Welcome to Banners’ coverage of the 2019 NCAA Tournament! Here we will give you the same info that you can get hundreds of other places on the web processed slightly differently and with our own slant as you prepare to immerse yourself in all things college basketball in the most glorious four days on the sporting calendar. We will break the bracket down region by region to get you completely prepared to pick and, more importantly, root with the best information available.
Overseeded: #11 Belmont
One of the surest ways to be overseeded is to be in the tournament when you shouldn’t be. How do you like your metrics? Belmont is 54th in the KenPom, 50th in NET, and 56th in T-Rank. If the goal of the committee is to put the best teams that didn’t get automatic bids into the tournament Belmont, with their marquee win over Lipscomb, shouldn’t be there. Indiana or NC State would have been a better choice here. They weren’t as successful, but at least they tried to play someone.
Underseeded: #7 Louisville
The Cardinals are in the top 20 in every available metric. They beat Michigan State, UNC, and the #4 seed in this very region, Virginia Tech, and had only one bad loss all year. The committee looked at all that and decided it was worth the same seed as Wofford.
Easy to Like:
That’s blank. I pored over this region and came up with nothing. I can, and will, spew hate about a lot of these teams, but none of them come across as particularly likable.
Fun to watch: #3 LSU
For basketball reasons, this team will be fun to watch because they play faster than basically anyone else in the region. They are going to run and try to get to the rim and dunk on whoever they play. There’s also just amazing drama happening with the team right now with Will Wade hanging in suspension after being caught on a tap offering to pay for a player and then having the temerity to ask the school if he could coach anyone. Not at all surprisingly, the Tigers took a pass.
Easy to hate: The East Region
Duke starts things off. If entitlement had a university, it would be Duke. Their fans are generally those that you find cheering for whatever team is currently winning. I’m sick of hearing about Zion Williamson and I hope they lose in the second round (they won’t). Liberty is home to everything that people associate with the south and, as an avid hater of that, they jump out of the bracket as particularly hate worthy from the administration on down. Then Scottie James took a flop that would have embarrassed Neymar. I don’t hate Louisville, but I have Twitter and I know the rest of you do. Turn this region on and then spite cheer against both teams.
Danger Team: #7 Louisville
See above. On their day, these guys can beat anyone in the nation. They are top 30 in both offense and defense, shoot a ton of threes, and have been tested by their schedule all the way through. They are also dangerous to your bracket because they aren’t hot right now and they lost to Boston College.
Best Matchup: Louisvlle-Minnesota
Louisville has taken a lot of ink here. They can beat anyone, but they come in stumbling. Minnesota got crushed by Michigan in the Big Ten tournament, but they’ve also beaten Purdue twice in the last two weeks. They suffocate the three point line but don’t do anything else objectively well. This could be a great game, or either team could obliterate the other. It’s the very first game of the tournament, and figures to kick it off well.