By now, the laughable March Madness bracket produced by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has been dissected thousands of times by experts across the country, and there are still many questions to be asked about several choices made by said committee.
First, no matter what this guy says, do not believe him: His committee is full of it. When defending the choice to make three teams from the ACC top seeds—when KenPom had the conference ranked third best this season—nothing holds water against logic and math. The only things that makes sense is … good, ol’ American dollars and cents.
In addition, a team from the highest-ranked conference in the nation this year—Michigan State—was the only Power 5 school to win both the regular-season and conference tourney titles. Yet MSU was relegated to a No. 2 seed in the same region as the alleged overall No. 1 seed, Duke.
The committee went on to explain that MSU was their No. 6 overall team, and then it really didn’t explain why MSU was put in the East with Duke. After all, as logic and other seeding brackets dictate, No. 1 should be matched up with No. 8, right?
Not in the NCAA’s world. They matched up No. 8 with No. 4, for some asinine reason no one can comprehend.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. And ESPN talking heads question your credibility, you know something is rotten with the whole process: Jay Bilas, Jay Williams, and Dick Vitale all openly criticized the decision making.
Those NET rankings are supposed to be big factors in seeding selections, but the committee basically ignored them. After all, MSU had the most Quadrant 1 victories in the country this year, but it did the Spartans no good on Selection Sunday. The NCAA also clearly has no interest in relying on smart, sabermetric analysis, or else KenPom and Sagarin ratings would matter.
No, this is still about backroom, shady dealings and regional revenue dollars by pimping schools from conferences with fans that live and die with their spending habits on college gear from schools they did not even attend (i.e., the South). It is sad that college basketball has succumbed to the same corruption that plagues college football.
American history has shown us that when there is money to made, ethics and integrity go out the window, as inconvenience would have it. Perhaps it is part of the deal we must strike now as sports fans, when the pro leagues have been corrupted and now the major college sports, too: Ignore the corruption to enjoy the spectacle.
The sad thing is that this modus operandi at the amateur level informs scores of college student-athletes that it does not matter how well they perform in real life: If there is money to be made at their expense, it will be made, everything else be damned. Take a team like the Lipscomb Bisons, that went 25-7 this year and finished 53rd in KenPom’s rankings.
The Bisons tied for the regular-season title of the Atlantic Sun Conference before losing in the conference’s tournament final. They did not get an at-large bid to the tournament, despite being a better team than more well-known, revenue-generating schools like Seton Hall (55th in KenPom), Arizona State (61st), Temple (76th), and St. John’s (78th).
Talk about class mobility: There is none in college football, and it is slowly being eliminated in college basketball, too. And don’t get us started on socioeconomic realities in the U.S. over the last 35 years, either.
So when the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee feeds the media its hogwash, do not buy it. Think of the kids on the Lipscomb basketball team who just had their lifelong dreams shattered by some rich, fat cats in a smoke-filled conference room, dividing up the money like robber barons from the nineteenth century.
March is madness, indeed: Teach your children well.