Seed outlook: Gonzaga is the best club in the West by a substantial margin, but the Zags, despite reaching have performed well beneath the lights of this tournament. However, Gonzaga has a 70 percent probability of reaching the Elite Eight, based on our model, as well as the third-best odds of any team to reach the national championship match (26 percent).
If Gonzaga face Syracuse in the next round, the Bulldogs trouble could be given by the zone defense of the Orange. This is the very best offense Mark Few has experienced Spokane, but it may be analyzed by any of the terrific defenses in the West: Four of the top 15 can be seen in this area, including the best two at Texas Tech and Michigan.
Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 4 Florida State. A fixture in the KenPom Top 20 for most of the season, the Seminoles are hoping to build on last year’s championship run, which saw them come inside a 4-point margin of creating the Final Four. FSU has a dominant defense (No. 9 in Pomeroy’s evaluations ) and a balanced roster that saw four players collect at least 2.5 win stocks. This draw isn’t horrible, either: Vermont is not especially tough as a first-round foe, and Marquette is quite beatable (more on this below). No. 1 seeded Gonzaga probably looms then, and also we give FSU a 24 percent chance against the Zags — but the Seminoles could have a 48 percent chance of creating the Final Four when they had been to pull off the upset.
Don’t bet on: No. 5 Marquette. Teams seeded fifth aren’t generally good bets to make it past the Sweet 16 anyhow, but Marquette could be a particularly bad choice. According to the FiveThirtyEight energy ratings, the Golden Eagles are undoubtedly the worst No. 5 seed in the field, and also a first-round date using breakout mid-major superstar Ja Morant did not do any favors. Marquette has a star power of its own in junior guard Markus Howard, who ranks sixth in the country with an average of 25 points per game, but this team dropped five of its last six matches and has a tough tournament road before it.
Cinderella watch: No. 10 Florida. The Gators may have been among the last bubble teams to creep in the area of 68, but they are poised to do some damage now they are here. They drew Nevada, a so-so No. 7 seed, at the very first round, and also we provide Florida a 42 percent chance of pulling the upset there. Last year’s national runner-up, Michigan, likely waits in Round two, and that’s a tough matchup (23 percentage likelihood for Florida) — however when the Gators win, then they’ve a 38 percent likelihood of earning the Elite Eight. In a region with a number of options that are good-but-flawed, Florida looks better than the.
Player to watch: Gonzaga, Brandon Clarke The linchpin of the Zags isn’t the consensus lottery pick, nor the two veteran guards that have together started 87 percent of Gonzaga’s games over the previous two seasons. It’s Brandon Clarke, a move from San Jose State who is in his first busy season with the group. He’s perhaps the most underappreciated player in the nation.
On a group that comes with a it’s Clarke, at 6-foot-8, who is tasked with protecting the paint this season. Clarke has reacted by setting a single-season blocks record and posting the maximum block rate of any team under Couple.
«If I feel like if I can get a good, fast jump first, I will pretty much jump with anyone,» Clarke told me. «I mean, I’ve seen Zion (Williamson) coming down through the street before on TV, and if I can not jump at the ideal time, I probably wouldn’t jump , but… I don’t really see myself not jumping with anybody.»
Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Baylor over No. 8 Syracuse (48 percent); No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Nevada (42 percent); No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette (32 percent)
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