Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday thoughts

A more comprehensive analysis of the NCAA Tournament selections will be coming in this space early this week but here are some immediate thoughts on the 65-team field.

- Arizona should not have been selected into the tournament. End of story. The fact that they got in ahead of teams like St. Mary's and San Diego State is just wrong. The Wildcats have an RPI of 62 and an overall record of 19-13. That's just not good enough.
- USC and Mississippi State both won their conference tournaments. And, in so doing, they took away spots from mid-majors since post-season tourney winners automatically qualify for the tournament.
- There will always be argument about those teams who did not make it into the tournament. And, if the tournament is expanded--as some have suggested--then we'll have the same scenario in some fashion. Somebody will aways be left out...
- Kansas has a tough draw. A possible match-up with West Virginia in round 2 would pit the Jayhawks against a tough Big East foe, coached by Bob Huggins. If they get to the round of 16, then they likely face a re-match with Michigan State, another very tough tournament team. The only good thing is that KU is playing in Minneapolis, a seven-hour drive from the Kansas City area.
- Missouri was shipped off to Boise, not an easy travel destination for Tiger fans. MU starts with Cornell, winner of the Ivy League, and then would face the winner of Marquette-Utah State. Marquette plays up-tempo, like MU, but lost starting guard Dominic James, who has not played since February 25. The #2 seed in Missouri's bracket is Memphis. A Missouri-Memphis match-up could be quite entertaining.
- Look for Texas to play Duke in the second round. Texas has under-achieved all year and could be a tough game for the Blue Devils. But, I expect UT to be one-and-out in this tournament.
- Oklahoma got the spot MU and KU coveted in Kansas City at the Sprint Center. The Sooners could play a pretty tough Clemson team in the second round but should advance to the Sweet 16.
- Oklahoma State faces Tennessee, a team who was expected to be much better this season. The Vols did make it to the championship of the SEC post-season tournay but lost today to Mississippi State. OSU finished the regular season playing as well as anybody in the Big 12 but lost to Missouri in the conference tournament and, in the process, had PG Byron Eaton suffer an injury which may slow him against an up-tempo, pressing squad like Tennessee.
- Texas A&M made it as the sixth Big 12 representative as a 9 seed. They will play BYU in round one and then likely face Connecticut if they advance to round two.
- Of the major (BCS) conferences, the Big East has five teams seeded in the top 16, the ACC and the Big 12 have three, and the Big 10 and Pac 10 have one each.

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