Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

March 11, 2011

Seeding should be skeptical

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 10:42 am

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Pitt lost on a buzzer-beater to Connecticut yesterday, and Notre Dame looked fantastic while cutting Cincinnati up into tiny bits, so the campaign to give the Irish a 1-seed (though not necessarily at the expense of the Panthers, of course) has gathered more steam. Mark me down as a skeptic.

I’ve been a delighted spectator of Mike Brey‘s offense for years, and I give the coach full credit for continuing to lacerate opposing defenses in the post-Harangody era. Last month I clambered happily on the ND bandwagon, proclaiming this the best team Brey has had in recent memory.

But we’re talking about 1-seeds now, and those are scarce. Notre Dame had the whole season to play as well as Pitt or Duke did, and they didn’t do it. In fact, they didn’t come close. If they make the Final Four, Brey’s team will be the worst-performing major-conference team to do so since Georgia Tech in 2004. (Update: since starting this post I see where my old boss Nate Silver has made a similar point with respect to the Irish.)

Maybe Notre Dame will take a 2-seed as an injustice visited on them by the committee. Great, knock yourselves out.

No, seriously, you could be right. Florida was right in 2006. They won the national championship as a 3-seed. And, anyway, with the committee still using that 8-track tape known as RPI it’s not like you can be confident the opponents you face starting with the round of 32 will be easier if you’re a 1.

Prove the skeptics wrong. You have the opportunity to do so. This ain’t the BCS.

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