Posted by spasticity on 4/9/2012 1:02:00 PM (view original):
Great job red, everyone definitely appreciates the time it took you to do that! Bringing in all the conferences is a good way to try to get more people talking.
What are your way-too-early Final 4 predictions?
I should have seen this question coming when I was putting this together. One of the reasons I held off was because I'm hoping to throw together a pre-tournament bit like I did last season and was afraid they'd sound too similar. I was also hoping someone else might come along and stick their neck out on it... ;)
My premise for what it takes to win a national title (since I've never sniffed one myself in 36 seasons...) includes upperclass leadership,decent depth at the guard position, a solid set of Ath/Spd/Def numbers and, yes, a high "functional rating." (to shamelessly plug my own term in the spirit of football writer Phil Steele...). I looked at 21 teams that I thought had good starting values and good potential to grow to the area a Final Four team typically has, put myself on a 2 GNE team diet (it's kind of like a 2 margarita lunch...hard to do, but keeps people from whispering about you) and went from there. Here's what you get as a result, in alphabetical order (advanced apologies for any SI "cover jinx" sort of stuff that may occur as a result...)
Johnson and Wales
Why I like them: Spasticity begins the year with nine players rated 550 or better and an Ath/Spd/Def breakdown that's entirely in the 50s (with two of the three likely destined to be 60+ by season's end). He has five players at the guard slot that go 70+ in speed. And just in case that's all not good enough, his team work ethic is 58 so heaven only knows where this team will be a regular season from now.
Why I like them: Adjusted for the presence of a redshirt player, Newbury begins the season with a functional rating that's higher than all but nine teams to make last season's national tournament. Ath/Spd/Def all 50+ and seven upperclassmen will provide plenty of IQ for the press setup on defense. Five players weigh in at 600+ to begin the season and good two-deep at the guard slots to guard against the occasional foul-fest a press can produce. Aside from that, if I don't kiss up to dinosaur he might pinball me twice this season.
Why I like them: Six solid upperclass defenders in a man defense. Good athleticism and speed to go with it. Six players starting at 550+, two quality guards and good values. High team stamina and work ethic numbers should provide for great player growth and no shortage of strategy options throughout the season. Aside from that, nacho made a believer out of me with his deep run last season when he was playing with nine. Now he's got a full roster to play with and I'm excited to see where he goes with it.
This is the point where everyone who read my OP point out that I called Hardin-Simmons to win the American Southwest tournament. You're right. I did. That batch was printed before coaches had a chance to apply redshirts and 2 preseason games gave some players early ratings bumps. That makes some subtle changes to some of the close calls I made. That said, this is NOT a mulligan -- really! Hardin-Simmons WILL win the ASC tournament, and it's going to inspire Texas Lutheran and blapo to postseason greatness! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it...
Why I like them: Good values overall, seven players at 550+ to start things off. The highest team work ethic of the schools I looked at as serious FInal Four contenders. Plenty of speed at the the guard positions for depth in the press and stamina to boot. I'll be honest, this is my "last one in" selection and I'm a little concerned by the overall number of sub-40 defenders on roster. You could make a credible argument for one of about eight other schools here (at least that's how many I had left on my list that I was poring over at this point...) and this happens to be the one I went with.
Let the discussions and debate ensue!