NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice

Prioritizing seeding a good move, now let’s get the names of the rounds right

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On Friday afternoon, Andy Katz of put together a story on some of the potential changes that are coming to the NCAA tournament process.

There are some noteworthy bits in there, like the fact that the regionals will be played in basketball arenas, meaning that Sweet 16 games in Cowboy Stadium are a thing of the past. The NCAA is also going to take into consideration the amount of travel that the families of the participating athletes will have; any parent out there can understand what that’s a big deal.

But the most important note that Katz makes is that the Selection Committee is going to take their focus off of bracketing principles — keeping teams from the same conference from playing until the Elite 8, avoiding regular season rematches, etc. — and make protecting the seed of a team their priority. The only priority that will change a seed line is to keep BYU from having to play on a Sunday.

This came to the forefront last season when Oregon was a 12 seed and five seed UNLV was forced to play 12 seed Cal, a rematch, in San Jose, a virtual home game.

With how bloated the major conferences have become, we’re going to reach a point where avoiding rematches and intra-conference collisions in the tournament will be nearly impossible. It’s more important to make sure that the seed that a team earns is the seed that a team gets even if it comes at the cost of, say, Maryland playing North Carolina the first weekend.

The next step for the tournament to make?

Stop calling the play-in games the first round. The round of 64 is not the second round, it’s the first round. The round of 32 is not the third round, it’s the second round. This is not only counterintuitive and, arguably, the dumbest thing in the history of college basketball, but it also gets everyone confused when we’re use historical data.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.