Misses and Money: The Teams in the 2022 NCAA Tournament that are over or underseeded

Happy March! It’s the analytics holy grail this time of year with the greatness of March Madness upon us! The tournament begins today with the first set of 16 games and will conclude on April 4th with the National Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana. The field of 68 was released on Sunday the 13th and it was not without controversy.  Some notable names and resumes of Texas A&M and Wake Forest were left out of the field in favor of Wyoming, Notre Dame and Michigan who some would argue had significantly weaker resumes.

 For the sake of this discussion, we’re only going to discuss the field of 68 and more specifically, the top 13 seeds of each region. These 52 teams include all of the at-large bids and also the strong auto qualifiers from the mid major conferences. Additionally, due to the nature of the tournament, seeds 14-16 are mainly teams that find themselves at the top of their conference but at the bottom of the college basketball pool as a whole. I know, I know, who am I to judge a 14/15/16 seed when they are the ones who cause the crazy upsets but for the sake of nicer numbers and better averages we’re excluding teams that are seeded 14-16. 


We are comparing 3 ways of ranking teams: The NCAA’s Seed list, Ken Pom’s team rankings (referred to as KP) and the NCAA’s NET (referred to as NET). The NCAA’s seed list comes directly from the committee and ranks each team from 1-68 (referred to as a team’s seed) and also ranked 1-16 (referred to as a team’s macro seed). Each team’s KenPom ranking comes from Ken Pom’s website, calculated based on his metrics and generally a strong predictor of team actual success and strength. Each team’s NET ranking comes from the NCAA’s website, calculated based on quality of wins/losses. For more info on how the NET is calculated, click here. 

We determined each team’s actual seed, Ken Pom ranking and NET ranking and then from there created a new value for each team from the average of their Ken Pom ranking and NET ranking, a number we called their “Metric Seed”. We then compared this new Metric Seed to the actual seed from the NCAA to find out which team’s should be ranked higher or lower, both on a 1-16 level (Macro) and on a 1-68 (seed) level so let’s dig in with a look at each region of the bracket!

Based on this graphic, it would appear that the midwest is the weakest region of the bracket with each team being ranked 11 seeds too high on average and only three teams from the region are underseeded (Iowa -6.5, LSU -3.5, SDSU -7.5). 

The disparity is the same numerically but seems even worse in context when looking at what each team would be seeded using the Macro level similar to the commonly understood visual of a bracket that the NCAA uses. The midwest once again appears to somehow have every team overseeded by an average of 2.417. Utilizing Metric Macro Seed, the region does not have an actual 1 seed with Kansas being ranked 6th, the 2nd best two seed according to metrics. Their 3 and 4 seeds of Wisconsin and Providence respectively aren’t even in the top 5 of teams in that region according to our metric macro seed. That belongs to, in order, Kansas (2), Auburn (3), Iowa (4), LSU (5), San Diego State (6). While that may mean they are loaded with mid-tier talent, it may not bode well for Kansas and Auburn whose paths to the tournament may be harder than meets the eye. 

Switching focus to the East, the committee did well in this region with many teams being very close to their actual seed. 8 of the 17 (Indiana and Wyoming are in a play-in game) teams from this region are underseeded while 9 of the 17 are overseeded: almost a perfect balance. 

 This region is one of the strongest regions in the bracket according to Metric Macro Seed with 12 teams that would be a 10 seed or better in the metric system as well as six teams who would find themselves a 5 seed or better under the new metric system. The East has lots of strong teams, but they also have teams that fit their spot well. So yes, while they may have teams that may be better on average than other regions, the NCAA nailed their seeding in this region. 

In terms of just teams the NCAA missed pretty badly on a couple. Providence is the first one that comes to our mind. Based on the metrics, Providence should be a macro seed of 11, yet the NCAA has them as a 4. Could they be on upset alert early in this tournament? If you trust in the metrics, their game against South Dakota State could be much closer than the seeds would suggest. Staying in that midwest region we have our next two highest overseeded teams of the 10 seeded Miami, being overseeded 6 seeds (Yes, they should be a 16 according to this metric…) and Creighton being overseeded by 5, lowering them down to a 13. Look for USC to take their game over Miami easier than normal and San Diego State. 

The committee had some large misses on the other end based on the metrics though. Mainly looking at Houston. Based on the Metric Macro seed, Houston should be on the 1 line and yet they find themselves seeded a 5 by the NCAA, not good news if you’re Illinois or Arizona! To make matters worse, our second most underseeded team is just a couple lines below Houston in that south bracket in Loyola-Chicago, an NCAA 10 seed with a Macro Suggested seed of 6. Bad bad news if you’re Ohio State, who we have as an actual 8 seed… Maybe this one isn’t as obvious but vegas has the line at EVEN. If that moves a smidge towards Ohio State, take that Loyola bet and run like the wind. 

So, who did we miss? Who do you think the committee got right but the metrics are wrong? Is there any team that you agree with us on? Let us know and let the madness begin!

