Monday, March 17, 2014
My NCAA Bracket Thoughts
-One of the two most talked about topics is Louisville getting a 4 seed. I personally had them as a 3 seed but I have little problem with a 4. There really isn't that big of a difference. The American Athletic Conference was not a very good conference. Sure, it was top heavy but 40% of the conference fell below the 150 RPI line and a 5th team (Houston) was only a 143. When half your conference is considered a bad loss you have to make it up in non conference. Louisville's best non-conference win was Southern Miss who is currently sporting a 3 seed in the NIT. Their overall non-conference strength of schedule is 159. They do pass the eyeball test but that can't be reason enough for a two or three seed bump.
-The second most talked about topic is SMU's exclusion from the dance. Again I have no problem with it. See above regarding the problems with the AAC and realize that SMU lost to two of those bottom feeders and lost in their first conference tournament game to Houston. SMU's non conference SOS was 303. I wouldn't have complained if they did get in, but I'm not up in arms that they didn't. I had them in over BYU. BYU got rewarded for playing a tough schedule and a couple of top 50 RPI wins but they are not the same team without Kyle Collinsworth. They should have been left out with out their second leading scorer, leading assist and rebound guy.
-Ultimately I think the committee did a solid job with who was left in and out of the field. It was such a weak bubble that you really can't complain with any team that was left out. I do have some seeding issues like UMass as a 6 seed and Gonzaga as an 8. There was actually a moment during the bracket reveal where I thought that UMass might be in trouble even making the field. I thought they should have been in but based on where I saw other A10 teams being seeded, the thought did cross my mind.
-This is a tough year to pick upsets. Normally there are a few that really stick out to me. But not this year. Teams like Stephen F. Austin, NC Central and Manhattan were teams I was looking at pre-bracket reveal that I was targeting to move on with the right match up. None of those teams got the right match up. The only lower seed "upsets" I'm probably leaning towards are Providence and Iowa/Tennessee which aren't really upsets to me.
-A lot of people are saying how tough Wichita State's region (Midwest) is. But that South region is insane. Without Embiid I don't think Kansas makes it out of the first weekend if they have to play New Mexico but if Florida, Cuse and UCLA were all in different regions they might have all had a shot to get to my Final 4. Then having VCU and Ohio State sitting there as the 5 and 6 seeds. It's a brutal region. Even more so if Kansas can stay alive long enough for Embiid to come back.
-It's interesting to me that Louisville might have to beat Wichita State and Michigan again on it's way to a national title.
-If a 16 seed upsets a 1 this year, is it unreasonable to think Warren Buffet had something to do with fixing a tournament game? I don't really think there are any live 16 seeds this year though. Coastal Carolina is technically closer to the arena than Virginia but that's not enough for me to come close to considering it. If Texas Southern beats Cal Poly then Aaric Murray would be the biggest guy on the floor against Wichita State. But if that guy could lead his team to a SWAC regular season championship then I'm not banking on him handing Wichita State their first loss of the year.