Seeds of Discontent

<p>Two minutes into ESPN's Bracketology show, Dick Vitale was praising the NCAA tournament selection committee and giving the brackets an "A" grade. I am apparently a tougher grader than Dickie V. Read here for what seeds I have some trouble understanding.

1.Maryland as a 4 in the Phoenix Regional

Normally, the committee seeds teams based on "their whole body of work" and takes into account how the team fared during non-conference games, conference games and their post-season tournament. That was not the case with Maryland this year, as the Terrapins were anointed as a 4 seed based on three wins in the ACC tournament. A week ago, they were on the verge of not making it into the NCAA tourney at all. Today, Gary Williams' squad is one of the top 16 teams in the mind of the selection committee. Maryland finished the season 19-11 overall and 7-9 in conference play. I don't care if you play in the ACC or the NBA's Pacific Division, if you finish under .500 in your league; you are not one of the elite teams.

2.Kansas as a 4 in the St. Louis Regional and Kansas City Sub-Regional

The fans in Lawrence are not necessarily in love with Bill Self, but the selection committee must adore him. At 21-8 overall and 12-4 in Big 12 play, Kansas was expected to be either a 4 or 5 seed. Well, the Jayhawks got the 4 seed, but inexplicably were placed in Kansas City for their first two games, with the possibility of heading to St. Louis after that. The committee must realize the trouble that Self's squad has had on the road so they wanted them to play in front of friendly faces. The much-predicted Kansas-Illinois game did not pan out, but the committee decided to give the Jayhawks a game with the UIC Flames. In any location besides Kansas City, I would give serious thought to Jimmy Collins team pulling off the upset.

3.Pitt as a 3 with the possibility of playing Wisconsin in Milwaukee Sub-Regional

Going into Saturday's Big East championship game, the Pitt Panthers had a legitimate shot at being a 1 seed. Well, they lost that game to UCONN and lost their chances at a top-seed, but considered themselves a strong 2 seed. The kids from the Steel City were wrong and found out they were seeded a 3 and headed to Milwaukee. Now, Milwaukee's not a bad town, but if Pitt wins their game against Central Florida and Wisconsin wins their game against Richmond, the Panthers get the Badgers at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. When the NCAA introduced the pod seeding, it was to allow the top 4 seeds in each regional to play close to home. My math isn't the best, but I think a 3 seed is better than a 6 seed and Pitt shouldn't have to be clutched and grabbed by the Wisconsin defense in front of a pro-Badgers crowd.

4.Illinois as a 5 in the Atlanta Regional

The media rumblings of the Big Ten being down apparently found their way into the room inhabited by the selection committee in Indianapolis. While the Big Ten wasn't the strongest it's ever been, regular season league champion Illinois didn't deserve the shaft they were handed. Most people thought the Illini had at least a 4 seed wrapped up and would likely head north of the border to Milwaukee. Those people, including myself, were wrong as the Illini were handed a 5 seed and sent to Columbus. Year after year, the committee preaches about how important teams last 10 games are in the seeding process. That went out the window this year as Illinois wrapped up their season going 9-1, with the only loss being in a game that committee chairman and Iowa AD Bob Bowlsby admitted that didn't factor in the seeding. If anything, Bowlsby should have helped to get Illinois a higher seed, since Illini fans graciously helped the attendance numbers in Iowa City this year.

5.Wisconsin as a 6 in the East Rutherford Regional

While the Badgers were granted a break in the location aspect of the seeding by playing their first and second round games in Milwaukee, they paid for it by receiving a lower than expected 6 seed. After winning the Big Ten tournament in decisive fashion over regular season champ Illinois, Badger faithful expected a 3 or 4 seed. After receiving the 6 seed at East Rutherford, Wisconsin fans faces matched their red sweatshirts. Perhaps the low seed is karmic payback for all their late game shenanigans once they have a team beat.

6.ACC love spreads from ESPN to selection committee

Everybody knows the fact that ESPN loves the ACC. Everybody also knows that the ACC was a tough conference this year. But, I think Bowlsby stepped aside and let Vitale and Jay Bilas do the seeding for the ACC teams. Duke gets a 1 seed even though they end up 6th in the last coaches' poll and have 5 losses, including going 6-4 in their last 10 games. Sure, the Blue Devils are the top-team in a tough conference, but in my mind, they should have been a 2 seed.

Georgia Tech and North Carolina State were each given 3 seeds. N.C. State finished the season 20-9 overall and 11-5 in conference play, while Georgia Tech ended the regular season 23-9 and 9-7 in the ACC. According to the coaches' poll, the Yellow Jackets are 15th and the Wolfpack is 17th. Those rankings are backed up by the mathematical mumbo-jumbo of the RPI, which lists Tech at 16 and N.C. State at 17. These seem to show that Tech should be a 4 seed and the Wolfpack would have made sense as a 5.

Combine these seeds along with the laughably bad positioning of Maryland as a 4 seed and it's not hard to see why the rest of the country gets fed up with the ACC attention.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories