Monday, March 14, 2011

The Idiocy of the Selection Committee

Disclaimer: whereas 10 years ago I could name 2 or 3 starters on most every Tourney team, this year I can't even name one player on two of the #1 seeds.

But I can do math, and I'm not stupid - which apparently disqualifies me from being a member of the NCAA's Selection Committee. Explain this to me: why are the four play-in games for two #16 seeds, a #12, and an #11? What is the logic behind that?

As I see it, there's only two ways to handle a 68-team field: all of the play-in games must either be for #16 seeds, representing the 8 worst teams of the field, or for whatever seed number represents the 8 worst at-large entrants (i.e. the last 8 in). It would be most logical to have the 8 worst auto qualifiers - but I could understand the Committee not wanting to totally crap on those conferences by making them earn the right to get slaughtered by Duke, so I could understand having a play-in for the UABs and Clemsons of the world to fight it out for a #12 seed.

But what makes ZERO sense is to have the play-ins staggered as in this year's bracket. Why is it that SE #11 seed Gonzaga only has to win 6 times to win the title, but in the Southwest, USC or VCU must win a 7th game - and they're #11 seeds, too?!?! Consider that in '06, George Mason made it to the Final 4 as an we can't say "Oh, it doesn't matter, these teams will lose anyway." It does matter; these at-large teams and these #11/#12 seeds are fully capable of making a run into the Sweet 16 or farther. The inequity in allowing three #11 and #12 seeds a pass into the true first round, while forcing 4 other teams to play an extra game as the same seed number, is absolutely illogical and indefensible.


Gutsy Goldberg said...

1) there are many other things much more idiotic about this bracket...
2) i don't like the 68 team field. but they chose to have it. however, upon choosing to do so, it makes more sense to have the last 4 AT-LARGES battle it out. it's fair because you are the last team in. comparing the seeding of these teams and saying it's unfair that they have to play another game does not resonate with me. i supposed you are arguing that the field be even bigger and that all of the 12-seeds should have to duke it out (thus there would be another two teams added, to get to 70). I don't agree. it's arbitrary to have 68 vs. 64... but there's no reason that ALL of the 12-seeds should have to play an extra game (unless we expand to 70 teams).

Mighty Mike said...

Yeah Gutsy has the reasoning down on why both the 12th and 16th. My guess ont the logic is they want eyeballs on the play in games but don't want to really affect the tournament hence the umm.... weird set up. Fundamentally I agree tho with the above sentiment...why mess with a good thing?

Hitman said...

No, Gutsy - your math is off (are you on the Selection Committee?). If only 4 out of 68 teams had a play-in game, there would be 64 teams plus the two play-in winners - that makes 66, which doesn't work. With 68 teams, you have 60 that go straight to the first round, and 8 that battle in the play-ins for the last 4 first-round spots.

Gutsy Goldberg said...

Hitman - I was pretending I was at the current situation (where we also have 16-seed play-in games). So yes, if you are in charge, we could have 68 teams, where we get 4 play-in games (but where all the play-in games are for 12-seeds.

I agree with Mighty... this is all just a way to grab some extra TV money, but not actually have a full extra round.
Don't worry, if I was on the tournament committee, I would have admitted that Kentucky was supposed to be the #2, and Florida was supposed to be the #4.

Hitman said...

Well, the money angle aside (of course this is about revenue), the system as handled in '11 makes no sense whatsoever. I don't understand how you or anyone else is okay with forcing some #11 seeds to play an extra game but not others. By dividing up the play-in games as has been done, the NCAA has deliberately and unmistakably introduced inequity to the Tournament. Considering that the Tournament has been upheld as a beacon of fairness in sports - even the lowly teams have a shot; just win six games and you win - the Committee's decision in this regard is strikingly nonsensical and stupid.