Friday, March 9, 2007

Our odds on Davidson's NCAA destination

Where will Davidson play in the NCAA tournament?

A quick sampling of players only reveals one consensus. They’d rather not play in Spokane, Wash.

That’s understandable – Spokane is 2,700 miles away from campus, and only guard Stephen Curry has any ties to the region (his godmother lives in Portland, Oregon).

Yet, Spokane might be the most likely destination for the Wildcats, based on how the NCAA tournament is set up. The tournament tries to keep the top three seeds in each region close to home, and since many of those teams have already been decided, it looks like Davidson might end up heading West if the Wildcats end up as a No. 12 or No. 13 seed, as projections indicate.

For example, North Carolina and Georgetown, both likely top-3 seeds, are expected to be placed in Winston-Salem. Since their second-round opponents also have to play there (i.e., the corresponding 8 vs. 9 or 7 vs. 10 games) that takes up all four games for the site.

So, the chance of Davidson ending up there would seem slim, unless Georgetown is moved out.

Here’s how the other destinations shape up for Davidson:

Sacramento (likely 5% chance or less): UCLA and Washington St. are both expected there (Washington State can’t go to Spokane as the host school). Davidson’s travel hardship would also likely keep the Wildcats from this Thursday/Saturday site.

New Orleans (5%): Florida and Texas A&M could end up here, leaving no games available for the Wildcats for this Friday/Sunday site.

Chicago (5%): Wisconsin and Kansas or even Southern Illinois could come to this Friday/Sunday site, denying Davidson point guard Jason Richards a chance to play in front of his family. He’s from in Barrington, Ill.

Lexington (10%): Ohio State is expected here, because the Buckeyes can’t play in Columbus as the host school. Memphis could also end up at this Thursday/Saturday site, since it is the Tigers’ closest location, although Memphis could also end up in Columbus.

Buffalo (20 percent): Pittsburgh will likely end up in Buffalo or Columbus, leaving one pair of games available for a 4 vs. 13 and 5 vs. 12 game at this Thursday/Saturday site.

Columbus (20 percent): Like Buffalo, Columbus should get at least one pair of games involving a No.4 and No.5 seed, and could have all four games like that, if no higher seed is to this Friday/Sunday site.

Spokane (30 percent): No top seed except for host Washington State is close to this location, and the Cougars aren’t eligible. Two other factors might point Davidson here. Nevada and UNLV are expected to fall within the 4-5 seed range, and this site is the closest for them other than Sacramento. Gonzaga is the other factor. The Zags are expected to be a No.12 or No.13 seed like Davidson, but their proximity to the site might send them elsewhere to avoid an unearned home-court advantage. That could send Davidson out to Spokane for Friday/Sunday games.

-- Kevin Cary


David McKnight said...

Haven't the Cats played Big 10 teams the last two trips to the NCAA playoffs? (Michigan, Ohio State?)

Reckon maybe the Omniscients at the NCAA Tourney drawing board will consider some other conference in the country for Davidson's first-round game?

Davidson must remember to drive the lane some and not just rely on permiter shots for their scoring opportunities.

David McKnight said...

Oops, make that "perimeter shots" in the previous post. Of course, it does seem sometimes that you have to get a permit to shoot some of those 3's.

WB said...

Michigan in 1998, Ohio State in 2002, Ohio State again in 2006.