NCAA Bracketology

The MSU Spokesman

The NCAA will officially announce the teams selected for the 2013 men’s basketball tournament on March 17th, but that hasn’t stopped analysts, amateur or professional, from making predictions for March madness. With clear frontrunners like Duke, disappointments in Kentucky and surprises in Miami, college basketball fans begin to think about the tournament in late March. Based on current records and advanced statistics like Basketball Power Index (BPI), the teams that compete well against elite talent have been established. Using this knowledge, fans and analysts practice Bracketology-the science of predicting who will go to and eventually win the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.This season the likely one seeds are Indiana, Miami, Duke and Gonzaga. Indiana holds control of their division and are definitely going into the tournament as the one seed. They’ve won both games against their closest trailer, Michigan State, behind outstanding play by guard, Victor Oladipo.  The University of Miami is currently involved in a major NCAA investigation, but that hasn’t stop the university’s usually quiet basketball program from dominating this season, with dynamic frontcourt play and Shane Larkin running things at the point guard position.

Duke, a consistent contender in college basketball, is a mix of experience and youth, with returning center, Mason Plumlee dominating inside, freshman, Rasheed Suleimon’s slashing and senior, Seth Curry’s sharpshooting. Gonzaga continues to climb in the rankings, getting wins behind the front-court of Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk-despite consistently being called overrated.

Bracketologists also take interest in teams “on the bubble.” That is either right outside of the tournament or barely in.  Teams like Baylor, who are currently projected to be in the tournament but are not fully in the clear may have talent, but not enough to compete at the top of their division. Baylor plays in the Big 12, a division with dominant teams like Kansas and Oklahoma St. The Temple University Owls are another team currently on the bubble, with a solid record of 19-8, but only one win against a team ranked higher than ten.

A projected frontrunner before the start of the season, Kentucky disappointed out of the gate and suffered an injury to star freshman Nerlens Noel. With increased contributions from other players, maybe coach John Calipari can turn the season around for a late push to make the tournament. Teams hoping to make the tournament on the outside of the bubble have little time to make changes and look to conference championships to get an automatic bid.