Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCAA Tournament Seeding Raises Many Questions

First of all, I'll admit that I'm a Kentucky fan. With that being said, I do not understand what the NCAA Tournament committee did with their seeding for the 2010 "Big Dance".

Kentucky, the committee said, was the number two overall seed in the tournament, the number one seed in the East Regional. With that seed, the Wildcats should have had the seventh best team as the second seed in their regional. Let's say that team should have been Villanova. Instead, the committee placed the Big East Tournament champion, West Virginia, as the second seed in the East. The same West Virginia team that, according to CBS analysts Greg Anthony and Seth Davis, should have been a number one seed.

But the Wildcats may not even make it that far. If they beat East Tennessee State in the first round (which they should), they will likely face Texas. The same Texas Longhorn team that, at one point this season, was ranked number one in the nation. Granted, the Longhorns have fallen on tough times lately, but the number one seed having to face a former number one team in the second round? I can't remember that ever happening.

The committee also did Kentucky no favors by placing Wisconsin and Temple in the same bracket as UK. Both the Badgers and the Owls play a style that could cause Kentucky some problems. Kentucky definitely has more talent than either of those teams, but the style of play could take Kentucky out of their comfort zone.

For argument's sake, let's look at Duke. The Blue Devils shared the regular season title in a very weak ACC, then won the conference tournament title. As a reward for roaring through a tournament with no other ranked teams, the Blue Devils were rewarded with the number three overall seed. The second seed in their region is a Villanova team that has fallen on hard times. The three seed is Baylor, which hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game in 60 years. And the four seed is Purdue, whose best player is out for the season. Duke's toughest game could be a second round matchup against Louisville.

So again this year, the committee has slighted Kentucky. The Wildcats are 32-2, regular season champions of the SEC, and SEC Tournament champions. Their reward is the toughest region of the four. Here's hoping that John Calipari and his young team can navigate their way through, and get the Wildcats back to the Final Four for the first time since 1998.

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