Top Seeds for NCAA Tournament Announced
Kentucky, North Carolina, and Syracuse all tried to conjure up some trouble prior to the coming out of the brackets, but the NCAA selection committee managed to ignore the noise.
Although the Wildcats, the Tar Heels, and the Orange lost over the weekend, they still wound up in the place they expected to be: top seeds, albeit with a well-timed dose of humble pie with their gearing up for a run through the NCAA tournament that they hoped would end in New Orleans with the Final Four.
With their 24-game winning streak ended last Sunday, with a surprising defeat in the SEC tournament final against Vanderbilt, John Calipari, Kentucky coach, simply commented it was done, and that it was time to go into the next three weekends.
The last Number 1 seed went to Michigan State, making it the only team of the four top-billed teams to grab a victory at its conference tournament. The Spartans won 68-64 over Ohio State during the Big Ten title game on Sunday. That was a contest widely perceived as the game for the last Number 1 seed, although Jeff Hathaway, selection committee chairman, refused to go there.
He just said that it turned out that the game did put the Number 1 seed onto the field.
As Number 2 seeds Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, and Missouri are left wondering if they could have received higher ratings, other teams like Mississippi State, Drexel, and Seton Hall, along with Washington, Pac-12 regular-season champion, are cursing their fates. These bubble teams had been left out, and they wonder how California, South Florida, and Iona made it.
All conferences were led by the Big East with nine teams, which includes defending champion of the national title Connecticut, set at Number 9 seed, conference tournament champion Louisville, and the one-loss-record Syracuse.
Of their second loss in the Big East tournament on Friday against Cincinnati, coach Jim Boeheim said that he felt it was going to help them a little bit. He commented that players tended to make excuses for their mistakes when they were winning, but the defeat apparently finally grabbed their attention.
He added that he felt they would be a better team from here on compared to what they were last week.
Eleven teams were at large for the mid-major conferences, at four more compared to last year and having the greatest number ever since 2004 had 12 teams making it.
Although the committee insists that it does not consider the conference a team belongs in whenever it picks the bracket, this was still a nod for the way this tournament could be a free-for-all. For example, last year, the 4,000-student Butler ended up the national runner-up for the second consecutive season, while the Colonial Athletic Conference’s VCU soared up from one of the last teams in the draw straight into the final four.