News & ToursMarch 25, 2008

Figuring out March Madness, Year 2

With all the talk of Elite Eights, Final Fours and bracket mania coming to men's college golf in 2009, it seems appropriate to revive something I explored last year when I was struggling with my picks for the men's NCAA basketball tournament. (Not that anyone else cares, but this year my picks are going much better in the infamous 13th annual Johnny Quest Memorial NCAA Candy Bar Poll.) With men's hoops down to 16 teams, could we predict how the rest of tournament would go based on how good their men's golf teams at these schools are?

The premise is a little outlandish, perhaps, but is it any more preposterous than somebody picking games based on their favorite colors? Or those who simply flip a coin for each game? A year ago, this system had USC winning the men's hoops championship, not Florida, although it did successful have the Gators and UCLA get to the Final Four.

Just to remember the ground rules: I go through this year's brackets from the Sweet 16 on, picking each of the remaining games based strictly on how schools' golf teams have done head-to-head in tournaments they've played against each other to see if this might be my new method to March Madness. In the event of ties, or the fact the teams haven't faced each other, I'll use their overall win-loss records on the season (versus all opponents), the better percentage advancing.


__EAST REGION

Sweet 16

North Carolina vs. Washington State __

The Tar Heels tied for first at the Bank of Tennessee at The Ridge (lost a scorecard playoff for the title)but have three top-five finishes in seven starts with an overall record of 55-37-3 (.595).

The Cougars tied for first at the Cuthbert Cup this spring (lost a scorecard playoff for the title) but have just two top-five finishes in eight starts with an overall record of 34-66-1 (.342).

Winner: North Carolina

__Tennessee vs. Louisville __

The Volunteers have two wins this season (Turtle Bay, Ping/Arizona) and seven top-five finishes in nine starts with an overall record of 95-24-3 (.791).

The Cardinals have one win (UNGC-Bridgestone) and six top-five finishes in eight starts with an overall record of 78-35-3 (.685).

Winner: Tennessee

__Elite 8

North Carolina vs. Tennessee__

The Tar Heels and Volunteers have been in the same field in two events this season (Bank of Tennessee at The Ridges, Schenkel E-Z-Go). UNC finished T-1 and 10th, respectively, while Tennessee was T-5 and fourth, leaving the two teams tied head-to-head at 1-1. Using overall winning percentages to break the tie the winner is ...

Winner: Tennessee

__

MIDWEST REGION

Sweet 16

Kansas vs. Villanova __

The Jayhawks have not won this season and have only one top-five finishes in nine starts with an overall record of 29-93-3 (.244).

The Wildcats have not won this season and have only one top-five finish in nine starts with an overall record of 25-106-3 (.198).

Winner: Kansas

__Wisconsin vs. Davidson __

The Badgers have not won this season but have two top-five finishes in seven starts with an overall record of 64-28-4 (.688).

The Wildcats have not won this season and have not had a top-five finish in six starts, posting an overall record of 16-75-3 (.186).

Winner: Wisconsin

Elite 8

Kansas vs. Wisconsin

The Jayhawks and Badgers have played in one tournament together, the Prestige at PGA West in October (Kansas finished 16th; Wisconsin finished sixth).

Winner: Wisconsin

__

SOUTH REGION

Sweet 16

Memphis vs. Michigan State __

The Tigers have one win (Charleston Southern Spring Invitational) and five top-five finishes with an overall record of 59-41-4 (.587).

The Spartans have one win (Notre Dame Gridiron Classic) and three top-five finishes in six starts with an overall record of 44-27-1 (.618).

Winner: Michigan State

__Texas vs. Stanford __

The Longhorns and Cardinal both played in the Olympia Fields Illini Invitational (UT: second; Stanford: fifth) and the Isleworth Invitational (Stanford: ninth; UT: T-14).

Texas has three top-five finishes in 10 starts and an overall record of 66-52-3 (.558); Stanford has one win (UH-Hilo Invitational) and five top-fives in seven starts with an overall record of 64-17 (.790).

Winner: Stanford

__Elite 8

Michigan State vs. Stanford__

There's a little Intrigue here, with former Stanford assistant coach Sam Puryear now the head coach at MSU. Since the schools haven't played in the same event, the winning percentages determine the ...

Winner: Stanford


__WEST REGION

Sweet 16

UCLA vs. Western Kentucky __

The Bruins have three wins (Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, Callaway Match Play, CordeValle Collegiate) and six top-five finishes in six starts with a overall record of 56-7 (.889).

The Hilltoppers have one win (Cobb-Ferrell Mean Green Classic) but it's their lone top-five finish. Their overall record is 40-40 (.500).

Winner: UCLA

Xavier vs. West Virginia

The Musketeers have no wins and two top-five finishes with an overall record of 43-56-2 (.436).

The Mountaineers don't have a varsity men's golf team.

Winner: Xavier

__Elite 8

UCLA vs. Xavier__

The two schools haven't played in the same event this year, so the winning percentage gives the victory to ...

Winner: UCLA


__FINAL FOUR

Tennessee vs. Wisconsin__

The Volunteers and Badgers haven't squared off this season. The Volunteers' .791 winning percentage beats the Badgers' .688.

Winner: Tennessee

Stanford vs. UCLA

These Pac-10 rivals, interestingly, have played in just one common events: the CordeValle Collegiate. There, the Bruins won the team title by 11 strokes over the runner-up Cardinal.

Winner: UCLA

__NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP

Tennessee vs. UCLA__

The battle for the national title is a good one with the Volunteers and Bruins have played in three tournaments together:

Callaway Match Play: UCLA wins; Tennessee is fifth

Ping/Arizona Invitational: Tennessee wins; UCLA is third

John Hayt Collegiate Invitational: UCLA is second; Tennessee is T-3

Ucla_logo

And there you have it â¿¿ you heard it here first â¿¿ the winner of the 2007 NCAA men's basketball tournament will be the UCLA Bruins.

Thanks of course to their golf team.

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