What WE'D Like To See From the NCAA Selection Committee
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THE NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK - HERE'S EVERYTHING WE'D LIKE TO SEE FROM THE SELECTION COMMITTEE COME SUNDAY EVENING
By Jim Hurley:
Let's get it out on the table right away:
We don't want to be called "kings of the second guessers" -- and so here below we've compiled our little laundry list of what we'd like to see the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee folks do come Sunday night (remember that the Selection Sunday Show airs on CBS at 6 p.m. ET).
Folks, this Jim Sez edition isn't simply the fodder/drivel you hear day-after-day on ESPN and the other networks that televise the wonderful sport of College Basketball - how often can you hammer into everyone's heads this "#1 seeds" bit plus all the conjecture about just how many teams from each conference/league should be heading to the "Big Dance" - no, we're getting ahead of the curve here.
Note that we've got a few topics on our agenda here regarding this year's NCAA Tournament and so we'll go on the attack in just a moment but first this important reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the College Basketball Conference Tournament Championship Game Winners on this mid-March weekend - that's in the ACC, the SEC, the Atlantic-10 and the Big 10 -- plus we've got all the NBA Winners too when you check in with us on game days after 10 a.m. ET either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
Editor's Note: We will have all the Tuesday & Wednesday "early-round" NCAA Tournament games plus remember all the day-time NCAA Tournament action this Thursday/Friday anytime after 10 a.m. ET with the night games than released sometime after 1:30 p.m. ET - so make sure you're all aboard for this next stage of "March Madness"!
Now, here's what we'd like to see from the NCAA Tournament Committee come Sunday evening ...
#1 - DON'T GO OVERBOARD IN PUNISHING THE TOP TEAMS FOR THEIR SLIP-UPS IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNIES:
Hey, we've seen it happen a gazillion times and that's someone who sat among the top four or five teams in the country from early January through early March gets whacked for losing a one-and-done conference tourney game. Not right!
Case in point here, of course, is Pittsburgh who entered this past week ranked #3 in the land in the Associated Press Top 25. The Panthers earned a double-bye but then lost their Big East Tournament Quarterfinal Round game to Connecticut and suddenly there were cries to kayo Pitt from the #1 seed line in the NCAA Tournament ... pure poppycock!
Pittsburgh's proverbial "body of work" was sensational in the 2010-11 campaign and included a dazzling 15-3 mark in regular-season play, thus earning Jamie Dixon's crew the outright title. Heck, isn't that enough of an accomplishment to remain a #1 seed in the NCAAs when everyone and his brother-in-law agrees the Big East was far-and-away the best league in the land this year?
No matter what happens in the other conference tourney games this weekend, if Pitt's dropped from the top seed line than shame on the Selection Committee folks - and naturally that goes with high-to-medium seeds for the likes of Xavier (Atlantic-10), UCLA (Pac-10), Kansas State (Big 12) and Georgetown (Big East) - and that's don't severely punish any of 'em over and above the call of duty seeds-wise just because of their early exits in their respective mini-tournies.
#2 - DON'T REWARD ANYONE THAT IS A #3 SEED (OR LOWER) JUST BECAUSE OF GEOGRAPHY:
In short, check out the first-round NCAA Tournament sites and you see that the Thursday games will be played in Tampa, Washington D.C., Denver and Tucson while the Friday tourney games will be played in Charlotte, Cleveland, Chicago and Tulsa.
What we're saying here is let's not see the likes of Colorado, Illinois or Virginia Tech get any sort of geography aid here 'cause all of the above will be middling seeds (likely somewhere between #7-thru-#10's in all likelihood) and why should they get the benefit of a home court or semi-home court/home crowd advantage when they simply didn't earn it during this season?
Let's go on record to state that we have zero problem with either/both North Carolina and/or Duke playing their first- and second-round games in Charlotte - they earned it, right? - or if the committee folks decide to let the likes of San Diego State and BYU stay out west (again, their body of work this year earned them the right not to have to travel 3,000 miles away and play a first-round game in Tampa).
Admittedly, the selection committees in the recent past have done a better job with this than was the case eight or nine years ago but please let's not have an Eastern power shooting out West or vice versa unless it's absolutely necessary in terms of "balancing out" the regions. Got it?
#3 - LET'S HAVE THE MIDDLE-OF-THE-RUNG CONFERENCE TEAMS PLAY THE MID-MAJORS IN ROUND I:
Folks, count us among the people that didn't care for some of the NCAA Tournament first-round matchups a year ago when the 2010 tourney paired up Saint Mary's versus Richmond, Northern Iowa versus UNLV, UTEP versus Butler and Cornell versus Temple.
Okay, so maybe we could have lived with one said mid-major vs. mid-major matchup but that volume of head-to-head clashes was too much - in short, let's see more of the following (for example):
Indiana State vs. Texas A&M or VCU vs. West Virginia and/or Butler vs. Alabama - let's go ahead and see how these power conference teams fare versus the mid-majors and maybe it'll give the "little guys" a couple of days/nights to really puff out their chests should they strike up a winning pose (or two).
#4 - FINALLY, DON'T LET "REPUTATIONS" OR "NAME COACHES" RULE YOUR HEART:
Simply put, if there is an at-large team (or two) that is gonna wind up with a #11 or #12 seed please don't let what these teams did last year or years ago influence your decision and the same goes true with marquee name coaches ... let's say there is a grueling decision to be made regarding whether or not Maryland or UAB gets the final at-large spot, don't reward the Terrapins just for the above-mentioned reasons.
If anything, our motto is we always would rather have "new blood" in the tourney than some power conference slug that finished .500 or worse in its own league and didn't really pile up many "signature wins".
- Lastly, it's always fun to predict who fits where in all the NCAA Tournament brackets but let's take a moment to predict a few first-round matchups that we think would be real dandies: How about some of these matchups in the #8 versus #9 seed games ... Michigan vs. USC, Clemson vs. Missouri State and Saint Mary's vs. Marquette ... sounds good to us!
NOTE: We'll dig deep into this year's NCAA Tournament News & Notes - like who's in and who's not and why - in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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