Bay Area Sports Fan!

A blog for a Bay Area Sports Fan

Initial Bracket Reaction

Posted by davefowkes on 03/15/2009

The announcement has been made, the brackets are set, and now we have four days to whine, cry and cheer for those that got in or got left out. So here are my first thoughts:

I am a huge Pac Ten fan. But this was a down year for the Pac Ten, so how did they send 6 teams? Arizona does not belong! That is a terrible pick by the committee. Arizona is 19-13, 500 in conference and slumped their way to the end of the season. If USC does not win the conference, sure, Arizona is in the conversation on the bubble. But when USC won, that should have knocked out Arizona. Five teams is enough.

I find the Big Ten to be so mediocre. 7 teams is way too many. I could have Minnesota or Wisconsin being held out. At least Penn State did not make it.

Hard to argue with anyone in the top three seeds. No surprises there.

The second biggest surprise to me after Arizona was not so much that Maryland was in the tournament but all the way up at a 10-seed.

Now for those left out, St. Mary’s is a tough sell but they clearly seem to be the odd man out. I am also a big Creighton fan. The Missouri Valley Conference is a VERY good conference. Creighton has always been a very solid program and they had a great year that just ended too early in the MVC tournament. If St. Mary’s and Creighton were in the tournament this year, I would put my money on both of them to advance to the second round. Instead, more mediocrity from the BCS conferences. ESPN’s Jay Bilas – the big conference apologist – keeps asking, or those teams better than some of the teams that made it in right now? My answer is yes.

Just about every year this decade the committee has offered up fewer and fewer at-large bids to the smal-conferences. This year only FOUR of those bids went to the smaller conferences. Granted some of the at-large bids were eaten up by surprising automatic bids in conference tournaments. But the Tournament’s greatness in the first two rounds is all about the David Vs the Goliath. Davidson last year? How about George Mason’s run to the final four a few years back? VCU over Duke? And that is just naming a few. How can the tournament committee look at “the best 34 at-large teams” and not consider more of these smaller schools? Who is to say Niagara is a lesser team than Arizona or Wisconsin? I’d like to find out!

The system of selecting teams is broke. Mid-majors can not get games against the bigger conferences, certainly not at home. Big conference teams schedule a ton of home games that guaranty them 20 plus wins if they are any good. So we get here to March and St. Mary’s does not have a good enough schedule to qualify, while a mediocre Arizona does get in?

It just gives the impression to me that the big conferences try to keep the money to themselves and lock out the mid-majors as much as they can. So now rather than Creighton vs someone we get more mediocre big conference match ups like Texas vs Minnesota.

David vs Goliath, that is what makes those first two rounds so special! I wish the committee would figure that out and spread the wealth a little more! And if it really is about scheduling in the preseason, then let’s figure out a way to standardize the scheduling a little bit more to make it more fair for all!

All this said, I can’t wait for Thursday! Bring on the Madness!!!


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