Questions For Selection Sunday
WHAT'S THE NCAA TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE GONNA DO NOW? SELECTION SUNDAY HAS ARRIVED AND THERE'S STILL LOTS OF TOUGH QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
You know the drill ... sometime right around 7:30 p.m. ET come Sunday evening there will be a coach or two (or three) making the rounds on cable TV yakking about how his team was "snubbed" when it came to getting a bid to this year's 68-team NCAA Tournament field.
Well, we have a little piece of advice for those folks that - we believe - will include the soon-to-be-snubbed likes of Houston (22-9), Tulsa (20-11), George Washington (23-10), Florida (19-14), Washington (18-14), Vanderbilt (19-13), Virginia Tech (19-14), Oregon State (19-12) and USC (21-12) ... among others.
Keep quiet 'cause you really didn't do enough in the regular season to earn a bid; you certainly didn't do enough in your respective conference tournaments either. So, stop crying already! Instead, we'll spend a few precious moments here in today's Jim Sez column trying to answer what questions may abound come Selection Sunday, but first this key reminder:
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Okay - you ask - what's the conference-by-conference breakdown look like with leagues that will sport two-or-more teams in the "Big Dance" field? Here goes ...
American Athletic Conference - Temple, Cincinnati and UConn
ACC - North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh
Atlantic-10 - Dayton, St. Bonaventure, VCU, St. Joseph's and Davidson
Big East - Villanova, Seton Hall, Xavier, Providence and Butler
Big 10 - Indiana, Michigan State, Maryland, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan
Big 12 - Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech
Conference USA - Old Dominion/Middle Tennessee State winner and UAB
Horizon League - Green Bay and Valparaiso
MAAC - Iona and Monmouth
Missouri Valley - Northern Iowa and Wichita State
Pac-12 - Oregon, Utah, Arizona, California and Colorado
SEC - Texas A&M, Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia
West Coast - Gonzaga and Saint Mary's
Suffice to say, we're not gonna sit here and argue a team-by-team thing as to why or why not a particular team will make it into the field but we will say that reports were heading into Saturday that the committee had pretty much made up its mind on the general state of the 68-team field save for, let's say, LSU winning the SEC Tournament or Tulane or Memphis copping the American crown.
If you wish to know how the NCAA Tournament seeds will go, we're 90 percent sure it'll look like this (and in this order) ... Kansas, the North Carolina/Virginia winner in the ACC Championship Game, Villanova should it win the Big East title tilt versus Seton Hall and Michigan State if it wins the Big 10 Tournament -- or the North Carolina/Virginia loser if Sparty doesn't come up with the top prize against the Big 10 field in Indianapolis.
Now, let's throw some "surprise" seeds your way ...
The Fox 1 folks signed off late Friday night saying a Seton Hall win against Villanova in the Big East Championship Game could net the Pirates a #6 or #7 seed ... what are they smoking? The Buccos will be a #3 or a #4 seed if they prevail against 'Nova; a #5 seed even if they don't!
There's folks - we won't "name names" - that believe the likes of mid-major powers Wichita State, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and South Dakota State (the Summit League champs) will wind up with double-digit seeds in this man's tourney with SDSU expected by the know-nothing experts to likely land a #14 seed ... and to that we say boulder-dash!
The way we see it, Wichita State's a #7; Gonzaga and Saint Mary's will each get an #8 seed and underrated South Dakota State is a #9.
Now, here's hoping we get some mighty Thursday/Friday matchups of these teams against power conference clubs ... may we be so bold as to suggest the following slugfests:
Wichita State vs. #10 Michigan; Gonzaga vs. #9 Pittsburgh; Saint Mary's vs. #9 Providence; and South Dakota State vs. #8 Colorado ... now those would be some dandy duels to help kick-start the tourney!
One final two-pronged piece of advice to the NCAA Tournament Committee: Don't reward inferior seeds with a "site" or "geographical advantage" ... and do your best to give the country those "fun" Saturday/Sunday matchups that have a theme such as pitting Cincinnati or UConn against one of their former Big East rivals or maybe have a historical matchup in mind like a Kentucky versus Duke (we're thinking a #4 vs. #5 seed).
NOTE: We'll recap Selection Sunday in the next edition of Jim Sez - so don't dare miss out!
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