Sports Media Spotlight: The Old Man & the Three

A lot of times, athlete podcasts can be hit or miss. That is not the case with The Old Man & the Three. This podcast is led by longtime NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick and, in my opinion, is the best podcast by an athlete on the market. Redick has a talent for asking great, prying questions to his guests, usually current NBA players. Redick can make his guests open up in a way that few can do in the sports media space. One of my favorite episodes is with a former teammate of JJ Redick and current Phoenix Sun Chris Paul. Here is a clip from the episode:

Chris Paul talks about the time he was injured in the playoffs against the Lakers and couldn’t raise his arm above his head. Both a fascinating and funny story.

Another one of my favorites is the interview with Warriors star Draymond Green. Green is acknowledged as one of the most intelligent minds in basketball, and it shows. He has a ton of insights and commentary about the current state of the NBA and the Warriors dynasty.

I recommend this podcast to anyone who is an NBA fan who wants detailed analysis and exciting stories. Let me know your thoughts!

Sports Media Spotlight: Foolish Baseball

Over this past season of the MLB, my appreciation for Baseball has grown a great deal. One of the biggest reasons for this is Foolish Baseball. Foolish Baseball is a youtube channel and Twitter account that strives to tell exciting stories about baseball history using statistics in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way. Foolish Baseball calls the series of videos about Baseball, Baseball Bits. These Baseball Bits use a retro 8-bit theme to tell a story about a topic in baseball history. Here are a few of my favorite videos:

A video about perhaps the most remarkable pitching inning ever, but not in the way you would expect.

An interesting study about a player that, on the surface, may seem below average but excels in one vital area.

For someone too young to see Barry Bonds live, this great video encapsulates Barry Bond’s greatness in four plate appearances.

I hope you all can grow your appreciation for the game of Baseball and its illustrious history like I have through Foolish Baseball. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Dealine

Yesterday’s NBA trade deadline provided basketball fans with a lot of fireworks. Here are my thoughts on who won and who lost during the Trade Deadline.


Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Cavs are one of the biggest surprises so far this NBA season. The combination of young talents such as Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen has made them a legitimate contender to make some serious noise in the East. Earlier this week, the Cavaliers traded with the Indiana Pacers for shooting guard Caris LeVert. LeVert gives the Cavs a scorer that can attack the rim, which is precisely what they need. With the first-place Bulls being hit with the injury bug, I would not be surprised if the upstart Cavaliers took over that spot in the East. So, if you haven’t already, I would start paying attention.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans have been somewhat disappointing so far this year. Zion Williamson has been sidelined the whole season thus far, and players like recently acquired Devonte Graham have not lived up to expectations. Some positives have been the continued development of Brandon Ingram and the return to form for Jonas Valanciunas. The Pelicans traded for CJ McCollum, which I think once Zion is healthy again makes a dangerous big three in the west with Zion, Ingram, and McCollum. McCollum is a proven scorer who will work well alongside the big athletic players that the Pelicans have. My only worry is while this trade does make the Pelicans objectively better, what is their ceiling? I worry they may become the new Portland Trailblazers and repeatedly flame out in the playoffs after the first round. It will be interesting to see how this trio works.

Ben Simmons

I am a self-proclaimed Ben Simmons hater, but you can’t deny that his fit on the Nets is perfect. Simmons adds All-NBA level defense, elite playmaking, and excellent rebounding to an already talented team. Playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving takes a lot of the scoring pressure off of Simmons, allowing him to maximize his talents. As a basketball fan, it will be exciting to see what the Nets can do in the wide-open Eastern Conference.


Portland Trailblazers

Portland made a lot of moves, and I can’t say I like any of them. I think Portland should blow up their team and start over since clearly, they are not going to win a championship around Damian Lillard. And it seemed like they were going down this path by dealing with CJ McCollum, but reports have said otherwise. Currently, led by an interim GM, the Trailblazers are planning on doing a “soft retooling” to try and build around Lillard. I am just confused at how they can form a better team now than what they have had in the past. Portland has proven not to be a free agent destination, and they do not have many legitimate assets to trade for a star. So, I just wonder what is next for them, and I don’t think it will be very good.

Domantas Sabonis

I love Sabonis as a player, and I was excited going into the deadline to see if he would get traded to a contender. But that did not happen. He was traded to the Kings and is stuck there until 2024 unless he is dealt again. Sabonis is a dynamic offensive player who can score, pass, and rebound, but again how is the situation better on the Kings than with the Pacers? I would argue not much. I think De’Aaron Fox and Sabonis can create some offensive fireworks, but I don’t see them winning very many games. Which is a shame for the talented player that Sabonis is.

Los Angeles Lakers

The reason the Lakers have been losing has little to do with their deadline moves. It has to do with the offseason mistakes that have led them to this position they are in now. Trading for Russell Westbrook was a horrible move that did not make sense then and does not make sense now. The Lakers gave up most of their trade assets in Kyle Kuzma, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell in the deal for Westbrook, which means they are stuck with Westbrook and his massive contract for this season. Unless the Lakers magically turn it on over the rest of the season, they will have a lot of decisions to make in the offseason.

MLB Bold Offseason Predictions

One Bold Off-season Prediction for Each MLB Division.

AL East: The Yankees will sign two premier infielders this offseason.

