The NCAA tournament selection committee just doesn’t make sense sometimes. I think they did a good job with getting the right teams in the tournament, but the teams that are grouped together in individual regions makes no sense.
First, I have no problem with putting Utah St in as the last team over Miss St, VT , and Illinois . Those three have similar resumes and Utah St is a 27 win team that won their conference regular season championship. Florida got in due to a solid non-conference schedule with 21 wins including Florida State , Michigan State, NC State, and Rutgers . They also had non-conference losses to Xavier, Richmond , and Syracuse – certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
On the other hand, Illinois scheduled well, but simply didn’t win enough games. The Illini had some good wins down the stretch, but a 19-14 record with losses to Utah , Bradley , Georgia , and Northwestern kept them out. Mississippi State , if you really study their season, doesn’t have much of an argument besides “We almost beat Kentucky twice.” Their best non-conference wins were UCLA, Old Dominion, and Houston. They had bad losses to Rider and Western Kentucky and also were beat by Richmond . Throw in that most of their SEC wins came against LSU, Auburn , Arkansas , and Alabama and their case drops even more. They lost regular season SEC games to Vandy, UF, Kentucky , and Tennessee .
Seth Greenberg basically said after the brackets were released that he didn’t schedule as if he was going to have a good team this year. They weren’t projected to finish very high in the ACC and caught a lot of people off guard by going 10-6. However, Greenberg’s failure to play anyone decent outside of Temple and Seton Hall (double digit loss and OT win); cost his team in the end. You can’t schedule thinking that your team won’t be very good, then use that as an excuse as to why your non-conference schedule was so weak.
The problem the 2010 NCAA committee made was when they placed certain teams into their regions. The numbers that teams were seeded were fine; it was which region they were placed in that failed to make sense. Kansas got as royally screwed as any team I can remember. Not so much because I think the teams in their region will beat them, but the caliber of team in their region was not what you would expect from a #1 overall seed.
First, they were given the better of the #2 seeds in Ohio State . The weakest #2 (Nova) should have been placed with the best #1 (KU). The best #2 ( Ohio State ) should have been placed with the weakest #1 (Duke). Georgetown is arguably the best and hottest #3 seed and is as big and talented as anyone. Granted Kansas won’t have to beat both, but it is still worth noting. The #4 and #5 seeds were the co-champions of the ACC and Big 10 respectively. The #6 seed and #7 seeds are the only 2 teams that beat Kansas this year.
Interesting to say the least…If you swap Ohio St with Nova, I would have Ohio St in the Final Four out of the South regional. If you swap Georgetown with New Mexico , I would have Georgetown advancing to the Final Four out of the East regional. I think in the end, the committee cared too much about where teams were being sent more than who they were being placed in a regional with.
This begs the question, “Why is the committee made up of mostly Athletic Directors?” Should some former coaches be in there to say “Hey, if I am the #1 overall seed, I want the weakest #2 seed in my regional.” Or, “If I am Ohio St and the top #2 seed, I don’t care so much about being in the Mid West regional as I do being placed in a regional away from Kansas .”
Bobby Knight questioned the panel being mostly AD’s Sunday night due to their lack of pure basketball knowledge. I see his point here too because it is difficult to trust a group to pick the best teams if they are not basketball guys.
Alas, the tournament starts once again this week and will surely bring some good games. A few 2010 NCAA tourney predictions before action gets underway Thursday:
1) At least two of the #11 seeds will beat a #6
2) Kentucky is the first #1 seed to be eliminated
3) For the 2nd time since the tourney went to 64 teams in 1985, no #12 seeds win
4) The Big 12 will have a strong presence in the Sweet 16
5) Kansas wins it all, despite their stacked regional