Now that my undefeated document of choosing No. 13 seeds or decrease within the NCAA Match publicly remains to be intact after Furman’s victory over Virginia on Thursday, I’m deciding 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 Conform to Disagree video collection, this can be a choice I’ve already proclaimed on digicam. Auburn will upset the Midwest area’s No. 1 seed in Houston on Saturday. It’s not fairly the lopsided upset as choosing the Paladins or Saint Peter’s over Kentucky final yr, but it surely’s little doubt not what’ll be favored.
The Cougars appeared horrible towards one of many worst groups within the NCAA Match. Northern Kentucky received out of a weak low-major within the Horizon League. The Norse genuinely impressed me final night time and held robust with one of many supposed finest groups within the nation. Kelvin Sampson’s squad earned that No. 1 seed and was arguably probably the most constant group within the nation in the course of the common season. And Houston both was trying previous a group it knew it may simply defeat, or the upstart Norse really uncovered what a Marcus Sasser-less group appears to be like like.
In case you take the very best participant away from any nice group, it gained’t be as mighty anymore. Purdue with out Zach Edey is a bubble group and could be enjoying within the NIT proper now. Alabama with out Brandon Miller, which must be a actuality proper now with the off-court drama surrounding the Crimson Tide, would’ve gotten a robust seed in The Massive Dance, however doubtless extra towards the 4-5 line. Sasser is that needle-mover for the Cougars. The drop-off with out the 6-foot-2 senior guard and doubtless NBA lottery choose due to a groin harm suffered within the American Athletic Convention Match final week, is clear. He was pulled at halftime by Sampson and Houston was inconsistent with out him.
Auburn had a real toss-up matchup with Iowa on paper. The Tigers had been at all times higher than their seeding, whereas Iowa wasn’t. The Hawkeyes have by no means had a long term within the match beneath Fran McCaffery and this yr’s Kris Murray-led squad was no totally different. The SEC outmuscled the Massive Ten. There’s no means round that. And Auburn may have thrown a number of extra punches on the finish of the sport if wanted. Within the nightcap, it was apparent by the top of the sport how drained Northern Kentucky was. A group higher conditioned to play with Houston, which might be each group the Cougars see the remainder of the season, will be capable of take higher benefit of a inclined, unmotivated squad. And if the dearth of drive isn’t actuality for UH, it didn’t present it towards the Norse. It additionally has an excellent likelihood for redemption towards Auburn. However nothing’s assured. And Bruce Pearl-coached groups normally don’t miss when provided that type of alternative.
G/O Media could get a fee
It’s not clear if Sasser will play at 7:10 p.m. on TBS with a visit to the Candy 16 on the road. It’s clear that if he performs, he gained’t be at full well being, which is already a downgrade from what we’ve anticipated from the Cougars for many of this season. Auburn is a group that’s gone by means of a bunch of adversity this season and nonetheless discovered its means safely into March Insanity. It’s a unique form of entice to outline the adversity for Houston. Saying the Cougars have been by means of none could be silly. Their paths of resistance have been examined in video games, with extra tangible rewards, like 11 extra wins than the Tigers this season, alongside the way in which. That’ll imply little come Saturday night time in Birmingham, a brief 110-mile journey from Auburn. And it may not be a house recreation for the AU, but it surely ought to really feel prefer it from the gang. Houston’s strolling into enemy territory and I don’t suppose it’ll be robust sufficient to stroll out of the primetime matchup nonetheless with a season to play for.
Leave a Reply