The 9th Inning Column: The London Series, Race for NL MVP, and Brendan McKay’s fantastic debut

Welcome back to the 9th Inning. This is the third edition of this in the 2019 MLB season. This is a monthly column on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the month’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I’ll discuss what teams are hot and what teams are not. I will also give my personal thoughts on a few notable baseball-related events as well as giving out monthly awards for team of the month, players of the month, and rookies of the month. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that happens near the end of every month. This is the second article of this season and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

I’m going to start the 9th Inning Column for June with a few rounded-up thoughts in recap of the biggest stories recently, both on the field and off.

The London Series

What a wild two game series it was in London this weekend between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The two teams combined for 50 runs, a two-game record between the two clubs. It was an offensive showdown on both days, as neither starting pitcher made it out of the first inning in Game 1, and the bullpen for both teams proved to be shaky at times. The Yankees had three innings in the series in which they scored six or more runs, and the Red Sox had two of these innings. When the MLB returns to London next season, hopefully they can give the fans a pitcher’s duel to remember.

The race for NL MVP

Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger are in a tight race for the National League MVP award at the moment. Both of these young outfielders are having fabulous seasons and Yelich is looking to win his second MVP in a row. Both are All-Star starters, so how do we separate them? Bellinger has a better batting average, RBIs, and WAR, while Yelich has more home runs and stolen bases. It’s extremely close at the moment, but Bellinger would be my pick if I had to choose between these two.

McKay’s fantastic debut

The Tampa Bay Rays had an exciting weekend by taking a series with the Texas Rangers, but also with the debut of highly touted prospect Brendan McKay, who came up as a pitcher who still has two-way potential. He was ranked as the 23rd best prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline and he was the second best prospect in the Rays system. He retired the first 16 batters of his MLB career and finished a terrific outing by pitching six innings of one-hit shutout baseball with only one walks and three strikeouts. This is a sign of things to come for McKay, who has an extremely bright future in the big leagues.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

The New York Yankees have been on the hot section of this list for all three columns thus far in 2019, and it seems to be with good reason. Since losing two in a row to the White Sox on June 13th and 14th, the Yankees rattled off eight consecutive victories and have gone 13-1 overall, with series wins over the Rays, Astros, and Red Sox. Chad Green has found success as an opener as he pitched to a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings during the month. The offense was ruthless throughout the month, led by D.J. LeMahieu’s clutch hitting, Gleyber Torres balanced approach, Gary Sánchez’s pop, and the returning Aaron Judge. They are undoubtedly the best team in baseball right now, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.

The Oakland Athletics have once again gotten extremely hot near the end of the month, similar to how the month of May concluded. They’ve gone 7-3 in their past 10 games, climbing within a half game of the second AL Wildcard spot. Matt Olson was a big contributor for the A’s, hitting 9 homers and notching 20 RBIs. Ramon Laureano also showed significant increases in his power hitting abilities, hitting 7 home runs in the month. It certainly hurts to lose Frankie Montas to a PED suspension, but the Athletics are still hungry to make the postseason for the second straight season.

The Washington Nationals were struggling to win not too long ago, but recently they’ve found something that’s clicked. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games and still find themselves in the thick of the hunt for the NL Wildcard spots. Anthony Rendon continued to prove why he’s going to get paid this fall, as he batted .311 with 9 homers and 24 RBIs in the month. Max Scherzer was also phenomenal in June, but we’ll discuss that later. All this stretch did was prove that the Nats won’t sell and why would they?

The New York Mets were expected to contend in the NL East in 2019, but instead they looked like they’ve built an utter disaster. They just ended a seven game losing streak and have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. The roster was built to win but it simply has not done that, as they now sit 12 games back of the first place Braves. Barring a massive hot stretch, it doesn’t look like Queens will be able to see their hometown Mets play in October this season.

The Boston Red Sox have simply not looked like a great baseball team this season. The defending champs have serious issues with the bullpen and getting run support for Chris Sale. The London Series was pretty embarrassing to be quite frank with you, as Rick Porcello and the bullpen got slaughtered. They’ve fallen 11 games back of the Yankees in the AL East standings amid a three game losing streak and a 4-6 stretch in their last 10 games.

The Monthly Awards:

Team of the Month is…

The Atlanta Braves (20-8)

Despite losing to the Mets on Sunday Night Baseball in difficult fashion, the Braves had a phenomenal month in June, going 20-8 and building a 5.5 game lead in the NL East Standings over the Philadelphia Phillies. They joined the 50 win club yesterday, becoming the fifth team to do so thus far in 2019. Freddie Freeman is unbelievable, Ronald Acuña Jr. is one of the game’s brightest young stars, and Mike Soroka has been unbelievable in his rookie season. Even if they don’t win the World Series this year, the Braves can rest assured that they have one of the brightest futures of any team in the MLB.

Hitter of the Month is…

New York Yankees 2B D.J. LeMahieu

LeMahieu was an absolute superstar for the unstoppable Yankees offense in June, and he is climbing his way up the AL MVP contenders list because of it. LeMahieu batted .395 in the month with six homers and 29 RBIs with a 1.092 OPS. He continues to be one of the most (if not, the most) valuable signings from the offseason. In fact, he’s been rewarded for his outstanding play by being named as the AL Starter at Second Base in the 2019 All-Star Game. He undoubtedly deserves the hitter of the month award for his performance in June.

Starter of the Month is…

Washington Nationals RHP Max Scherzer

Frequently being talked about as a long shot trade deadline target for a few clubs, Max Scherzer’s dominant month of June has been a huge reason why the Nationals are right back in the NL Wildcard hunt. He broke his nose and pitched a gem against the Phillies the next day. Not to mention, he made 6 starts in the month, getting the victory in all 6, and pitching 45 innings with a 1.00 ERA. He only gave up 25 hits, 5 runs, and had 68 strikeouts against only 5 walks in the month. Opponents were hitting just .156 against him and he had a 0.67 WHIP as a result.

Reliever of the Month is…

Oakland Athletics RHP Liam Hendriks

Used as an opener near the end of the 2018 campaign, Liam Hendriks has reestablished himself as one of the better relief pitchers on the Oakland Athletics roster. He pitched 15 innings of one run baseball in June, good for a 0.60 earned run average. He gave up only 10 hits, struck out 22, and walked four batters. Opposing hitters batted just .192 against him in the month and struggled against him all month long.

Rookie Hitter of the Month is…

New York Mets 1B Pete Alonso

Despite being apart of a struggling Mets ball club, first baseman Pete Alonso coasted his way to his second Rookie Hitter of the Month award for my column. In June, the newly announced NL All-Star batted .309 with 9 home runs, 19 RBIs, and a 1.097 OPS. He also had an impressive on-base percentage of .437, as he walked 17 times compared to striking out 22 times. If he continues to hit like this, he’ll be the unquestioned NL Rookie of the Year.

Rookie Pitcher of the Month is…

Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly

You might be questioning how a 30 year old can be a successful rookie, but Merrill Kelly fits the bill. An eighth round draft pick of the Rays in the 2010 draft, Kelly pitched in the minors until 2015, when he went to the KBO to play baseball. After three years there, Kelly has made his MLB debut in 2019. He was phenomenal in June, making six starts and pitching 39.1 innings with a 2.75 earned run average. He only walked five batters all month and opponents were hitting .212 with a .238 on-base percentage against him in the month.

Thanks for reading the June edition of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next month! Peace!

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The 9th Inning Column: MLB Draft Week, Jose Ramirez’ struggles, and RIP Bill Buckner

Welcome back to the 9th Inning. This is the second edition of this in the 2019 MLB season. This is a monthly column on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the month’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I’ll discuss what teams are hot and what teams are not. I will also give my personal thoughts on a few notable baseball-related events as well as giving out monthly awards for team of the month, players of the month, and rookies of the month. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that happens near the end of every month. This is the second article of this season and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

I’m going to start the 9th Inning Column for May with a few rounded-up thoughts in recap of the biggest stories recently, both on the field and off.

It is almost time for the MLB Draft!

We are less than a week away from the 2019 MLB Draft and there’s a lot of speculation swirling about the first few rounds. Firstly, nearly everybody in the business believes that the Orioles have to take Adley Rutschman with the top pick. Rutschman, a catcher for Oregon State, is a switch-hitter with solid power and great defensive skills behind the plate. Secondly, a lot of people believe that the Royals will take Bobby Witt Jr. with the second pick. Witt Jr. is a five-tool shortstop coming out of Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas, and he’s the son of a former big league starter. Overall, we are looking at a draft class that is somewhat weak on quality arms but more than makes it up for it with high potential position players.

What is wrong with Jose Ramirez?

In the past few seasons, Jose Ramirez gave the Cleveland Indians another budding star to put alongside Francisco Lindor. Yet in 2019, Ramírez looks to be well off his game. He doesn’t look like he’ll achieve a three peat of third place AL MVP finishes. In 55 games, the 26 year old third baseman is batting a mere .211 with only 4 home runs and 17 RBIs. He’s striking out more, walking less, and seems to have lost his touch at the plate. A good thing for Ramirez is that he’s been playing well lately, batting .357 in his last three games. Still though, the Indians are struggling as a team and falling way back in the race for the AL Central, and they’ll need Ramírez to start putting up the numbers that he’s capable of if they want to get back in it.

Former batting champ Bill Buckner passes away

An MLB legend passed away on Monday after a battle with dementia. Bill Buckner played in the big leagues for 22 seasons and totaled 2,715 hits on a career .289 batting average. Buckner was a great teammate and was highly valued as a utility player during his time in the MLB. In 1980, he batted .324 and was the National League Batting Champion. In 1981, he made his only All-Star team. Buckner deserves respect across the league for his great career. Rest In Peace, Bill Buckner.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

The New York Yankees were the best team in baseball throughout the month of May and I’ll discuss them later, because they won one of the column’s awards.

The Minnesota Twins were certainly in the mix for the team of the month award in May, but they were just edged out by the Yanks. They’re pulling away from the Indians in the AL Central, as they currently have a 9.5 game cushion. Newfound ace Jake Odorizzi was phenomenal in May, pitching his way to a 0.94 ERA in five starts. First baseman C.J. Cron led the high powered Twins offensive attack in May as he hit eight home runs, batted .301, and tallied 21 RBIs. The Twins continue to surprise folks and they are seriously one of the top five teams in baseball right now, without any doubt.

The Oakland Athletics have recently gotten themselves firmly back in the hunt for the AL West crown with a 10-game winning streak and an 8-2 stretch over their past ten games. They are alone in second place in their division and sit 7.5 games back of the Houston Astros. The Athletics were led by Frankie Montas strong pitching (2.64 ERA in 30.2 IP) and the offense was helped a lot by Josh Phegley (4 HRs and 20 RBI). With franchise cornerstone Matt Chapman and a solid pitching staff, last year’s second AL Wildcard team could be well on their way to another postseason appearance.

If you haven’t heard about Cody Bellinger’s stellar start of a 2019 campaign, then you’ve been living under a rock. Combine that with a dominating pitching staff and you can see why the Los Angeles Dodgers are continuing to build a sizeable lead in the NL West Standings. They either won or split every series in the month of May, proving that they can compete in every single game. Sitting at a 38-19 record, the Dodgers look to be well on their way to another NL West crown.

The St. Louis Cardinals were very good in the first month or so of 2019, but they’ve fallen off to a below .500 record as we turn the calendar to June. They are 4-6 in their last ten games and now sit 4.5 games back of the first place Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals play in perhaps the toughest division in all of Major League Baseball, so they’ll need to stop skidding before they find themselves in too big of a hole.

Remember when the Seattle Mariners were hitting all sorts of bombs every day and were in first place in the AL West? Yeah, I do too, and those days are long gone as the Mariners have the worst record in all of Major League Baseball in the month of May at 6-21. They’ve struggled as a pitching staff and had tough offensive nights, leading to their fall to dead last in the AL West standings. It looks like the Mariners have run out of magic.

In last month’s column, I talked extensively about what the San Francisco Giants should do if they didn’t start winning soon. Well, the Giants haven’t done any better and are still in last place in their division as they’ve been extremely cold as of late. They’re in the midst of a 2-8 stretch in their last ten games and they are on their way to being an early seller on the summer trade market.

The Monthly Awards:

Team of the Month is…

The New York Yankees (19-7)

The New York Yankees have surged to the top of the American League East recently due to a continued stretch of dominance. They’ve gone 12-3 since May 12th and that includes series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays (twice) and the San Diego Padres. Masahiro Tanaka had been dominant in May until his start on Tuesday, having a 2.80 earned run average in 35.1 innings of work. Gleyber Torres (.308 AVG and 9 HRs) and Gary Sanchez (.288 AVG and 9 HRs) have carried the load offensively for the Yanks throughout the month. The bullpen is starting to round into form as well, proving it is as good as advertised with Chapman, Britton, Kahnle, and Ottavino all in peak form right now. With so many injuries, the Yankees performance has simply been impressive.

The Hitter of the Month is…

Pittsburgh Pirates 1B Josh Bell

One of the best hitters in all of the majors through the season thus far, Pirates first baseman Josh Bell has been absolutely smoking baseballs left and right. He is undoubtedly the hitter of the month of May, as he hit at a .389 batting average with a .444 on-base percentage and an .814 slugging percentage. He also has hit 12 homers in the month and has racked up 30 RBIs. He’s shown considerable improvements in the 2019 campaign so far, as he’s close to reaching previously career high numbers already. Bell is the unquestioned leader in Pittsburgh and if he continues hitting like this, he will be in Cleveland as an All-Star this summer.

The Starter of the Month is…

Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Garnering praise as a “left handed Greg Maddux”, the 32-year old veteran Ryu is off to a Cy Young-esque start in 2019. In May, he was nearly unhittable, going 5-0 and pitching his way to a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 innings on the mound. Opposing hitters had just a .177 batting average against him in his six starts and he continues to provide great outings for the dominating LA Dodgers club. If Ryu continues to control the strike zone and limit walks, I could easily see him being named the Cy Young award winner for the National League in the fall.

The Reliever of the Month is…

New York Yankees RHP Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino has started off his 2019 campaign still right in his dominant 2018 form. The veteran reliever was superb in May, appearing in 13 games and not giving up any runs. Since April 21st, Ottavino has not given up a run. Thus far in 2019, the former Rockie has a 2-1 record with 12 holds and a 1.37 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched. He’s been exactly the guy that the Yankees wanted him to be when they signed him in the offseason. He undoubtedly deserves the reliever of the month award for his performance in May.

Rookie Hitter of the Month:

Boston Red Sox 2B Michael Chavis

The third best prospect in the Boston farm system, Chavis has immediately come up into the big leagues and helped provide a stable bat in the lineup. In May, he batted .255 with seven home runs and he’s showing off his advanced hitting tool. With other rookies struggling, Chavis has climbed his way up near the top of the American League Rookie of the Year award race.

Rookie Pitcher of the Month:

Atlanta Braves RHP Mike Soroka

Mike Soroka has been more than just a valuable contributor for the Braves rotation this season. He’s been dominant and looks to be firmly in the mix for the NL Rookie of the Year award. If the award was won in May, Soroka may have just clinched it. He pitched his way to a 0.79 ERA in 34 innings during the month. He only gave up three earned runs and opponents hit just .145 against him in the month. Soroka has been just as good as his prospect evaluation hyped him up to be, and he’s on his way to becoming the ace of the Braves already.

Thanks for reading the May edition of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next month! Peace!

Overcoming injuries, the Yankees are in the midst of an unbelievable run and the rest of the MLB should be scared

On paper, with 18 players having hit the injured list thus far in 2019, many baseball fans would have forecasted the New York Yankees as being in serious trouble. They certainly would have said this if you told them that Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Dellin Betances, Miguel Andujar, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Troy Tulowitzki, and C.C. Sabathia all being on the list on May 23rd. On top of this, the Yankees are still awaiting midsummer returns from a left handed MLB caliber starter Jordan Montgomery, possible bullpen depth in Ben Heller, and starting shortstop Didi Gregorius.

One good thing is that 2019 returns are expected for all but one injured Yankee, as young third baseman Miguel Andujar recently underwent season-ending surgery to repair his torn labrum. The ravaged roster won’t be fully healthy anytime soon, but there has been some good news lately and reinforcements are on the way. As of now, Judge, Betances, Tulowitzki, and Gregorius look to be on tap for returns in early to mid June. Giancarlo Stanton could join that group after he returns to rehab from his latest setback.

Offseason acquisition James Paxton (knee inflammation) should be returning for a start this weekend against the Kansas City Royals, which will be huge for the Yankees as the big lefty was dominating on the bump before he went down, racking up a 3.11 earned run average in 37.2 innings of work. It also will provide a rotation replacement for another fallen Yankee, as veteran lefty C.C. Sabathia just went on the IL with knee inflammation.

Luis Severino is not expected to make his season debut until after the All-Star break in July, as he is still recovering from a lat strain suffered in Spring Training. The good news is that Severino is likely to start throwing soon, according to Yankees skipper Aaron Boone.

What would you have guessed the Yankees record would be through 48 games? I wouldn’t have said 31-17, and you wouldn’t have either. So how have the Yankees been so prolific and dominant en route to the third best record in Major League Baseball?

There are many players who have been key to the team’s immense success, but perhaps none more important than right hander Domingo Germán, third baseman Gio Urshela, and middle infielder D.J. LeMahieu. In a season full of unknowns, these three have been the most consistent players for New York.

Germán has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees, as he’s become the unexpected ace of the staff in 2019. Coming off of a rough rookie season in the Bronx, the 26 year old made the Opening Day roster and has dominated ever since. He leads the MLB in wins with 9, having lowered his walks and home runs allowed per nine innings. In 55 and a third innings, he’s pitched to a 2.60 ERA and opponents are hitting just .184 against him. He also has a sub one WHIP at 0.98. If he continues pitching like this, an AL Cy Young award would not be out of the picture.

Urshela was acquired for basically nothing from the Toronto Blue Jays last season, and he’s off to a torrid start manning the hot corner in the Bronx. He’s played in 38 big league games, made some spectacular plays at third base, and has been an extremely clutch hitter for the Yankees in late situations. Two weeks ago, down by two in the ninth and with one runner on, Urshela connected on his second homer of the year, tying the game against the Mariners before D.J. LeMahieu won the game for the Yanks a few batters later. Last Friday, tied at 3 in the ninth with the Rays, Urshela lined a walkoff hit over the head of Kevin Kiermaier to give the Yankees the division lead.

Looking back at the offseason, one of the most underrated signings was D.J. LeMahieu to the Yankees on a relatively team-friendly deal. He’s undoubtedly been the team’s most consistent hitter, as he’s sat with an average safely over the .300 mark for most of 2019 to date. He’s also hit four home runs and has 25 RBIs. Signed as utility infield depth, D.J. has certainly proven himself to be an everyday impact starter heading into the summer.

After these guys, there have been so many impactful players on the roster. Masahiro Tanaka has been utterly consistent and has been dominant in the month of May. Overall, the 30 year old right hander is 3-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 58.1 innings pitched. A big key for Tanaka in 2019 has been the lowering of the number of homers he is giving up per nine innings. Before his knee inflammation caught up to him, C.C. Sabathia was putting up solid numbers as he went 3-1 with a 3.48 earned run average. J.A. Happ is struggling to start the season (5.16 ERA in 52.1 innings), but the rest of the team is picking up the slack.

The fierce bullpen is starting to shape into form with plenty of All-Star caliber guys involved. Tommy Kahnle appears to have bounced back from a tough 2018 campaign. He has been a reliable reliever thus far in 2019, appearing in 22 games, racking up a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings. Zack Britton has been his nasty self so far as well, racking up a 2.53 ERA in 22 appearances and a total of 21.1 innings pitched. Adam Ottavino (1.54 ERA) and Aroldis Chapman (1.83 ERA) have been a lock down duo late in games. If Chad Green (12.41 ERA) figures himself out and reverts to something close to his 2017 self or even 2018 self, this could be an even more dominant bullpen.

22 year old rising superstar middle infielder Gleyber Torres has been superb in 2019 and has been really hot as of late. He’s hit 12 home runs and has 26 RBIs with a .302 batting average. Torres also is clocking in at a .906 OPS percentage. Luke Voit has been really solid following up his torrid two month stretch to end 2018, batting .259 with an .858 OPS, 11 homers, and 34 RBIs. Perhaps the biggest and most welcomed turnaround is that of catcher Gary Sánchez, who has bounced back from a historically bad 2018 campaign. The MLB’s best offensive catcher is batting .270 with a team-leading 15 home runs and a ridiculous 1.018 OPS.

When the injured Yankees start to get healthy, they should be feared by the rest of the MLB. There will also be a bunch of decisions that they’ll have to make, and some of them will be really tough. Looking at a healthy Yankees lineup later this season, you would see the likes of Sánchez, LeMahieu, Torres, Gregorius, Urshela, Stanton, Hicks, Judge, and Voit at the designated hitter spot. On the bench, you could have bats like Frazier, Gardner, Romine, and Tulowitzki.

You’re looking at a guaranteed four man pitching rotation of Tanaka, Severino, Germán, and Paxton. To fill the fifth spot, they’ll have to make a tough decision with three left handers in Sabathia, Happ, and Montgomery. Right now, Sabathia would be my choice and I’d move Happ to the bullpen. The bullpen would consist of Chapman, Betances, Ottavino, Britton, Kahnle, Holder, Happ, and possibly Chad Green if he figures it out.

What if the Yankees want to make a move at the trade deadline? Well, they certainly have the organizational depth to do so, but I don’t know what they would look for. The Giants will almost assuredly look to deal 29 year old ace Madison Bumgarner, but the Yankees would have a lot of competitors in that market. If the Indians fall out of the playoff race, they may trade 28 year old starter Trevor Bauer, and the Yankees reportedly attempted to acquire him in the offseason. The Nationals may opt to trade pending free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, and the Yankees may look to get involved if Gio Urshela comes down to earth.

The Yankees could possibly dangle guys like Jordan Montgomery, Clint Frazier, Thairo Estrada, and some of their top prospects to acquire a big piece for the postseason push. But if they continue to play like this, they may not have to do so. It’s been an unbelievable run for the injury plagued Yankees and it doesn’t look to be close to stopping soon.

NFL Super Bowl Odds

As the NFL Draft wrapped up in Nashville on Saturday evening, big football fans are already excited for the upcoming season. We are about 4 months away from regular season NFL football, and the clock continues to tick. With the offseason nearly complete, experts are starting to map out their contenders and pretenders before the season. Obviously, not everyone will be right, and there is bound to be a team with high expectations that disappoints. But I’m going to take my crack at picking six teams who I believe are safe bets to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy in 2020. After that, I’m going to end by giving you my rankings for the other NFL teams in terms of best to worst bets and compare them to some data gathered from this article on early Super Bowl 54 odds. Let’s get into it!

 

The Favorite: New England Patriots

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MyTop SportsBook Odds: +700 (co-favorite)

 

You cannot bet against Tom Brady and the Pats until they prove otherwise. The dynasty is coming off of yet another Super Bowl Title and the G.O.A.T. is looking to add another ring. The Patriots had an interesting offseason, losing Trey Flowers, Cordarrelle Patterson, Trent Brown, and a few others. But they also acquired Michael Bennett via trade and brought back Phillip Dorsett, Jason McCourty, and special teams Star Matthew Slater. At 7-1 odds (according to MTSB), there really is nothing to lose by betting on Bill Belichick’s boys in Foxboro.

 

The Team To Avoid: Kansas City Chiefs

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MyTop SportsBook Odds: +700 (co-favorite)

 

I truly think Patrick Mahomes is the best player in football right now, but I don’t know how this Chiefs offense will flow without speedy wideout Tyreek Hill, who was huge for them in 2018 and will likely face a long suspension. MyTop SportsBook says it bluntly and straight-forward, right now you shouldn’t bet on the Chiefs, because 7-1 odds are a bad bet with their current franchise State. Obviously, the Chiefs are still a serious contender, but I just can’t list them as my co-favorite alongside New England right now.

 

My Sleeper Team: Atlanta Falcons

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MyTop SportsBook Odds: +3500 (19th best)

 

This is quite honestly a great bet to place down right now, because I think the Falcons will surprise a lot of people this season. They haven’t really been fully healthy as a unit since 2017, and this season marks another shot at redeeming their forgettable Super Bowl loss. With guys like Deion Jones and Devonta Freeman back on the field, Atlanta isn’t a team to sleep on. As long as they have former NFL MVP Matt Ryan tossing the pigskin, they will compete in the NFC South.

 

My Odds:

 

*(These are basically a power rankings list of which teams I’d bet on from highest to lowest.  MyTop SportsBook Odds are in parentheses.)*

 

Patriots (7-1)

Saints (9-1)

Rams (9-1)

Chargers (16-1)

Bears (12-1)

Chiefs (7-1)

Eagles (14-1)

Colts (16-1)

Browns (12-1)

Packers (20-1)

Cowboys (20-1)

Texans (25-1)

Steelers (22-1)

Vikings (22-1)

Seahawks (25-1)

Ravens (30-1)

Falcons (35-1)

Panthers (55-1)

Jaguars (35-1)

49ers (25-1)

Redskins (150-1)

Broncos (60-1)

Titans (70-1)

Raiders (66-1)

Lions (90-1)

Jets (80-1)

Bills (100-1)

Giants (75-1)

Buccaneers (75-1)

Bengals (150-1)

Dolphins (150-1)

Cardinals (100-1)

 

The 9th Inning (April): Vlad Jr’s debut, Mize’s Double-A gem, and what’s wrong with the Red Sox?

Welcome to the 9th Inning. This is the first edition of this in the 2019 MLB season. This is going to be a monthly column on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the month’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I’ll discuss what teams are hot and what teams are not. I will also give my personal thoughts on a few notable baseball-related events as well as giving out monthly awards for team of the month, players of the month, and rookies of the month. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that will happen near the end of every month. This is the debut article of this season and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

I’m going to start the 9th Inning Column for April with a few rounded-up thoughts in recap of the biggest stories recently, both on the field and off.

Vlad Jr’s debut

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made his highly anticipated MLB debut this past weekend for the Toronto Blue Jays. MLB Pipeline’s number one prospect may have been the most hyped up debut since Bryce Harper. Guerrero is only batting .250 after his first series is in the books, but part of that is due to him not getting great pitches to hit. MLB.com says that Guerrero had a 37.3% zone rate over his first few games. The Blue Jays are set to take on the Angels in Anaheim in their weekday series, and it’ll be a great series to watch!

2018 top draft pick dominates in first AA Start

Not often will I talk about a player in the Double-A levels of minor league ball in this column, but I feel that this one is well deserved. Casey Mize, the number one overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, made his AA debut with the Detroit Tigers on Monday. The Auburn product dominated and sent a message to the scouts, throwing a nine inning no-hitter in a win for the Erie Seawolves. It was an impressive performance that caught the eyes of many, as Mize only walked one batter and hit another. If he continues to pitch like this, Detroit may soon have a bonafide ace on their big league roster.

What’s wrong with the Red Sox?

The defending champion Boston Red Sox are off to a sour start in the 2019 season, having a 12-17 record to show for it just one month in. They’ve cleaned it up as of late, but there’s still cause for concern with the Beantown squad. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been horrible with the bat, 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce is struggling, and Eduardo Rodriguez/Chris Sale both have ERAs over 6. If the pitching staff doesn’t get going soon, Boston may find itself in a hole too big to overcome, but there’s certainly reason to believe in this team. I mean heck, they are the defending World Series Champs after all!

Where do the Giants go from here?

A lot of talk has circulated about how the San Francisco Giants will attack the summer trade deadline. It’s the final season for manager Bruce Bochy, and it is perhaps the final year for longtime franchise ace Madison Bumgarner in the Bay Area. The Giants have built a team of veterans in hopes of competing in 2019, but it’s gone very badly thus far. They are 12-17 in the NL West, which is last in the division. They are not doing well at the plate, and Jeff Samardzija is their only qualified starting pitcher with an ERA below four. As we near June, the Giants are creeping closer and closer to being the first team to sell off their top veterans to buyers.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

The banged-up New York Yankees are the hottest team in baseball right now, as they’ve gone 11-2 since losing a home series to the Chicago White Sox on April 14th. Luke Voit was dominant for the Bronx Bombers last week on their West Coast road trip, winning AL Player of the Week Honors by going 13 for 30 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. In doing so, Voit has continued a ridiculous 39-game on base streak into the Yankees two game series against the Diamondbacks.

The Minnesota Twins have won 8 of their last 10 games and have taken 2.5 game lead in the AL Central over the Cleveland Indians. Eddie Rosario (11 HRs) and Jorge Polanco (.948 OPS) have lead the scorching hot Twins offensive attack and Jose Berrios continues to grow into an ace, leaving the Twins in great position to make a run at the postseason in 2019.

The St. Louis Cardinals have won 8 of their last 10 games as well, en route to taking a three game lead over the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central Division. Paul DeJong (.342 AVG, 5 HRs) and Marcell Ozuna (.271 AVG, 10 HRs) are leading a Redbirds offense that is still awaiting an inevitable annual hot stretch from All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

After a rough start to the 2019 campaign, the Chicago Cubs have gotten back near the top of the NL Central with a recent hot stretch. They are winners of 7 of their last 10 games, climbing into a tie for second in the division with the Milwaukee Brewers. Javier Baez has been otherworldly thus far, hitting .315 with 9 home runs and 22 RBIs. The Cubs are also getting great contribution from catcher Willson Contreras (1.033 OPS). They can certainly push for the NL Central, and I fully expect them to do so.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were 12-6 after a win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, April 20th. Since then? They’ve been one of the worst teams in baseball, losing eight straight and falling to fourth place in the NL Central Division. With competition like the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals, the Pirates cannot have losing streaks like this and expect to stay atop the division. If they don’t figure it out soon, Pittsburgh could be in serious hot water.

The Washington Nationals have also caught a case of the cold as we flip the calendar to May. They’ve lost three series in a row to teams that I’m just not quite sure they should be losing to. On paper, the Nats have one of the best complete rosters in all of Major League Baseball, but they haven’t been able to put it together just yet in 2019. Let’s see what this team does in May before we press the panic button!

The Oakland Athletics are in serious danger of not getting back to the postseason already in 2019, and that’s not because I don’t have faith in their ability to turn it around after a rough start. The AL West is more competitive this year, and the A’s have struggled as of late, getting swept by Toronto twice in two weeks and losing 7 of their last 10. Will Khris Davis and the Oakland crew figure it out before it’s too late?

The Monthly Awards:

Team of the Month is…

The Tampa Bay Rays (19-9)

The Rays definitely were not a lot of experts picks to lead the AL East through one month, but here we are. Tampa Bay holds a 1.5 game lead on the Yankees as we speak, and they’ve had a terrific first month of baseball. A big reason for their success is the pitching staff, as Tyler Glasgow (5 wins, 1.75 ERA), 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell (2 wins, 2.54 ERA), and free agent acquisition Charlie Morton (3 wins, 2.76 ERA) lead the MLB’s top pitching staff thus far. Jose Alvarado has been one of baseball’s best relievers (we’ll discuss him later) and the Rays are much deeper than this, but there’s too many people to name. Austin Meadows was absolutely raking before he got injured (.351, 6 HRs, 19 RBIs), and he should be back rather soon. Yandy Diaz (.298, 7 HRs, 18 RBIs) is having a breakout season at the hot corner for Tampa Bay and veteran outfielder Tommy Pham continues to put up productive numbers (.294, 4 HRs, 12 RBIs). They should be taken seriously as one of the premier World Series contenders.

The Hitter of the Month is …

Los Angeles Dodgers OF/1B Cody Bellinger

Cody Bellinger has played at both right field and first base this year, so I’m not sure what to call him with such a small sample size. But I can call him something, and that is an absolutely on-fire baseball player. The third-year superstar has been nothing short of spectacular in 2019, batting .434 with 14 homers and 37 RBIs. His on-base percentage is over .500 and his slugging percentage sits firmly at .906. What’s even more impressive is that Bellinger has increased his base on balls percentage from 10.9% to 14.1%, while also cutting down his strikeout percentage from 23.9% in 2018 to 11.7% through one month of 2019. If he continues to play like this, he will shatter records, and with this hot start, he’s certainly the favorite to win NL MVP!

Starter of the Month is …

Cincinnati Reds RHP Luis Castillo

When called up to the bigs in 2017, Luis Castillo was the tenth best prospect in the Reds farm system. With a lot of patience by Cincinnati’s staff, Castillo looks to be turning the corner into one of the best pitchers in the National League. His first month of 2019 certainly proved such, as the 26 year old rising phenom has made six starts, going 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 36.1 innings of work. He’s striking out more batters than he has at any point in his young career, and has reduced his home runs per nine innings rate from a sour 1.49 in 2018 to an impressive 0.25 thus far in 2019. His HR/FB rate sits at a solid 4.5%, showing that Castillo has been stingy in terms of preventing the longball. At this point, batters just haven’t been able to hit his stuff, as hitters are hitting just .165 against him. If he continues to pitch like this, he may just deliver the NL Cy Young Award to Great American Ball Park.

The Reliever of the Month is …

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Jose Alvarado

Dating back to 2018, the 23 year old Alvarado has been one of the best relievers in all of Major League Baseball, and that trend has continued to pick up steam as we turn the calendar to May. Thrust into a big late-inning role in 2019, the lefty has been nothing short of excellent thus far. He’s made four saves in 14 appearances, pitching his way to a 1.38 ERA and a 1.82 FIP, proving his performance is no fluke. Alvarado has not surrendered a home run yet this season, and he’s striking out 13.1 batters per nine innings. The only negative in 2019 is that Alvarado’s walks per nine innings rate has increased a bit from 4.08 to 4.85, but it’s not too severe of a jump.

The Rookie Hitter of the Month is …

New York Mets 1B Peter Alonso

A second round selection by the Mets in the 2016 MLB Draft, Peter Alonso has made a quick transition to the pros. He is a phenomenal hitter and subpar defender at first base, and he showed that in the minor leagues all the way up until earning the Mets starting first baseman job in 2019. Since he earned the job, Alonso has proven why he was one of the Mets untradeable chips as they rebuilt last year. He’s an early frontrunner for the NL Rookie of the Year award, as he’s batting .304 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 2019. He will have to continue to work on balancing his approach and limiting strikeouts, but right now, Alonso is hot and off to the races, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

The Rookie Pitcher of the Month is …

San Diego Padres RHP Chris Paddack

Paddack is the 31st best prospect in all of Major League Baseball according to MLB Pipeline, but after one month of him in the bigs, I think he may deserve a huge boost before he loses his eligibility on such lists. He’s 23 years old and has been firing on all cylinders to start his MLB career. He’s made five starts, going 1-1 and pitching 27 innings with a 1.67 ERA, ranking third amongst all National League pitchers with 25 or more innings pitched. He’s just been purely unhittable, as opposing hitters have a .111 batting average against him. He’s striking out 10 batters per nine innings, only walking about 2.6 per nine, and only surrenders 0.6 home runs per nine. If he continues to pitch like this, he’ll be right in the thick of the battle for NL Rookie of the Year with his teammate Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mets slugger Pete Alonso (mentioned above).

Thanks for reading the season debut of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next month! Peace!

2019 NCAA Tournament Breakdown: Scouting Reports for Each Sweet 16 Team

It was a very fun-filled weekend of college basketball in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A few upsets happened, big storylines emerged, and most of the favorites were actually able to conquer like they were expected to. Duke barely survived UCF in a down to the wire finish due to a possible controversial no-call. Oregon continued their cinderella story by beating UC Irvine. Tennessee almost blew a 20-point lead to Iowa. But in all seriousness, it was a chalky weekend, and that means we will see some extremely exciting matchups this week.

Now after the fun weekend, basketball fans will have to live without the NCAA tournament for a few days. Bummer. But if you’re missing basketball that much, at least try watching the NIT or something. But now we know the teams that will be in the Sweet 16 and I’m here to give you a scouting report for each team. The scouting report includes their best player, biggest x-factor, strengths, and weaknesses. If you feel like I missed anything drastic or messed up on something, feel free to let me know on my Twitter @TBeckmann24! I also will be releasing my Sweet 16 picks on twitter on Thursday morning, so be sure to check those out! Without further ado, let’s get into these scouting reports. I hope you enjoy!

Table of Contents:

Page 2: East Region Scouting Reports

Page 3: West Region Scouting Reports

Page 4: South Region Scouting Reports

Page 5: Midwest Region Scouting Reports

Complete 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket Breakdown

So let me guess, since the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket was just unveiled yesterday, you’re here because you want to make sure of each and every single one of your picks for your $5 bracket group. Or maybe you’re just here to look at some college basketball analysis for fun. No matter what you are looking for, my analysis can help you expand your knowledge about the sleepers, cinderellas, high seeds who are most vulnerable, players to know, and potential upsets in each and every region.

All of this is besides the point and I’m going to help you as best I can. I’ve watched college basketball a lot during the regular season and I know a lot of information that could put your bracket into the winner’s circle. I’m here to give you a full breakdown of the entire bracket. Out with the weekly Bracketology updates and in with the bracket preview, this is March and its the most exciting time of year! Let’s get into it!

Before you start reading, here is the official bracket.

Table of Contents:

Page 1: Introduction

Page 2: East Region

Page 3: West Region

Page 4: South Region

Page 5: Midwest Region

Page 6: Final Four Predictions

PSF’s College Basketball Bracketology (3/11/2019)

Welcome back to the seventh edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to next week’s Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last week of games to the biggest day of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournaments are in full swing, and the bracket is shaping up as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my seventh bracket of the season with help from MyTopSportsBooks and their value picks for march madness. 

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have all gained a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are continuing to distance themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

During the weekend, the bubble became a lot less crowded as some teams won their way off of it, and some had their bubble pop. Temple sealed a huge resume-building win at home over a hot UCF team. Georgetown and Seton Hall both made vases as they knocked off the top two squads in the Big East, respectively. It was a really fun weekend of college hoops and it looks to be just a small taste of what’s to come this week and beyond in March this year!

My process of bracketing is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Virginia would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I go through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So before we start a crazy conference tournament week in college hoops, let’s check into my seventh Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Norfolk State/#16 St. Francis (PA)

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Washington

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas State vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Liberty

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 LSU vs. #14 Harvard

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 TCU

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Wright State

#7 Auburn vs. #10 Seton Hall

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 North Carolina vs. #16 Omaha

#8 Iowa vs. #9 Baylor

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Nevada vs. #12 NC State/#12 Ohio State

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Old Dominion

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 St. John’s

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Colgate

#7 Wofford vs. #10 Temple

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Prairie-View/#16 Iona

#8 UCF vs. #9 Utah State

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray State

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Michigan vs. #14 Montana

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 Clemson

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#2 Texas Tech vs. #15 Bradley

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Minnesota

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Gardner-Webb

#8 Iowa State vs. #9 Syracuse

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 UC Irvine

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Florida/#12 Indiana

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Georgia State

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Arizona State

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Duke vs. #15 Sam Houston State

#7 VCU vs. #10 Oklahoma

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Indiana (17-14, 8-12 Big Ten, 55th NET, 6-9 Quadrant 1, 2-5 Quadrant 2, 9-0 Quadrants 3/4, 47th SOS, 183rd Non-Conference SOS)

Ohio State (18-13, 8-12 Big Ten, 52nd NET, 4-9 Quadrant 1, 4-3 Quadrant 2, 10-1 Quadrants 3/4, 52nd SOS, 154th Non-Conference SOS)

NC State (21-10, 9-9 ACC, 32nd NET, 2-8 Quadrant 1, 6-0 Quadrant 2, 13-2 Quadrants 3/4, 147th SOS, 352nd Non-Conference SOS)

Florida (17-14, 9-9 SEC, 33rd NET, 3-11 Quadrant 1, 3-1 Quadrant 2, 11-2 Quadrants 3/4, 27th SOS, 93rd Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Creighton (18-13, 9-9 Big East, 54th NET, 3-10 Quadrant 1, 6-3 Quadrant 2, 9-0 Quadrants 3/4, 15th SOS, 25th Non-Conference SOS)

UNC-Greensboro (28-5, 15-3 Southern, 57th NET, 2-5 Quadrant 1, 2-0 Quadrant 2, 22 Quadrants 3/4, 123rd SOS, 137th Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (17-14, 8-10 SEC, 58th NET, 2-9 Quadrant 1, 7-3 Quadrant 2, 8-2 Quadrants 3/4, 22nd SOS, 33rd Non-Conference SOS)

Belmont (26-5, 16-2 OVC, 45th NET, 2-2 Quadrant 1, 3-1 Quadrant 2, 20-2 Quadrants 3/4, 198th SOS, 72nd Non-Conference SOS)

Next Four Out:

Texas (16-15, 8-10 Big 12, 39th NET, 5-9 Quadrant 1, 4-5 Quadrant 2, 7-1 Quadrants 3/4, 61st SOS, 14th Non-Conference SOS)

Lipscomb (25-7, 14-2 Atlantic Sun, 42nd NET, 2-3 Quadrant 1, 1-3 Quadrant 2, 20-1 Quadrants 3/4, 205th SOS, 47th Non-Conference SOS)

Georgetown (19-12, 9-9 Big East, 76th NET, 5-6 Quadrant 1, 6-4 Quadrant 2, 8-2 Quadrants 3/4, 76th SOS, 248th Non-Conference SOS)

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5 West Coast, 37th NET, 1-6 Quadrant 1, 2-3 Quadrant 2, 17-2 Quadrants 3/4, 53rd SOS, 38th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #10 Houston, #24 Cincinnati, #31 UCF, #38 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Virginia, #4 North Carolina, #5 Duke, #13 Florida State, #18 Virginia Tech, #26 Louisville, #35 Syracuse, #41 Clemson, #48 NC State.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #8 Texas Tech, #15 Kansas, #16 Kansas State, #30 Iowa State, #36 Baylor, #37 Oklahoma, #42 TCU.

Big East (4 Teams): #20 Marquette, #23 Villanova, #40 Seton Hall, #43 St. John’s.

Big Ten (9 Teams): #7 Michigan State, #9 Michigan, #12 Purdue, #14 Wisconsin, #17 Maryland, #29 Iowa, #39 Minnesota, #47 Indiana, #48 Ohio State.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #19 Nevada, #34 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #33 Washington, #44 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #3 Kentucky, #6 Tennessee, #11 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, #25 Auburn, #32 Ole Miss, #50 Florida.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #2 Gonzaga, #21 Buffalo, #27 Wofford, #28 VCU, #45 Murray State, #46 Liberty, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Hofstra, #53 UC Irvine, #54 Vermont, #55 Old Dominion, #56 Georgia State, #57 Harvard, #58 Montana, #59 Bradley, #60 Colgate, #61 Wright State, #62 Sam Houston State, #63 Omaha, #64 Gardner-Webb, #65 Prairie-View, #66 Iona, #67 St. Francis (PA), #68 Norfolk State.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

 

Tristan Beckmann’s 2019 Post-Combine NFL Mock Draft 5.0 (Four Rounds)

The time for NFL Mock Drafts is in full swing as we have wrapped up the NFL Draft Scouting Combine and are getting ready to go into the prospects pro days. After reading this article, you’ll have a glimpse of hope for the future and perhaps you’ll be extremely excited for the NFL Draft. All 32 teams have gained a sense of identity into which they will ride by in the upcoming offseason. The final draft positioning has been sorted out, and compensatory picks have been awarded.

Welcome back to my NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0, in which I’m going to project four rounds in the draft for the third time ever on this website. I’ve been scouting a ton of collegiate prospects over the last few months or so and I’ve got a pretty good feel on who I like transitioning to the NFL more so than who I don’t like in that aspect. I’ll even provide brief analysis on the first round prospects.

I watched most of the NFL Draft Combine and have re-evaluated plenty of prospects on my board based on their performance. For me, the biggest winner out of combine week was Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, who took over the top receiver spot on my board. Metcalf, a 6’3 monster, dominated in Indy, running a 4.33 second 40 yard dash, going for 27 reps on the bench press, and having a 40+ inch vertical leap. He did struggle with his footwork in the three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle, and reports surfaced that Metcalf has 1.6% body fat. While I think his body fat is probably low, 1.6% isn’t realistic or healthy and it cannot possibly be that low.

The biggest loser of combine week is definitely Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite, who I had as a first round pick in Mock Draft 4.0. Polite, who was a force in the SEC on the Gators defensive line, struggled during the drills that he participated in before he pulled out because of an injury that NFL teams believe he made up. Polite also said he didn’t enjoy the interviews with teams, as most of them were spent bashing his game. This was definitely something that pushes Polite down to a Day 2 selection at best.

This year’s draft class is loaded with interior defensive lineman as eight of them have first round grades from me, yet they all don’t even go off the board in round 1 or even round 2. All of this and more remains to be played out as we inch closer towards the 2019 NFL Draft in late April, but enough talk, let’s get into the fifth version of this year’s mock draft.

1ST ROUND:

1. Arizona Cardinals:

Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa

Bosa was an absolute beast on the edge at Ohio State, and we would’ve gotten more of a glimpse of him if he hadn’t suffered a season ending injury earlier in the season. Bosa has the size, speed, and physical technique that should allow his game to translate quickly into the NFL stage and let him make an impact on whoever drafts him.

2. San Francisco 49ers:

Alabama DL Quinnen Williams

Williams is a guy who has jumped up everybody’s board with a tremendous breakout season for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He’s been the leader of their defense and he can truly wreak havoc inside the line. He’s an impactful interior lineman with a bright future if the right team drafts him.

3. New York Jets:

Michigan EDGE Rashan Gary

Gary can play everywhere on the defensive line and the team that drafts him will get a big versatile player. He will make an impact in stopping the run game while also putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Despite some injury concerns, the former Michigan star is a surefire early first round selection as of now.

4. Oakland Raiders:

Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen

Allen took home plenty of hardware in terms of the College Football Awards this past season, but let’s not act like it’s undeserved. Allen was a force on the Kentucky defense and was arguably the best defensive player in all of college football in 2018. He will be able to play as both an edge rusher or an outside linebacker if the team that drafts him needs it.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

LSU CB Greedy Williams

Williams’ combination of great size at 6’3 with solid speed and high football IQ help him become the consensus top cornerback in the draft class. He’s smart in coverage and has consistently shown an ability to absolutely clamp down on opposing receivers. He’s a superstar shutdown corner in the making.

6. New York Giants:

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray

The story of this year’s draft class, Murray ended up choosing football over baseball. The Heisman Trophy winner dominated in the past year as a starter for the Sooners and led them to the College Football Playoff. He’s got a tremendous baseball like arm (similar to Patrick Mahomes arm), and he’s still improving as a consistent accurate thrower of the football. Plus, you can’t say enough about Murray’s abilities to stretch plays outside of the pocket with his quick feet and electric mobility. He could be a Week 1 starter next season in the league!

7. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Alabama OT Jonah Williams

Williams is a disciplined offensive tackle with a lot of experience at Alabama while protecting Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. He shows great technique for a tackle in this day and age of the league, and he is the strong, smart, and quick twitch tackle that an NFL team will love to have protecting the edge.

8. Detroit Lions:

Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat

In a class full of dominant defensive line players, Sweat was near the early second round ranks for me before he absolutely tore it up in Indy. He ran a ridiculous 4.41 forty yard dash and looked solid in drills. Those are great numbers for a guy who dominated his whole career at Mississippi State as a 6’6, 260 pound edge rusher. Sweat has certainly grabbed everyone’s attention now.

9. Buffalo Bills:

Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf

Metcalf is as close as Calvin Johnson as they come, and I haven’t seen a player like him in years. He’s got the lovable combination of size and speed as he’s 6’3 and 230 pounds. He’s a true outside receiver who has a tremendous nose for the football. He can go up and get it when his QB really needs him to, and hearing that’ll be something coaches will love the sound of. Despite his tremendous combine, teams will be wary of his injury history, so be on the look out for that.

10. Denver Broncos:

LSU LB Devin White

White is a Deion Jones type linebacker. He is the fastest linebacker in the draft class and shows some of the quickest instincts I’ve seen in quite a while from a linebacker. He is strong, powerful, and has improved every aspect of his game in the 2018 season. He’s a do it all linebacker who will immediately improve the defense of the team who drafts him.

11. Cincinnati Bengals:

Florida OT Jawaan Taylor

Jawaan Taylor was unable to participate in most of the drills at the Scouting Combine, but he’s risen quickly in a draft class that’s become surprisingly strong at offensive tackle. The Florida product slots in as a right tackle in the pros and he is a good pass protector and developing run blocker. He’s got strong hands and his frame (6’5 and 328 pounds) is excellent for his position. Taylor may climb into the top ten of the draft when it’s all said and done.

12. Green Bay Packers:

Clemson EDGE Clelin Ferrell

Ferrell is always the guy that everyone tends to forget about on that historic Clemson championship defensive line. He’s experienced and has been a leader for the Tigers throughout his career. He’s got the length at 6’5 to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL and he also displays outstanding power to move around the offensive line.

13. Miami Dolphins:

Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.

Haskins is in a battle with Kyler Murray for the title of best player in this draft at the quarterback position right now. As Haskins is way more talented in terms of his arm strength and accuracy than anyone else in the draft. Haskins has a great shot to be the first QB taken in the draft too, but we will have to watch the pre-draft process. He’s a legitimate quarterback with the tools to develop into a Patrick Mahomes type thrower of the football. Yeah, I said it.

14. Atlanta Falcons:

Houston DL Ed Oliver

Oliver was a lot of people’s preseason number one pick, but he’s fallen a bit due to a sudden struggle to make an impact when rushing passers. Oliver makes his impact against the run and most NFL teams would drool at the Houston product as a guy to plug up the middle of the defensive line and shut down opposing running backs.

15. Washington Redskins:

Missouri QB Drew Lock

Drew Lock probably is the most further developed along out of the quarterbacks in the draft class, but his potential just doesn’t compare to theirs. He’s got pocket passer type size at 6’4 and 225 pounds, and he’s got an incredible arm with strength and accuracy always on display. He’s not afraid to hurl one deep and he’s certainly what NFL teams would call an aggressive deep ball thrower.

16. Carolina Panthers:

Florida State EDGE Brian Burns

Brian Burns was a disruptive edge defender at Florida State and a lot of that has to do with his outstanding 6’5 frame. He’s not a thick bodied edge defender like most, as he only sits at 235, but he more than makes up for it with his generational athletic abilities as an impact player off the edge. He should do well rushing the passer in the NFL.

17. Cleveland Browns:

Clemson DL Christian Wilkins

I saw my fair share of Wilkins in his career at Clemson when they played my Louisville Cardinals. He’s a big inside guy who plays tough against the run, and is quickly developing into being an every down pass rusher. He has an excellent combination of size at 6’4 and 315 pounds with some incredible game-wrecking power. He still needs to work on his moves to generate pressure as well, but he’s a great bet to develop into a Pro Bowl defensive lineman.

18. Minnesota Vikings:

Oklahoma OG Cody Ford

For a 6’4, 330 pound lineman, Ford displays tremendous agility and balance, two rare traits these days for guys that size. He played right tackle at Oklahoma but will probably be better off inside as a guard in the NFL. He’ll need to work on his footwork but he’s got tremendous strength that will sell to the scouts.

19. Tennessee Titans:

Washington CB Byron Murphy

Murphy was also a breakout player in 2018 who a lot of people did not have ranked highly on their draft boards. After watching his tape, I can see why he’s now so highly touted. Murphy is going to play more slot than outside due to his small frame at 5’11 and 182 pounds, but he’s not to be messed with. He makes plays and can shutdown opposing wideouts if asked to do so. He’s got great fundamental cornerback techniques that should help him ease into a starting role in Week 1.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Michigan LB Devin Bush Jr.

Bush is a physical, fast linebacker who manned the middle of the strong Michigan Wolverines defense in his tenure there. He’s a guy that can help lead a defense and help out a team at any linebacker spot. He can drop back in coverage but he’s not bad at rushing the passer either, making him an easy first round projection here.

21. Seattle Seahawks:

Washington State OT Andre Dillard

Andre Dillard has certainly climbed up my board since I first made it. He has now entered first round NFL starter caliber territory for me. He’s 6’5 and weighs in at 315 pounds which is a good size for his position, and he ran an amazing 4.96 forty yard dash, which is good for a player his weight. He looked very good in drills at the combine, adding to his film at Washington State where he was a four year starter who dominated with power, athleticism, and blocking abilities.

22. Baltimore Ravens:

Ole Miss WR AJ Brown

Brown is the type of deep threat and playmaker that NFL teams are looking for nowadays. He’s got a solid frame at 6’1 and 230 pounds but doesn’t lack in the speed department. He’ll be a redzone threat immediately in the NFL on any team with his tough hands and outstanding route-running ability. He can fight through traffic as well, which is why he comes off the board here at number 22.

23. Houston Texans:

Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson has emerged as the best tight end in this class over his own teammate Noah Fant, in part due to his blocking skills being far more advanced at this point. Fant is more athletic but Hockenson is not a slouch in terms of his athleticism. Combine this with above-average hands and tremendous football IQ, and this kid could climb up draft boards in an instant!

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago):

Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry

Harry is a playmaking freak of nature, and he is easily one of the best WRs in this draft class. Harry has unreal size at 6’4, and it seems like he can jump up and go get the ball from anywhere. He’s no slouch running either, as he’s displayed solid speed at Arizona State that should allow him to separate from some of the league’s best cover corners.

25. Philadelphia Eagles:

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs

I didn’t even have this kid on my draft board two months ago. But now, he’s a top five talent and a future star running back in the NFL. Jacobs checks every box that NFL teams look for in a running back, combining a gift of elusiveness, a big frame, power running ability, and strong football IQ. At Bama, Jacobs showed his hard-working ability as a player who played at maximum effort on any play he was on the football field. This dude is an all-around stud!

26. Indianapolis Colts:

Georgia CB DeAndre Baker

DeAndre Baker is a physical man coverage cornerback who can compete with the best of the best. He’s an agile 5’11 guy with good tackling abilities as well as the instincts to match up with a lot of guys in the league. He should probably be drafted higher than he will be, but that’s due to this draft being insanely stacked with defensive talent.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas):

Alabama LB Mack Wilson

Yet another Alabama player goes off the board as linebacker Mack Wilson is selected. Wilson is fast, strong, and agile enough to cover nearly any tight end in the NFL. He’s a great player against the run, but Wilson can also step back into coverage and make plays in the passing defense as well. He will immediately slot into a significant role for the team that selects him.

28. Los Angeles Chargers:

Mississippi State DL Jeffery Simmons

Simmons had some off the field concerns that NFL teams may not like, and now he’s dealing with a knee injury that could keep him out for a good portion of his first NFL season. Despite this, he’s one of the most talented players in this defensive line heavy draft class. He’s a great impact pass rusher from the interior of the defensive line and he could develop into a future All-Pro if drafted by the right team.

29. Kansas City Chiefs:

Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin

When I first saw this guy’s name, I laughed because it’s just an odd name, and he was a fourth rounder at that point. Now, after watching his tape and combine performances, I love Rock Ya-Sin as a late first round pick. The Temple product is six feet tall and weighs 192 pounds, which is solid size for a corner in today’s NFL. He excelled in combine drills and showed why he’s one of the best all-around cornerbacks in this draft class. He’s definitely going to need to work on his press coverage and overall techniques, but this is good value.

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans):

Alabama S Deionte Thompson

Thompson is one of the best all around players in this draft class. He’s been the center fielder for the Crimson Tide defense for a few seasons now and he’s ready to make the jump to the NFL. He has an unruly combination of speed, range, length, and instincts that should allow him to dominate on the back end of any defense in the pros.

31. Los Angeles Rams:

Boston College OG Chris Lindstrom

A former three star recruit, Lindstrom was one of the best offensive linemen in the ACC in 2018, which is reflected by the success of the Boston College rushing attack. He played in the Golden Eagles run-heavy offense, but displayed great potential and power when put into pass blocking situations. He’s an agile guy as well, showing great movement all across the field.

32. New England Patriots:

Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler

Hakeem Butler is the biggest receiver in this draft class, but has been slept on thus far in the pre draft process. At 6’5 and 227 pounds, Butler impressed scouts by running a 4.48 forty. He did well in other drills and certainly helped his stock by excelling in interviews. He’s a matchup problem waiting to break out in the NFL with his size and abilities as a wide receiver. Butler would be a steal in the late first round or early second round.

2ND ROUND:

33. Arizona Cardinals

Kansas State OL Dalton Risner

34. Indianapolis Colts (via New York):

NC State WR Kelvin Harmon

35. Oakland Raiders:

Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen

36. San Francisco 49ers:

Virginia S Juan Thornhill

37. New York Giants:

Ole Miss OT Greg Little

38. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown

39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Washington S Taylor Rapp

40. Buffalo Bills:

Ohio State DL Dre’Mont Jones

41. Denver Broncos:

Iowa TE Noah Fant

42. Cincinnati Bengals:

Duke QB Daniel Jones

43. Detroit Lions:

Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye

44. Green Bay Packers:

South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

45. Atlanta Falcons:

Florida EDGE Jachai Polite

46. Washington Redskins:

Ohio State WR Parris Campbell

47. Carolina Panthers:

NC State C Garrett Bradbury

48. Miami Dolphins:

Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence

49. Cleveland Browns:

West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste

50. Minnesota Vikings:

NC State LB Germaine Pratt

51. Tennessee Titans:

Old Dominion EDGE Oshane Ximines

52. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Notre Dame CB Julian Love

53. Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore):

Central Michigan CB Sean Bunting

54. Houston Texans (via Seattle):

Alabama State OT Tytus Howard

55. Houston Texans:

Mississippi State C Elgton Jenkins

56. New England Patriots (via Chicago):

Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson

57. Philadelphia Eagles:

Wisconsin OG Michael Deiter

58. Dallas Cowboys:

Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr.

59. Indianapolis Colts:

Delaware S Nasir Adderley

60. Los Angeles Chargers:

Texas LB Gary Johnson

61. Kansas City Chiefs:

Notre Dame DL Jerry Tillery

62. New Orleans Saints:

Georgia WR Mecole Hardman

63. Kansas City Chiefs (via Los Angeles):

Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram

64. New England Patriots:

Miami (FL) DL Gerald Willis

3RD ROUND:

65. Arizona Cardinals:

Georgia WR Riley Ridley

66. Oakland Raiders:

Florida S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

67. San Francisco 49ers:

Penn State OG Connor McGovern

68. New York Jets:

Wisconsin OT David Edwards

69. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Alabama EDGE Christian Miller

70. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Notre Dame LB Te’Von Coney

71. New York Giants:

*SELECTION FORFEITED*

72. Denver Broncos:

Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

73. Cincinnati Bengals:

Florida LB Vosean Joseph

74. New England Patriots (via Detroit):

Stanford TE Kaden Smith

75. Buffalo Bills:

Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince

76. Green Bay Packers:

Ohio State OG Michael Jordan

77. Washington Redskins:

Texas A&M C Erik McCoy

78. Carolina Panthers:

Buffalo LB Khalil Hodge

79. Miami Dolphins:

Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin

80. Atlanta Falcons:

Michigan CB David Long

81. Cleveland Browns:

Michigan State CB Justin Layne

82. Minnesota Vikings:

Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt

83. Tennessee Titans:

Arizona State DT Renell Wren

84. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Michigan EDGE Chase Winovich

85. Seattle Seahawks:

TCU EDGE LJ Collier

86. Baltimore Ravens:

Oklahoma OG Ben Powers

87. Houston Texans:

Iowa State RB David Montgomery

88. Chicago Bears:

Iowa S Amani Hooker

89. Detroit Lions (via Philadelphia):

Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin

90. Indianapolis Colts:

Kansas DL Daniel Wise

91. Dallas Cowboys:

Miami (FL) DE Joe Jackson

92. Los Angeles Chargers:

Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans

93. Kansas City Chiefs:

Washington LB Ben Burr-Kirven

94. New York Jets (via New Orleans):

Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

95. Los Angeles Rams:

USC S Marvell Tell III

96. Cleveland Browns (via New England):

Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson

97. Washington Redskins:

Boston College EDGE Zach Allen

98. New England Patriots:

Clemson LB Tre Lamar

99. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles):

West Virginia QB Will Grier

100. Los Angeles Rams:

Texas Tech LB Dakota Allen

101. Carolina Panthers:

Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping

102. New England Patriots:

Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham

103. Baltimore Ravens:

Alabama C Ross Pierschbacher

4TH ROUND:

104. Arizona Cardinals:

Vanderbilt CB JoeJuan Williams

105. San Francisco 49ers:

NC State WR Jakobi Meyers

106. New York Jets:

Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill

107. Oakland Raiders:

UCLA TE Caleb Wilson

108. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Miami S JaQuan Johnson

109. New York Giants:

Ohio State CB Kendall Sheffield

110. Jacksonville Jaguars:

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger

111. Cincinnati Bengals:

LSU TE Foster Moreau

112. Detroit Lions:

Kentucky S Mike Edwards

113. Buffalo Bills:

TCU EDGE Ben Banogu

114. Baltimore Ravens (via Denver):

Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards

115. Green Bay Packers:

Georgia LB D’Andre Walker

116. Carolina Panthers:

Ole Miss WR DaMarkus Lodge

117. Miami Dolphins:

Texas CB Kris Boyd

118. Atlanta Falcons:

New Mexico State LB Terrill Hanks

119. Green Bay Packers (via Washington):

Stanford OG Nate Herbig

120. Cleveland Browns:

LSU OG Garrett Brumfield

121. Minnesota Vikings:

Missouri DL Terry Beckner Jr.

122. Tennessee Titans:

Colorado State WR Preston Williams

123. Pittsburgh Steelers:

Washington OT Kaleb McGary

124. Baltimore Ravens:

Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr.

125. Seattle Seahawks:

Miami CB Michael Jackson

126. Denver Broncos (via Houston):

Wisconsin OG Beau Benzschawel

127. Chicago Bears:

Auburn CB Jamel Dean

128. Philadelphia Eagles:

South Carolina OT Dennis Daley

129. Dallas Cowboys:

Cincinnati DL Marquise Copeland

130. Indianapolis Colts:

Oregon EDGE Jalen Jelks

131. Los Angeles Chargers:

Mississippi State OG Darryl Williams

132. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City):

Alabama DL Isaiah Buggs

133. New York Giants (via New Orleans):

Maryland S Darnell Savage Jr.

134. Los Angeles Rams:

West Virginia LB David Long Jr.

135. New England Patriots:

James Madison CB Jimmy Moreland

136. Indianapolis Colts:

BYU LB Sione Takitaki

137. Dallas Cowboys:

Alabama OG Lester Cotton

138. Atlanta Falcons:

Jacksonville State OG B.J. Autry

139. Philadelphia Eagles:

San Diego State OT Tyler Roemer

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (3/4/2019)

Welcome back to the sixth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last few days to the biggest week of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournament seeding is starting to become clear, and the bracket is as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my sixth bracket of the season!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have all gained a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are continuing to distance themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

During the weekend, the bubble became a lot less crowded as some teams won their way off of it, and some had their bubble pop. UCF sealed a signature win on the road against Houston, while Georgetown outlasted Seton Hall in a Big East two overtime bubble battle. Indiana upset Michigan State to get itself back on the radar, for now, and Tennessee got its revenge on Kentucky by absolutely showing them up in Knoxville. It was a really fun weekend of college hoops and it looks to be just a small taste of what’s to come here in March this year!

My process of bracketing is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Virginia would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So before we start a crazy final week in regular season hoops, let’s check into my sixth and final regular season Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.:

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Prairie-View/#16 Norfolk State

#8 Auburn vs. #9 Oklahoma

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Nevada vs. #12 Belmont

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 NC State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#2 LSU vs. #15 Georgia Southern

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Ohio State

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Jacksonville, Florida

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Campbell

#8 Baylor vs. #9 UCF

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Clemson/#12 Georgetown

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Texas

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Colgate

#7 Wofford vs. #10 Utah State

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Iona/#16 Fairleigh Dickinson

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Washington

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Lipscomb

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Yale

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 TCU

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Iowa vs. #10 St. John’s

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 VCU vs. #9 Ole Miss

San Jose, California

#4 Marquette vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Minnesota

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Montana

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 Florida

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Northern Kentucky

#7 Iowa State vs. #10 Temple

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Arizona State (20-9, 11-6 Pac 12, 69th NET, 3-3 Quadrant 1, 74th SOS, 27th Non-Conference SOS)

Minnesota (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten, 56th NET, 2-8 Quadrant 1, 49th SOS, 147th Non-Conference SOS)

Clemson (17-12, 7-9 ACC, 40th NET, 1-9 Quadrant 1, 37th SOS, 125th Non-Conference SOS)

Georgetown (18-11, 8-8 Big East, 72nd NET, 3-6 Quadrant 1, 83rd SOS, 246th Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Furman (24-6, 13-5 Southern, 44th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 192nd SOS, 271st Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (17-13, 8-9 SEC, 53rd NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 24th SOS, 42nd Non-Conference SOS)

Indiana (15-14, 6-12 Big Ten, 54th NET, 6-9 Quadrant 1, 28th SOS, 188th Non-Conference SOS)

Seton Hall (16-12, 7-9 Big East, 63rd NET, 4-7 Quadrant 1, 46th SOS, 84th Non-Conference SOS)

Next Four Out:

Murray State (25-4, 16-2 OVC, 50th NET, 0-2 Quadrant 1, 273rd SOS, 191st Non-Conference SOS)

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5 West Coast, 38th NET, 1-6 Quadrant 1, 50th SOS, 39th Non-Conference SOS)

Butler (15-14, 6-10 Big East, 60th NET, 2-9 Quadrant 1, 19th SOS, 70th Non-Conference SOS)

UNC Greensboro (26-5, 15-3 Southern, 59th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 141st SOS, 154th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #12 Houston, #24 Cincinnati, #33 UCF, #40 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Virginia, #3 Duke, #6 North Carolina, #14 Florida State, #17 Virginia Tech, #27 Louisville, #32 Syracuse, #41 NC State, #49 Clemson.

Big 12 (8 Teams): #9 Texas Tech, #13 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #25 Iowa State, #29 Baylor, #36 Oklahoma, #42 Texas, #44 TCU.

Big East (4 Teams): #16 Marquette, #21 Villanova, #38 St. John’s, #50 Georgetown.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #5 Michigan, #10 Purdue, #11 Michigan State, #15 Wisconsin, #19 Maryland, #26 Iowa, #39 Ohio State, #48 Minnesota.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #20 Nevada, #37 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #34 Washington, #47 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #4 Tennessee, #7 Kentucky, #8 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, #35 Ole Miss, #30 Auburn, #43 Florida.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #2 Gonzaga, #23 Buffalo, #28 Wofford, #31 VCU, #45 Belmont, #46 Lipscomb, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Old Dominion, #53 Vermont, #54 Hofstra, #55 UC Irvine, #56 Yale, #57 Montana, #58 South Dakota State, #59 Georgia Southern, #60 Northern Kentucky, #61 Loyola Chicago, #62 Colgate, #63 Campbell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Iona, #66 Fairleigh Dickinson, #67 Prairie-View, #68 Norfolk State.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!