now that my unbeaten file of selecting the No. 13 or decrease seeds within the NCAA Match publicly stays intact after Furman’s win over Virginia On Thursday, I resolve to not relaxation on my laurels and let you know all about one other prediction I made earlier this week. For followers of Deadspin’s agree disagree video sequence, this can be a choice I’ve already proclaimed on digital camera. Auburn will defeat the No. 1 seed from the Midwest area in Houston on Saturday. It is not as unbalanced as selecting Paladins or Saint Peter over Kentucky final yr, however there isn’t a doubt that he is not going to be favored.
The Cougars seemed horrible towards one of many worst groups within the NCAA Match. Northern Kentucky got here off a weak main low within the Horizon League. The Nordics actually impressed me final night time and held their very own with one of many reputed greatest groups within the nation. Kelvin Sampson’s crew earned that No. 1 seed and was arguably probably the most constant crew within the nation in the course of the common season. And both Houston was wanting previous a crew it knew it may simply beat, or the Nordic upstart actually laid out what a crew with out Marcus Sasser is like.
When you take away the perfect participant on any nice crew, he will not be as highly effective anymore. Purdue with out Zach Edey is a bubble crew and may very well be enjoying within the NIT proper now. al with out brandon millerthat must be a actuality proper now with the off the pitch drama surrounding the Crimson Tide, would have gotten a powerful seed in The Huge Dance, however in all probability extra towards the 4-5 line. Sasser is that needle mover for the Cougars. The descent with out the 6-foot-2 primary guard and possible NBA lottery decide on account of a groin damage suffered on the American Athletic Convention Match final week, it goes with out saying. He was taken off at half time by Sampson and Houston was inconsistent with out him.
Auburn had an actual matchup with Iowa on paper. The Tigers had been at all times higher than their prime seeds, whereas Iowa was not. The Hawkeyes have by no means had a protracted match run beneath Fran McCaffery and this yr’s Kris Murray-led crew was no totally different. The SEC outperformed the Huge Ten. There is no such thing as a approach round that. And Auburn may have thrown a number of extra late-game punches if essential. Within the night time cup, it was apparent late within the recreation how drained Northern Kentucky was. A crew higher conditioned to play Houston, which will likely be each crew the Cougars see for the remainder of the season, will likely be higher in a position to benefit from a susceptible and unmotivated roster. And if lack of momentum is not a actuality for UH, it did not present it towards the Nordics. He additionally has a fantastic probability at redemption towards Auburn. However nothing is assured. And groups led by Bruce Pearl typically do not fail when offered with that type of alternative.
It is unclear if Sasser will play at 7:10 p.m. on TBS with a visit to the Candy 16 on the road. It is clear that if he does play, he will not be utterly wholesome, which is already a downgrade from what we have anticipated of the Cougars for many of this season. Auburn is a crew that has been by loads of adversity this season and nonetheless discovered its approach safely to March Insanity. It is a totally different type of entice to outline Houston’s adversity. To say the Cougars have not been by both can be foolish. Their resistance paths have been examined in video games, with extra tangible rewards, comparable to 11 extra wins than the Tigers this season, on the highway. That may imply little Saturday night time in Birmingham, a brief 110-mile drive from Auburn. And it will not be a house recreation for the AU, nevertheless it ought to really feel that approach from the group. Houston is coming into enemy territory and I do not suppose it is sturdy sufficient to get out of the primetime matchup with a season to go.
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