FREAKISHLY way WAY too early Bracketology from ESPN

Submitted by James Burrill Angell on November 6th, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Joe Lunardi at ESPN has us a 3 seed in the tourney playing in the East Regional with an opening round game in Auburn Hills (one can wish)l

The one seeds are Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Louisville and our first round matchup is Robert Morris with likely second round game against 6th seeded Texas.

Like I said, we can dream.



November 6th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

he had an even earlier one.

i think a 3 seed is pretty realistic, frankly.  i don't think we're a top 5 team, but we're a very good team.  as long as we have no huge injuries, we're top 10ish.


November 7th, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

I can see arguments for indiana over michigan, but I don't understand the osu vs. michigan arguments that conclude osu is better unquestionably. Your being foolish if you have that much more faith in osu's team than ours, based on returning players and their usage and roles in addition to incoming players. We are trying to replace production of 2 relatively low usage players (with highly touted freshman) while osu is trying to replace usage of 2 multi-year starter/high usage players with talented but similarily unproven players. You can't be only skeptical of michigan while ignoring similar issues that osu faces.

Mmmm Hmmm

November 6th, 2012 at 4:15 PM ^

In other news, ESPN is going to release their post-2013 season bowl projections and the projected composition of the 2016 Summer Olympic team.  Ya know, just for informational purposes.


November 6th, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

Wow, OSU as a 1 seed and both Michigan and MSU as 3 seeds? While OSU could end up being good if things fall just right for them, I don't see why they're ranked that high given what we know right now.


November 6th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

A 3 seed?  And based on where he's put us (with Kentucky) I'm guessing he has us slotted as either #11 or #12 behind Florida, Kansas, Syracuse and Duke (all 2s).

Sorry Lunardi......we'll be a 2 for sure and maybe....just maybe...a 1.  But no way will we drop to a 3.


November 6th, 2012 at 4:39 PM ^

I agree with you but could see an argument to be made.

So far the team has impressed but both performances have been exhibition games against overmatched teams.

Let's see how we perform in the neutral site games and the home game against NCSU. We should learn a lot over the next month or so.


November 6th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

Ok, so who have osu, Indiana, Msu, etc beaten so far. All we have to go off so far are those games and projections based on how we think returning players will gel with the incoming players. I don't see why people only seem to be skeptical of Michigan. All of the criticisms are non-unique at this point in the year.


November 6th, 2012 at 8:15 PM ^

I'm not "down on Michigan being a top five team;" I'd just like to see them earn it first.  The freshmen look great against overmatched, lower division teams, but the Big Ten is a bit tougher than the GLIAC.  

Personally, I think Michigan will lose too many early Big Ten games to be in the top five for their season record, but they might be good enough for the Final Four by the end of the season.  


November 6th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

Having OSU as a #1 seed seems a bit high, given that they are banking on a bunch of guys without the Sullinger blanket to cover up.  But the Big Ten looks to be one of the top 2-3 conferences in the nation, especially at the top. 


November 6th, 2012 at 6:26 PM ^

OSU fan here.  What you're missing here is that we have guys like LaQuinton Ross and Amir Williams who were certifiable studs coming in as true freshment a year ago but got little to no playing time last year because Buford and Sullinger played their respective positions. 

Guys who get paid to analyze these teams realize this and so they're projecting that these stud players will not be busts and while they will not replace the production of Sullinger/Buford, they will not be a dramatic dropoff.  Now, is it possible that Ross and Williams turn out to be mediocre?  Sure.  Just as possible as any blue chip recruit whether it be those that go to Michigan or even Kentucky. 

You could make the argument, however, that the fact they had some PT last year and had at least one year in the system makes them more likely to succeed than the true freshmen Michigan brought in and are going to rely upon greatly this year.

As far as our veterans, we have the almost unanimous top-ranked player in the Big 10 next to Zeller (Thomas) and an elite PG in Craft.  Lenzelle Smith who started almost all of our games last year is also returning. 

Probably the biggest change this year is that we have actual depth in our rotation.  Last year we were 7-8 deep, this year we will be 9-10 deep. 

On paper, OSU and Michigan are very similar.  I think the reason most pundits (not everyone) are giving OSU the edge as of right now is that the combo of Thomas/Craft is objectively better than a combo of Burke/Hardaway. 

Should be a fun season, however.  We'll see how it plays out. 


November 6th, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

I get what you're saying, but from my standpoint, if Williams and Ross were guys only a year away from being that good they would have gotten a lot more PT.  I know they were behind good players, but Sullinger and Buford almost never came off the floor last year.  You just don't often see guys who ride pine and then become big time players the next year.


November 6th, 2012 at 6:51 PM ^

Thank you very much for this post, it was very insightful. 

