Just to toot my own horn, I got 32 of 34 at-large bids right. And I got 51 of 65 of teams within one of their seed with only two embarrassing gaffes: I had Creighton as a 6, they are actually a 10. And to show I'm not totally in the tank for mid-majors, I had Butler as an 8, and they are a 5.
This will be the last post about the bracket selection, we'll start breaking down the field tomorrow. Matchups are what matters, so that'll take some time to figure out. But let's have some fun with the field itself.
Thank God UNC gets to play in Winston-Salem, huh? Texas looms as a bad ass 4-seed by the time everyone goes to East Rutherford. Georgetown also looms as an extremely bad ass 2-seed. So the Committee did the Heels absolutely no favors. I'm not a fan of Texas Tech making the field, but its understandable why they did. No one wanted the Big 12 to only get three teams in, even if Texas Tech's profile didn't quite merit inclusion.
Washington St and USC both get shipped East, but thanks to the pod system, both get to stay on the West Coast. Is there anything more ridiculous than the pod system? Why are eastern region games being played in Sacramento and Spokane (particuly since they sent Wazzu to California... if you're gonna have this ridiculous sham, at least stick to it).
Speaking of ridiculous, why is OSU the South #1 and Florida #1 in the Midwest? And could have OSU gotten a bigger gift of a draw? Virginia is a weak #4, Tennessee is a fairly weak #5. The Xavier thing is cute, though. Thad Matta gets to smack the crap out of the team he coached last.
Creighton is a 10? That's really low, though I'm not altogether sold on Nevada anyway. Louisville gets to stay in Kentucky, and if they make it to the Sweet Sixteen, A&M gets to play before a home crowd in San Antonio. I think Memphis is a reach as a 2-seed. And there is Stanford. For the record, comparing them to Drexel:
RPI: 39 v. 63. ADVANTAGE: DREXEL
Road: 13-5 v. 5-7. AD: DREXEL
Conference: 14-6 v. 10-9. Well, consider its the CAA and the Pac-10. AD: STANFORD
Non-conference RPI: 5 v. 91. AD: DREXEL
Last 10: 7-3 v. 4-6. AD: DREXEL
vs. top 50: 3-4 v. 4-8. AD: DREXEL
Why is Drexel not in the field?
A quick dilemma: do you pick choking dog Arizona or choking dog Purdue when they play in the first round? I think Butler's getting way too much respect, and ODU is seeded a bit too low. That's how 5-12 upsets happen. But what is the point of putting mid-majors against one another? there's only six mid-major at-large teams in the field, and they are playing each other here. In fact, almost all the high seeded mid-majors are playing another mid-major (Nevada v. Creighton, SIU v. Holy Cross, and BYU v. Xavier). The beauty of tourney is David vs. Goliath. Not David vs. David.
Also, to make the top teams worried, I feel that both Notre Dame and UNLV are underseeded, which ought to make Wisconsin and Oregon very nervous. Everyone is talking up Winthrop and even Georgia Tech as potential upsets in the first round, but people should pay attention to what the 6-7 seeds will do in the second round as potential upsets if they survive the first round upsets.
Kansas got the #1, but UCLA gets Sacramento in the first rounds, and San Jose in the next two. What would you rather have? A number or cushy home sites? Yeah, same with the Bruins. Illinois looks like one of the last teams in, and I'm cool with that, but their profile was almost the same as Purdue's and they got a 9-seed. In fact, I'd argue Illinois' profile was better.
Gonzaga as a 10-seed is very cute. I guess they've earned the benefit of the doubt, huh? Duke is slightly overseeded, but nothing outrageous, and they got a tough VCU team as a bonus. And the potential of Ben Howland facing his old Pitt team is delicious.
All in all, the Committee did a bang up job in a very difficult year. I think they are dead wrong on Stanford, but its nothing to go crazy about. And there's no real whoppers out there. It's a good bracket. Time to study who is the leading shooter for Jackson St.