Monday, March 17, 2008

Selection Sunday reflections

By Rick Morris

FDH presented its third annual fantasy brackets draft Sunday night and our lead NCAA brackets analyst Nate Noy was a participant. The following notes came out of our conversation as he broke down the committee's decisions:

^ Nate and I both agree: the K-State/USC first-round matchup is the biggest "show biz" decision in NCAA history. Any time the poobahs at the NCAA ever try to convince people that their moves are made purely based on where teams deserve to be slotted, give them a four-word rebuttal: "Michael. Beasley. O.J. Mayo." You could probably put this game on pay-per-view and make some nice coin. I plan to be watching this one, but then again the idiot affiliate in my hometown will once again choose to show something with more "local appeal." Nate sees USC winning this game and making a strong run, while FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones sees Kansas State using this game as a steppingstone for their own drive forward.

^ The seeding of St. Joe's was a shock, especially for a team so recently "on the bubble." Virginia Tech and Arizona State should certainly have been in the field of 65, and Ohio State can also plausibly claim to having been jobbed. South Alabama doesn't belong in the field.

^ Memphis is the #1 seed in the most trouble early on and may struggle to make the Sweet 16 given the path they face after the first game.

^ Advocates of the upper-mid-majors will claim Kent State should have been seeded higher, but Nate finds their slotting appropriate.

^ Miami's placement was indefensible as they were a clear bubble team. Assuming they should have even been in the field, they deserved a 10 seed at best.

^ Wisconsin's tumble to a 3 seed was surprising in light of their run through the Big Ten tournament, although that may have been a case where one deserving team had to fall to that level.

^ Drake is the 5 seed most vulnerable to a traditional 5-12 upset in the first round.

^ UCLA pretty much has a layup to get to a regional final matchup against (probably) Duke.

^ Georgia has proven this weekend that they were much better than their record and that they underachieved greatly in the regular season. Now, playing closer to their full potential, they could give Xavier all they want in an unprecedented first round game with a power conference team manning the 14th seed.

^ Davidson really got hosed on the seeding.

^ Little-known fact: Washington State is the team most ready physically for the first weekend in Denver, playing at high altitude in all of their regular season games.

^ Tennessee was essentially proclaimed the #8 team in the country by the committee, a truly head-scratching move.

That's great analysis from Nate as usual. He'll be contributing his thoughts again here on the blog during the week, and he, Jason and I (and possibly other Lounge Dignitaries) will be delivering all of the picks in our brackets so that we might help you try to rule the office pool. Also, click here to get a printable bracket for yourself. Good luck!

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