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"Expert Picks" interesting to read but how much do they mean to you?

For the most part, it seems that fans of Kansas University basketball are a pretty superstitious bunch.

Whether that's derived from the great tradition at the school that dates back decades or the recent success, it seems that “signs” are everywhere and can be taken from just about anything, especially during March.

There are, of course, reasons behind many of the superstitions and they seem to straddle both sides of the fence. Some fans like when KU gets a No. 1 seed and is considered one of the favorites. Others prefer the Jayhawks to be the under-the-radar bunch with less attention and therefore less pressure placed on them.

And then, of course, you've got the thousands of fans who wear the same gameday shirts, sit in the same seats or watch the games at the same establishments, all in the name of keeping the peace.

With that in mind, I couldn't help but wonder how being picked by the experts to reach the Final Four makes most KU fans feel. Nervous? Excited? Proud? Satisfied?

Earlier today, I saw an ESPN.com Insider column titled “Experts Final Four Picks” and naturally I was compelled to click on it. It's always fun to see who other people are picking and why, regardless of whether they're named Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps or Donald Duck and Dave Grohl.

It's not that I'm searching for the answers. I'm a firm believer that nobody out there has even the slightest clue how things are going to go, and that's what makes the Big Dance so wonderful and so captivating every year no matter where it's played or which teams are playing. Besides, I've got my own bracket, thank you very much, and I feel pretty good about how it looks — at least today.

But, still, it's interesting to see what others are thinking and saying about the four teams who will advance to Atlanta. Here's a quick rundown of the “Experts Picks” from ESPN.com.

As you can see, two of the five included Kansas. My question to you is this: Does that make you feel better, worse or the same about the Jayhawks' chances?

(PS: I'm still searching the web for more “expert picks” and will add them to the bottom of this list as I find them so check back often.)

ESPN.com

Jay Bilas
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, VCU, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

John Gasaway
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Seth Greenberg
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Joe Lunardi
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Florida, Miami
Title: Louisville over Florida

Ken Pomeroy
Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Florida, Miami
Title: Florida over Louisville

CBSsports.com

Garry Parish
Final Four: Louisville, Wisconsin, VCU, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Gregg Doyel
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana
Title: Ohio State over Michigan

Jeff Goodman
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Florida, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Dennis Dodd
Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Georgetown, Miami
Title: Louisville over Miami

Yahoo! Sports

Greg Anthony
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Miami
Title: Louisville over Miami

Pat Forde
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Georgetown, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

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Comments

Kyle Sybesma 1 year, 5 months ago

I like Jay Bilas but I think he's making up for his VCU bashing 2 years ago. I have a hard time picking teams that weren't tested in a tougher conference like Florida in the SEC or the popular Oregon over Oklahoma State pick. OSU is gonna feel like the underdog by tip off so wouldn't they be the upset pick?

I don't want KU to be the first to lose to a 16 seed and we can't lose to 'Ol Roy in the 2nd round..... I mean 3rd round.... Stupid play in games. I refuse to watch them.

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PSM 1 year, 5 months ago

I'd say Ken Pomeroy has the best chance at accurately predicting winners and losers during the NCAA Tourney. Still, it's called March Madness for a reason, one-and-done makes for some crazy games. Also, Matt, I believe it's spelled Grohl.

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Matt Tait 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah, you're right. Fixed now. Got in too much of a hurry. Thanks!

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JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 5 months ago

I thought KenPom always claimed that he did not do brackets because he did not have anything to gain and everything to lose; I guess he now just skips to the final four.

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Steve Quatrocky 1 year, 5 months ago

The so called Experts are generally biased to the big markets, especially on the East Coast, many played for teams from the ACC or BigEast. So, their opinions don't really mean much to me. I look to Sagarin, thanks to USAToday for providing it daily, for advice on picking brackets, usually the ELO column only as I don't care about margins that much. We could easily run our margins thru the roof if we didn't play the coaches kids.