It is no secret that the Yankees infield struggled this season, especially on defense. With a plethora of elite infielders available this offseason, don’t be surprised if the Yankees open up their wallet for one if not two. I believe that Corey Seager makes the most sense for the Yankees, but I could also see them being in the market for Carlos Correa, who will demand a lot of money which the Yankees have. This current Yankees regime has underachieved over the past decade and will be under a short leash to return to championship form.

NL East: The Marlins will be sneaky contenders for a lot of free agents.

The Marlins have a lot of issues. One of them is not starting pitching, which is something not a lot of teams can say. With the emergence of pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rogers, I could see them trying to spend some money to build a better offense around them. I could see the Marlins being in play for bringing back Starling Marte or maybe some other veterans such as Kris Bryant or Chis Taylor. It will be interesting to see what Derek Jeter and GM Kim Ng will do.

AL Central: The Guardians will be huge sellers.

This might not come true this offseason, but the Guardians have some attractive pieces and a cheap ownership group which is a perfect recipe for a fire sale. Recent Cy Young winner Shane Bieber and (in my opinion) the best third baseman in baseball Jose Ramirez are due for huge paydays soon but could be traded for huge organizational cornerstones. As Cleveland changes its brand these will be two to keep an eye on through next summer as trade pieces.

NL Central: The Brewers trade Josh Hader.

The Brewers took a step forward this year by winning the NL Central but could not get it done in the playoffs again. Simply put, the Brewers need more offense. Additions like Eduardo Escobar and Willy Adames helped last year, but with the decline of Christian Yelich, they will likely be looking for some bats this offseason. Josh Hader was undoubtedly the best reliever in baseball last year and is due for a hefty payday next year once his arbitration years end. The former rookie of the year, Devin Williams, showed again that he is one of the top relievers in baseball and would be the perfect successor to Hader if the Brewers decided to move him for some more offense.

AL West: The Mariners make some waves.

The Mariners had an unexpectedly good season this past year, narrowly missing the playoffs. The Mariners also have a lot of financial flexibility this offseason, with many veteran contracts coming to an end. On top of all that, they have two highly touted prospects in Jared Kelecic and Julio Rodriguez, hopefully coming up next season. I think this offseason is a critical offseason for the Mariners to add some key pieces to go along with their exciting prospects. I could see them involved with Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, or even Marcus Semien. This is an exciting time to be a Mariners fan.

NL West: The Giants reset.

I don’t think they will blow up by any means, but with the oldest roster in the MLB and many key free agents this offseason, I think we will see a very different Giants team in 2022. With the news of long-time cornerstone Buster Posey retiring, I think we will see some significant changes. One factor, though, is the Giants have proven in the past that they are willing to spend, and this offseason will be no exception. If the Giants want to remain competitive with the Dodgers (who by far have the highest payroll in baseball), they will have to spend like the Dodgers.

A Squeezed League: The WNBA’s 144 Issue

Paige Bueckers, Caitlin Clark, Hailey van Lith. 3 NCAA women’s basketball stars who also are freshmen in college. Bueckers, being the best out of the 3 has claimed almost every award than a college basketball player could want, winning AP Player of the Year, Naismith Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. She’s only missing a title. In an interview with Sue Bird, a 17 year WNBA veteran, Bueckers was said “to probably be the number 1 pick in this year’s draft.” Sadly, we won’t get a chance to know that this year as the WNBA requires its draft entrants to play all 4 years in college or be 22 and forgo eligibility. This rule clearly should mirror the NBA and allow for one-and-dones to benefit the student athlete but the real issue is with the WNBA itself: there simply isn’t enough room.

Chantel Jennings, a senior writer for all things women’s basketball at the Athletic recently tweeted about the difficulty in making a WNBA roster stating that “realistically there are only fewer than 9 spots”. That’s less than the number of picks in the first round of the draft. I’ll let you do the math on that one to find out how many first round picks, the 12 best players that college ball could offer to the league (under their rules), won’t make a team. Now there’s two logical solutions to this problem but only one is truly feasible. Option 1 is that the WNBA can add roster spots, further stacking teams and shoving talent down to the far left (or right) of the bench. From a logistical standpoint, this would force the W to spread their already small revenue pool further to each team in a way that they simply cannot afford. Option 2 is to introduce more teams. With only 12 WNBA teams and 3 of them being the only professional basketball team in the city, there is LARGE potential for expansion. Big NBA cities such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami and more have the infrastructure to not only obtain but support a WNBA team. The introduction of new teams in new markets would help to not only increase total league roster spots, but also potentially increase league revenue and vanity. 

Popularity for women’s basketball is increasing. The potential for revenue is there; the question becomes who will be brave enough to expand the league and continue the growth of the W.

