It’s finally Selection Sunday. This is, for college basketball fans anyway, the start of the best week of the year. The big talking point for us is whether Xavier lands their first ever one seed. Outside of that what are you watching for today?
For me, it’s what happens with MTSU. They had a good at large resume coming into the last week of the season and then lost to Marshall and Southern Miss. I’m curious to see what the committee does with them compared to a major conference team with more losses but better wins. Arizona State and Oklahoma come to mind.
Oklahoma was the team I was going to say. You don’t wont to penalize a team for playing a tough schedule, but at some point in time they need to win some games. They’ve had it in reverse for two months; I’m not sure I want to see them in the big tournament. They and ASU just completely dissolved since January.
Another interesting outcome will be the teams from the AAC. Cincinnati in particular steamrolled its schedule, but their opposition was butter soft. There are two other teams in the AAC in play for meaningful postseason play, and the Bearcats split with them both. They’re basically the flip side of the Oklahoma coin.
I think it will be interesting to see what happens with the bubble teams in the ACC. The committee has a history of bending over backwards to get as many as they can from that conference (think Syracuse 2016) but I don’t think Syracuse, Notre Dame, or Louisville really deserve it.
I think they would set a dangerous precedent if they leave MTSU out and take one of those teams. MTSU was 8th in non-conference SOS but didn’t get any particularly good wins for their troubles, losing to Auburn, Miami, and USC by single digits. They are clearly a good team, and it confirm the recent trend of high majors not challenging themselves in non-conference if the Blue Raiders missed.
I’m also taking bets on what doofus drops the scalding hot take that the selection show is better in this year’s format. Greenburg, Gottleib, and Seth Davis are unsurprisingly getting the best odds.
That’s an interesting way of looking at MTSU. I was thinking that they didn’t really have any good wins, but you raise the point that they at least tried and they didn’t get crushed.
The Selection Show isn’t better this way and it hasn’t even happened yet. They are trying to build suspense with teams and then pairings that was pre-built into the old way. Were any Xavier fans not feeling physical pain by the end last year? Why neuter that by knowing you are in within 10 minutes?
That’s the tension if you’re on the bubble. The matchups are interesting, but they aren’t the punchline. No 11 seed is celebrating who they drew, they’re ecstatic that they made it in.
The Selection Show doesn’t need to be an hour; it certainly doesn’t need to be two. There’s also no reason to involve any NBA analysts; I know Charles Barkley hasn’t watched any games and isn’t doing any research. If I were more easily insulted, his presence would be an insult to me as a decent college basketball fan.
We’ve established here what they do wrong, but there’s still no denying this is one of the most exciting days of the year. Seeing that bracket roll out for the first time and getting a glimpse of what the road ahead looks like is, at least for me, really only topped by the Thursday/Friday wall to wall action. Beyond that, there’s not a day on the sports calendar that consistently delivers like this.
I think I told you about the dude I picked up who had just gone back to the girl who hung an aggravated burglary charge on him. She continued to make his life more and more difficult, but he continued to go back to her because she was scalding hot and he knew this was the mountaintop for him. That’s basically where I am with the Selection Show. This year’s setup is the F1 charge, but I’m going to wear it and come back for more because I love the tournament so very, very much.
Really wondered where that was going for a second.
One last thing here: I’ve seen chatter that it would be better for Xavier to be the two seed somewhere easterly than to be a one seed in the west. The Xavier fan base travels pretty well though, and if you look at the top 16 seeds on the Bracket Matrix, only two of them (Arizona and Texas Tech) would have what I would consider a geographically favorable setup in LA if Xavier went out there for the regional. There’s a lot of work to do before we worry about who we might face in the Elite Eight, but I want the one seed. I’d rather get the one seed in the west than the two in Omaha or something.
Of course, if we don’t lose to Providence, maybe we’re having a different discussion altogether. Oh well.