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Dr. Brackett’s Bracketology: The Dubsism Pre-Tournament Sweet Sixteen

In this precious time between the announcement of the field in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the completion of your bracket, the discussion is all about seedings, pairings, and giving yourself what you think is your best chance to win. Throughout the history of the Dubsism Bracket Challenge, it has been possible to win without picking the correct champion, but it has about as likely as Oprah Winfrey maintaining a constant weight.

In other words, forget about what you name your children or where you invest your retirement money; the team you put at the top of your bracket might be the most important choice you will ever make.  But since we know most people entering our challenge are casual college basketball fans at best, we here at Dubsism provide the services of Dr. Kelly Brackett, the world’s only board-certified bracketologist. Dr. Brackett gave a complete physical to the Dubsism Pre-Tournament “Sweet Sixteen;” the teams we think are the most likely to end up in that top spot on your bracket.  Being in that group by default means they pretty damn good, but as the world’s only board-certified bracketologist. Dr. Brackett is here to tell you each one of these teams has a deficiency you need to consider when making your choices.

Can you name another bracket challenge which provides such a service?

Yeah…we didn’t think so…

16) Nevada

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Are “Consistent”

There are times when “consistent” is a polite euphemism for “boring” or “can’t adapt.” The Wolfpack hung around in roughly the same neighborhood in the rankings, but their three conference losses all came on the road, and one was truly ugly.

15) Buffalo

Their Achilles’ Heel: Their Offensive Approach

“Mid-Major” or not, Buffalo’s roster is loaded with “high major talent.” C.J. Massinburg is a “sleeper” to be the best player in the tournament, and this team can run anybody out of the gym. But for some reason, they love to rush shots.  The first time somebody gets a good look, that ball is  going up. While it ensures a shot on every possession, it also means if the shooters get cold, it could make for a long day.

14) Kansas State

Their Achilles’ Heel:  They rely too much on defense

The Wildcats are in many ways the antithesis of Buffalo.  They don’t rate very high in most offensive metrics, but they’ve got a knack for putting the clamps on even the Big 12’s most high-powered offenses.  On top of that, K-State is not the same team without Dean Wade at 100%, if he’s available at all.

13) Purdue

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Are Star-Dependent

The metric-heads have been in love with Purdue since the start of the B1G Ten season, and they weren’t wrong, the Boilermakers finished as conference co-champions.  But everything Purdue has done comes largely at the hands of Matt Haarms and Carsen Edwards (and to a lesser extent Grady Eifert).  When all the pistons have a head of steam, the Boilers are tough to beat, But when they are misfiring, it can get ugly in a big hurry.

12) LSU

Their Achilles’ Heel: The Boards

The Tigers feature a fearsome front-court scoring duo in Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams.  But for all their offensive prowess, LSU gives away the glass at a shocking rate for a potential contender.  LSU allows teams to grab offensive rebounds at such an alarming rate that the way they give away second-chance points could kill this team.

11) Florida State

Their Achilles’ Heel: The Pressure To Win Now

After a run to the Elite Eight last year, the Seminoles aren’t going to sneak up on anybody.  On top of that, Florida State fans know the window for winning is closing…and fast.  They guys who led last year’s run are all now seniors, and head coach Leonard Hamilton is 70 years old, is finishing his 17th season with the Seminoles, and intentions aside, retirement is on the horizon.

10) Texas Tech

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Foul Too Much

Obviously, we aren’t talking about football when the word “defense” takes center stage in the conversation.  Texas Tech stops the other guy every bit as good as Kansas State, but the one thing that keeps killing the Red Raiders is how much they send those guy to the stripe.  Not only do they give away far too many shots from the line, they often tend to get into foul trouble.

9) Michigan State

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Can’t Stay Healthy

To see as many Spartans take battle casualties, you might have to go all the way back to the Peloponnesian Wars.  Start with Joshua Langford, then Nick Ward, and now Kyle Ahrens…who just made it back to the floor before going down again in the B1G Ten Championship game. Langford and Ahren aren’t likely going to be back during the tournament, and Ward is a “wild-card” at this point.