Starting Hot: The Greatness of Women’s Basketball

By: Austin Streitmatter

Happy Tuesday! Welcome to Starting Hot, a section where we look at some of the events in the sports world during the upcoming week with a special highlight to our Game of The Week and our Team of the Week. We won’t dive super into detail on every game here but will give you a quick glance as to what days you should be glued to your TV or which games to be sure you record! (All stats are written as of February 15th)

The PAC 12 is ridiculed amongst many of the major sports for being at the bottom of the Power 5. That cannot be said when it comes to Women’s basketball. UCLA and Oregon are ranked 8th and 13th in the country yet are 3rd and 4th in the PAC 12 respectively. These two teams are deep and have talent that would start in unranked teams sitting on the end of the bench. UCLA is led by Junior forward Michaela Onyenwere who leads the team in both Points and Rebounds per game. Outside of one game against Stanford, UCLA has lost by a total of 7 points across two games. UCLA is a good team and is only getting better! On the flip side, Kelly Graves’ Oregon Ducks are led by Sophomore forward Nyara Sabally (her older sister Satou also was an Oregon Star) who paces them in Points and Rebounds as well as blocks and is second on the team in field goal percentage. The Ducks also have senior leadership from Senior Erin Boley, a sharpshooter from beyond the arc, who is shooting a ridiculous 40% from 3 this year. The two teams have met once before with UCLA coming out on top by only 2 points. Record this game, it will be a good one: Pac-12 Network on Friday at 7pm CT

Also in the NCAAW world are some great matchups between top 15 teams and potential Sweet Sixteen previews. Firstly there is a fine battle between the #11 Michigan Wolverines and the #14 Indiana Hoosiers on Thursday. This will be the only matchup between these two teams during the regular season. The Wolverines are led by junior forward Naz Hillmon who heads a trio of double digit point scorers with an average of 25.7 points per game. They have a single loss on the year to a tough and solid Ohio State team. On the flip side is an Indiana Hoosier team that has been on the rise for the past couple of years. They are led by Grace Berger who recently joined an elite club of ballers to have a triple double against the same team more than once. Also in this club are NCAAW legends Dawn Staley (Current South Carolina HC) and Sabrina Ionescu (2020 WNBA Draft #1 Pick). 

Michigan also will get a chance to get revenge on that same Ohio State team that they lost to on Sunday the 21st. The Buckeyes have a developing cornerstone in point guard Madison Greene who looks to lead the Buckeyes back to the right path after an upset loss to Wisconsin last week. This game is at 1 pm CT. 

In the NHL the action is packed this week. There is a single game cancelled due to COVID this week. The NHL’s plan to prevent exposure with realigned divisions and quicker games appears to be working. This Thursday, the NHL fanbase is treated to a rematch of the Stanley Cup when the Dallas Stars host the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning will be without star forward Nikita Kucherov as he is out for the year after having hip surgery. The Stars will also be without forward Alexander Radulov but the game should still be a thrilling rematch and if it’s anything similar to the Stanley Cup games, it will be worth the watch. 

In the NBA we have a trio of games amongst 4 teams that should all be great games. The team with the best record in the league currently plays against the LA Clippers on Wednesday. Yep, you guessed it, it’s still the Utah Jazz. The LA Clippers have recently been shorthanded due to injuries but the teams still matchup well. On Thursday, the King and the Lakers host the newest Big 3 from Brooklyn in a potential finals preview. Look for Kevin Durant to make a return in this game as well as Lebron. The Lakers will need Lebron back as Anthony Davis will be out for the foreseeable future. Brooklyn then stays in the Staples Center but this time against the Los Angeles Clippers. This game could potentially be a blowout with both teams having played difficult schedules leading up to the game. 

Finally we reach the team of the week. This one isn’t a team, sorry, it’s a conference. The Big Ten currently has 3 teams in the top 5 of the AP poll for Men’s Basketball. Additionally, they have 4 teams in the top 15 in both Men’s and Women’s Basketball. The Big 10 is deep this year. It is unknown if any team is a real threat to Baylor and Gonzaga who have looked unbeatable, but if any conference has a chance to unseat them it is likely that the team will come from the Big 10. 

So there you have it, an outlook on the week. Should be a great week if you’re a basketball fan! Do you have a game you’re most looking forward to? Let us know down below in the comments. But before you go, here is one thing Austin is excited to watch this week: The Return of Bracketology.

Starting Hot: Basketball Takes the Reigns Back

By: Austin Streitmatter

Happy Monday! Welcome to Starting Hot, a section where we look at some of the events in the sports world during the upcoming week with a special highlight to our Game of The Week and our Team of the Week. We won’t dive super into detail on every game here but will give you a quick glance as to what days you should be glued to your TV or which games to be sure you record! (All stats are written as of February 8th)

Any time two teams at the top of their conferences play each other, it is special. It’s even more special when both those teams are in the same conference and have legit Elite Eight hopes… and also when it happens in February. Both teams are coming off of losses but that doesn’t mean this game won’t be a great one. The VIllanova Wildcats are led by a pair of talented Sophomore in Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore with veteren experience at the head in Senior Point Guard Collin GIllaspie. The 3 lead the team in minutes (each averaging over 30 minutes a game) and either Gillaspie or Robinson-Earl leads the team in every major statistical category (Points, Assists, Rebounds, Steals, Blocks). 

On the other side of the court is a talented Creighton Blue Jays team. Each of the top 5 scorers for Creighton is at least a junior with 3 seniors. Experience is not a problem for Creighton. They are led on offense by Junior Guard Marcus Zegarowski who is averaging around 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4.5 assists a game. He’s also playing 33 minutes a game (82.% of the game). Creighton scores the ball well but recently has struggled as they have scored below their average of 79 Points per game over their past 3 games. This game should be a preview of the Big East tournament final and is Afternoon Analytics Game of The Week! Tune in to Fox at 5 pm ET to catch this one. 

