The expert’s take: Mike DeCourcy weighs in on IU, Purdue and Butler’s NCAA draws
INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2016) — It’s that time of year: the time of year when everyone is a college basketball expert.
The vast majority of armchair bracketologists only have the insight they’ve gleaned from watching the regular season and conference tournaments from their couch. But a select few, like Sports News college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy, have watched dozens of games in person and studied the college basketball landscape for five months. Those folks – DeCourcy included – are true experts.
With that in mind, Indy Sports Central asked DeCourcy for his thoughts on Indiana, Purdue and Butler as they get set to begin play in the NCAA Tournament. Below are his thoughts on the three Central Indiana entrants.
DeCourcy was surprised the Hoosiers were relegated to a 5-seed.
“To me, I thought they were in the hunt for a number one coming into this weekend,” DeCourcy said. “I didn’t think losing the quarterfinal game to Michigan was suggestive of a five seed. I thought it did not reflect their achievement during the year,” he added.
So could the Hoosiers — possibly with a chip on their shoulder — make a deep run? DeCourcy says yes, but warns the East Region is stacked.
“It’s a ridiculously strong region, one of the strongest I’ve ever seen.”
Indiana opens the Tournament against 12-seed Chattanooga on Thursday night in Des Moines. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:10 PM.
Matt Painter said he was completely fine with his team being given a 5-seed. And he’ll like what DeCourcy thinks about the Boilers draw.
“I like their draw. I do,” DeCourcy said.
DeCourcy thinks the Boilers big men could be problematic for opponents. If they get past Little Rock, he thinks their potential matchup with 4-seed Iowa State is favorable.
“Iowa State … very skilled, very good basketball team, not a good defensive team,” DeCourcy says. “They should have real challenges defending against Hammons, Haas, Swanigan, as well as Vince Edwards.”
The top-seed in Purdue’s region, the Midwest, is Virginia. The 2-seed is Michigan State and the 3-seed is Utah. Could Purdue make life tough on any of them and make a deep run?
“I absolutely believe that they could,” says DeCourcy.
Purdue’s game against Little Rock is Thursday at 4:30 PM in Denver.
The Bulldogs will play in a dreaded 8/9 game. A win means they face the 1-seed. In this case (Midwest Region), that would be Virginia.
But DeCourcy thinks that’s potentially a positive matchup for the Dawgs. More on that in a moment, but first, their opening round opponent, Texas Tech.
“Not a powerful team,” said DeCourcy. “Texas Christian (TCU) beat them on a neutral floor last week, so a team that you certainly should be able to deal with,” he added.
If Chris Holtmann’s team can beat the Red Raiders, DeCourcy believes they’d make life tough on UVA.
“Of all the 1-seeds, I think that Virginia is the best one for Butler to play,” he says. “If they get to that game, of all the one seeds, I think that’s the one they have the best chance to beat.”
The Bulldogs face Texas Tech early on the first day of the Dance: 12:40 PM on Thursday in Raleigh.