Well, it's all finally here. The most important thing is getting an invite; the rest is playing good basketball. BON will be breaking down each region with in depth coverage of the roads to the Final Four, with special emphasis on Texas' region in Atlanta. The schedule:
Monday: BON breaks down the Atlanta region and assesses Texas' chances of making the Final Four.
Tuesday: Breakdowns begin of the other regions.
Wednesday: Completion of all the region breakdowns, as well as the unveiling of the BON consensus bracket.
Thursday: The tourney begins.
First, a few quick notes from Selection Sunday:
*Congratulations to Kansas for playing out of their gourds on Sunday and winning the Big 12 conference tournament. They showed up, played with a ton of energy, shot the ball well, and deservedly won. With that said, Texas was out of gas and off its game. PJ Tucker dribbled over and over and over into traffic. His six turnovers (and Kansas' +7 edge in turnovers for the game), were the difference.
*I've rolled my eyes for years as the screaming pundits wondered why the mid-major teams on the bubble got excluded from the tournament. The selection committee finally caved and gave the mid-majors their day in the sun, and the pundits -still- aren't happy. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, but I have to admit I was a bit stunned to hear Dickie V, usually screaming "Foul!" on the committee for leaving out the little guy, screaming "Foul!" for them leaving out the big guys. Note to committee: no one will ever be happy. Ever.
*With that said, the committee befuddled me this year. I thought this was going to be one of the more predictable, controversy-free, brackets in recent memory. Not so much. The biggest head scratcher, in my mind, goes to giving the Syracuse Orangepeople a #5 seed. This, the Syracuse team that lost by 39 points to DePaul just a couple of weeks ago. And got spanked by Georgetown by 15 points two weeks ago. And needed last second -miracles- to beat Cincinnati, Georgetown, and UConn in the Big East tourney. Was it a great run? Of course. Are they a #5 seed based on four games? Ridiculous.
Another DC area team has room to complain as well, as George Washington fell to a #8 seed with Duke looming if they get past UNC-Willmington. I'm far less sympathetic to GW, as they've beaten, well, nobody, but even I think that's a bit harsh. The injury to Pops probably slid them to where they are. They'll need him back if they want to make any noise.
Can anyone explain why Boston College, which very well could have won the ACC Tourney, wound up not only a #4 seed, but also the only Eastern Time Zone team to travel out west? The Eagles fly to Salt Lake City to play on Thursday. Some reward for having a great season.
This highlights the principle, most serious, problem I have with this year's selection process. The message isn't consistent.
On the one hand: "Syracuse, we are giving you a -huge- reward for your Big East tournament run. Never mind your mediocre regular season."
On the other: "Boston College, we are giving you a lackluster review and a trip to Utah for your very impressive ACC Tournament run and a much better regular season."
There are other conflicting messages from the committee that leave me wondering what, precisely, the standards were for seeding and entry in to the tourney. Usually, the bones we pick over the tourney are pretty petty. Not so this year. There are some bizarre and important discrepancies. I'm disappointed.