Given Wichita State’s challenging draw, I thought I’d calculate the chances of the Shockers winning the tournament if they were given other seeds in other regions. Keep in mind their current situation gives them an 8.0% chance to win the title*.
Wichita State got the one-seed is in the Midwest region. What if the Shockers were seeded worse in the Midwest? Here are their log5-style chances of winning six games given a different location in the bracket:
For this region, when I moved the Shockers to a different seed, I moved the other teams in the region up a notch. So in the scenario where Wichita gets a 2-seed, Michigan gets the one. The Shockers avoid the mess on that side of the bracket, and consequently, what might have been viewed as a tremendous snub would have given the Shockers a not-insignificant increase in their chance of a title.
For the other regions, I simply replaced the team’s spot on the bracket with Wichita, making no other changes. (This method leaves a duplicate Wichita at the one-seed in the Midwest. It’s easier for me this way.)
If the Shockers were shipped to the West Region, here’s how their chances would look:
And to the South:
Finally, the East:
So you can see that getting sent to the two-line would have been advantageous for Wichita in three of the four regions and negligible penalty in the West. I’m not sure anyone would have viewed it that way. Likewise, I’m guessing Virginia wouldn’t mind swapping places with Michigan would bracketing rules permit it. (Michigan and Michigan State aren’t allowed to meet before the regional finals.)
If a team’s goal is to the win the national title, seeding isn’t terribly important. True, if Wichita has been dropped to a four-seed, their chances would have been impacted. But that wasn’t a realistic possibility. It really does come down to match-ups. Not necessarily the kind where we worry about whether this team plays well against a zone or some size, or something technical like that. It’s more about the general strength of the teams nearby in the draw.
*Obviously, this is using my system and my methods. Your methods may vary. The important thing here is the relative difference in the chances of winning the title given various seeds.