The committee did it again, matching up non-BCS schools aggressively and keeping them away from BCS schools. UNLV/Northern Iowa. Butler/UTEP. Temple/Cornell. Richmond/Saint Mary’s. The committee is taking one of the best things about the tournament–that the big guys have to play the little guys on a neutral floor–and destroying it, aggressively so. Defenders of the bracket and the committee will always point out that this isn’t intentional, but after it happens year-in, year-out, I simply don’t believe them. You can’t keep playing off the non-BCS schools one another every year and pretend it’s not a strategy. It very clearly is one, and it’s designed to prevent the possibility of the schools from smaller conferences showing that the main difference between them and the middle of the BCS leagues is home games. The committee and the NCAA should be embarrassed.
There are 15 non-BCS schools on seed lines 5-12 in this bracket. Eight of them are playing each other. Thanks, NCAA. Just what the fans want.
I missed two teams, getting the last SEC entrant wrong and being stubborn about William and Mary, and I’m not at all surprised. Florida/Mississippi State was kind of a toss-up, with the committee weighting Florida’s ability to lose (3-8 against the top 50) higher than I did, I guess. Minnesota got full credit for advancing through the Big 11 tournament by beating teams missing players, even after getting obliterated by the first full roster they saw. As I wrote earlier, all the picks at the bottom of this bracket are defensible, because all the choices were bad ones. For the first time in a while, I can’t get upset about the exclusions. They all earned it, one way or another. I can’t for the life of me see what Florida has over Mississippi State, but…
Oh, just for the fun of it…road: Minn 3-7, WM 10-6. R+N: Minn: 7-10, WM: 12-7. RPI: Minn: 60, WM: 58. Top 50: Minn: 5-7, WM; 3-3. Top 100: Minn: 8-10, WM: 6-7. 101-347: Minn: 15-4, WM: 15-3. The Tribe’s best road wins were at Maryland and Wake Forest. Minnesota’s were at Illinois and Penn State. That’s the same.
Maybe Wichita State and the rest of the Valley have it right. If you’re not going to get credit when you go on the road and beat BCS-league tournament teams, why not just play home games against whoever you can get, make enough money to make up for the missing tournament shares and be done with the whole process. That’s the object lesson here. The NCBSAA wants a Sweet 16 made up of BCS schools and maybe Gonzaga or Butler or Xavier, so why fight it?