NCAA Seeds and Bubbles


Hey, NCAA Tournament Committee folks, you didn't think this was gonna be a "slam dunk" ... did you?

What once-upon-a-time appeared to be pretty much set in stone - that's Kentucky, Duke, Virginia and Wisconsin were going to be your four #1 seeds going back the past few weeks - may now have a whole new twist after the Dookies (29-4) and the Wahoos (29-3) both lost on Friday night in the semifinal round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro.

The burning question, though, is how much do those losses - Duke's 74-64 setback against 8.5-point underdog Notre Dame (so much for that Las Vegas line move that propped up Duke from a 6 ½-point favorite to 8.5 points in the hours before tipoff) and Virginia's 71-67 loss against 4.5-point pup North Carolina (another 2-point line move in the wrong direction, we might add) - damage those expected top seeds and should the likes of Arizona and Villanova now slip onto the #1 seed line presuming they win their post-season mini-tournies on Saturday night?

Here's a suggestion for the NCAA Tournament Committee guys/gals when it comes to the #1 seeds ...

Don't place a disproportionate amount of importance on either of the Friday losses and keep the #1 seed line looking like this ...

Kentucky, Duke, Virginia and whomever looks the best this weekend among the triumvirate of Wisconsin/Arizona/Villanova ... got it?

It's no big deal if, let's say, Arizona and Villanova help fill out the #2 seed line along with Gonzaga and either Kansas (should it win the Big 12 Tournament) or Notre Dame (if the Irish happen to win the ACC Tournament). Everyone should be able to live with these top two seed lines. Agree?

No doubt the bigger issue in many folks' minds is how will the NCAA Tournament Committee handle all those "bubble teams"?

Gotta admit that exiting the mini-tourney games by the end of Friday night, the feeling is that way, way more bubble teams hurt themselves than helped themselves in their respective conference tournies as the likes of Pittsburgh, Texas, Stanford, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, UTEP and Richmond all needed to do more than they did this week (most of the above-named teams were one-and-done in the mini-tournies while Texas and Stanford needed at least two wins to make a real case for getting an at-large bid) and so as we mentioned in yesterday's Jim Sez that means some of the teams left for dead (see Murray State, Saint Mary's and maybe even Miami) should be considered "live".

Hey, we have a "golden rule" when it comes to mediocre bubble teams and that is show the committee folks something in their mini-tournies or else don't expect to get the benefit of any doubts on Selection Sunday!

Meanwhile, here's how we see the conference-by-conference breakdown for anyone with two-or-more teams in the field ...

American Athletic Conference - SMU, Tulsa, Temple, Cincinnati and UConn if it wins the mini-tourney
ACC - Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville, North Carolina and N.C. State
Atlantic-10 - Davidson, Dayton, Rhode Island and VCU
Big East - Villanova, Butler, Georgetown, Providence, St. John's and Xavier
Big 10 - Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Ohio State and Indiana
Big 12 - Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor and West Virginia
Missouri Valley - Northern Iowa and Wichita State
Mountain West - San Diego State, Boise State and if Wyoming wins mini-tourney
Pac-12 - Arizona, Utah, Oregon and UCLA
SEC - Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss
West Coast - Gonzaga and BYU

Go ahead and throw in 21 mid-major or smaller conferences that each send their post-season champion and discount both UConn and Wyoming and there's your 68-team field. If either UConn and/or Wyoming wins its mini-tourney, then we'd have to "x" out Indiana and/or Ole Miss in that order ... now aren't we helping y'all out, NCAA Tournament Committee folks?

Okay, so let's have a bit of fun and forecast what some of the best Thursday/Friday matchups will be: Gotta think that the teams inhabiting the #8 and #9 seed lines will include some semblance of the following: St. John's, Cincinnati, Iowa, Dayton and San Diego State and so any matchups pairing these teams together should make for toss-up type tilts (and a Cincinnati vs. Dayton duel would have extra flavor, no doubt) and the way we've figured things we could gate some really dandy Saturday/Sunday matchups such as - tell us how you like these -- #9 St. John's vs. #1 Kentucky; #2 Arizona vs. #7 Ohio State; and how about a potential next-door neighbor duel between #3 Maryland vs. #6 West Virginia.

What we don't want the NCAA Tournament Committee folks to do is "reward" lower-seeded teams from a geographic point of view and so please no lower seeded Ohio school playing a higher seed in Columbus ... or now lower-seeded Big 12 team getting to play in Omaha against a higher-seeded non-Big 12 team.

Maybe you think this is nitpicky stuff, but trust us, the committee has not always shown great foresight in recent years and so we've often gotten a Saturday/Sunday game where the inferior seed had a major home-crowd advantage due to the site. Flat out, that shouldn't happen here and we'll trust that it won't.

Naturally, another topic is this sense that certain teams should not fall into "Kentucky's bracket" - hey, we'll side with ESPN college hoops maven Andy Katz who recommended this past week that the committee simply number the teams in the tourney 1-thru-68 and whoever falls into the "Kentucky bracket" does so just by the numbers (in other words, the last of the #2 seed line teams, etc.).

There seems to be this major hue-and-cry about Wisconsin "falling into Kentucky's bracket" and so what if the Badgers do just that - if the numbers show that Wisky is rated the 8th-best team in America and this Big 10 team wins all of its games through the Sweet 16, then darn it, they get a likely Elite 8 showdown against Kentucky. End of story!

Finally, if we get to any discussion about one last team to get in or an exact seed placement, we're voting for "regular-season body of work" to mean more than what a team just did in its conference tournament, so ask us and we'll side with a Murray State or a Louisiana Tech before we cast a vote for some power conference team with a .500-type league record.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep steamrolling their way through March with loads of College Basketball winners and take special note that The Network March Madness Package includes all of the Conference Tournament Games along with all the upcoming NCAA Tournament Games plus all the other post-season tournaments such as the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too. Get it either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - plus don't forget we're banging out lots of NBA Winners too these days and so go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action this month.

NOTE: We'll recap Selection Sunday in the next edition of Jim Sez - so don't dare miss out!


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