Getting Ready for Selection Sunday








Hey, why wait till the NCAA Tournament’s Committee folks announce the brackets on CBS this Sunday between 5:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. ET?

Let’s have some fun and come up with how we see the NCAA Tournament folks breaking things down beginning with the “First Four” matchups in Dayton this Tuesday/Wednesday … and then we’ll toss out some of the possible opening-round matchups too.


And now hear this …

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Okay – so you ask us – what’s the conference-by-conference breakdown look like with leagues that will sport two-or-more teams in the “Big Dance” field next week?

Here’s how we see it in alphabetical order …


American Athletic Conference (3) – SMU, Cincinnati, Houston

Atlantic Coast Conference (9) – North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest

Atlantic 10 (3) – Dayton, VCU, Rhode Island

Big East (6) – Villanova, Butler, Creighton, Seton Hall, Providence, Xavier

Big 10 (7) – Purdue, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State

Big 12 (6) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

Metro Atlantic (2) – Iona, Monmouth

Missouri Valley Conference (2) – Wichita State, Illinois State

Pac-12 (6) – Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, USC, California

SEC (7) – Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Alabama, Vanderbilt

West Coast Conference (2) – Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s


Here’s how we see next week’s NCAA Tournament “First Four” sked going with tourney seeds included:


TUESDAY – First Four, at Dayton

(16) MEAC Champs vs (16) Southland Champs

(11) Houston vs. (11) Illinois State


WEDNESDAY – First Four, at Dayton

(11) Wake Forest vs. (11) Alabama

(16) Mount. St. Mary’s vs. (16) UT-Martin



One thing we’ve been saying for a long time is that the NCAA Tournament Committee folks are gonna leave Gonzaga and the Pac-12 Conference champion out West (probably both will be playing in the Friday/Sunday portion of the bracket in Sacramento) while likely #1 seeds Villanova and Kansas will play opening-week tilts in Buffalo and Tulsa, respectively.

Now, when it comes to making the #8 vs. #9 pairings with an eye out for Saturday/Sunday games against these #1 seeds, here’s some thoughts:

Why not bring a real big-conference versus a mid-major power, so #8 vs. #9 matchups such as Middle Tennessee State vs. Northwestern in a real contrast in styles with the winner getting run-run Oregon;

And how about #8 Wichita State vs. #9 Miami with the winner squaring off against #1 Kansas … good stuff.

Naturally, with some many power conference teams likely relegated to fill out the majority of the #6-through-#10 seeds, here’s some matchups that both make sense and would prove to be real head-scratchers to all of us folks who annually fill out the brackets for “entertainment purposes only”:

How does a #7 vs. #10 game between South Carolina against Michigan State grab you? And what about USC vs. red-hot Seton Hall? Food for thought, right? …

Now, here’s some of the “bubble teams” we believe the NCAA Tournament Committee should leave out of the field of 68 teams:


Syracuse (18-14, 10-8) – We don’t want to hear any more of ESPN’s Jay Bilas who has been blathering for days that the Orange “deserve” an at-large berth. The RPI is 84 (not good) and there’s some really bad losses in the mix including a 33-point loss to a bad St. John’s team and a 5-point loss at a pathetic Pitt team.


TCU (19-14, 6-12) – One mini-tourney win against a Kansas team that didn’t care and didn’t have a key player on board just ain’t enough for the Horned Frogs. Jamie Dixon’s club has a 78 RPI – no debate, if you ask us.


BYU (22-11, 12-6) – The Cougars do own the one-and-only win against mighty Gonzaga but too many so-what West Coast Conference wins against teams named Pepperdine, Pacific and Portland just not enough to add up to an NCAA Tourney bid.


Finally, keep in mind that geography should play a part in who plays where – the upper-crust teams in each league should get priority in shorter travels (e.g., the second and third-place teams in the Pac-12 should be no further east than Salt Lake City while Big 10/Big 12 top teams should wind up in venues such as Indianapolis and/or Milwaukee … our NCAA Tournament “rule of thumb” always is don’t reward a low seed (#10, #11, #12, etc.) with a closer location to home. Make ‘em pack their bags and go across the country, it’s the premium seeds that deserve a first-weekend break, right?



NOTE: We’ll recap NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday in the next edition of Jim Sez – so don’t dare miss out!


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