Bracketology/Bowls Expert

Bracket, s-curve released

The real bracket is out, and new this year, is the committee's 1-68 s-curve ratings.

I have no signficant complaints over the selections the committee made. I had predicted Northwestern and Seton Hall to get in the field, but the committee went with two other, equally unqualified, teams in Iona and North Carolina State.

And there is the usual handful of seeding oddities (Creighton and 8??? Southern Miss a 9???)

The biggest surprises to me were seeing BYU and Iona in a play-in game as a 14-seed. The winner of that game will be the first at-large team ever seeded 14th.

That was not the natural seed for those teams. BYU is a natural 12, and Iona was a 13. The committee allows itself the ability to move a team up or down one spot for bracketing reasons, but in this case, since they were tied together in a play-in game, one had to move two. They were moved so the winner would not have to travel from Dayton to Portland for their second round game. I think the better choice would have been to swap them up to an 11-seed (moving Colorado down). Marquette can not be happy to see teams of that quality coming at them as 14-seeds.

I have been in a few of the NCAA mock selection committee meetings and one of the things they talked about was how they were willing to move teams up and down solely for geograhic reasons. Geography drives the bracketing process because coaches and administrators consistently tell the NCAA that they would rather have a tougher draw and play close to home than the other way around.

So, it's remarkable that the BYU/Iona (for Davidson) seed-swap is the only one in the bracket.

You can see how much geography matters though at the top of the bracket. The lowest No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed, No. 4 seed and No. 5 seed are all in the West region. That's because as the committee placed each seed line as geographically nicely as possible, the West usually ends In the mock meetings, we were told that they sought some level of balance among the top four seeds in each region. If you add up the rankings for each region's top four seeds, the West comes out at 38, while the South -- Kentucky's region -- is only 30. We were told they wanted to have the easiest and hardest be no more than 5 apart. Clearly, balance went out the window today.

I think it's safe to say that the myth that the committee makes an effort to snake the bracket is sufficiently debunked.
 
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