March 16, 2006

Bashing The Brackets

It is my humble opinion that the selection committee really botched up this years NCAA Tourny brackets. I understand that the job of the selection committee is not east, and there are always going to be things people disagree with, but this year they did just a piss poor job. In order to get out all my rants in one quick and easy post, here is the top 10 things wrong with this years brackets.

10. Too much love for the 'cuse: I understand that the conference tournaments carry a good deal of weight, but Syracuse stunk for the majority of the year, got hot for a week and got a 5 seed. Despite the fact that the day the Big East tourny started, Syracuse was on the outside looking in, they now are seeded ahead of West Virginia, Indiana, George Washington, Marquette, Michigan State, and Georgetown. All those teams I guess made the mistake of playing well all year long. Leave it to the committee to celebrate mediocrity. Maybe they just needed a team sure to fall victim to the 5 vs. 12 curse.

9. Montana the 12 seed/ Winthrop the 15 seed: On the subject of terrible seedings. Montana got a 12 seed without winning the conference regular season and having beat no one legit out of conference. Meanwhile for some stroke of stupidity, Winthrop received a 15 seed despite winning the regular season Big South title and beating 2 ranked teams. They also played Memphis tight. Winthrop scheduled a tough out of conference schedule just so they would not be stuck with a bad seed again this year. Sadly for them, the committee uses out of conference schedule only when convenient.

8. FSU and Cincy get robbed: FSU goes 19-9 in a power conference and knocks off Duke, but suddenly their out of conference schedule keeps them out of the tourny. Conveniently forgotten is the fact that FSU played a far tougher schedule than any of the mid major bubble teams that got in. George Mason and Air Force were rewarded for playing no one in or out of conference. Any team that can be above .500 in the ACC should be in by default. Cincy got it even worse and it was clear the committee just flat out decided 9 Big East teams was just too many, despite the fact that anyone with half a brain could see Cincy is one of the 34 best at large teams.

7. Stacked Oakland bracket: I realize that one or two brackets every year seem more stacked, but this one is big time stacked. Memphis, Pitt, Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga, UCLA are the cream of the crop in this bracket. Memphis, Kansas, Gonzaga, and UCLA are all conference winners and Pitt played in the Big East finals. I guess the committee just really didn't want to see Memphis come out of this bracket.

6. Gonzaga is a 3 seed?: Gonzaga, a team that never gets any respect this time of year despite a killer out of conference schedule (which conveniently doesn't matter again). Gonzaga is stuck with a 3 seed in the toughest bracket in the tourny despite being obviously better than Tennessee who is a 2 seed. To make matters even worse, Gonzaga must take on 14 seed Xavier. Not only is Gonzaga maybe the best 3 seed ever, but Xavier is clearly the best 14 seed in recent memory. It simply makes no sense the way Gonzaga is treated here.

5. Xavier the 14 seed: Along those same lines, it is terrible that the Atlantic 10 champs who played really well down the stretch were stuck with a 14 seed. 4 Teams from the vastly overrated MVC got better seeds than the A10 champ? The Atlantic 10 is a top 8 conference and should be treated like one, the winner should be an 11 or 12 seed at absolute worst. To make matters even more dumb, the obvious best 14 seed takes on the obvious best 3 seed in Gonzaga.

4. No love for G Dub: What does George Washington have to do to get some love? They go undefeated in Atlantic 10 play (a top 8 conference) and are ranked as high as 6th in the nation late in the year. For that, they are rewarded with an 8 seed, making the first time I can remember where a teams seed was higher than their actual ranking. A 2nd round date with Duke is simply unfair for a team that played as well as GW did all year. I guess their out of conference schedule got them.

3. Tennessee got GW's love too: I guess all the love FSU, Cincy, Gonzaga, Xavier, and GW didn't get went right to Tennessee. After playing poorly down the stretch and being bounce in the 1st round of the SEC tourny by NIT bound South Carolina, Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl told reporters he expected a 4 or 5 seed. The look on his face was priceless when they got the #2 seed. I'm sure Gonzaga coach Mark Few had an equally priceless look of confusion. Maybe the committee just wants a 15 seed to beat a 2 seed to drum up rating. Winthrop has a far better than usual shot at just that.

2. Air Force: It is official, Air Force is the worst at large team in the history of the NCAA tourny. 14 seed Xavier would drill them. Air Force beat no one of significance all year long and lost in the quarterfinals of their conference tourny. The NIT committee already had their name written down on their brackets when to the surprise of everyone and for no apparent reason, Air Force was given a 13 seed. When asked why they got in, the head of the committee basically said they had no reason other than they liked the way they played. Surely that makes more sense than taking Cincy or FSU for an actual concrete reason.

1. The Missouri Valley Conference: Enough is enough with the MVC. I am as big a fan of the mid majors as anyone, but the fact that the MVC got as many teams as the Pac 10, Big 12, and ACC is the dumbest thing in the history of sports. The MVC most own stock in whatever moron computes the RPI, because for some reason unknown to anyone, the MVC teams always have great RPI's. This is especially odd because they don't play anyone, so essencially they gain these great RPI's by beating other MVC teams who also somehow have great RPI's. It is like a self fulfilling prophecy. Not a single team in the MVC would even have a good enough record to play in the NIT if it played FSU or Cincy's schedule. Seems only the teams in power conferences are punished for bad out of conference schedules, when they should be the ones who need them less, since they play legit teams in conference. Let FSU or Cincy play a couple of these mid majors who got in off the bubble and find out just how important the RPI really is.


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