Hi, we’re the NCAA tournament selection committee and, if you don’t mind, we’d like to reconvene and start this thing again.
We realized by Saturday night that we had joined the nation in losing our minds. We bestowed a No. 1 seed on Gonzaga. We have no excuse. It could have owed to confusion born of excessive parity. It could have owed to boredom and the wish for something fresh.
We could have gotten some bad coffee or a crumpet laced with something derelict.
Whatever, it’s clear we got it either wrong or ridiculously wrong. If East No. 7 seed Illinois can upset No. 2 seed Miami on Sunday evening, we will have been merely wrong. If Miami can defeat Illinois, then we got it ridiculously wrong.
Either way, we just blew it, and we blew it at the expense of an unusually likable team in Miami. Here play the Hurricanes with their steep collection of seniors and their dazzling point guard and their undervalued coach and their rarefied camaraderie and their splendid personalities. They should have made an exemplary West No. 1 seed.
Now, if all goes well for them, they might end up in an East Regional final playing — and losing to — No. 1 seed Indiana, when they ought to have had their own regional to mine. They won the ACC regular season and the ACC Tournament. Even their early loss to Florida Gulf Coast wasn’t so bad now, was it? They play in the ACC, and that’s just harder than the WCC.
But no, we had to forget that reality and go all gooey over Gonzaga’s gaudy 31-2 regular-season record, after which it played Southern and Wichita State and resembled a No. 1 seed almost never in those 80 minutes. If indeed the reality as the hunted got to Gonzaga, then we erred further in forgetting that it might thrive more as a lower seed.
We have mucked up our own tournament. We left some brackets too loaded and the West too meek. We can correct this blunder if you’ll just let us reconvene, tear up this mess and start over.