I’m calling for a citizen’s arrest, because the Selection Committee for the NCAA Tournament just robbed everyone. There might be more than three points below, but I’m going to try to fit all my frustration into just that many phases. We’ll see how it goes…
1. Duke as the third number one, and its cupcake region.
The only thing I said after looking at the South Region was “are you kidding me?”
Not only did Duke ascend to the third spot in the god forsaken S-Curve ahead of Syracuse, but the Devils’ region is easy peasy. Villanova, which has lost five of its last seven games, is the second seed, with an impressively unimpressive Baylor team seeded third, and a Robbie Hummel-less Purdue fourth.
How Duke is ranked third and Villanova earned a two seed is anyone’s guess. The committee valued Duke’s late-season run to the ACC Championship (which consisted of wins over Virginia, Miami, and Georgia Tech – all seeded seventh or worse in the ACC), and used that to give them the bump to third.
However, the Wildcats have fallen from grace over the last three weeks, and in no way resemble one of the eight best teams in the country. They will face either Richmond or Saint Mary’s in the second round, and I’ll go ahead and say I smell an upset.
2. Kansas and its murderer’s row of a championship path
Poor Bill Self. He finally has a team that is unquestionably the best in the country, and he gets jipped by the selection committee by placing Ohio State and Georgetown in the same bracket. Both of those two teams could arguably be one seed line higher than they are. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship game by thirty points and got placed as the fourth-best two seed?
Not only that, but Maryland, the second place team in the ACC, is the fourth seed. Ignore the Terps’ early exit in Greensboro, they are dangerous in a Sweet Sixteen game. That’s if they get there. Michigan State, which struggled without injured point guard Kalin Lucas mid-season, but are at full strength now, are the fifth seed.
Now get this: the six and seven seeds are Tennessee and Oklahoma State – the only two teams to beat the Jayhawks this season. How’s that for poetic injustice? Kansas is far and away the most championship-caliber team in the field, but if they make it out of that hell-hole of a region, it will be miraculous if they have anything left in the tank.
3. Florida and Minnesota in the field, Illinois and Virginia Tech out
If the committee sat down and laid out why the Gators and Gophers made the field, it would make sense, it really would. But when you compare them to the Illini and Hokies, it’s harder to make a case.
The biggest beef I have is with Minnesota over Illinois. “But Minnesota made the championship game?” you ask? They murdered a Purdue team without its star player, Robbie Hummel, and already played only six players before his injury. The Gophers then turned around to be pasted by 30 points against Ohio State.
How did the Buckeyes get to the championship game in the first place? By beating Illinois. In double overtime. After overcoming a double-digit second half deficit. Seriously, do the people making this bracket even watch the games, or just use a bunch of fancy calculations on sheets of paper.
Virginia Tech and Florida were in similar positions. Neither team did much to wow the committee, but both had solid seasons and were deservedly on the cusp of making or missing the big dance. However, the Gators went 9-7 in an unimpressive SEC, while also posting awful losses to South Alabama and Georgia.
Yes, the Hokies played a weak nonconference schedule, but they didn’t lose to any bad teams. Neither the Hokies nor the Gators had any wins over great teams that would separate one from the other. With Florida’s losses being worse, it just made a little more sense to include the Hokies.
There, I managed to stick to three. There is so much more about this bracket that just puts me to shame, but I will have to shove my bitterness to the backburner, suck it up and enjoy another year of March Madness. Plenty more bracket breakdown to come this week, keep checking back.