by Mark Rubel
For basketball fans, Selection Sunday is compared to Christmas Day for a child. All that time spent waiting, and when it arrives, it only lasts for so long. Another Selection Sunday has come and gone, and yet again, we can argue for teams that should have been invited to the “Big Dance.” Also, we can ask ourselves “What is that team doing in the tournament?”
Last year, it was a team by the name of VCU who everyone was complaining about. However, VCU ended up making the Final Four. Who could be that team this year? Before I get to my predictions, I would like to offer my questions that I just do not understand.
Overall, I think the committee did a great job on selecting the teams, but like everyone, I do have my complaints.
One complaint was not hearing Drexel’s name being called as one of the 68 teams. I agree with all the at-large selections except for Iona and Texas, and surely, the reason for Drexel not making the field has to do with their strength of schedule (212th). I get the fact that such a high number for strength of schedule is horrible, but they also won 19 games in a row and finished first in a Colonial Conference which has provided some entertainment in past tournaments (VCU, George Mason, Old Dominion). Although Drexel only has one win vs. the RPI top 50, Iona has none! At the end of the day, it is Drexel that deserves to be dancing, not Iona.
Texas, on the other hand, I could live with being in the dance because of the simple fact that there are no other teams that I believe have better resumes than the Longhorns. Seton Hall, Miami (FL), and Washington are some of the bubble teams that have been left off this year’s bracket. Although each of those teams might have a case for making the tournament, they all have weaknesses on their resumes.
The real problems I had with the selection committee were the seedings of the teams in the tournament. After just saying they did a great job selecting the teams, did they not look at the numbers they put next to the teams? Those numbers stand for the team’s seed, which they obviously did not understand. Florida gets a seven seed? Creighton goes out and wins its’ tournament and they get an eight see? Better yet, if the Blue Jays win, they face a most likely matchup with Tar heels of North Carolina.
I feel like Murray State also deserved higher than a six seed because they only have one loss. While they do not play a tough schedule, one loss is one loss. I feel like that was a team that could have gone deep, but was dealt with an unlucky draw.
Besides the fact that I thought the selection committee made some mistakes, there were some things I did like about this year’s bracket.
North Carolina and Kentucky are the two best teams in the country in my opinion, so I agree with their choice to put those two teams on opposite sides of the bracket. They did a great job with the seeding of the first eight teams overall in the tournament as well.
Another thing I think they did better in this year’s bracket than they did in any other bracket was the possible second round matchups for the number one seeds. I feel like all number one seeds could have a chance being ‘upset.’ Michigan State could face Memphis, Kentucky could face Connecticut, Syracuse could have a tough time with Kansas State, and the least likely one I could see happening is Creighton taking down North Carolina.
Overall, I think selecting the field of 68 teams is one of the toughest committees to be a part of in sports, so I have to give those members credit for doing a good job.
Sleepers in Each Region
East: Kansas St.
Midwest: San Diego St.
South: Wichita St.
Upset in Each Region
East: Kansas St. over Syracuse (second round)
Midwest: Belmont over Georgetown
South: Colorado over UNLV
West: Long Beach St. over New Mexico
Final Four from Each Region
East: Florida St.
Midwest: North Carolina
Kentucky vs. North Carolina
North Carolina Tar Heels