After the first weekend of the tournament, the bracket I filled out for Amy Nelson wasn’t doing so hot. For example, I had Kentucky, Wichita State, UNLV and Duke in the Sweet Sixteen of the South region. Only one team survived the first round. We were all fully aware of this the last day we shot for the Full Nelson episode on The Power Rank. In the video, I even say we didn’t pick the bracket to win the first two rounds.
How things change in a week. The top teams in The Power Rank played up to form through the second week of the tourney, capped by Ohio State’s win over Syracuse, an overrated one seed. Overall, Amy’s bracket got 3 Final Four teams (Kentucky, Ohio State and Kansas). Luck certainly played a part in this result, as the injury to North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall made life easier on Kansas. But we’ll take it. Rumor has it that Amy’s bracket is still hanging around in the SBNation pool despite the rough first week. It would certainly benefit from an Ohio State win over Kentucky in the championship game. How likely is that?
1. Ohio State versus Kansas. (0.84)
Ohio State (2) will beat Kansas (5) by 2.1 at a neutral site. Kansas has a 43% chance of beating Ohio State.
Ohio State is a high IQ basketball team, as their passing consistently got the ball into the lane against Syracuse’s zone. Kansas is a basketball team that relies on their abundance of talent. Tyshawn Taylor exemplifies this trait, as he traded ill advised shot for unbelievable shot the entire second half against North Carolina. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft is a defensive star that will make Taylor’s life difficult in the Final Four. This game also features over 500 pounds of mass banging in the paint, as Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger will face Kansas’s Thomas Robinson. Sullinger has a better supporting cast, tipping the odds to a 57% chance that Ohio State makes the championship game.
2. Kentucky versus Louisville. (0.71)
Kentucky (1) will beat Louisville (8) by 6.3 at a neutral site. Louisville has a 30% chance of beating Kentucky.
This week, a Kentucky and Louisville fan got into a fight over this game at a dialysis center. That’s how much this game means to the people of the state. Kentucky, our highest ranked team this year, relies less on the 3 point shot than last year, a trait that makes this team more consistent on offense. Louisville is first in adjusted defense in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. This is surprising since Rick Pitino isn’t known as a defensive coach. In fact, Louisville has been a top 10 defensive team in 5 out of the 10 years that Pitino has coached. If the defense can slow down Kentucky like they did earlier this year and the Cardinals can actually hit some shots, they have a chance to pull off the upset.
1. Kentucky, 40.7%
2. Ohio State, 28.7%
3. Kansas, 18.8%
4. Louisville, 11.7%
Kentucky has the highest likelihood of winning it all. However, I picked Ohio State in Amy’s bracket because the Buckeyes are wildly undervalued in the eyes of the public. Only 4.5% of brackets at Yahoo had Ohio State as the champ. Our numbers give a 18% chance that Ohio State beats Kentucky in the championship game.
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