Selection Committee

Las Vegas oddsmakers call Midwest Region ‘insane’, selection committee ‘frauds’

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Selection Sunday offered several questionable moments.

Virginia scored the last No. 1 seed. Wichita State was placed in one of the most difficult regions ever assembled. Michigan State — the Big Ten Tournament champion — and Louisville, currently top-five nationally, were both slotted as No. 4 seeds. Then there is UMass, which earned a No. 6 seed after finishing sixth in its own conference.

The newly-formed American Athletic Conference was not looked favorably upon as SMU was left out while the ACC Tournament carried a lot of weight with UVA earning a top seed and NC State landed one of the last four bids.

The laundry list of confusing decisions has plenty of Las Vegas oddsmakers upset at the selection committee’s seedings.

“That’s probably the hardest bracket I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” LVH Superbook assistant sports book director Ed Salmons told the Las Vegas Sun. “… It was over-the-top insane.”

From the Sun:

Four of the top 10 teams the Superbook listed in odds to win the title at the beginning of the week — Wichita State, No. 2 seed Michigan, No. 3 seed Duke and No. 4 seed Louisville — were stuffed into the region. Add No. 5 seed Saint Louis and No. 8 seed Kentucky to the mix, and Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello said the Midwest could have six of the top 20 power-rated teams.

Later in the article Salmons called the committee, “a bunch of frauds.”

Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello was so displeased with the field, he wants to take away the process from the NCAA.

“I don’t think the committee should be doing it,” he said. “I think they should hand it over to the bookmakers.”

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: