Top seeds get rewarded with an away game

Pittsburgh and Kentucky are the #1 and #2 seeds in the Midwest Region, but that doesn't mean (at least this year) that they will have an edge when it comes to home court advantage.<br><br> The University of Wisconsin fans and the Marquette fans from Milwaukee will have a much shorter trek to Minneapolis compared to fans from the Steel City or Kentucky.

It's important for the Panthers to enter this game knowing that it's in an unbiased setting with a decidedly biased crowd. And no doubt they realize that and are doing their best to prepare themselves for it.

Easier said than done. The eruption from the crowd will be louder for a Travis Diener 3-point shot than a Julius Page alley-oop. The ability of the loyal Oakland Zoo to make loud noise will be lost in the cavernous ceiling of the Metrodome.

It may be even worse for the Wildcats. Most Minnesota citizens follow Wisconsin's Big 10 rival, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, and at this time of year many fans will (forcibly) make the transition from rooting for the local team to rooting for the conference. Wisconsin fans have been known to take over Minnesota sports venues in the same way Pittsburgh Steeler fans dominate games in Cincinnati.

If the Panthers and Wildcats have an issue with this scenario, they aren't alone. Oklahoma earned the #1 seed in the East, but the #3 seed (Syracuse) will have an overwhelming home-court advantage in the bracket. The regional games are being played in Albany, which lies deep in Orangemen country.

In fact, the only top seed in the country with a decided edge in location is Texas in the South region. The regional games there are being played in San Antonio, 80 miles south of the Longhorn's Austin home.

Fortunately, the Panthers' style of play works well in adverse conditions, as far as the crowd is concerned. They generally love to lull teams and fans into a daze of monotony and then break out into a succession of breath-taking plays. This might keep the pro-Eagle fans from working up a storm after every Marquette score.

--John Biles

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