Outside of our game of the week, College basketball is still giving fans quality games all week. The Big 12 gives us 3 great games between 3 teams across the week with #14 West Virginia traveling to Lubbock to face #7 Texas Tech on Tuesday. Texas Tech then travels to Waco to play the #2 Baylor Bears and finally Baylor travels to Morgantown to play #14 West Virginia. Schedules that play out like this are one of the great aspects of college basketball as fans should be able to evaluate each of these teams well after this week. Keeping with the spirit of Upset Rematches, (Did you see Indiana beat Iowa AGAIN on Saturday? We told you to watch this game in last week’s post) we get another one this week. These rematches aren’t between a ranked team and an unranked team but rather two ranked teams that when they played each other last resulted in a blowout. On Sunday Juwan Morgan’s #3 Michigan Wolverines journey to the notorious Kohl Center in Madison in hopes of replicating their previous performance against the #21 Wisconsin Badgers. Last time these two teams played Michigan went on a 43-6 run en route to a 77-54 dominating victory. It’s unlikely that we will see something as crazy as that but you truly never know. We also get a great matchup next Monday between Tony Bennet’s #9 Virginia Cavaliers and Leonard Hamilton’s #17 Florida State Seminoles. Both of these teams are the clear favorites to win the ACC, but only one will win this matchup and the ACC itself. 

Speaking of the ACC, in the NBA we get a matchup between recent ACC stats when former Duke Blue Devil Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics travel over to Utah to face former Louisville Cardinal Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. The Jazz currently hold the best record in the entire league at 19-5 and Boston is hoping to continue to climb up the Eastern Conference standings as they currently sit in 4th at 12-10. When you talk about young stars in the NBA, it’s almost impossible to not talk about the Luka Doncic-Trae Young trade from 2018. In that deal, the Dallas Mavericks sent their #5 pick and a 2019 first round pick to Atlanta in a trade for the #3 pick in 2018 that they used to select Luka Doncic. The Hawks would use that #5 pick to select Trae Young and then the 2019 pick to select DeAndre Hunter. These two get to go head-to-head in one of my favorite matchups to watch on Wednesday in Dallas. The Hawks will return back to Atlanta to face the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. This matchup should be a good one as both teams have roughly the same record and lead their respective divisions. Also, Afternoon Analytics will be at the game! Can I say Go Hawks on here? 

One of the struggles with writing this column when it comes to the NHL is the way the NHL is handling the COVID effect on scheduling. The NHL changed their divisional set-ups to reduce travelling and are only playing interdivisional games. It’s one of the best handlings of COVID that we have seen from a professional league but it means that there are a ton of back-to-backs against the same teams across the league. So for this week, we wanted to highlight Matvei Michkov. Matvei just broke reigning Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL’s MVP) Nikita Kucherov’s record for most goals scored in a single MHL season under the age of 17. He’s scored 30 goals in a professional hockey league as a 16 year old. I’m 20 and my most impressive sports feat is scoring 9 points in a minute in an intramural game. I’ll let you decide what you think is more impressive but I’m taking Michkov. He’ll be draft eligible in 2023 and is already getting strong looks from scouts and is at the top of his class. 

In the NCAAW world we saw #1 Louisvllle lose last week meaning that there are no longer any undefeated teams in the top 25. This week is a product of last week’s amazing schedule as there are only 3 games with top 25 teams playing each other. #16 Tennessee and #20 Kentucky play as Tennessee enters its hardest part of the schedule: A 3 game stretch against top 20 teams. Look for these teams to be contenders in the SEC tournament though, both teams have talent to compete but are in a tough SEC league where Kentucky at #20 in the country is 4th in the SEC. The Big 10 gives a strong matchup when #21 Northwestern and #12 Ohio State face off. Ohio State only has 2 losses on the year with one of them being to Northwestern so they will be hungry to avenge half of their losses. That game is on Sunday. Next Monday the Pac-12 continues to show their case for being the deepest conference in college basketball when #5 Stanford and Fran Belibi travel to one of my favorite basketball courts and Eugene as they look to bolster their record and secure a place as a #1 seed against the #11 Oregon Ducks and Te-Hina Paopao. 

Our Team of the Week comes from the WNBA and it is the Chicago Sky. The Sky signed hometown hero Candace Parker to a 2 year deal this week. Anytime a team can sign a former MVP is a win but it’s especially a win when that former MVP is also the reigning Defensive Player of the year. The Sky now roll out a lineup next year of Courtney Vandersloot (she averaged 10.0 assists a game last year without Parker), Allie Quigley, Diamond DeShields and Candace Parker. The Sky have to be considered as one of the favorites to win the WNBA finals next year. 

So there you have it, an outlook on the week. Basketball fans are finally back on top of the Sports world Do you have a game you’re most looking forward to? Let us know down below in the comments. But before you go, here is one thing Austin is excited to watch this week: Trae Young play basketball in Person!

Wednesday Wrap-Up: Head Coach Carousel

By: Ryan Hain and Austin Streitmatter

The 7 NFL Head Coach openings have been filled so today Ryan Hain and Austin Streitmatter are grading each HC hiring. Read on and let us know if you think we taught you something you didn’t know or if you think that our grades are horrendous! We always love to hear from all of you!

