Instant Bracket Reaction

Were the Oregon Ducks robbed of a higher seed? (USA TODAY Sports)

Were the Oregon Ducks robbed of a higher seed? (USA TODAY Sports)

Quick-hit observations on the NCAA tournament bracket just released:

• Boy howdy is the Midwest Region stacked. As others have pointed out, the region has seven of the top 20 teams in Kenpom ratings. As a reward for the top overall seed, Louisville has to get through Duke, Michigan State, St. Louis, Oklahoma State and Memphis. Yikes.

• Without question, the most underseeded team was Oregon. Joe Lunardi had the Ducks as an 8 seed, Jerry Palm had them as a 7 and I had them as a 6. But the committee, despite their Pac-12 championship, essentially treated them as if they need to win that tourney to even get in; they would have been one of the last at-larges in, were they an at-large. Not much love for conference tourney winner Mississippi either; they also got a 12, though if they can get past Wisconsin, they’re the type of team that would drive Bruce Weber’s Kansas State team nuts.

• The Pac-12 was bizarrely seeded across the board. UCLA, with one of its top players out, gets a 6. Oregon is saddled with a 12, as is California. Colorado is a 10, Arizona is a 6. Did the Committee think this was last year’s Pac-12?

• Middle Tennessee State was a surprise to some, but after Iona made it last year, you could see MTSU getting in as well. The Committee is showing a ton of love to the mid-majors, even if it’s making them battle it out, Joker-style, in Dayton.

• It’s longtime tourney tradition not to put together rematches in the first round, so the UNLV-California game — in San Jose, no less — was probably a mistake, similar to the time they put BYU in a Sunday game.

• If Greg Gumbel was going to make a mistake, I’m glad it was saying a team like Butler earlier than he should have, rather than accidentally giving away a bubble team. That would have been a disaster.

• For all the talk that Gonzaga has some sort of advantage being in the West, a reminder that Gonzaga’s campus is, in fact, 1,204 miles from Los Angeles. Indiana, a team upset that it didn’t get its Indianapolis region like it wanted, is 625 miles from Washington DC.

• A good sign for how popular advanced statistics are becoming: KenPom’s website was down for half an hour after the seedings came out.

• In my last projection, I had all 68 teams in the tournament correct. This is a lot less impressive than it sounds. It was a soft bubble this year, I played it super safe and it’s not like I was even close on many of the seedings. I’m gonna go and tell a ton of people I did it anyway.

2 thoughts on “Instant Bracket Reaction

  1. Of course, it is literally impossible for LVille to have to ‘get through’ Duke AND Mich St, or OklaSt AND St Louis, they can only play one of each, no matter how hard the bracket is.

  2. Pingback: The Morning Win secret to loving your bracket – USA TODAY | The News Jump