Mocking the Bracket: What we learned



(Click on the bracket to enlarge it)

I spent 15 hours over the past two locked in a room with 19 other writers going through the (expedited) process that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee goes through to build the country’s most anticipated bracket.

To avoid driving home the same points that have been made by every writer that has attended the construction of the mock bracket over the eight years it has been in existence, I’m not here to pound home the point that the RPI is forever going to be intertwined with the NCAA Tournament or harp on the fact that, yeah, the bubble is GROSS this season.

I know this and you know this.

But there were a couple of interesting things that I learned during the process that I believe are worth sharing:

1. Bracketing is a nightmare. You know all those conspiracy theories about the NCAA grouping mid-major teams together to get them out of the bracket? Well, it’s a natural result of the process. Teams from the same conference can’t play each other before the Sweet 16, which severely limits where some of them can be placed in the bracket. Mid-major programs and teams from one or two bid leagues have it easier because they don’t get locked into or blocked from certain spots in the bracket. For example, in our bracket, Wichita State ended up being paired with Belmont because of difficulties we had slotting some of the ten seeds.

2. There is no such thing as an S-Curve. It’s called the “seed list”. And it doesn’t matter whether or not the top No. 1 seed and the top No. 2 seed get put into the same region. It’s all about location and distance to the tournament sites.

3. The timing of the four tournament title games on Sunday are a real pain for the committee. The Big Ten’s title game ends less than an hour before the bracket is unveiled on CBS. What that means is that they build contingency brackets throughout the day on Sunday. Mike Bobinski, the Athletic Director at Xavier and the Chair of the Selection Committee, said that one year the committee had to build six contingency brackets at the same time. That sounds fun.

4. Everything in the process is based on facts, but how much different members of the committee value different aspects of a profile is incredible. Some want to see a strong schedule and consistent performance. Some value big wins and are willing to look off bad losses. You’re looking at the nitty gritty reports, but everyone sees something different.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Ex-Duke guard, Marshall assistant Chris Duhon suspended after arrest

Chris Duhon
AP Photo/The Herald-Dispatch, Sholten Singer
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Marshall assistant coach Chris Duhon has been suspended by the university after he was arrested on a charge of aggravateddrunken driving early Monday morning.

Duhon, who is currently in his second season at Marshall, was booked into the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville, West Virginia, at 4:15 a.m. on Monday, according to the Herald-Dispatch.

The athletic department released a statement saying that Duhon had been suspended later on Monday.

Duhon was a member of Duke’s 2001 National Title team. He played for the Blue Devils from 2000-2004 and spent nine years in the NBA with the Bulls, Knicks, Magic and Lakers.

North Carolina’s Marcus Paige to play on Tuesday

Marcus Paige
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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No. 9 North Carolina will be at full strength when they host No. 2 Maryland on Tuesday.

“He’ll play,” head coach Roy Williams said on ESPNU’s college basketball podcast. “Unless something weird happens today in practice. He practiced Friday and Saturday.”

Paige was an Preseason All-American, but he broke a broke a bone in his right — non-shooting — hand prior to the start of the season. Prior to the 2014-15 season, Paige was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year, but he had a disappointing year as he spent the majority of last season battling a variety of injuries, from plantar fasciitis to sprained ankles.

He missed the first six games of this season with the hand injury, including UNC’s loss at Northern Iowa last week.