The bracket is set and the official start to March Madness and the NCAA men's college basketball tournament is right around the corner. Love this tournament. Best sporting event in my opinion. The Stack is here with some initial reaction from the unveiling of the brackets Sunday night. No predictions at this time, that will be Thursday and Friday. Now, let's go ahead and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, March 18:
2013 NCAA tournament thoughts
The field of 68 has been announced and tomorrow, the "first four" tip off. Some of the seeding was definitely surprising. Oregon a 12 seed? They won their conference tournament. Seems as though had they not won the Pac-12, they would not be in the tournament. There was some talk that Miami should be a one seed if they won the ACC tournament. They did, but were slated in the number two spot. Out of the four one seeds (Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas and Indiana) which number one seed should have been moved down? Most would say Gonzaga since they play in a weak conference. But they did go undefeated in conference play and their non-conference schedule was very good. They only lost two games. Kansas could be that team. After all, they lost to TCU earlier in the year. The Pac-12 obviously got no respect from the committee as no team is seeded higher than a six. Ouch!
In terms of the snubs and teams that shouldn't have gotten in that did, I really don't find any fault with the committee's selections. I applaud them for putting Middle Tennessee in the field. They lost just one game in Sun Belt conference play and had only five losses overall. Yes they lost in the Sun Belt tournament and their strength of schedule isn't great, but they didn't lose to anyone bad. Having them play in the "First Four" is a wise move. You can make a case for Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Baylor, Iowa and Virginia as teams that should have gotten in, especially Virginia and Tennessee. Virginia beat Duke earlier in the year and Tennessee has wins against Florid and Kentucky though the Kentucky win isn't as good with them not in the tournament. However, all of these teams had too many losses against subpar competition which according to the committee overrides any quality wins.
The conference breakdown is as follows:
- Big East (8 teams)
- Big Ten (7 teams)
- Big 12 (5 teams)
- MWC (5 teams)
- Pac 12 (5 teams)
- Atlantic 10 (5 teams)
- ACC (4 teams)
- SEC (3 teams)
- MVC (2 teams)
- WCC (2 teams)
Nice to see that some of the mid-major conferences (A-10 and MWC) get the respect from the committee and each get more teams in than the ACC and SEC. When your conference RPI is as high as the MWC was, they no doubt deserved to have all of those teams in.
There are some very intriguing second round games that open Thursday and Friday. A few of them include:
- #8 Pittsburgh vs. #9 Wichita State (Thursday at 1:40 PM ET)
- #4 Michigan vs. #13 South Dakota State (Thursday at 7:15 PM ET) Battle of the point guards Trey Burke (Michigan) against Nate Wolters (South Dakota State).
- #2 Georgetown vs. #15 Florida Gulf Coast (Friday at 6:50 PM ET) Georgetown has struggled in recent years in the tournament. If there is a 15/2 upset this year, this is the one to watch.
- #6 Butler vs. #11 Bucknell (Thursday at 12:40 PM ET) Bucknell has that Cinderella feeling with Mike Muscala (double double man) against the traditional Cinderella team in Butler. Battle of the Bu's...what a game this should be.
Then you have a potential third round game of UNC vs. Kansas (Roy Williams going against his former team). That would be a lot of fun. The tournament overall looks great. Fill out those brackets.
While I have not submitted my official bracket yet, my Final Four teams are set. I like #1 Louisville out of the Midwest (toughest region by far), #3 New Mexico out of the west region, #1 Indiana out of the East and #5 VCU out of the South. Only once in the last sixteen years have all four number seeds made it to the Final Four and that was in 2008. Don't see it happening this year.
Again, fill out those brackets. This is the best time of the year.
Coming up Tuesday: "First Four" game preview and predictions plus other top stories in sports.