I'm happy that the so called experts didn't pick us, especially Obama, as that has been a curse in the past, when all the media is touting us, its like the announcers curse and the way our bracket is stacked this year, we wont have that problem. Given their East Coast bias if we play against either against NC or Nova, and then their darling VCU or Big Ten love affair with Michigans offense. Same goes for either Florida or Georgetown, not to mention in the four against either IN or Miami. More and more will jump on the KU Bandwagon as we win but it wont be like when we played Richmond and then VCU and they were all on the wagon. Once we get past WKY, every game, we should be playing with a chip on our shoulder and for validation, the same attitude we played with in the Big12 tournament.

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KUAlum88 1 year, 5 months ago

Hey, I'd like to see Dave Grohl's picks!

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Joe Ross 1 year, 5 months ago

Interesting questions posed in the article, Matt. But I think the REAL question is what kind of effect do such predictions have on actual results. Hard to tell, but Id think little, if any. I think such predictions actually put a lot of pressure on kids. They get too much in their heads. I mean, in the case of Louisville they had a bad stretch like Kansas. I could see the predictions giving them confidence to a certain extent but I wonder how much it makes them question themselves knowing they were ranked #1 at one time and had all the adulation of the pundits before going on the terrible run. This is March and anything can happen, but I say the crucible of the tournament (i.e., the one-loss-and-gone pressure) is enough to think about without the additional headache of managing others' expectations. I'm glad Kansas is flying under the radar...

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Alex Berger 1 year, 5 months ago

I like that KU is flying under the radar a bit. I think they play their best when they have are underdogs anyway. From the sound of it, it looks like if they make it past the round of 32 they will be underdogs the rest of the way. I like it! Rock Chalk!

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El Jay 1 year, 5 months ago

there were a lot of experts picking us to win in 2008 and we won. Of course a lot of experts picked us to win in 2010 and we got bounced in the second round. I dont think it makes a difference at all, although its nice to see the team get the adulation they deserve. Past that, its all irrelevant

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JD Roth 1 year, 5 months ago

It was nice participating in the first ever Final Four with all four number one seeds in 2008 and winning the National Title. I have no problem with "experts" picking against KU, but I do when I hear what I heard out of so called "expert" Andy Glockner and I quote, "Michigan or VCU could easily get by Kansas in Sweet 16 game." Big XII regular and tournament champion and he spews that ridiculous line. Easily my ass. Get fired up Hawks and represent all past KU teams and KU's great, second to none, fan base!!

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Robert Brown 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't worry too much about what the experts say. The beauty of this tournament is that there will be upsets. You say KU doesn't match up well with Georgetown and Florida. They won't play both and might play neither. By Sunday night, the tough South bracket may not look as tough as it does today.

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Kyle Sybesma 1 year, 5 months ago

Based on matchups, I think we may have an easier time getting to the final four if we switched spots with k-state. We would match up well with Wisconsin and Gonzaga and we've beaten OSU on the bottom half. Baylor & Oklahoma St proved we struggle with quick guards. VCU, Michigan, Georgetown and Florida all have that. It's gonna be a tough road.

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texashawk10 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't get the love fest with Florida and Michigan right now. Yes they absolutely have the talent to make runs, but how a team plays down the stretch is also relevant and Florida and Michigan have been average teams down the stretch. 5-4 over the past month for Florida and 6-6 since February started for Michigan does not make me believe either team will get past the Sweet 16. I'm still saying that South Dakota St. upsets Michigan and shoots them out of the tournament while Florida won't get past the Sweet 16 with they way they have been playing lately.

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actorman 1 year, 5 months ago

Does how a team plays down the stretch REALLY matter, texashawk?

I think that's one of those things that most people have just assumed is true because the experts have been telling us that for years, but I wonder if it's really true. I'd love to see some kind of a study on how much of a difference it really makes.

