2018 Power Ratings By Region: Midwest

I’m gonna do this blog because I love doing this blog and giving my opinion on every team, but if you’d like picks, upset potential, fade material, please visit http://spreadinvestor.com/march-madness-sheet/

It’s $9.99. That’s like two beers at the bar, one if you’re on the coast. The picks are included there, but trust me, the spreadsheet/NFW list/historical trends is where the value is really at. I’m never going tout – although the @mlparlays Venmo is open – but this is a once a year thing that myself, @Return_of_RB, @THold42, and @spreadinvestor have put a lot of time into. For the OGs, you’ve gotten free material for three years now. This is a small ask. As always, thanks for reading.

Midwest

17. Iona (15 seed / -30.27)

It’s tough to count out Iona because they’ve been in the tournament before and Tim Cluess is great, but Duke is a tall task.

16. Charleston (13 seed / -13.70)

The Cougars are an experienced, tough bunch and they’ll be a tough matchup for an Auburn team that seems to fading to the finish.

15. Penn (16 seed / -8.36)

Penn’s probably underseeded, but it’s not some great injustice. It’s kind of what you deserve if you’re only going to play one high-major team a year. I think their chances of pulling the first 16 over 1 upset ever have been greatly exaggerated. You’ve gotta score if you’re gonna beat Kansas.

14. Bucknell (14 seed / 8.21)

Tough draw for Bucknell, but they’re an experienced team that was in the tournament – and played well – just a year ago. Don’t think they’ll be phased by the moment, but not sure they have the horses to stop MSU.

13. Rhode Island (7 seed / 28.02)

Last year, Rhody was an 11 seed and I didn’t consider picking against them for a second. This year they’re a 7 and they’re playing Twitter’s favorite punching bag and I’m real hesitant to take the Rams. Weird things happen in this sport all the time, but a senior-laden group getting beat by 30 (they were favored by 14) on senior night is a major red flag.

12. NC State (9 seed / 29.03)

Kevin Keatts did a great job with this group and they had some big wins, but with that defense I think it’s tough to believe they can win more than a game. Especially if that second game is against Kansas in the state of Kansas.

11. Arizona State (11 seed / 32.60)

I despise their existence in this tournament and I hope they’re losing as you read this. All due respect.

10. Syracuse (11 seed / 38.06)

Ditto. On a related note, Middle Tennessee destroyed a very good Vermont team last night.

9. New Mexico State (12 seed / 41.15)

A lot of upset buzz around the Aggies this year. They’ve got some high-level athletes, tournament experience, and they face a Clemson team that seems pretty vulnerable. I think the problem for NMSU is that they’re not a team that makes a bunch of jumpers. They pretty much have to rebound well to win and that gets a lot more difficult when you no longer have that athletic advantage over the competition.

8. TCU (6 seed / 44.14)

They can win a game, but their chances of winning two went out the window when Jaylen Fisher got hurt two months ago.

7. Oklahoma (10 seed / 46.27)

Has to be the most publicized 10 seed of all-time.

6. Auburn (4 seed / 52.50)

I normally would probably dismiss the Tigers, but the other top team in their pod – Clemson – is also scuffling. I do think Sweet 16 is the ceiling, though.

5. Seton Hall (8 seed / 59.00)

Seton Hall is maddening to me. I keep waiting for them to play like a team that has a boatload of experience, but it was a disappointing Big East season. I will say that it might benefit them to get out of their league and play some teams that don’t know them as well. They beat Texas Tech and won at Louisville in non-conference.

4. Clemson (5 seed / 76.24)

They maintained for a while without Donte Grantham, but they appear to be running on fumes at this point. But the Sweet 16 is still possible for this team and that would still be a great year for the program.

3. Kansas (1 seed / 91.09)

My only futures bet from the season was on Kansas, so I was extremely pleased to see their draw. They get the first two rounds in Kansas and the 4 and 5 seeds in their half of the region are overachievers who have been scuffling due in part to significant injuries. Nothing’s a given in the tournament, but they’ve got a great set-up for the first three rounds. After that, you’re always going to have to beat quality competition.

2. Michigan State (3 seed / 94.98)

I like to consider myself leader of the Sparty doubter bandwagon. There aren’t many of us. Probably because we’re on the opposite side of a bunch of future NBA players and one of the greatest tournament coaches of all-time. Not an easy side to be on. But sometimes I feel like the only one that notices how poorly MSU has played against the few amount of good teams they’ve played this year. I also don’t like the fact that they only play their best lineup when forced by foul trouble. With that said, they’ve basically been gifted an appearance in the second weekend and they have the most underrated point guard on their roster.

1. Duke (2 seed / 110.96)

If it’s possible, I feel like a really good Duke team isn’t being talked about enough. The zone has been great for them. They went from having a suspect defense to one of the best in the country. They have the third rated offense. They have a ton of NBA guys. They have a 5x national champion coach. What’s not to like?

Oh, and as it stands, only three teams have ever been rated higher than the Blue Devils and they all won the title.

 

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