BOSTON (CBS) – College basketball expert Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports spoke with Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak Wednesday afternoon about the upcoming men’s basketball tournament.
With the round of 64 games set to start this Thursday, those looking to win their office pool are hoping to get some last minute advice on potential winners and losers. Picking teams this year will prove to be more difficult than previous years as many teams seem to be underseeded.
Gresh asked Doug what he thought about the seedings the tournament committee gave out this year.
Speaking in regards to North Carolina and their six seed, Gottlieb said, “I don’t really get that one.” A team like Virginia got a one seed despite the fact their non-conference schedule was weak.
Even though they’re not worthy of a one seed, Gottlieb brought up Southern Methodist in relation to Virginia and said, “We kept SMU out because they didn’t play anybody in the non-conference, so do you keep everyone out that didn’t play anybody?”
This segued into a discussion about the local teams competing in the tourney.
Both Harvard and UMass have favorable first round matchups. Harvard has the twelve seed, which traditionally is one of the most common underdogs to pull off an upset. They’ll be playing Cincinnati in the first round.
UMass comes in as a six seed and will take on the winner of the play-in game between the eleventh seeds Iowa and Tennessee.
For Harvard, “It’s all about matchups. … They don’t have the same benefit of a quality matchup against Cincinnati because Cincinnati plays small as well.” Last year the Crimson had a favorable game against New Mexico as their quickness trumped New Mexico’s strength.
Gottlieb’s final assessment on the Harvard, “Harvard can win, I don’t think they will.”
With the UMass Minutemen, they look to get out and run, hoping to beat you in a shootout. Gottlieb addressed who UMass would better matchup with in Iowa or Tennessee.
“Iowa doesn’t play great defense, that would be a better match up for UMass just because UMass wants to pressure you and get out and run. I don’t know if they beat Iowa. I think it will be a real entertaining game.”
Tennessee is a different team than Iowa in that they’re more physical and have a frontcourt who controls the paint, which presents more of a challenge for the Minutemen.
As is the case every year, the tournament will have its upsets with teams nobody thought would move on. We’ll scream, cheer and eventually rip up our bracket and swear to never play again . . . that is until next year.
If you’re a Celtics fan, listen below for Gottlieb’s choices on who you should keep an eye on this tournament: