Selection Sunday is one of the most highly anticipated days in college sports, but in recent years the show’s saturated analysis has not set well with fans. What used to be a 30 minute bracket rundown has turned into a two-hour extravaganza of analysis.
This year, it took over an hour to release the full bracket. The two-hour show began at 5:30 p.m. The first bracket wasn’t announced until after the first commercial break. By 6:20 p.m. the bracket had been leaked online.
Three of the four top seeded teams came as no surprise. Kansas earned the top seed in the South as well as the No. 1 overall spot. The Jayhawks were the regular season and conference champions of the Big 12. North Carolina is the East’s top seed. The Tarheels finished the regular season atop the ACC as well as snatching the ACC tournament title. The top seed in the West went to the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks also finished the regular season atop the Pac 12 and won the conference championship. The last No. 1 seed went to the Virginia Cavaliers, the runners-up in the ACC tournament.
An obvious snub here was Michigan State. The Spartans weren’t the top seed in the Big 10, but they did come away with the Big 10 tournament title. Virginia, on the other hand, didn’t win their conference title. I’m not sure that Virginia should have been a top, but that’s up the selection committee, of course.
There’s also the argument of which conferences were the most competitive this season. All season long, analysts have talked about the strength of the Big 10 and Big 12. They were awarded with seven selections, but so was the ACC and Pac 12.
- ACC: 7 (highest seed: UNC-1, UVA-1)
- Big Ten: 7 (highest seed: Michigan State-2)
- Big 12: 7 (highest seed: Kansas-1)
- Pac-12: 7 (highest seed: Oregon-1)
- Big East: 5 (highest seed: Villanova-2, Xavier-2)
- American: 4 (highest seed: UConn-8)
- SEC: 3 (highest seed: Kentucky-4)
- A10: 3 (highest seed: Dayton-7)
- MVC: 2 (highest seed: Northern Iowa-11, Wichita State-11)
I think the most surprising thing here is that the Pac 12 sent seven teams. The west coast conference definitely took the tournament by storm.
A couple of other surprises for me include Duke’s seeding and Villanova’s high seed. Villanova, for the second year in a row, is seeded in the top two. Their performance last year was anything but impressive. They failed to make the Sweet 16, falling to the Wolfpack of NC State in the third-round of the tournament. The Big East is not the powerhouse conference it once was. I don’t think you can continue to equate the Big East with the ACC, Big 10 and Big 12.
As far as Duke goes. The Blue Devils have been ranked generously all season. Duke fell to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. Now, they hold a four seed in the West. The Blue Devils weren’t even in the top three in the ACC, they entered the conference tournament with a five seed.
Indiana, on the other hand held the No. 1 seed in the Big 10. They also fell in the quarterfinals, but they earned a five seed in the Big Dance along with two other Big 10 teams – Maryland and Purdue. Maryland and Purdue were ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the conference tournament.
I think you can make the case that the Big 10 got snubbed this season. And I think the ACC and Pac 12 were given generous positions. Of course, you can dissect, analyze and break apart the tournament bracket until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no going back. Now, it’s time to get out those pencils and try to predict the blow-outs and upsets – Good luck! Click here for a printable bracket.