I really hate it when somebody says “This is the (fill-in-the-blank) ever.” Whatever is being said is most likely an exaggeration, and preys on the audience’s lack of memory. Case in point is how every year we have the “softest bubble ever”. People, we are dealing with teams ranked 40-50. Those teams are always soft. That’s why they aren’t close to the top 25.
Having said that, this seems like the most bizarre bracket ever. I’m not going to break down all of the questionable decisions this committee made. It’s over and done with and it’s time to move on. But this year’s committee has set a precedent that even if you think there is no logical case for your team getting a bid, you better tune in to the Selection Show anyway because logic may not necessarily apply.
One thing that slipped by me last week was that this is the best field ever. There is only one team of the 65 that is outside the RPI top 150, and that’s Hampton who still has to play their way into the first round. There was a startling lack of major upsets in the conference tournaments. What does this mean? If a 16 ever beats a 1, it will be this season. To compound matters, the committee really got sloppy in giving Oral Roberts a 16-seed. To compound matters further, the Golden Eagles have drawn the weakest one-seed in Memphis. 16-seeds are 0-84 all-time. It’s safe to say Oral Roberts has a better that 1-in-84 chance of beating Memphis. Much better.
Log5 says that Oral Roberts has about a 1-in-8 chance of pulling off the unthinkable. Log5 doesn’t do so well with extreme matchups. It says Southern has a 1-in-40 chance of beating Duke, when Southern’s chances are truly much worse. But I’d give ORU a 1-in-15 chance of a win. Which means that hyping this game will result in me looking like an idiot 14 out of 15 times, but that’s what I am all about. I’d feel a lot more comfortable if ORU could play an effective zone, but since they’re coached by a Sutton, I’m guessing they won’t consider doing that. And their defensive stats suggest a team that exclusively plays man-to-man: low 3FGA/FGA, low A/FGM, high DR%.
But what the heck, I’ll throw my weight behind this game the remainder of the week. It’s a chance to witness history, if only a slim one.
Along those lines, this tournament is more wide open than in recent years. There’s going to be some chaos in this first week. The gutless wonders out there picking a Duke/UConn final make me laugh. I mean that could happen, but it’s not as likely as a lot of people are making it out to be. Picking Memphis to go to the Final Four may be bracket suicide. They got a bad draw in the first round, but that shouldn’t be a big deal. Arkansas lurking in the second round is a big deal – the Hogs are the toughest potential second-round opponent for a one-seed.
Also, as I’m writing this, the lines for first round games haven’t come out yet. But it would appear that 12-seed Texas A&M has a shot to be favored over 5-seed Syracuse. That’s just one bracket blunder to focus on. It’s hard to believe Montana is on the same seed line as the Aggies.
OK, that’s enough for one day. More tomorrow.
Line o’ the Night
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Jeff Horner 38 7-14 2-8 0-0 0-5 10 2 0 2 0 16 Result: Win. Iowa 67, Ohio State 60.
There was a total lack of qualified candidates yesterday.