I can remember accurately picking Mississippi State to go to the Final Four as a 6 seed once. My reason was that they had been in the top 10 at the beginning of the season and had struggled recently, but that the talent was still there for a long run. I think that kind of scenario can apply in a lot of situations.

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texashawk10 1 year, 5 months ago

The prime example that sticks in my mind is KU in '05 that was top 5 almost all year, stumbled down the stretch and lost to Bucknell in the first round. I'll have some free time later tonight and I can look at some recent teams that suffered early upsets to see how many of those teams also stumbled down the stretch. I'll keep it to 3, 4, and 5 seeds since that's the neighborhood where Florida and Michigan are and I feel like that's where a lot of those teams that were top 5 or top 10 all year that struggle in February end up seeded in the tournament.

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texashawk10 1 year, 5 months ago

In 2006, three teams in the 3, 4, and 5 seed lines lost in the first round. KU as a 4 lost to Bradley. That loss was largely attributed to KU's youth and inexperience as that was the freshmen and sophomore seasons of the core of the title team. Syracuse and Nevada both lost in 5-12 upsets. Syracuse if I recall correctly won the Big East tournament that year, but was on the bubble prior to the Big East tournament and was vastly overseeded and should've been an 8-9 seed at best. Nevada was a case of two mid major schools running into each other.

2007 was a weird tournament in that there were minimal upsets. Two 6-11 upsets (Winthrop over ND and VCU over Duke) were it along with three 9's over 8's in the first round.

2008, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Drake, UConn all lost in either 4-13 and 5-12 upsets. Clemson wasn't hot, but they weren't cold either at 7-4 entering the tournament. Vanderbilt had lost 3 out 5 entering the tournament. Drake and UConn had both lost 3 out of 6 entering the tournament.

2009, Utah, Wake Forest, Florida St., Illinois all lost as either 4 or 5 seeds. Utah was a mid-major running into a Power 6 team in a 5-12 game, Wake Forest was a genuine upset as they were playing pretty well entering the tournament. Florida St. was 6-4 going into the tourney so not really playing well. Illinois was just 3-4 entering the tournament.

2010, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Temple were the big first round upsets. Georgetown was just 8-7 down the stretch, Vanderbilt was 4-3 down the stretch, and Temple was a mid major running into a good low major in Cornell that almost beat KU at AFH that season.

2011, Vanderbilt and Louisville were the two upsets. Vanderbilt was 3-4 entering the tournament and was pretty much doing this every year at that point. Louisville wasn't bad entering the tournament, but their game was in Denver which could help explain that upset.

Last year, Wichita St., Michigan, and Temple all lost. Wichita St. was a mid-major losing to another good mid-major in VCU. Michigan last year was an upset and Temple was a mid-major losing to a Big East team.

The two trends that come across are that mid-majors are prone to upsets against Power 6 teams and that most of the major conference teams that lost weren't playing well as they entered the tournament so I think there is quite a bit of validity to teams struggling entering the tournament being prone to upset.

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namohcan_99 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm confused. When did Louisville become the team to beat? Really? :)

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actorman 1 year, 5 months ago

When they absolutely destroyed Syracuse in the second half of the Big East title game, after being way behind. Of course they did fall way behind in the first place ...

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justinryman 1 year, 5 months ago

Vegas odds makers have them as the favorite, but not by much.

Vegas isn't wrong a lot and when they are those guys lose thier jobs.

Plus you gotta pick somebody to be afavorite?

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AirCapJay 1 year, 5 months ago

Louisville has the same record as KU. Had the same 3 game losing streak. 14-4 in conference. KU is equal to Louisville as far as I am concerned. Can't wait to play them in the title game.

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Joe Ross 1 year, 5 months ago

Since the pundits crowned them favorites. I'd just go with it...

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ku2004daniel 1 year, 5 months ago

The only person I care about who picks us is the President. And he DIDN'T pick us. Which is a good thing.

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bville_hawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow, 100% pick Louisville to win their bracket... talk about the kiss of death.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 5 months ago

Every year everybody drinks the kool aid from the winner of the big east tournament.

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Michael Luby 1 year, 5 months ago

smartest thing you've said all year Ahperse

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JD Roth 1 year, 5 months ago

You notice that too huh? Good post.

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Steve Gantz 1 year, 5 months ago

I've been curious about these things too Matt.
First: Saint Louis We beat them handily early in the season. I recall that game wasn't even close. They have not beaten a ranked major conference team all season. They've beaten ranked Butler and VCU a couple of times each and you hear a lot of people saying Saint Louis is a potential final four pick.

New Mexico and Gonzaga are interesting comparisons. Everyone is saying Gonzaga is overrated based on their lack of major league experience. Look at New Mexico, they're also like Saint Louis, a trendy FF pick. There schedule is quite a bit less impressive than Gonzaga's.

Of course Butler and VCU have proven these teams can succeed out of these lesser leagues. So maybe I'm wrong on these teams, but I don't think of them in the esteemed light a lot of people are.

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NutmegHawk88 1 year, 5 months ago

After watching this tourney for so many years I'm not sure that I'm any better at predicting outcomes now than I was 25 years ago. So many games come down to a last second shot. Hoping the seniors really bring it this year.

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Kent Wells 1 year, 5 months ago

To quote Roy, I could give a sh!t what the experts think. Lately, it seems that the qualification of an expert is just whoever can yell the loudest. However, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bilas. And his VCU pick kinda blew my mind. I guess I'm not seeing that one. But I didn't see it in 2011 either.

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Michael Luby 1 year, 5 months ago

Bilas is wrong this year. CS and KU will be ready to face VCU if it happens. As for the experts, pffff they really don't know that much more than the rest of us whats really going to happen. Most of them seem to pick the popular ones just for the ratings. I saw a couple interesting finals though.

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JayhawkNNE 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't get it, what does everyone see in "The" Ohio State???? Their point guard is average at best, they have one legitimate scoring threat, maybe two, and if those two are hitting shots, their offense stops. Maybe it was one of the more elogquate posters on this site, who pointed out, and I rewatched several times, that when Ohio state started loosing in the second half they quit... I don't get it...

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Steve Gantz 1 year, 5 months ago

They see that OSU is very good. They've won a lot of tough games down the stretch including one at Indiana.

As for Craft, he has become a much more reliable scorer this year. And his defense is out of this world amazing. Read the Sports Illustrated story on him from a couple of weeks back, it will help you to realize he's not average at best, he's one of the best. The whole team is very good defensively even if they are average on offense. Believe me, I watch a lot of big 10 basketball and OSU could win it all, not saying they will, but they could.

Matta gets ripped sometimes as the Scott Drew of the Big 10 conference, but he has been to the final four two or three times and even played for the championship.

And with the regional they're in, they're a good bet to get back to the Final Four.

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 5 months ago

I love how all the experts proclaim that the MidWest is the toughest bracket, but not one has Louisville to lose. I'm not saying they should, but not one upset in the toughest bracket of all?

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 5 months ago

I remember a few years back where Louisville ran through the big east, got the number 1 overall seed and everyone picked them to win it all. After the first weekend, they were knocked out (or maybe it was the sweet 16 game) and my bracket was destroyed. Only trust the experts when the pick is obvious. For example UK last year and UNC in 09 are examples of teams that took advantage of down years in basketball and had stacked rosters. Outside that, they have been wrong most the time.

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oldalum 1 year, 5 months ago

Bilas has us as the first #1 to lose.

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Robbk1066 1 year, 5 months ago

two things - 1) when we should win we dont (everyone picks us to win too), 2) When we should not be picked to get to the final four, we do. So this is perfect. LOL Bilas, he blows so much with the way the wind blows his nickname should be willow...

Keep in mind that blowout loss to Baylor with the outright title on the line, ruined any support from most experts. We did not finish the reg. season well...

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