My one counterpoint/question is to your duel argument of your sophomore studs stepping and having an improved depth this year is this:

If your sophomores are such studs (although I agree a year in a system can do wonders), why didn't they warrent playing time last year when they were freshman and you guys were lacking depth? Where is the added 1-3 guys in depth coming from this year when your only recruit was a 3-star PG in A**** D***** (blanking on his name, but the Italian kid from AZ), considering you lost, arguably, your two best players? That means this year, you are going to have 3-5 players step up that didn't play last year. 

Who are these players and why do you think they didn't push for PT last year? 

With that being said, I do agree that Williams and Smith, and then to a lesser extent Ross, will step this year. While that will get OSU to a top 10ish team, I am not convinced on their top 5/1-seed ability. 

Young John Beilein

November 6th, 2012 at 7:41 PM ^

They were 7-8 deep last year because there were two players who were clearly better than their replacement players.  This year you have guys that are marginally better coming in to replace them.  I am far from sold on Amir Williams unless he has improved dramatically.  He may be a capable shot blocker, but other than that: meh.  Craft is not an elite PG. He is an elite defender at the college level, and a capable ball handler.  He did shut Burke down once last year, but I think Trey is going to be a lot harder to stop this year, especially since he doesn't have to do everything by himself.  I guess we'll see.  I just don't see OSU being better than Michigan now that we have the athleticism to actually grab rebounds when we need them.


November 7th, 2012 at 9:53 AM ^

I mean, I realize that this is a Michigan forum, but not sure how anyone, even Michigan fans, can think that Craft is not an elite college basketball player. He is an old school point guard that makes our offense hum, he's second to none in leadership, hustle, and intangibles, and he is the best perimeter defender in the NCAA.

Don't just take my word for it. He ranks as an elite player in all CBB sites that rank college players. Here's the most recent ranking from ESPN of the top CBB players. Craft comes in at 15. One spot ahead of Burke. Should be fun to see those two match up again this season!…


November 6th, 2012 at 4:39 PM ^

I think if you asked most OSU fans they would agree with you.  They are counting on LaQuinton Ross and Amir Williams becoming dominant players (to replace Buford and Sullinger), and neither of them are close to that level.  I think OSU is more along the lines of a top 20 team.  On the other side of things, I believe MSU is underrated.  Gary Harris is a stud, but still not quite as good as GRIII.


November 6th, 2012 at 6:33 PM ^

Depends on which stop we're talking about. In his career at Marquette (Conference USA basketball at the time he was there, but now in the Big East, I believe), he was 90-56 in the conference, but at Indiana, he is 19-53 overall to date. Indiana's in-conference record improved quite a bit last year, of course, but this season is young yet obviously. Indiana only broke .500 in the conference last year with about seven games to go, so they definitely can't be accused of getting off to a quick start in the Big Ten. 

Darth Wolverine

November 6th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

Look, I know they're going to be a good team, but I don't think they will be as great as they have been in recent years. I'm just not buying their hype.

I do think that Michigan will be a great team and will either win the Big Ten or come in second place.


November 6th, 2012 at 7:14 PM ^

that in 2009, Louisville, UConn and Pitt were all one seeds despite playing in a ridiculously stacked Big East, while Syracuse and Villanova were also three seeds in that tournament. Their records looked like this (a lot of the losses were to each other):

#1 Louisville: 31-6 (16-2)
#4 Pitt: 31-5 (15-3)
#5 UConn: 31-5 (15-3)

#11 Villanova 30-8 (13-5)
#13 Syracuse 28-10 (11-7)


November 6th, 2012 at 7:06 PM ^

Hey there,,  question for all.  I was interested in buying a couple NCAA tourney tickets (auburn hills) for my father and I for a Christmas gift.  Can anyone tell me how the ticketing thing works as it relates to the sessions?  Do I buy a ticket for the day and hang out all day?  Do i have to buy tickets for each game that day?  I think it'd be cool for us to hang out all day and just watch game after game if that's possible.  I think they sell them in sessions, but I couldn't find that anywhere.

Extra cool bonus if Michigan was there, but Dad and I have always wanted to attend.  I guess it's a bucket list kinda thing.

Thanks for any info.


November 6th, 2012 at 7:26 PM ^

The way I'm reading that is that there are 2 sessions on the 21st.  Session One starts at noon and session two starts at 6pm.  Wouldn't there be 2 games in session one and 2 games in session 2 on the 21st?

Then session 3 starts at 6pm on the 23rd.  Wouldn't there be 2 games in this session also?

So if i bought all 3 sessions I could see 6 games?  1 game per session just doesn't seem right, but maybe I'm incorrect.


November 6th, 2012 at 9:36 PM ^

This is ridiculous. I can see bracketing the next four or five games, but come on man. For the record, I think our ranking is pretty close to legit. I just can't understand why they release these, other than they feel the need to constantly pump out SOMETHING, ANYTHING...