FANFOOD Tournament Predictions

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In the NCAA tournament, predictions are like assholes, everyone’s got one. If you are looking for them on the internet (predictions, I mean) you will find them. So, before I get to mine (predictions again) here are some interesting facts I found on the muthaship, along with the so-called experts picks, followed by a recipe for Thai Steak Kebabs.

 

 

FANFOOD NCAA Tournament Predictions

 

I broke down the NCAA Bracket and gave you some upset alerts, now it is time to fill out your bracket and join your pool.  But before you submit your picks, here are some interesting FACTS about the NCAA Tournament.

 

Fact:

NOT ONCE has a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1-seed, and most of the time it’s not much of a game, either. When UNC Asheville came within seven points of Syracuse in last year’s tourney, it became just the 12th 16-seed to keep the margin of defeat in single digits (and the first team to do so since 1997).

So don’t get cute and try to pick one of the #1s to go down in its first game, it just doesn’t happen.

 

Fact:

A No. 4 seed has fallen to a 13-seed in the round of 64 in each of the past five years, the longest streak in the history of the 4/13 matchup.

This year the streak could continue with #4 Michigan falling to #13 S. Dakota State.

 

Fact:

You might be surprised to know that only once in the past 16 years have all four No. 2 seeds reached the Sweet 16 (2009).

Out of all the #2 teams, I think Miami is the most vulnerable and the one not to make the round of 16.

 

Fact:

Since seeding began in 1979, only once has there been a tournament in which the Final Four was comprised of all No. 1 seeds (2008). What’s more likely, of course, is that one or two No. 1 seeds get there; at least one has made it in 27 of 34 years.

So when filling out your bracket, odds are against you to go chalk.

 

Stats:

New York Times blogger and statistician Nate Silver has really put a lot of thought into this. This is the third year Silver has predicted NCAA Tournament results, last year he tabbed eventual-champion Kentucky as the favorites with a 26.7% chance of winning the tournament.

 

As for his 2013 projections, after Louisville at a 22.7% chance to win, Indiana is considered the next-most likely with a 19.6% chance to win. Surprisingly, Florida, the No. 3 seed in the South Region, is the third-most likely to win it all, with a 12.7% chance of a championship.

In the Midwest Region, Silver gives Louisville a 52.9% chance of making the Final Four. No. 2 seed Duke is given an 18.3% chance and No. 3 seed Michigan State a 10.6% chance.

In the West Region, things are more wide open. Gonzaga is the favorite with a 33.4% chance of making the Final Four, but No. 2 seed Ohio State is not far behind with a 23.8% chance. After them No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 3 New Mexico, and No. 6 Arizona are all given between an 8.1 and 9.5% chance to reach the Final Four.

In the East, Indiana is the heavy favorite with a 52.3% chance to make the Final Four. No. 2 Miami is given a 12.7% chance and No. 4 Syracuse a 11.7% chance.

Finally, in the South, No. 3 Florida is given a 37.1% chance to win the region with top-seed Kansas given a 31.6% chance. No. 4 Michigan has a 12.8% chance to reach Atlanta, while No. 2 seed Georgetown is given only a 6.9% chance. The South is also home to what Silver believes is the most likely upset with No. 11 Minnesota given a 61.9% chance to beat No. 6 UCLA.

His projections are based on computer rankings with a history of predictive success, as well as a few other factors. A detailed explanation of his methodology can be found here.

 

Click here for his interactive bracket that goes into even more detail

 

Now that we got facts and the statistician out of the way, let’s move onto the tips & predictions.

 

FANFOOD Tips

 - Pick your champion and work backwards -

Just like with Highlander, “There can be only one” so first decide who your champion is, then who your final four are and then how you think they will get there working your way back to opening games.

 

- Don’t rely too heavy on the Conference Tournaments -

The media likes to make a big deal about March Madness conference champions being “hot” going into the tournament, but in most cases, that doesn’t make those teams good March Madness picks. A three game winning streak does not make a dominant team, so be wary of basing your 2013 March Madness predictions solely on conference tournament play.Connecticut last season is obviously a counter example of a hot team that was a god March Madness pick, but remember that the Huskies were fantastic in their non conference schedule, and their Big East tournament run featured five games, not just three. Advancing them far could have been a decent March Madness prediction, because they had a significant body of work in which they played excellent.

