The 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is based on name recognition. On Sunday when the selection committee announced the field of 68, I was surprised by some of the seedings.
Michigan State as a #1 seed is a little bit of a stretch. Yes, the Spartans won the Big 10 tournament and the Big 10 conference is very strong, but this team lost a total of seven games. In their three games vs. non-conference top 25 schools they were 1-2. Two of their five Big 10 losses were against Northwestern and Illinois. I felt Missouri should have been the third #1 seed, while UNC should have been the fourth #1 and Michigan State the top #2 seed. I think the prestige of UNC and Michigan State carried weight here and that is not right for seeding purposes. This is the first time a major conference school had 30 wins or more and was not given a #1 seed. Greg Anthony on the selection show nailed it when he mentioned that the strength of schedule should not matter when you’re debating top seeds since they all play such a high-caliber of opponents. The committee chair himself stated this year had 112 teams with 20+ wins. How can you not reward a team in the Big 12 (arguably the 2nd best conference), that has 30 wins, a #1 seed?
Kentucky was deservedly given the overall #1 seed and the closest region to get to New Orleans by going to Louisville and Atlanta. What the committee did not do was make their road easy. How can the south region be the easiest bracket when you have #2 Duke, #3 Baylor, #4 Indiana (the only team to but UK in the regular season), #5 Wichita State, #6 UNLV, and let’s not forget #9 UConn. Anthony Davis and the rest of the Wildcat squad will have to play at their absolute best just to get to the Big Easy.
Murray State should have been a #3 seed. Anyone who thinks I’m crazy is crazy themselves. The Racers have an RPI of 2, they did not lose a non-conference game, and they did not lose a road game all season. I repeat, they did not lose a road game all season. 30-1 is impressive, but not losing a road game all year is more impressive. Everyone has their eyes on Wichita State, but I say watch out for the Racers.
Will any #3 seed make it to the Sweet 16? With a stellar group of #6 seeds (including UNLV, Murray State, and Cincinnati) the path to the regional semi-finals will be tough for Baylor, FSU, Georgetown, and Marquette. All of the #3 seeds deserve high seeds, but they all have hard round of 32 games. I even have one of them losing to a #11 seed.
How can the Drexel Dragons be left out? You put in Iona and South Florida? I know, I know, cupcake non-conference schedule. This team deserves to be in and I feel like the committee is trying to make a point by leaving them out. That’s not right. The Dragons played hard all year and nearly won the CAA Tournament final against VCU. Regular season championship and 27-6 record should have been enough. This team played on the road at Virginia, at Winthrop, at St. Joseph’s, back to back to back, before heading to Delaware to open their conference schedule on the road. It will be interesting to see how Drexel schedules their games next season.
Congratulations to the NC State Wolfpack for being selected with an at-large bid. I felt they were deserving and the ACC having five teams in the dance (#1 North Carolina, #2 Duke, #3 Florida State, #10 Virginia, & #12 NC State) is great for the conference.
On a side note – can someone please tell Bruce Ellington to stick with football instead of basketball? The South Carolina Gamecocks had a horrible season on the hardwood and should be a top 10 team on the gridiron next year. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather play at Williams-Brice than Colonial. I’m sure we’ll hear something about this today on The Drive (and maybe even the Whiner Line on WFNZ 610 AM Sports Radio) as the Gamecocks could be firing their head coach.
Please click on the photo to view my entire bracket. Call me a genius on April 2nd or make fun of my when three of my final four teams do not make it out of the sweet 16.
Thank you for reading. A special thanks to all of the folks at NorthCarolina.Rivals.com for reading my last post. Please follow me on Twitter @BruceRWilson and you can read my blog at www.brucedogg.wordpress.com and send me your love/hate mail to BruceRWilson3@gmail.com