Some NCAA dominated thoughts while wondering if this Winter Storm Watch we’re sitting under is really going to drop 4-6″ by noon tomorrow as one TV station is saying.
Since the NCAA encompasses more than just the Big 8+4, I’ll post my thoughts here. First, most importantly, I was extremely pleased by KU’s #4 seed. There’s no doubt the desire to sell tickets at Kemper played into this. So what? The committee has been making such arrangements for years, and screwed KC three years ago by shipping Iowa State, KU, and MU all the other locales. I thought KU was in play for a 4, probably a 5, but expected a 6. And I fully expected Illinois to be the 3 sitting across from our 6. Apparently it was Roy the committee hated, not KU in general. Homer job or not, Providence is no push over and KU didn’t exactly impress the last time they played in KC in the NCAAs. Figures, the year I move away is the year they get to play close to home. St. Louis is only a four hour drive, though…
Screw jobs: Pittsburgh. I don’t think teams can complain too much if their seed is off by one spot, especially this year when the whole tournament is so well matched. So a 3 instead of a 2 isn’t that big of a deal. But having to potentially play Wisconsin in Milwaukee in the second round? Didn’t the committee promise this wouldn’t happen again after they put #6 Texas in Dallas two years ago?
Utah State. A team that has performed well in recent tournaments gets killed for losing one bad game.
I won’t put Oklahoma State on the list since the committee chair made it clear neither the Big 10+1 nor Big 8+4 championship games were included in the seeding process because of their timing. I’m inclined to think, no matter how good they really are, St. Joe’s deserves a #1 seed for their regular season record. It amazes me how everyone is willing to dismiss them, yet keep Stanford as a #1. St. Joe’s has a higher RPI than Stanford and a much more difficult schedule. Heck, St. Joe’s strength of schedule is higher than OSU’s for that matter. They absolutely deserve a #1 if Stanford deserves one. The A-10 may be full of mid-majors, but the Pac-10 wasn’t exactly a tough conference this year either. Had the 8+4 championship game been in play, I think OSU could make a serious case for a #1 over Stanford, using my logic. If I’m OSU, take the #2 seed and the motivational factor involved in “only” getting a #2 seed. That seemed to work out ok for a Big 8+4 team last year.
There has been some minor discussion about moving the Big 8+4 championship game back to Saturday. KU fans should love that thought (1984) and if a decent TV arrangement can be made (surely a prime time game on ESPN would work) I think it’s best for everyone. It gives the committee time to give proper credit to the teams that make the final. It’s an additional day of rest for conference teams playing the following week. Teams that play on Wednesday would be playing on a normal amount of rest, so that’s not an issue. I would like them to at least explore the option. Heck, let’s go to the pre-1986 set-up when first round games were played on campus!
Is there a bigger shill for the established order than Billy Packer? He looked downright upset that St. Joe’s got a #1 seed. All the more reason to root for St. Joe’s, the delicious potential that Packer has to stand next to Phil Martelli at some point.
I enjoyed Greg Gumbel’s “rolling along through the brackets” comment. He uttered that at 6:28 EST, when CBS was preparing to show another commercial before getting to the third bracket. I say this every year: I understand if you spend a billion dollars to broadcast an event, you have to make some money back. But why the 45 minute screw job on the fans? In the 80’s through the mid 90s, they got all 64 teams on the board in less than ten minutes, then went to commercials and came back for analysis and interviews. Throw each region up for 30 seconds, cut all the background out on each team, the interesting tid-bits about teams Gumbel hasn’t seen play one time all year, you can go to commercial at 6:05 and then spend 50 minutes with exclusive coach interviews, detailed breakdowns, etc. before ESPN comes on at 7:00 with their show. It drove me completely nuts that they’re interviewing coaches before they even get to the second half of the bracket.
Add in to all of that the fact CBS and the NCAA can’t be honest with us. No more sponsors, in the Brave New World we have Corporate Sponsors. The fancy terminology doesn’t make me any less pissed to be sitting through 20 minutes of commercials, errr, Corporate Sponsor Testimonials before I can fill my bracket out.
CBS just couldn’t wait to get the Duke bracket up, could they? While Gumbel was trying to roll through the New Jersey bracket, the network through up the top half of the Duke bracket. Bravo to the NCAA for finally giving a #1 seeded Duke a difficult bracket!
Strangest argument for a team I heard: A Chicago based talk show host was on a local program yesterday afternoon talking through odds for Big 10+1 teams. When discussing Michigan, he said he thought they deserved a spot because they put themselves on probation last year. So let me get this straight, if you cheat, but admit you cheated and punish yourself before the NCAA can get you on their agenda, you should be rewarded down the line for that? I’m not quite grasping that concept.
I’m sure I’ll have more during the week…