FanDuel - WFBC

March 16, 2009

Big East Gets Three No. 1 Seeds in NCAA Tournament: The Big East came up huge on Selection Sunday, with Louisville, Pittsburgh and Connecticut all getting No. 1 seeds in the tournament bracket -- the first time that one conference has accomplished that feat. The tournament begins Tuesday with a play-in game between Alabama State and Morehead State.

posted by rcade to basketball at 10:16 AM - 11 comments

Memphis deserved a #1 seed, but I guess this is a better story.

posted by bperk at 10:58 AM on March 16

The fix is in. It's going to be Michigan v. Michigan State in Detroit.

posted by NoMich at 11:24 AM on March 16

In the end, it didn't matter which team between UConn and Memphis got the #1 seed, because they're in the same regional. So they'll be playing each other in the Elite Eight, anyway, unless one of them gets upset.

From a Big Ten fan's perspective, I was a bit surprised to see Wisconsin as a 12 seed, while both Michigan and Minnesota were 10 seeds. I suspect Wisconsin got shifted down a seed to avoid having them in the same half of a regional with another Big Ten team, but I guess the fact that Wisconsin didn't beat any of the good teams they played in the non-conference slate (not to mention getting swept by Minnesota) played a role. Minnesota being able to claim that they beat the top team in the country on a neutral floor certainly helped their cause.

Early Predictions:

Final Four: North Carolina, Pitt, Memphis, Michigan St.
Biggest 1st round upset: North Dakota St. over Kansas
Biggest 2nd round upset: Michigan over Oklahoma
Champion, North Carolina is Lawson is healthy, Pitt otherwise

posted by TheQatarian at 11:59 AM on March 16

I heard a snippet of an interview with Roy Williams of UNC and his take on the selection process. He was concerned that there were only 4 teams selected for at large bids that did not belong to the so-called "power conferences". I too question such a process. Is the 6th best team in the Big East or the ACC truly better than the San Diego State from the Mountain West or Creighton from the Missouri Valley? To me it smacks of having a representative from ESPN and ABC TV on the selection committee.

Predictions? I agree with TheQ about UNC and Lawson. I disagree about Pitt. They can be had if Dejuan Blair gets into foul trouble early. I look for Memphis to get to the final 4, along with Louisville, Duke and UNC.

posted by Howard_T at 03:05 PM on March 16

TheQ, I love your pick of NDSU upsetting Kansas, hope to see that happen, though I don't think I'll bet that way

posted by dviking at 04:42 PM on March 16

Is the 6th best team in the Big East or the ACC truly better than the San Diego State from the Mountain West or Creighton from the Missouri Valley?

Yes, they are, except for the incredibly rare George Mason story. The seeds are pretty telling in this regard. You don't see many ACC, Big East teams as 15 and 16 seeds. I think the SEC got snubbed this year. The PAC 10, Big 10, and Big 12 had too many teams selected.

posted by bperk at 04:56 PM on March 16

Big East teams deserved the 1's.

Memphis lost every non-conference game it played against a quality opponent, including 6th and 12th place teams from the Big East. Reality is that if they played in the Big East they'd have finished no higher than 5th in the league and be looking at a 3 seed.

Should be interesting - not a single team in the field that has distinguished itself. Louisville and Memphis have looked good recently, but haven't played as tough a schedule as the other top teams have down the stretch. Carolina, Pitt, UConn, and Okla have had late injuries to deal with.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:14 AM on March 17

Since this seems to be moving towards becoming a predictions thread:

Early Predictions:

Final Four: North Carolina, Pitt, Memphis, Wake Forest. Biggest 1st round upset: Northern Iowa over Purdue Biggest 2nd round upset: Clemson over Oklahoma Champion, North Carolina is Lawson is healthy, Memphis otherwise

The Big East deserves the top seeds, but I can't see UConn getting past Memphis, who are bound to be feeling a little under-appreciated.

posted by trox at 10:58 AM on March 17

I can't see UConn getting past Memphis, who are bound to be feeling a little under-appreciated.

I can't either. Isn't that the whole point of the seeds?

Reality is that if they played in the Big East they'd have finished no higher than 5th in the league and be looking at a 3 seed.

I hope you are joking. Every #1 seed has embarrassing losses. Highlighting Memphis's and ignoring the others is disingenuous.

posted by bperk at 12:41 PM on March 17

I heard a snippet of an interview with Roy Williams of UNC and his take on the selection process. He was concerned that there were only 4 teams selected for at large bids that did not belong to the so-called "power conferences". I too question such a process. Is the 6th best team in the Big East or the ACC truly better than the San Diego State from the Mountain West or Creighton from the Missouri Valley? To me it smacks of having a representative from ESPN and ABC TV on the selection committee.

Being in San Diego, our paper had a similar take, as did Steve Fisher (SDSU's coach) when interviewed for a reaction. It seems the number of at-large bids has been continually declining for the past few years while the six power conferences keep getting more and more teams in. In '04, twelve mid-major conference teams got at-large bids, then nine in '05, then six for the next two years, now down to four. In a time when, ostensibly, parity is only on the rise in college basketball, does this really make sense? Obviously my local paper and Steve Fisher have some biases, but shouldn't the conference that was ranked 7th in RPI for most of the year get more than two bids (personally, I went to an ACC school and have no ties to SDSU, so I don't share that bias)?

My paper makes an argument about the BCS mentality infecting the basketball system, but I don't know about that.

posted by LionIndex at 01:02 PM on March 17

What is the affect of having conference expansion? Marquette, Cincy, Depaul and others have joined power conferences. Lately the Mid-Majors havee't been as good IMO. BCS conferences have been gobbling up those guys who built up some of those less known schools.

posted by Landis at 12:09 AM on March 18

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