Hindsight's 20/20

Rummaging through a desk seriously in need of a spring cleaning, I found a 2005-06 NCAA basketball projection compiled by the folks who do the Tip-Off preseason guide. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I was amused by how few of the preseason picks actually panned out.

For instance:

No. 1 pick Duke has lived up to expectations thus far. The Blue Demons were a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and they've won their first two games.

No. 2 pick Illinois, however, was a No. 4 seed that lost in Round 2 of the Big Dance.

No. 3 pick Oklahoma was a No. 6 seed that lost in Round 1.

No. 4 pick Louisville didn't even qualify for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Through four picks, the Tip-Off experts were batting just .250 – one hit and three misses. They were about to rally, however.

No. 5 pick UConn was a No. 1 seed that won its first two games. No. 6 pick Texas, a No. 2 seed, did the same. So did No. 7 pick Gonzaga, a No. 3 seed, No. 8 pick UCLA, a No. 2 seed, and No. 9 pick Memphis, a No. 1 seed.

Just as the guys at Tip-Off were mounting a serious comeback, however, things went south. Their No. 10 pick, Arizona, proved to be a No. 8 seed that lost in the tourney's first round. Their No. 11 pick, Texas Tech, didn't get invited to the Big Dance.

No. 12 pick Boston College, a 4 seed, is still alive in the Tourney but No. 13 pick Michigan State, a 6 seed, bowed out in Round 1. No. 14 pick Wake Forest didn't make the field and No. 15 pick Kentucky, an 8 seed, was ousted in Round 2.

No. 17 pick Nevada, No. 20 pick Syracuse and No. 22 pick Kansas were first-round losers in the NCAA Tournament, while No. 20 pick Stanford and No. 25 pick Oklahoma State were non-invitees.

What does this prove? Probably that it takes more guts than smarts to compile preseason projections.


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