WRST Sports

Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Seeding Breakdown and Four Overlooked Teams That Could Make a Run

I’ll take a page from Tyler Thrune’s (@tylerthruneWRST) book today, and begin with a quote…

“Look at this. This is basketball. This is guys in t-shirts and shorts running up and down a court… And it’s the best time of the year.” -Bo Ryan

Selection Sunday has come and gone, and somehow we’re already more than halfway through this madness that they call March. Never fear, though. The best of the month is still in front of us, coming up with the second and third rounds Thursday through Sunday. Now that the brackets have been revealed, it’s time to move forward and work with what we’ve got. But, like every year, there’s always some choices that you have to second guess. And, since things in this tournament tend to be sorted by fours…

Four questionable decisions the committee made…

1. Stacking the Midwest region…

If Louisville is the number one overall seed (and I agree with that decision, by the way), how on earth does it fall in the same bracket as Duke (which was a favorite to be a one seed before a loss to Maryland in the ACC Tournament Quarters), Michigan State (which is always a threat to make a deep run in March), and St. Louis (a mid-major that could beat anyone on any given day)? Yes, Louisville essentially gets to stay at home throughout the tournament (they go to Lexington first, then to Indianapolis for the regional finals assuming they win), but man, they Cardinals did not even come close to catching a break. In addition to those first three teams, let’s not leave out the likes of Creighton and Missouri, which are also lurking in the Midwest region.

2. A stacked Midwest, but yet a weaker than weak West…

We knew Gonzaga was going to get a one seed. It just had to. Despite a lack of quality wins for the Zags, this year was about who you lost to, rather than who you beat, and Gonzaga was able to avoid any catastrophic losses throughout its 2012-13 season. But if Gonzaga was the last of the one seeds (which the committee said it was), why did it draw the last of the two seeds in Ohio State? In theory, shouldn’t the lowest one seed be in the same region as the highest two seed, which the committee said was Miami? Instead Ohio State gets thrown in there, as well as New Mexico at the three? That’s the weakest trio of seeds in the same bracket that I can remember in my young but dedicated life as an NCAA basketball follower. This region is wide open.

3. Michigan as a four seed…

I feel for the Wolverines. They had a terrific season, especially in the non-conference, and got a really, really low seeding. I was thinking a two, three at the lowest. The bright side for Michigan is that it’s in a region with an overrated one seed in Kansas and that it will be playing its first two games in Auburn Hills (as will Michigan State, by the way). The bad news is that Michigan gets a tough likely third round opponent in VCU. If that matchup comes to fruition, which I think it will, boy…will it be fun to watch.

4. The overall sloppiness of the bracket…

This ties in with examples 1 and 2. It just seems like the committee didn’t pay as much attention to detail this season as it typically does. Matchups are sloppy, seeding is questionable, and regions are funky. Here’s a perhaps unimportant example, but it’s indicative of the sloppiness: Montana, with a strength of schedule of 241, is seeded ahead of Davidson, which has an SOS of 190. Topping that off, Davidson beat Montana head to head in the bracketbuster on February 23. What’s even the point of scheduling those bracketbusters if we’re going to completely overlook them? Again, it’s not terribly important, but just an example to think about.

In addition, the committee gave better treatment to good teams from mid majors than it did to middle-of-the-pack teams from power conferences. Teams like Kentucky and Virginia were left out, despite having perhaps more impressive resumes, especially in terms of wins vs. the RPI Top 50. Then again, it’s about who you didn’t lose to this year, rather than who you beat. Teams like Middle Tennessee and Boise State got the benefit of the doubt.

Moving on… This is the case every year, but this year the tournament is wide open. Let’s take a look at four under-the-radar teams, one from each region, that could make a run…

From the west: (7) Creighton. What happened to everyone’s love affair with the Fighting McDermotts? This team was on everyone’s watch list until the turn of the new year, and then we all just seemed to forget about them. I think Creighton is in terrific position to make a Sweet 16 run, with second-seeded Duke as its likely third round matchup. The Blue Devils are prone to early losses in recent years. Creighton is a perfect candidate to hand them another. I think Creighton’s season ends with a loss to third-seeded Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

From the West: (5) Wisconsin. I’m serious. The Badgers are in a rare situation. Things actually get easier for them after their first two games. Every Wisconsin fan had a mini-heart attack when he or she saw that the Badgers would be taking on Marshall Henderson and Ole Miss in the second round, but I really don’t see the Rebels as a threat. The Badgers played a tougher non-conference schedule and, bar freaking none, a tougher conference schedule. They’re more ready. The tough one is likely Kansas State, IN KANSAS CITY, in the third round. But if the Badgers can get through that, it’s looking like Gonzaga, the most overrated team in the history of time, and then a fourth go-around against Ohio State, a team they beat by 22 in February, keeping them from the Final Four. I like that draw. I think it’s either a round-of-32 exit, or a Final Four berth for Wisconsin.

From the South: (4) Michigan

Hard to believe that the Wolverines are suddenly under the radar, but after another loss to Wisconsin and an early exit from the B1G Tournament, everyone has forgotten about Michigan. Not so fast. This is a young, but incredibly talented team. The most talented backcourt in the nation, in my opinion. Trey Burke is going to go on a classic NCAA Tournament run. I have them in the Final Four.

From the East: (11) Bucknell

Somewhere near Hortonville, Greg Peterson smiles. To be honest, I know nothing about Bucknell. But I like the draw. An overseeded Butler team in the second round, and then likely Marquette in the third. I’m going Bison to the Sweet 16.

I’ll give you my National Champion right now, too. I’ve got Indiana. Consistently the best team, all season long. I hope the Big Ten brings it home.

That’s all my college talk for this week. Enjoy the first round, and I’ll be back next Monday to discuss the Sweet 16!

And a quick, World of Sports…

I might be the only person not from Miami to be saying this, but LET’S GO HEAT. As a luke warm NBA fan, I want to see the streak continue. I hope they NEVER. LOSE. AGAIN.

Brandon Kinnard (@brandonkinnard), Titan TV Sports Director

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This entry was posted on March 18, 2013 by in NCAAB and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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