeds is conducive for advancing. Personally, I tend to think it's more Door #2 than Door #1. The real takeaway from this with regards to Michigan 2013 is that the distinction between a 3 and 4 seed seems to be pretty small.
[EDIT: I would like to point out the anomaly that while 2 seeds appear in the Final Four about half the rate of 1 seeds and twice the rate of 3 and 4 seeds, they only come away with a quarter of the titles, a disproportionately low number. Y U no pull your weight in the Finals two seeds?]
So What Does This All Mean For Our Guys?
Well, I'd rather see us as a 3 seed personally, and was a bit miffed to find us slide from a predicted 2 seed to a 4 based upon one loss to Wisconsin (F#*k, Wisconsin), but then I think the Selection Committee has undervalued the competitiveness of the B1G in general with the brackets. I am looking forward to seeing Michigan play some non-Big Ten competition. I think we'll be pleasantly surprised at how good we suddenly look again, assuming the guys haven't completely lost their confidence.
Still, Michigan has it's work cut out for it as the four seeds have historically had tough sledding in the NCAA Tournament. I do take some comfort in the words of my old Econ professor who liked to remind his class that, "past performance is no guarantee of future earnings". Here's to a deep, entertaining, and trend-bucking tournament run from the 2013 Wolverines. Go Blue!