Now that the 2012 NCAA tournament bracket has been revealed, how did the Selection Committee do?
This year’s group of bubble teams presented a variety of unique challenges. They either had bad losses, not enough good wins, or some combination of both. Several more lacked quality schedules. Added together, we had a collection of teams that looked very similar when their resumes were pulled apart. Had the committee chosen Seton Hall and Drexel over Iona and BYU no one would have complained. It was that type of year.
During his comments on the CBS Selection Show, Selection Committee Chairman Jeff Hathaway said committee members talked at length about whether Kentucky should be placed in the South or Midwest. The South is a more natural region for UK, so that makes sense, even though placing Kentucky in the Midwest and UNC in the South would have kept both close to home. As for the final No. 1 seed, Michigan State was a solid choice. No team had more wins against Top 25 RPI teams.
In a post about No. 1 seeds this morning, we noted that Missouri’s non-conference strength of schedule could keep the Tigers off the top line. As it turned out, that seemed to be the case. As the regular-season Big 12 champion, Kansas was slotted to St. Louis. Again, probably the right call. We had Kansas out West and Missouri in St. Louis.
If there was a team seeded lower than expected it was Creighton. The Bluejays had a tough stretch before regrouping to win the Missouri Valley tournament. Creighton had road wins at Wichita State and San Diego State, and beat both Northwestern and Long Beach outside the MVC. Given those numbers and a 28-5 overall record, an 8-seed might be a bit low. When the official seeding list is released from the NCAA, we could find that Creighton was a true seven seed and was dropped to accommodate bracketing principles. Memphis was talked about too, but the Tigers best non-conference win was Xavier at home. So a 7-8 seed seems about right.
At quick glance, each of the regions seems equally strong. Balancing regions while following all of the procedures isn’t an easy task.
It should be a great tournament. Enjoy March Madness.