Matthew Ryan and Rob Mailley here again responding to hot takes from the “The Front Office” Instagram story.
No. 5 seed ‘Nova smokes No. 1 seed Baylor
In this No. 1 seed No. 5 seed matchup, I think it will be close. Baylor has two All-Americans and three players who were named to the Big-12 all-defensive team. While ‘Nova has looked like they’ve turned a corner after the injury to Gillespie, it’s still a huge blow. Baylor is the best three-point shooting team in the country at 42.0%, and ‘Nova’s three-point defense ranks 253rd in the nation percentage-wise. I can see this matchup going either way, but I am going to give the get to Baylor. If ‘Nova does pull off the upset, they will not “smoke” Baylor.
No. 4 seed Florida State beats No. 1 seed Michigan
The Wolverines, who are losing their second leading scorer Isaiah Livers (13.1 PPG), had a strong start to the year, going 18-1, but have gone 4-3 over their last seven games. After starting the year off 15-3, the Seminoles have also gone 4-3 over their last seven matchups. Both teams are pretty well-rounded as Florida State has five players averaging nine or more points per game, and Michigan has four players playing, averaging nine or more points per game. Both teams are top 60 scoring teams in the country and are pretty evenly matched, but I think the loss of Livers will be too much and the Wolverines will become the second No. 1 seed to fall.
No. 15 seed Oral Roberts advances to the Elite 8
If someone told me this a week or so ago, I would have thought they were crazy, but now Oral Roberts sits just one win away from becoming the first No. 15 seed to make it to the Elite 8. The only team in their way is Arkansas. Oral Roberts is led by two studs: the nations leading scorer Max Abmas (24.6 PPG) and Kevin Obaner, who averages 19.0 points per game. Across the two March Madness games, Obaner is averaging 29.0 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game, and 2.5 steals per game, while Abmas is averaging 27.5 points per game, 5.0 assists per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 2.0 steals per game. Arkansas is led by freshman Moses Moody who averages 17.1 points per game. Both teams are in the top 15 in scoring in the country, and Oral Roberts ranks 292nd in the nation in opponents points per game, and Arkansas ranks 187th in the nation in opponents points per game. I think this game will be close and could go either way, but I am going to stick to the dynamic duo of Abmas and Obaner and take Oral Roberts to advance to the Elite 8.
Loyola Makes the Final 4
Matt can tell you: I wasn’t super high on Loyola before the tournament started. I thought that people were riding good memories from 2018, and that the ramblers would fail in the second round, if not the first.
Well. I was very wrong. Loyola and Cameron Krutzwig are for sure final four contenders. I had Illinois winning it all, and I didn’t think anyone had an answer for Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn.
Loyola did. And now, I’m fully on the bandwagon. I take back everything I said, and I’m looking forward to watching Loyola take on Indianapolis.
UCLA upsets Alabama
So, I don’t exactly hate this take. It makes sense: UCLA has been turning up as of late, beating teams by bigger and bigger margins as they roll through their competition. But I see it stopping with Alabama. Alabama is like the 2017 Warriors, if the Warriors had 5 long range shooters instead of 3. The Crimson Tide have great defenders, stronger than what the Bruins have faced recently, in Jones, Petty, and Reese. They have the college basketball equivalent of an artillery brigade, but they can also pose a threat inside the arc as well. My money is on Alabama.
Verdict: Strongly Disagree
Syracuse beats Houston
Even as a Georgetown diehard (qudus💔), the orange are going to pull it out this weekend. There is no stopping Buddy buckets, and the 2-3 zone is going to wreak havoc on Houston’s inside offense. It’ll be a good game, but expect a Syracuse win.
Verdict: Strongly agree