We haven’t seen much written on this yet, so we thought it would be worth our 1000th post here at RTC (woohoo!) to mock the media’s mock bracket that came out last Friday. You remember the drill – the NCAA invites twenty distinguished members of the hoops cognoscenti to Indianapolis to go through the same exercise of filling the bracket in twelve hours that the NCAA Selection Committee goes through in five days (we’re still awaiting RTC’s invite). According to Mike DeCourcy, this abridged media experience somehow proves that there’s no time for shenanigans amongst the committee in terms of potential made-for-tv matchups and backroom wheeling and dealing – “demystifying and demythifying” were the words used – even though the fact that the Selection Committee has five full days (vs. 12 hours) to consider other variables, such as ensuring compelling matchups, seems lost on him. Demythifying? We’re still trying to figure out how UNLV was selected over Vanderbilt and Notre Dame in the 2000 Tourney. Oh yeah, Craig Thompson.
Anyway, here’s the media mock bracket (as of last Friday):
Clemson as an overall #2 seed is abominable, and that was true even before the Tigers’ loss to Virginia on Sunday. And we have to agree with the commenters on Decourcy’s piece who take issue with Florida as a #8 seed ranked ahead of SEC leader LSU (#10 seed). He’s right in that LSU’s out-of-conference schedule reads like a Big South slate, but credit has to be given for essentially dominating a BCS conference, which is what LSU at 9-1 has done to date. The fairer way would have been to give both #9 seeds and be done with that dilemma. Butler as a #3 seed, Utah as a #5 seed and USC as a #9 seed are so absurd it’s not even worth further mention.
We were also really surprised to see Georgetown in the bracket anywhere, much less as a #10 seed. The Hoyas have top-tier talent and a decent RPI, but goodness, at 13-9 and 4-7 in the Big East at the time of this bracket, this has every hallmark of a rep pick. And what happened at the #11-seed level of this bracket? Cornell (ok, which reporter went to Cornell?), South Carolina (ok), Davidson (will be higher) and Arizona (will be a good bit higher)? Decourcy mentioned the Davidson dilemma, but if the Wildcats win the SoCon again, they’ll be no lower than a #10 this year – mark that down.
Cross-referencing with our bracketologist Zach Hayes’ latest report which came out yesterday, we see that our guy’s analysis is significantly stronger and well contemplated than the bracket that the media came up with by themselves. Seriously, we can’t believe some of their seeding selections. This is comprised of America’s college hoops experts? Wethinks that the bloggers could have done a better job, even in such a small slice of time as twelve hours.
Update: we were tipped to Kyle Whelliston’s excellent column describing the events of the media mock selection process, and it makes things considerably clearer. First, the mock committee were given scenarios based on automatic qualifiers that helps to explain why some of the seedings are out of whack with current relative positions; second, there was a major technical glitch during the proceedings that led to the seed lines 6 and below getting filled based purely on RPI. Whelliston made pains to say that this is not how it would typically go. DeCourcy never mentioned it. This makes us feel a little better about the process, and the resultant bracket, although we still don’t think that it proves anything about conference affiliation considerations and/or other backroom shenanigans. After all, the real committee has more time and are better versed in how to do this.