Blog Entry

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Posted on: March 19, 2009 5:35 pm
 

DAYTON, Ohio -- Ohio State coach Thad Matta doesn't know how his team, seeded eighth in the Midwest Region, ended up in nearby Dayton, either.

Home games, or de facto home games like the Buckeyes' opening game against ninth-seeded Siena on Friday (and perhaps against No. 1 Louisville on Sunday), aren't supposed to happen to teams seeded eighth. When the NCAA tournament went to pods a few years ago, one of the major focuses of the selection committee was to reward the top four or five seeds with nearby games, if possible, and to avoid giving such an advantage to anyone else in the field.

Like Ohio State, seeded eighth in the Midwest, in a 2009 pod at Dayton.

But here the Buckeyes are, playing about an hour from home, in a game that's supposed to be the ultimate NCAA tournament toss-up. And this 8/9 game would be a toss-up if it were played at a truly neutral site. But Dayton won't be neutral, which means the Buckeyes have to be heavy favorites. And Matta doesn't really know how it happened.

"I can't fathom what those people go through," he said, referring to the selection committee.

Well, I can. And that's why this rant of mine isn't going to be the rantiest rant you ever saw. Nor will it include words that are 100 percent located in the English language. (Honestly ... rantiest?) I spent about 14 hours at the NCAA office in Indianapolis a few weeks ago for a mock bracket selection exercise, and putting together a spotless, blameless bracket wasn't easy. Or possible. Looking at the bracket and picking out the injustices after the fact ... that's easy. But actually putting together a bracket that makes sure to avoid every single possible scenario where one team would be favored over another? Impossible. Which leads me to Ohio State playing Siena in Dayton.

It's clearly not fair to Siena, which won a game in the 2008 NCAA tournament and returned its starting five and therefore should have been everyone's darling to become this year's George Mason or Davidson. Now, it will be a major victory for Siena simply to win a game in this tournament, because the home-court advantage in college hoops is enormous, and it's bigger than ever in the NCAA tournament, when de facto home teams have won nearly 90 percent of their games over the last decade.

So Siena deserves all sorts of sympathy, but let's understand that Siena got hosed for two innocent reasons: the seeding of Ohio State, and the tournament's own rules.

The committee seeds the field first, and Ohio State was deemed to be a No. 8. Fine. And since two No. 8s were sent to Dayton -- Ohio State from the Midwest and Oklahoma State from the East -- that gave the committee only two other regions to try to place Ohio State.

But in both of those other regions, the South and the West, a Big Ten team was seeded fifth -- Purdue in the West, Illinois in the South. That would have meant a potential matchup with the No. 8 seed, Ohio State of course, in the Sweet 16. And tournament rules prohibit such an early meeting between league rivals unless that league has nine or more teams in the field. Which the Big Ten does not.

So the selection committee could have switched the Buckeyes' seed, which would have meant two teams (Ohio State and whoever switched its seed with Ohio State) would have been seeded insincerely ... or the committee could hold its nose and put Ohio State in Dayton.

You know which way the committee went.

My only frustration over the whole thing is this: Why Siena? Why did Siena have to be the No. 9 seed that was forced to play this road game?

The selection committee's obvious preference for power conferences over mid-majors this year has been intensely scrutinized, and Siena being stuck in this game doesn't help. Tennessee was a No. 9 seed. So was Texas A&M. Better for one of them, teams used to playing high-major opponents on the road, to get stuck playing Ohio State in Dayton. Not Siena.

Rant over.

That wasn't so bad, was it?

 

 

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: March 21, 2009 11:05 pm
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Spartan fan:

We are Cyclone fans STILL SEETHING over the awful and incredible home advantage YOU got back in 2000...when you kept US out of our ONLY Final Four EVER!!!   I don' if I'll EVER be able to stand the sight of Tom Izzo.

 




Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: March 21, 2009 1:26 am
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

I am sure you have never be happier to be wrong, Gregg.  Siena 74, Ohio State 72 (2 OTs)!!  A terrific finish to a beyond ugly tournament game.  You may say that the Buckeyes had a huge home court advantage, but it was the team nicknamed the Saints that won America's hearts in the most memorable game of the first round.  See how much sweeter the win is when the BCS school gets homecourt and still manages to lose! 

 




Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: March 20, 2009 10:46 pm
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Nova didn't do a thing to me.  You may want to actually READ the response.  I said I understand the committee's mandate but that playing within ones home city regardless of seeding is worse than playing an hour away.  Tweek the seeding procedure and stop cowtowing to the Big East and ACC.  BTW I picked Louisville over Pitt just so you understand where I'm coming from - if that's possible

Take it personally, why don't ya? You said it wasn't fair that Villanova played in Philadelphia, but gave no indication of knowing about the top 1-4 seeds rule. I explained that in the best way I can. Under the pod system, the Committee gives the seeds 1-4 as close to home court advantage as possible; without having them play on their home court. They seeded Villanova no differently than any other team. Playing within a team's own city is not worse if they are a three seed, because they are SUPPOSED to play as close to home as possible. An 8 seed is NOT supposed to have home court advantage throughout a pod. Take your stubbornness and bruised ego elsewhere. I try to further your understanding of the pod system, and you critique me. I'm not the one not reading. You're the one refusing the facts Doyel and I both made plain to the elucidated eye. Your unabsolved knowledge of the pod system is no reason to get mad at me.




Since: Mar 20, 2009
Posted on: March 20, 2009 12:37 pm
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Nova didn't do a thing to me.  You may want to actually READ the response.  I said I understand the committee's mandate but that playing within ones home city regardless of seeding is worse than playing an hour away.  Tweek the seeding procedure and stop cowtowing to the Big East and ACC.  BTW I picked Louisville over Pitt just so you understand where I'm coming from - if that's possible




Since: Mar 20, 2009
Posted on: March 20, 2009 8:14 am
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

 Gregg,

I know what you say about the top four seeds vs. the rest, "one of the major focuses of the selection committee was to reward the top four or five seeds with nearby games" but really, Nova in its own city?   On a court they've played on many times before?  How fair is that?  Think the crowd didn't have something to do with their comeback late in the game?  Where's the outrage over that one?

 




Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: March 19, 2009 9:07 pm
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Why aren't you crying about Villanova playing in Philly?  You kidding me.

Advantage, maybe but if you are talking about making things fair, how do you not mention Nova's placing. If they weren't there, they would be picked by many to go out before they have them.  They are playing a 14 seed in American and are playing basically at home as well.  Unlike an 8-9 though, the home court NOVA has pretty much ensures that those 14 over 3 upsets wont happen in the East.

What did Villanova do to you? Anyways, your understanding of the pod system seems to be flawed. The system was put in place, as Doyel clearly states in his article, to give seeds 1-4 a game near their home court. Villanova was ahead of Syracuse on the S-Curve, the only other school who would want the final Philadelphia pod. (2 pods for each first round site; UConn got the first Philly site). Here were the remaining pods after the 1s and 2s got their sites/

TWO SLOTS LEFT
Boise, Idaho
Miami, Florida
Portland, Oregon

ONE SLOT LEFT
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Kansas presumably got the first site selection. They took the final remaining Minneapolis site. Villanova was second, and they obviously took Philly. Syracuse was third, and took a Miami site. Missouri got a Boise site, rounding out the threes. If you browse over seeds 1-4, you will see some obvious home court advantages. However, since there are a limited number, the odds of getting a home court advantage are greater if you are a one seed than if you are a four seed. Hope this helps Motown and anyone else having difficulties understanding the pod system!




Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: March 19, 2009 5:54 pm
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Why is Siena in Dayton?  Because as you pointed out, the Committee has something against mid-majors.

If Texas A&M had played like they did today against Ohio State, it wouldn't have mattered if they played in Columbus.  Texas A&M would have crushed the Buckeyes.

 




Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: March 19, 2009 5:52 pm
 

Midwest update: Ohio State-Siena (mini rant)

Like you said, its the way it happens.  Why aren't you crying about Villanova playing in Philly?  You kidding me.  Ohio State being forced there for rules sake is a rant when it is a 8-9 toss up game.  If its a toss up, shouldnt the 9 (lower seed) be able to overcome it.  Advantage, maybe but if you are talking about making things fair, how do you not mention Nova's placing.  If they weren't there, they would be picked by many to go out before they have them.  They are playing a 14 seed in American and are playing basically at home as well.  Unlike an 8-9 though, the home court NOVA has pretty much ensures that those 14 over 3 upsets wont happen in the East.  Whine about your big schools that get placed right near home.  You are saying that you try and create as fair a bracket as possible unless it gives your Big East and ACC schools an advantage.  I am a Spartan fan and we travel.  I don't think it was random that we are in the MidWest.  Yeah we got Louisville but we only have to travel to sites of Big Ten country.  They can say things about making it all fair but it is still about ratings and money.  Upsets will happen no matter where they seed the higher teams but don't tell me this is random when it comes to your regular ESPN teams.

 

 



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