8) Tennessee

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Don’t Know The 3-Point Shot Is Legal

Let’s be honest…in both the NBA and NCAA, the 3-point shot is all the rage, and probably will be for quite some time.  But for some reason, the Time Machine skipped it’s stop at Rocky Top; Tennessee just doesn’t shoot much from downtown.  They really are about as “old school” as you can get for a “Top Ten” team in this “big shot” era, which makes them vulnerable to that streaky shooting team this tournament always produces.

7) Michigan

Their Achilles’ Heel: Their Bench Can’t Score

There is not one team in this tournament which gets less production from it’s bench.  In fact, in all of college hoop, there were only two squads more bench-challenged team than the Wolverines. One was South Dakota State and the other was Hartford. Despite how good Michigan’s staring five are, bench production matters.  Michigan could be a few cheap fouls or a rolled ankle away from disaster.

6) Houston

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Have “Rodney Dangerfield” Syndrome

I can’t remember the name of the college Rodney Dangerfield goes to in “Back To School*,” but I really want to think it was based on Houston.  The Cougars can easily say they haven’t gotten any respect, but that what’s going to happen coming from the American Athletic Conference and coming off a second-round loss to Michigan in 2017.

* For a great read on Back To School, check out Midnite Drive-In’s contribution to our M. Emmet Walsh movie blog-a-thon.

5) Kentucky

Their Achilles’ Heel: Lack of Experience

Nobody should really be surprised by this coming from the “University of One and Done,” but of the Wildcats top eight scorers, five of them are true freshmen.   Granted, Kentucky’ knocked down a national title in 2012 with a very similar formula, but then again, that team centered around Anthony Davis. While this Kentucky team is chock full of talent, none of them are of the game-changing atmosphere of our doppelganger for Frida Kahlo.

4) Virginia

Their Achilles’ Heel: Their Style Of Play

What could explain last year Virginia’s being the best team in the country and then being the first #1 seed to fall to a #16?  Is it the same reason why Virginia was the top-ranked team for long stretches of this season, and yet I don’t think there’s much Cavalier money in this year’s Dubsism Bracket Challenge (deadline to join is 11 a.m. ET Thursday, March 21).  Virginia is the college basketball equivalent to the Jacques LeMaire “‘clutch and grab’ neutral zone trap” the New Jersey Devils used to win Stanley Cups in the 1990s. The Cavaliers play a “pack-line” defense, which when combined with their incredibly efficient (if not boring) offense, leaves the Cavaliers susceptible to losing control of a game which can take away dictating the tempo from them…just like UMBC did last year at this time.

3) Gonzaga

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Don’t Have Depth

Some of the best players in the college game get their mail in Spokane.  Gonzaga has an amazing front-court tandem Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, and the duo of Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins make one the best back-courts in the game. But beyond that, the Bulldog bench seems a lot more suited to tomorrow than today. Corey Kispert has been solid, but he seems like he’s got more potential than his current performance suggests. Filip Petrusev is a freshman, with nothing but upside, and oft-injured junior big man Killian Tillie look to show a senior season in which he showcases his NBA-ready skill set.

2) North Carolina

Their Achilles’ Heel: They Lack Front-Court Size

This might be the weirdest fact in all of these sixteen, as Roy Williams has always been successful using “big” line-ups and bullying other teams on the low block. When Williams’ Tar Heels took the title in 2017, they had Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks throwing elows. But that isn’t this year’s North Carolina.  This team lacks the heft to defend the rim and alter shots in the post, and that could prove to be huge.

1) Duke

Their Achilles’ Heel: Do they Have Zion Williamson Or Do They Not?

I know that Williamson just came back in time to post some scary performances in the ACC Tournament, and if he’s back to being the guy he was before the groin injury, Duke is the best team in this tournament. Even though the Blue Devils could have three of “Top Five” draft picks, the sun for Duke rises and sets on Williamson.  The reason is without his dominating inside game, Duke needs to shoot 3-pointers, and his recent absence showed they really can’t do that. That matters because since 2000, no team has once this tournament shooting less than 33% from downtown.

To make a long story short, If Zion gets hurt, or somebody figures out how to neutralize him, Duke will have a problem.


 

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About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

2 comments on “Dr. Brackett’s Bracketology: The Dubsism Pre-Tournament Sweet Sixteen

  1. Pingback: Ask a 70’s TV Sports Anchor – Episode 10: The “March Madness 2019” Preview | Dubsism

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