NCAA Selection: Bravo to the Committee

Jason KivelaCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2008

It has basically become an annual tradition to go berserk after the brackets are announced and tear them to pieces.  But I really think the committee deserves some praise for a job well done this year.

I really don't think any of the teams who saw their bubbles burst have a great argument if they claim they—as Dickie V would say—got a raw deal.  They all had chances down the stretch to prove they belonged in the dance and most (save St. Joe's, Nova, and Temple) fell on their face.

The one team who might be an exception is Arizona State.  They smoked Xavier, swept Arizona, beat Stanford, knocked off Oregon, and beat USC.  Yes, they had double digit losses—but so did several teams that made it—but no truly egregious losses.  It looks like the committee simply didn't want to put in a team with an RPI in the 80s because it would bring scrutiny that there precious tool wasn't the accurate measuring stick they want us to believe it is. 

Someone has to explain to me how a team like Illinois State can have an RPI 50 spots higher than ASU when all it did was beat Creighton twice - a team that's just barely in the Top 50 of the RPI (Illinois State's only Top 50 scalp). 

In fairness I thought Tom O'Connor was very forthcoming and didn't dodge the Arizona State question when he was asked, citing their poor non-conference strength of schedule and RPI as reasons for their exclusion.  I didn't agree with the thinking but it's nice to get a straight answer and I thought Mr. O'Connor did a great job fielding questions from Jim Nantz, Billy Packer, and the ESPN guys a little later in the night.

My only minor quibbles with the bracket (and there will always be a few):

- I thought Tennessee should have been the highest two seed and placed in the bracket with the lowest one seed (Kansas perhaps?)—instead of placing them with top overall seed in UNC.

- Overseeded: Vanderbilt, Washington State

- Underseeded: Butler, Indiana

But that's really where my minor complaining ends as the brackets seem pretty well balanced and there's a bunch of good first round matchups to get excited about: Kansas State-USC, Clemson-Villanova, Gonzaga-Davidson, West Virginia-Arizona, to name a few. 

So no going berserk this year over the brackets—I think the committee got it mostly right which is about as good as you can hope for.  If anyone does go berserk in disagreement with the field I think—as Seth Greenberg would say—they are certifiably insane.