Streitmatter: A

The Falcons clearly believe they still have the offensive talent to compete. This is the first Head Coach that the Falcons have hired with an immediate former job on the offensive side of the ball since 2007 when they hired Bobby Petrino. They’ve gone 13 years without an offensive minded coach at the helm so I’m excited to see what Smith can do after creating a machine of an offense in Tennessee. In the 2 years before Smith served TEN as their OC they were ranked 19th and 27th respectively. In the 2 years that Smith took over, TEN has had the 10th and 4th ranked offense in the league with the 2nd highest yards per game total last year. Smith can revolutionize an offense and the Falcons have the talent to do just that. 

Hain: A

I think this is an excellent hire by the Falcons. I am surprised that Arthur Smith, who was sought after by most of the teams on this list, decided to go to the Falcons, considering it is one of the least appealing jobs available. The cap situation is terrible, and the Falcons have the oldest roster in the NFL. With that being said, the Falcons do have the 4th pick and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. This hire means that the Falcons intend to squeeze every ounce they can out of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones which is the smart thing to do since I believe they have plenty left to offer, and their cap numbers would be a nightmare to move. Overall I’m excited to see what Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan can cook up, and it will be interesting to see where they go in the draft. 

Streitmatter: B

Campbell will be gone within the next 3 years not due to his faults but due to the fact that Detroit will be a bottom feeder for the next 3 years. They’re doing the right thing letting Stafford go and initiating a full rebuild but that means they will be BAD for the next couple years. He does have head coaching experience during his interim role with the Dolphins where he led them to a 6-10 record after Joe Philbin started them with a 1-3 record. Campbell also has been a part of a winning culture for the past 5 years with New Orleans as they made the playoffs 4 of those 5 years. Campbell won’t have the talent that was in New Orleans but he can start the shift back to relevance with his new culture and that’s why he gets a B.

Hain: B

I actually kind of like this hire. I think of him as Mike Vrabel turned up to 11. Don’t expect him to call any plays or offer a ton in terms of X’s and O’s, but he might be the best coach out there in terms of motivation. A former Lions player himself, I feel like he can give this Lions team a new identity, which they have been severely lacking for years. In his first press conference, he said some very interesting things about biting people’s knee caps and building a tough team . With Matthew Stafford out the door, I wonder where the Lions will go from here. If they can get some draft capital for Stafford, I could see them trading up for a quarterback or possibly sitting with the 7th picking and taking Trey Lance. If Cambell can surround himself with a good staff, I could see this hire working out pretty well for the Lions.

Streitmatter: F

The situation is terrible. There is no hope and outlook for Texans fans. The one minor brightside is that Watson will demand a King’s ransom and so the Texans may get some capital back. But for the next 2-3 years, expect these guys to be bad, very bad. Culley does have 27 years of coaching experience but what worries me is that he’s never been more than a position group coach except for a small stint at UTEP from 1989-’90. He’s had many assistant HC roles but nothing more and that scares me since he’s been a coach for 27 years as mentioned before. He struggled with a now MVP candidate in Josh Allen when he was at Buffalo and Lamar Jackson both in 2020 and through the air in 2019 (his 208.5 YPG was 28th).  Expect nothing and you’ll have a chance to be satisfied.

Hain: F

I feel sorry for Texans fans. The Texans were put into a lose-lose situation by their incompetence. They have no draft capital, Deshaun Watson wants out, and their owner is a clown. These three things combined make this job by far the worst in the NFL. It didn’t matter who they hired because they are set up to fail. I feel like this is a hire that is a placeholder through the hard times they are about to go through. I doubt David Culley will last two seasons.

Streitmatter: A

This is arguably my favorite hire for the entire cycle. Urban has historic success at Ohio State and Florida winning national titles with both schools. He’s had success at every school he’s been at and should continue to see success in the NFL. My 2 main fears with this hire are that he’s working with a rebuilding roster. The defense is iffy at best but the offense is solid. If Urban can hit some draft picks and sign some pieces for that defense, the Jaguars return to relevance could be sooner than we expect. The 2nd fear is the people have tended to gloss over Meyer’s past scandals. He’s been known to have some culture problems at OSU and UF. Now that may be because he was coaching college guys but that’s still a little scary.

Hain: B-

This is a complicated hire. On paper, the Jaguars have the most appealing job. They have the number one overall pick, which means Trevor Lawrence, they have a lot of cap space, and they have a lot of excellent young pieces to build around. I think Urban Meyer could be a good hire. He is a proven winner in the college ranks and has North Florida ties from his days in the swamp. I think he will be a good mentor for Trevor Lawrence and will bring a college mind to that offense. I graded this hire so low because there are just so many questions that need to be answered. The first is that Urban Meyer has never coached in the NFL. How will not being the man like he was in college and responding to the GM and owner work for him? How long is Urban committed to the NFL? He has had numerous health concerns in the past. I think if he responds well to his new role and is committed to the Jags long term, this would be a great hire, but until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Streitmatter: A

Anytime you can hire someone who led his unit to a top 3 performance is a good hire. Staley has constantly been promoted which I think is a great sign for a younger coach. Staley inherits a defense that is arguably better than the Rams defense. A healthy Derwin James, Joey Bosa and hopefully a newly signed Melvin Ingram gives the Bolts 3 stars at all levels of the defense. The offense is young and has a stellar rookie in Herbert. If Staley can replicate his success with the other LA team, the Chargers should be a threat to dethrone KC in the west this year.

