Selection Sunday is passed, so many sports fans across the country—including many that do not care for or pay attention to college basketball for much of the year—will now attempt to absorb all the information they can with the hopes of filling out a “winning” bracket, whether it be in competition with their friends, for their own pride, or for a chance to simply finish first in the entire country (good luck). While Warren Buffett doesn’t offer a billion dollars to a 1-in-9.2 quintillion-odds perfect bracket anymore, it doesn’t stop people from trying to get it done. Here are some thoughts and reaction to Selection Sunday, which may or may not help you with filling out your bracket.
The Selection Show was awful
People that have watched the Selection Show on TBS over the last few years have come to expect a certain format for how the bracket is revealed. TBS typically goes through each region, unveiling the seeding starting from No. 1 and going down to the bottom of the region to No. 15. That was confusingly thrown out the window for last evening’s show, as for whatever reason it was decided going through the at-large bids in alphabetical order was a good idea. Frankly, it was boring. The older version of the show was much more successful, and Kansas head coach Bill Self is the only person I heard that liked how they revealed the teams. Exhibit A for the vast majority hating the new format:
Please do not call 911 to complain about the format of the NCAA tournament selection show. We can’t do anything about it, no matter how bad it is.
— Lawrence Police (@LawrenceKS_PD) March 11, 2018
Saint Mary’s was snubbed
In the latest AP poll, Saint Mary’s was 20th in the rankings, yet they didn’t make the 68-team tournament field. You could say they should have won their conference tournament (Gonzaga, a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, ran through the field and won) or that their strength of schedule wasn’t nearly strong enough, but again, they were ranked 20th in the AP poll just a week ago but was somehow left out of the tourney. Saint Mary’s split the season series with Gonzaga this season, they had a 19-game win streak, and they went 28-5 overall. They have a legitimate argument for being snubbed.
Oklahoma should not have gotten in
If I say a team was snubbed, I’m going to have to say a team in the field should not have made it. To me, that team is Oklahoma. OU was a mediocre 18-13 this season, and they finished 8-10 in the Big 12. At home, they were an excellent 13-2, but on the road, they were only 2-9. The Committee will point to the strength of schedule for a reason the Sooners got in, but it’s difficult to fathom a team that won two games away from home getting in as a No. 10 seed over Saint Mary’s. Dynamic freshman Trae Young brings star power to the tournament, and I don’t blame people for thinking it’s some kind of conspiracy that Oklahoma is in because of his presence.
Villanova has the toughest 8/9 matchup
For the second straight year, Villanova has the toughest second-round matchup for a one-seed, as they’ll have to take on either Virginia Tech or Alabama. Last year, they were the number one overall seed and had to face an experienced (and good) Wisconsin team in the Second Round, which was almost unfair—so it isn’t quite that bad. But the prospects of facing a Virginia Tech team that beat Virginia, Duke, Clemson, and North Carolina down the stretch, or an Alabama team that made a deep SEC Tournament run and has Collin Sexton leading the way, is tough. I do think they’ll get to at least the Final Four, but the Wildcats could be on upset alert in the first weekend.
The Midwest is the most stacked bracket
The East is a close second in my opinion, but the Midwest has an extremely heavy top three of Kansas, Duke, and Michigan State—all of whom were considered possible No. 1 seeds just a couple weeks ago; I really don’t know who to pick out of them to get to the Final Four. After that, there’s an Auburn team that could have easily been a No. 3 seed, and a Clemson team that could have easily been higher than a No. 5 seed. And with senior Angel Delgado, No. 8 seed Seton Hall is among the other teams that could make some noise in the Midwest. Maybe even Oklahoma will prove me and a lot of other people that didn’t think they should have been in the tournament wrong if they go on a run. It wouldn’t be the first time a team many thought shouldn’t have been in the tournament kept advancing.