Sunday, February 18, 2018

3 Weeks before March Madness picks w/ injures to Auburn, Marquette and Texas Tech

Three weeks from today you will be filling out March Madness brackets, and here is the outlook given recent injuries and possible returning players.

ESPN’s Strength of Record (Resume Tab) gives the best statistical projection of who deserves which seed - from No. 1 Virginia to No. 48 Marquette, while measures how many points separate each team, and breaks down how many points each player is worth. Put them together with injury reports from DonBest, and the following is the breakdown of which teams could surge or fall based on injuries or returns for big-time players.

Click on the four great sources that covered Value Add Basketball last week (photos below); nationally the 24th ranked news site, this 247 site from CBS Sports (the home of March Madness), the video interview on the Value Add projections nailing Auburn’s breakout season site, and my Pudner sports.

Strength of Record Rank, followed by team, conference, record through Saturday, and how a key injury or returning player impacts how far each of these teams should go in your bracket:
8, Texas Tech, B12, 22-5, Texas Tech has not announced how serious the injury to Keenan Evans is, but his 8.93 Value Add is just a notch below All-American and they may need his return in order to make an Elite 8 run, IMPACT – with Evans 3 wins in NCAA, without him just 1 win.

10, Clemson, ACC, 20-5, Clemson looked loaded for a big run, but losing Donte Grantham after 19 games, who was almost on an All-American pace for a 9.40 Value Add, could make a second-round game tough. IMPACT – looked likely to get 3 wins, and can still get one win with Grantham out.

12, Auburn, SEC, 23-4, the loss of Anfernee McLemore (5.38) after the last game could cost Auburn a deep run, though they still are 8 deep and if they did get a last-minute NCAA clearance for Danjel Purifoy, who has been practicing all year, he basically makes up the difference (projected Value Add of 5.41). IMPACT – at least 3 wins likely with McLemore, and still possible if Purifoy were to be cleared, but could be just one win with neither.

27, Nevada, MWC, 23-5, Nevada is a dangerous team in the tournament and looked like a potential Sweet 16 team, but the loss of Lindsey Drew, with a 4.91 Value Add, after 27 games, will make it much tougher for them to win opening round. IMPACT – Two wins that would have been likely with Drew, likely close opening round loss with him gone.

30, Texas A&M, SEC, 17-10, Texas A&M fought through early-season injuries that took them from elite to a likely middle seed, but the late loss of former Marquette guard Duane Wilson could cost them those couple of key points in a close opening round game. IMPACT – one tournament win was likely until Wilson went down, but a likely opening round loss.

33, Creighton, BE, 19-8, while Creighton is in good shape for a middle seed in the tournament, the loss of Martin Krampelj, on pace for a 6.93 Value Add, after 19 games could be the difference in the Blue Jays winning and losing their opening round game. IMPACT – likely to win an opening round with Krampeli, but likely first-round loser without him.

38, Texas, B12, 16-11, never underestimate former VCU coach Shaka Smart, who has Texas set up for the tournament, but the loss of Andrew Jones, who was on pace for a 6.06 Value Add, after 10 games could be the difference in an opening round game if the Longhorns fall a few points short. IMPACT – win at least 1 game with Jones, but likely first-round loss with him now gone.

42, Missouri, SEC, 18-9, Missouri is good enough to get in the tournament and possibly win a game, but the potential No. 1 NBA draftee Michael Porter Jr. says he is still trying to make it back for the end of the season, and if he were to come back they could win 3 games to go Sweet 16. IMPACT – they likely lose opening round without Porter, though they have a chance to win the opening round, if Porter were to find his way back they’d be picked to win three games to go Elite 8.

48, Marquette, BE, 15-11, Marquette's rally from 16 down to upset Creighton on the road shot them up to the last bid based on SOR, at 48th, but an injury to their leading scorer Markus Howard (with a 6.41 Value Add) could take them from barely in the tournament to out unless they can prove they can win without him or it turns out he can return. IMPACT – borderline bid to no bid if Howard does not return.

59, Notre Dame, ACC, 16-11, National Player of the year candidate Bonzie Colson was on pace for a 10.83 Value add and All-American status through 13 games, but with his loss, the drop to 59th in SOR to 59th puts them 11 spots behind the projected last at-large bid, Marquette at 48th. However, if they get in and Colson returns they can win the games. IMPACT – Colson made Notre Dame good enough for at least two wins in the NCAA, the problem now is can they even get a bid to give them a chance at those wins if he returns.

66, USC, P12, 19-9, the loss of Bennie Boatwright, who was on pace for a Value Add of 3.89 through 23 games, could end the end take USC just off the bubble and into the NIT. IMPACT – likely could have snuck out a bid with Boatwright, but probably NIT without him.

68, Indiana, B10, 16-12, if De'Ron Davis were still playing. He was on pace for a Value Add of 4.88 in his 15 games played and that would have at least given the Hoosiers a shot at a bid. IMPACT –bid was possible with Davis, but not without him.

Click on these for last week's coverage of Value Add, in order from top to bottom of the Auburn interview, to the Value Add rankings of all 4069 players with notes by anyone injured, the CBS Sports 247 site, 24th most popular news site and the explanation on my blog.

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