Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bracket Reaction

After a Championship Week that included upsets and surprises galore, why would Selection Sunday be any different? The Selection Committee has been prone to some interesting selections over the past few years, and this year’s bracket joined that group, although I do believe that they did a very solid job overall.

- Chief among the interesting selection was Arizona getting in over the likes of non-BCS teams San Diego State, Creighton and Saint Mary's, as well as Penn State. The Wildcats were 5-10 on the road and lost six of their final seven. Sure, they had a litany of impressive wins, but they lost 13 games -- the same as Creighton and Saint Mary's combined. All three of the aforementioned non-BCS clubs had RPIs in the 30s and 40s, while Arizona's was in the 60s. Furthermore, San Diego State beat UNLV on the road and then upset BYU in the Mountain West tournament; Arizona lost in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament. Creighton is 11-1 in its last 12 games, Saint Mary's has two losses with Patty Mills in the lineup. I feel that any of those three teams were more deserving than Arizona.

- Like I projected, Connecticut got the final No. 1 seed, edging out Memphis. The Huskies had a much better record against the top-50 and had a better overall resume than the Tigers, and deserved the final top seed. Either way, Memphis could have a chance to prove itself if both the Tigers and Huskies get to the Elite Eight.

- Utah getting a No. 5 seed seems somewhat high, but getting a share of the Mountain West regular-season title and then winning the conference tournament must have played a factor. Plus, they had an RPI in the top-10.

- LSU, winners of the SEC regular-season title by multiple games, received just a No. 8 seed. Shows how high (or low) the committee thought of the SEC.

- Syracuse's run to the Big East conference championship game must have improved its seed by abot three spots. The Orange were probably a six or seven seed heading into the conference tournament, and they ended up as a No. 3.

- How did Marquette get a No. 6 seed? The Golden Eagles are 1-5 without Dominic James and are 3-8 against the top-50 of the RPI. Clemson struggled down the stretch, but the Tigers were 11-5 away from home, were 8-6 against the top-100 and played a tougher schedule. Without James, Marquette just isn't deserving of a six seed.

- Portland State had a better resume than North Dakota State? Based on what, the one win over Gonzaga? PSU struggled during Big Sky play and finished four games back of the regular-season title, while NDSU won both the Summit regular season and conference tournament titles.

- Chattanooga somehow avoided the play-in game. The Mocs have the worst record and the second-worst RPI in the field, yet Morehead State was relegated to the play-in game. Doesn't make sense.

- Mississippi State just made an epic run in the SEC Tournament, beating both LSU and Tennessee...and gets rewarded by playing Washington in Oregon.

- USC received a No. 10 seed after winning the Pac-10 Tournament; could the Trojans have gotten in without winning the automatic bid?

Even with the few surprises, though, I think that the Committee did a good job, as the only really questionable inclusion was Arizona and no teams received really questionable seeds (only one team besides Arizona received a bid not within one seed line of my projected bracket). With the brackets finally released, it’s time to take the focus off “Who’s In, Who’s Out?” and put it on the actual match-ups. The NCAA Tournament has finally begun.


  1. Arizona lost 5 of its last 6, not 6 of its last 7. I think the injury to Jordan Hill was taken into account for certainly the Washington game where he went down in the last 10 minutes and Brockman scored a gazillion then; as well as possible later games where Hill was not 100%. St. Mary's was the team with the most beef, none of the other teams have any reasons. Also compare Maryland's wins and losses to Arizona's wins and losses.. who is really better?

  2. The Politics of Dancing......

    Arizona got in because they wanted to keep the 25 consecutive year of NCAA appearances alive. There were several teams more deserving of a bid than the Wildcats. What about Providence? They had the same overall record (19-13) and a better conference recrd (10-8) in a MUCH better conference! Anyone who wins 10 games in the Big East should be in, but again politics dictate: they didn't want the Big East with 8 teams because they like to keep everything "balanced".

  3. Arizona got in because it beat Big-12 Champion Kansas, Pac-10 Champion Washington, West Coast Champion Gonzaga, and Big Sky Champion Weber State. The also beat Pac-10 dance bound teams UCLA, USC, and California. If St. Mary's played a typical Pac-10 schedule they wouldn't have even been considered a bubble team.

  4. Lol, it does not matter if you have a million wins if most of them are against cubcakes, Arizona deserves to be in, they have many quality wins. Any team that can beat 4 conference champs in the regualr season in addition to UCLA, USC, SDSU deserves to be in.