Dance Time!

Well, the field of 65 has been set by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, and I thought I would make some totally random observations.

1. Ohio St gets a #8 seed and gets to remain very close to home in Dayton.  If they get by #9 Siena, which is far from a given, they are looking at #1 overall seed Louisville, also playing very close to home, in the 2nd round.  If it happens, plan on that being the national game to start Tripleheader Sunday.  I’m sure some in Big Ten Country will find it interesting that OSU gets to stay close to home as a non-pod seed while the likes of Purdue and Illinois are booking flights for Portland.  I will call it compensation for the year Ohio St was a pod seed that got to stay close to home in Albuquerque, NM.

2. It appears that St. Mary’s is getting love as the bubble team that got left out, and Arizona is the team that the experts point to first in questioning a selection.  I think Arizona is highly questionable.  I’m also not sure what Minnesota did to get a bid moreso than Penn St, if you want an apples to apples comparison.  I might also point out San Diego St, who had an RPI in the mid-30s and who comes from the same conference as Utah and BYU, two teams that will be wearing home uniforms in their 1st round games.

3. Speaking of BYU, nice to see the Committee got it right this time and gave them a Thursday/Saturday pod and put them in the West Region, which if I am not mistaken should have its usual Thursday/Saturday placement in the 2nd weekend schedule.  Mormons are less than willing to play on the Sabbath and the Committee remembered that this time.

4. Cleveland St got a winnable seeding on the #13 line.  13s usually lose to 4s, but that game probably averages one upset every 2 years or so, and I think Wake Forest is beatable, at least if the Demon Deacons don’t bring their best game to Miami.

5. I thought the Committee might pair off Robert Morris and Pittsburgh, but they put the Colonials on the #15 line and sent them to Minneapolis to play Sparty.  That won’t be easy.

6. Too many people are giving Mississippi St too much love.  They won the SEC, which was going to be a two bid league until the Bulldogs got the auto bid.  Two bids into the 8/9 games at that.

7. Look for Utah St to beat Marquette.  The Golden Eagles have been in free fall since one of their star players went down with an injury.

8. Memphis is only a #2 because their conference sucks.  If they don’t want to have the fewest losses of anyone in the country and still only be a #2 seed, they should move into a real conference.  Maybe the Big East can trade them for DePaul?  They could use another football member or two anyhow.

9. Pittsburgh got sent to Dayton instead of Philadelphia.  I suppose it doesn’t matter much to Panther fans whether they drive 4-5 hours east or west.  Indeed, they might actually be happy to not have to go to Philadelphia.  Neutral fans in Dayton won’t automatically despise them, and this way they can avoid the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  And, at a quick glance, I don’t see much here keeping them from the Elite 8.

10. The national game to open Quadrupleheader Saturday will be Duke v Texas or Duke v Minnesota.  Versus Texas would match two name programs. Versus Minnesota would match two top flight coaches.  And it would include Duke.

11. Everyone assumed that Butler was definitely in anyway when they lost to Cleveland St. And they probably were, but a #9 seed probably isn’t what they were hoping for.  But I think its about right.

12. Wow did Akron get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.  They got a #13 seed, which was probably the high end of the possible range for a MAC school.  But it sticks them with travelling all the way out to Portland to play Gonzaga.  But either them or Cleveland St was going to get stuck with that, as they probably couldn’t, or at least didn’t want to, put Portland St in Portland, and Mississippi St is in the other pod in Portland.

13. Xavier is the lucky team for whom the pod system didn’t necessarily work well.  Dayton was already filled by higher seeded teams, so they get to stay close to home in Boise.  Syracuse isn’t real close to home in Miami, but at least its warm there.

14. Clemson v Michigan won’t be close.  In fact, I am a bit concerned that, with the exception of Sparty, a lot of Big Ten teams will probably get knocked out the 1st weekend, and that will allow people to complain about the conference getting 7 bids, that they didn’t deserve 7 bids that no one can score in that league and blah blah blah.  The Big Ten isn’t sexy like the ACC in basketball or the SEC in football and tends to get dumped on a lot by too many people in the national media (unlike the PAC 10 which just gets ignored) and this could be another opportunity for that.

15. Buckeyenewshawk has no idea who is going to win this thing.  He would like to favor Pitt, but is concerned that Blair will get in foul trouble in a losable game along the way.  Plus he doesn’t necessarily want to jinx the Panthers and thereby create unhappy coworkers.  He hopes that Akron can at least give Gonzaga a good game but isn’t necessarily holding his breath.  And he would of course like to see Ohio St get past Siena and then cause 2nd round bracket carnage by upsetting Louisville.  But I’m not holding my breath on that one either.

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