We’re now less than a week away from Selection Sunday. The dream of a protected seed for the Longhorns as part of the Houston Regional died weeks ago, however, Sunday is still one of the more anticipated days of the year for this college basketball junkie.
I predict we’ll hear a lot less of "________ should definitely be in. They got robbed!" and a whole lot more of "There horrible! No way should _______ be in the tournament."
The discussion of whether or not to expand the NCAA tournament from 65 to 96 teams should end for anyone who has attempted to put together a bracket this season. In a typical year, there might be 70-75 worthy teams for those 65 coveted spots. This season, there’s probably about 60 worthy teams for those same 65 spots and five others teams that will slip in without merit.
Along those lines, let’s take a look at how this NCAA tournament might be seeded.
First I am assuming that the following mid-major teams will all win their respective conference tournaments and avoid their leagues receiving multiple bids—Siena (MAAC), Butler (Horizon), Old Dominion (Colonial), and maybe Utah State (WAC). Northern Iowa has already won the Missouri Valley making the MVC a one-bid league, and Gonzaga and St. Mary’s have made the West Coast Conference finals ensuring the WCC gets those two teams and no more.
The top teams are gunning for protected seeds in the these four regionals: Syracuse, St. Louis, Houston, and Salt Lake City. With no west coast teams vying for No. 1 or No. 2 seeds, the weakest No. 1 seed will likely be ‘protected’ but their regional location will be a long way from home.
First and second round sites include Providence, Buffalo, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, San Jose, and Spokane.
No. 1: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
No. 2: Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State
No. 3: New Mexico, Michigan State, Villanova, BYU
No. 4: Pittsburgh, Baylor, Temple, Butler
No. 5: Wisconsin, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Tennessee
No. 6: Maryland, Xavier, Texas A&M, Northern Iowa
No. 7: Gonzaga, California, Richmond, Marquette
No. 8: Texas, Missouri, UNLV, Louisville
No. 9: Oklahoma State, Clemson, Florida State, St. Mary's
No. 10: Wake Forest, UTEP, Illinois, Old Dominion
No. 11: San Diego State, Florida, Va Tech, Cornell
No. 12: Georgia Tech, Memphis, Notre Dame, Rhode Island
Thoughts? Gripes? Suggestions?