I realize it’s a very tough job serving on the NCAA selection committee. You have to put together a bracket of 68 teams, with plenty of rules and restrictions in place. Having said that, I think Gene Smith’s committee did a terrible job in putting together the 2011 field. Here’s why:
Snubs – To me, there’s no way Colorado should have been left out of this field. The Buffaloes went 8-8 in the Big 12, swept Kansas State in three games (KSU has a 5 seed), and having some success in the Big 12 Tournament. That type of resume usually gets a team into the Big Dance.
I also feel bad for Harvard, which was bounced from the Ivy League auto-bid by a Princeton buzzer-beater on Saturday. The Crimson finished 23-6 on the season, including a win over Colorado in the non-conference. Virginia Tech had 9 wins in the ACC regular season and 21 victories overall, so I feel bad that Seth Greenberg’s club was left out of the NCAA Tournament.
Seeding – It’s hard to even pick a place to begin, with all the issues in this bracket. How does Villanova get a 9 seed, having lost 5 games in a row coming into this tournament? A bunch of Big Ten teams were overseeded, with Michigan an 8, Illinois a 9, and Penn State as a 10. The Nittany Lions were sweating bullets to get into the field, and they somehow end up as a 10?!
In the higher ranks, there’s no way that BYU, Syracuse, and Purdue should get 3 seeds while Texas was demoted to a 4. The Longhorns had a very strong regular season, and made it to the final of the Big 12 tournament against Kansas. Also, Kentucky beats Florida in the SEC tournament championship game, yet the Wildcats end up as a 4, with the Gators as a 2? Puzzling at best.
Bracket balance – This is an underrated part of putting together the field; the committee needs to balance out good teams throughout the four regions. Instead, top overall seed Ohio State is in the East Region, alongside North Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky.
If the Buckeyes are considered to be the best team in the tournament, how can they be matched up with the Tar Heels? There’s no way that UNC is the worst 2 seed in the field, having won the ACC regular season title. Plus, the Wildcats won the SEC tournament.
On the other side of the East, we have the Southeast bracket, which is highly questionable. The Gators are the 2 seed, with BYU a 3, and Wisconsin as the 4 seed. Without question, that’s the weakest region in the Big Dance, and you wonder why the committee stacked the East at the expense of the Southeast. If Pittsburgh doesn’t make the Final Four, I think it’s fair to start questioning Jamie Dixon’s tournament coaching ability.
Mike Meltser can be heard weekdays with Vandermeer and Lopez 6-10am, and on the Mike Meltser show 10-11am