Hain: A+

I love this hire. I thought that they would go with an offensive mind to help develop Justin Herbert, but instead, they went with, in my opinion, the brightest mind on defense in football. Staley led the Rams to the number 1 defense this past season, expecting him to do similar things with the Chargers. Considering the amount of talent that the Chargers have of defense, they have underperformed. With a much-improved defense, I think that Herbert could take another leap and start winning the Chargers some more games. The chargers also hired Joe Lombardi to be their offensive coordinator, which I think is a pretty solid hire. Lombardi has worked with the Saints for years, and I think he is an excellent candidate to help develop Herbert.

Streitmatter: B+

Anyone would be greater than Former Head Coach Adam Gase. The Jets could have hired the head of Barstool Sports Dave Portnoy and that would STILL be an upgrade to Gase. Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, Kenyan Drake and even Jay Ajayi all played significantly better after leaving Gase. Saleh is a bright defensive mind, he made the Super Bowl in 2019 and maintained a strong unit this year despite almost every injury you can imagine. He inherits a defense that isn’t great but has youth and can develop. Only reason I give this a B+ and not an A- is because I don’t know how he’ll address the biggest need the Jets have: Whether Darnold is a franchise QB or not. I’m not sure Saleh will be able to extract the most from him but I hope he makes me eat my words.

Hain: A+

Another great hire. I think Saleh is like Dan Cambell, but he knows his X’s and O’s. Saleh has led the 49ers to back to back top 5 defensive seasons even with countless injuries last season. I also believe that he can provide a vision for a team that has severely lacked it since Rex Ryan. If the Jets can find the right QB, whether, through trade or the draft, this is a team to look out for in the next couple of years.

Streitmatter: C

The Eagles still think Wentz is their QB of the future. They made that clear when they fired Perderson as there reportedly was a rift between the two of them and they could only keep one. So if the Eagles think Wentz is still the guy, they need someone to make him better. If they couldn’t get Frank Reich, the former OC for the Eagles when they won the Super Bowl, why not go after his OC in Sirianni. I give this a C because it seems like the Eagles are trying to fix past mistakes and just turn the clock back. He’s young and inexperienced at the coordinator position with his 2 years in Indianapolis being his only coordinator job. That scares me. I think the Eagles stretched on this one and were grasping for hope when there may be better options out there. 

Hain: F

I hate this hire. I can understand that the Eagles want someone that can continue to work with Carson Wentz, but this just seems like a significant step back from Doug Pederson. In Indianapolis, he never called plays, which is concerning for someone that young to take a job without any playcalling experience. I also really think they should have hired Duce Staley, who played with the Eagles and has been on their staff for years. From what I have heard, that is who the players wanted, and I feel that he can bring the Philly passion that Eagles fans want. Overall I just don’t think this hire accomplishes anything. Aside from keeping Wentz, what does Siranni offer? I would argue not much.

Are we crazy? Only time will tell the true answer but we want to hear what you guys think? Do you think Sirianni is a better hire than Ryan gives credit for? Was Austin’s grade of an A for Urban too high? Let us know in the comments below!

Starting Hot: Super Bowl Week!

By: Austin Streitmatter

Happy Monday! Welcome to Starting Hot, a new section where we look at some of the events in the sports world during the upcoming week with a special highlight to our Game of The Week and our Team of the Week. We won’t dive super into detail on every game here but will give you a quick glance as to what days you should be glued to your TV or which games to be sure you record! (All stats are written as of February 1st)

Let’s start with the Game of The Week for this week. It’s only fitting that the first Game of the Week that we cover is The Big Game herself: Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The top headline that you can expect to see is the battle between new school and old school as Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady lead their respective teams into battle. Mahomes is still in the prime and early stages of his career while Brady is 43 years old and in his 10th (!!) Super Bowl appearance. From a team perspective, we’ve seen these two line-up against each other once earlier in the season and in the same stadium. The Chiefs won that game 27-24 but it was a tale of two halves as the Chiefs dominated the first half while the Bucs stormed back to almost win in the 2nd half. 

Our X-factors in this game for each team are Antonio Brown for the Bucs and The Passing Attack of Mahomes/Kelce/Hill for the Chiefs. Brown was only playing in his 4th game when these teams faced off for the first time and while that is still a significant time, the Brady/Brown connection has aged like a Fine Wine. Brown did miss the Bucs last game against the Packers but he should be 100% for Sunday’s game. On the Chiefs side of the game, it’s impossible not to talk about the high octane trio of QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill. In the Regular Season matchup Mahomes found Kelce and Hill a combined 21 times for 351 yards and 3 TDs. If the Chiefs can get production anywhere close to that number for a second time, it looks like Back-to-Back champions for Kansas City. 

