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Thoughts on the Bracket
This is not my breakdown of winners and losers, so if that's what you were looking for, check back tomorrow. I just wanted to talk about what the selection committee did. I hate that they did what they did but they did things because at the end of the day, March Madness is a TV show and they need to get eyes on screens. And to do that, the games need to be compelling. So lets look at what they did....
-UCLA, Texas, OK St., Indiana, St. John's in. None of these teams deserved to be in in my opinion, but they all come from power conferences and are known names. You get an LA team, a New York team, a Texas team, an Indiana team, and a team that did ok in a tough conference (Big 12). Why did they do this? Because the casual observer wants to see these teams instead of the Murray States, and the Richmonds, and the Colorado States. Also, the small conferences struggled last year when we had Wichita State and Gonzaga at the top of the polls all year long. So they went with the bigger names this year.
-Steve Masiello, the head coach of Manhattan. Last year he was a hot name and he took a head coaching job at North Florida. Then it comes out that he lied on his resume and embarrassed the sport. This year his team wins their conference tournament again and how does the NCAA repay him? Instead of getting a 13 or 14 seed like many thought they would, he has to play in a play in game, for the right to get crushed by Kentucky. Coaches become hot names when their teams make it to the second weekend. Not when they go out very early. Masiello has no chance to be a hot name because no one will remember him losing.
-Kentucky has a really easy road to the Final Four. But that's what the committee wants. The exciting part is them playing in the final four when the games will be close. If they lose early all the drama is over so they have a cake walk. The top half of their bracket is really weak with their toughest game being Maryland who probably is only 50/50 to make it to them.
-Buffalo is in the same bracket as Kentucky. Buffalo has no chance to win this game but its more compelling if they somehow get to the second weekend because they played each other and Buffalo had some level of success.
-Purdue would play Kentucky in the second round. Purdue has 2 seven footers. Now you will watch because they can match up size wise. But their 7 footers aren't that good. But again it makes you watch.
-Kansas and Wichita State should meet in the second round. Two teams from Kansas so it becomes a huge instate rivalry. That's why the committee did this. The unfair part is that Wichita State is WAY better than a #7 seed, but they were put down there so a more compelling game would occur.
-The committee members must all be Big East alums because this conference is so overvalued its ridiculous. St. John's is not good and they got a #9 seed, Xavier got a #6 seed with 13 losses and Georgetown got a #4 seed in another monumental joke.
-In my opinion Arizona got screwed. The other 3 teams that won their conference and conference tournament all got #1 seeds and Arizona did not. And they have to play Wisconsin in the Elite 8 which is a really tough game for both teams. But they played last year in a great game and so the committee wants it to happen again. On a side note it sucks that both of these teams won't get a shot at Kentucky because they are both teams that have the size and athleticism to play with Kentucky.
-Michigan State has to feel a bit shafted being the #7 seed because they had Wisconsin beat. Literally the ref stared right at the Wisconsin player's foot as he stepped out of bounds and cost Michigan State the game. Had they won that they may have been a #4 or #5 seed and instead they lose in overtime and become a #7. That's not right. And they will have to play Virginia team in the second game which means one of those team goes home. I think Michigan State.
-Saint John's gets put one game away from playing Duke in second round. If we all remember Coach K got his 1000th win at St. John's earlier this season. We all remember that Saint John's had a good lead late in that game and couldn't hold on, so the committee sees a more compelling game putting them next to the Dukies.
-SMU vs UCLA. Well i'll be darned, what do these teams have as their link? Larry Brown used to coach UCLA and now he coaches at SMU.
-On the bottom half of that bracket there is a potential for an Iowa-Iowa State match up.
All in all I can't wait to watch the games. I thought BYU should have been in the bracket and not have to play in. I think the Pac 12 was completely devalued at the top where Arizona and Utah should have been seeded higher, and Oregon and UCLA should be lower, as in UCLA shouldn't have made it. If UCLA upsets SMU does that show the committee was right to put them in? No it doesn't. It shows that anyone can win and for those 40 minutes UCLA was better. I think the Big East was way over valued and I hope all their teams are gone by Sunday. Won't happen but I can hope. I hate that Indiana and Texas are in because both of those coaches should be fired and they may save their jobs by winning a game or two. I utterly hate Tom Creen and I hope i spelled his name wrong and I'm not going to look it up. He is out of control on the sideline pacing up and down like a moron, power walking like he did something when the other team misses a wide open shot and his team miraculously gets the rebound. He fouls at the end of games even if his team is down 12 or 14 points and has no chance of coming back. And his teams just aren't that good. That had one good year when they had Oladipo and Zoeller but those guys are NBA players and he has been below mediocre since. I hope Wichita beats them by 40.
I'll be back tomorrow with game breakdowns and my picks. Stay tuned.