 

- Be wary of seeding -

March Madness uses an imperfect seeding system to pick the March Madness field. For instance, a #7 seed is not necessarily better than a #10 seed, so you shouldn’t automatically pick #7 seeds in your 2013 March Madness prediction. In fact, over the past decade #7 seeds have a winning percentage barely above0.500 inthe first round.

 

FANFOOD Predictions

 

I hate to say it, but I’m going with the New York Times except for the South Region.  I like Louisville to win it all in a game for the ages against Indiana. My other Final Four teams are Ohio State, and Virginia Commonwealth.

This is the sixth time Rick Pitino has had a No. 1-seeded team in the NCAA tournament (four at Kentucky, two at Louisville). In the previous five instances, his teams have made to at least the elite eight. His teams made it to the final four 3 times, won the championship once and lost in the title game once. I like those odds.

Teams that I think will make a run are Duke, Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Miami. Although I am not so sure about the Hurricanes. Miami is fighting a historical battle in its quest to reach the Final Four for the first time. Not only have the Canes reached the Sweet 16 just once (2000), but they’ve got just four NCAA tournament wins in their history. Since the field expanded in 1985, only five teams reached their first Final Four in a year in which they entered the Big Dance with fewer than five NCAA tournament wins all-time.

 

The reason I didn’t pick Florida, is that they have yet to win a close game this season.

If you were told that Billy Donovan’s team has played only six games decided by single digits this season, that might not shock you. But what about if you were told they were 0-6 inthose games? That’s the case for the Gators, as all 26 of their victories came by double digits and only one of their losses. Considering that they are bound to have to win a close game at some point in this tournament, they will need to rise to the challenge for the first time all season.

 

Upsets

Most everyone is talking about Bucknell beating Butler, and I am on board, but the ones that no one is talking about that I like, it the possibility of Middle Tennessee beating Memphis, and S. Dakota State beating Michigan in that dreaded 4/13 matchup.  I might not go all in with that one, but I am betting against the Tigers. Hunch. I got another upset special for you.  There are varying opinions on the team from Arizona, half the experts think they are great, and you know what the other half think.  I am with the other half and think they lose to Belmont, everyone’s Cinderella in ‘13.

 

Sleepers

Besides Virginia Commonwealth, I think that you could call Oregon a sleeper.  They will not make it pastLouisville, but I think they will surprise out of the #12 seed.

 

“Experts” Picks

The Muthaships’s NCAA Tournament crew Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps provided a breakdown of the brackets on Sunday via their networks, and gave their top picks. For Jay Bilas, he likes a Final Four of Louisville vs. Ohio State and Virginia Commonwealth vs. Indiana. His championship game has the Cardinals triumphant over the Hoosiers to cut down the nets in Atlanta, Georgia.

Meanwhile, Digger Phelps likes a #2 seed to win it all. His Final Four for 2013 features Ohio State vs. Michigan State, and Georgetown vs. Miami. In the end, he believes Miami of Florida from the ACC defeats Ohio State for the 2013 NCAA National Championship in men’s basketball.

Former Duke and NBA player Jay Williams gave a Final Four of Michigan State vs. Ohio State, and Kansas vs. Miami. His championship game features Ohio State vs. Kansas with the Buckeyes winning it all, providing another #2 seed as a potential champion.

There you have it.  Good luck in your BRACKET GAME

 

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Thai Steak Kebabs

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Sirloin Steak, cut into cubes

Peanut Sauce:

1 Tbs peanut oil

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy

1/2 cup apple juice

3 Tbs Mango Chutney

Thai Kebab Marinade:

1 onion, chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

juice of (2) lemons

1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated

1 Tbs soy sauce

2 Tbs peanut oil

 

PREPARATION:

marinade:

Combine all ingredients and place in a freezer bag with steak, refrigerate overnight.

peanut sauce:

heat the oil over low heat, add onion, garlic, and chili powder, cook until onions are translucent.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer 2 minutes or until thick.

kebabs:

Remove meat from marinade pat dry.  Let sit out for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare grill for direct high heat. Thread meat onto skewers and grill until desired doneness.

 

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