Moving on to a different area of Sports, there is some solid action in the world of College Basketball this week with a top 15 team in action on all but 1 day. On Tuesday, we have a battle between two Elite 8 caliber teams from the Big 12 in #2 Baylor (16-0) at #6 Texas (11-3). On Wednesday we have a spread of # top 10 teams in action across the day. On Thursday we are treating to a Big 10 showdown between #8 Iowa (12-4) and #7 Ohio State (14-4). Saturday is when we see the most action between Final 4 Hopefuls with #19 Wisconsin (13-5) traveling to #12 Illinois (11-5), #23 Kansas (11-6) at #17 West Virginia (11-5), and #10 Alabama (14-4) at #18 Missouri (11-3). Also on Saturday is a battle of two teams that are surprisingly unranked in North Carolina (11-5) at Duke (7-5). Sunday brings us a rematch of an upset that happened earlier in the year when #8 Iowa (12-4) travels to Indiana to avenge an earlier 69-81 loss. Again on Monday we close the week and restart the next week with an upset rematch between #23 Kansas (11-6) and Oklahoma State (11-4) with Kansas losing 70-75 on January 12th at Oklahoma State. A solid week for Men’s college basketball!

On the professional side of Men’s basketball we have a couple of matchups to look out for. On Wednesday night we get a glance into the current stars and the future starts when Most Valuable Player candidate Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers (15-6) play against Rookie of the Year candidate Lamelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets (9-11). That game is on Wednesday at 7 ET. On Thursday we get our first look at a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals when the Denver Nuggets (12-8) face the Los Angeles Lakers (15-6). LA won last year’s series 4 games to 1. Shortly after that on Friday, NBA fans are treated to a potential NBA Finals preview when the other Los Angeles team, The Los Angeles Clippers (16-5) hope to take down one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference in the Boston Celtics (10-8). Each team is led by a strong tandem at the guard and forward positions with LA’s Kawhi Leonard and Paul George matching up across from Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

We have a classic NHL week ahead with a solid Wednesday night of hockey but first we get the Revenge Tour with the Dallas Stars (4-1-1) in action against the Columbus Blue Jackets (4-3-3). Dallas started the season late due to COVID issues but came out of the gate hot rattling off 4 straight wins before losing their first game to the Carolina Hurricanes (5-1-0) on Saturday. On Wednesday though, Hockey fans are treated to rivalries so good that no matter each team’s record, either can win. The first matchup is between the Detroit Red Wings (2-6-2) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1-1). To all the hockey fans that just read those two sentences and said “that’s a bottom feeder team and the reigning league champions” I hear you. On any given night anything can happen, and when you combine a rivalry there’s always a chance for a great upset. If you want a guaranteed strong matchup then the latter game is for you. The Boston Bruins (5-1-2) travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers (7-2-1) at 7:30. Both teams made the playoffs last year and both teams have over a 5% chance of winning the Stanley Cup this year. This will be a great hockey game. If you can’t sit down and watch it, record it; you won’t want to miss it. 

The landscape of Women’s College basketball has gotten mighty funky this year. In a league where commonly the top 4-8 teams dominate everyone else, the top hasn’t looked all that strong. The Louisville Cardinals (16-0) is currently the only team in the top 25 without a loss and they sit at the top of the rankings but have a tough matchup against a legitimate Final Four contender TONIGHT when they host the #4 NC State Wolfpack (11-1). Both teams have looked excellent this season but also have looked beatable and that makes for a perfect matchup where both teams play their best basketball. It’s a relatively light week with top 15 teams expected to win as there are no top 15 matchups until next Monday but that means every team is on Upset Alert. Next Monday however we get back to what makes Women’s College Basketball so great: Top Teams playing each other early and often. Firstly, in a potential Final Four Preview, the #2 South Carolina Gamecocks (14-1) and legendary coach Tara Vanderveer travel to Storrs to face the #3 UConn Huskies (11-1) and their legendary coach Geno Auriemma. Any time these teams face each other it’s destined to be almost the best basketball out there. Put this one on the DVR to show your kids. Secondly, because 1 great game wasn’t enough, the #9 Arizona Wildcats (11-2) take a quick trip up to Eugene to play against the #12 Oregon Ducks (11-3). The Ducks have yet another sensational guard in Te-Hina Paopao so make sure that you don’t miss this one. 

Finally we have our Team of the Week. They’re currently 12-1 against the Vegas Spread and have a standalone record of 16-0. You know them, you love them: The Drake Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team. They’ve recently seen success but have only made 2 NCAA tournaments since 1987. This year, could and hopefully will be a 3rd NCAA tournament bid in the past 4 years. But this section is less about the actual success and more about the Vegas Success. The point of a spread is to even the game between two teams. The idea that “the better team has to win by this amount of points” makes the game a little closer. Theoretically, teams should go roughly .500 against the spread, meaning they cover the spread as much as they don’t. Drake is not doing that so far. They have a pristine 12-1 record against the spread this year, covering in as many as 12 in a row. That is why they are our team of the week.

So there you have it, an outlook on the week. It should be a fun week for sports fans all over as there’s plenty of action to go around. Do you have a game you’re most looking forward to? Let us know down below in the comments. But before you go, here is one thing Austin is excited to watch this week: Paige Bueckers of the UConn Women’s Basketball team.