Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 9:24 AM
Bust out the brackets already! The NCAA Tournament's always much-hyped and much-anticipated Selection Show on Sunday (6 p.m. ET on CBS / ESPN) is must-see television -- of course - and we just so happen to be chock full of ideas/recommendations for the "Big Dance" committee folks. We'll lay it on y'all shortly in today's Jim Sez column but first this key reminder ...
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NCAA TOURNAMENT SELECTION SHOW -
First things first and that's settling on the #1 seeds in the four regions and we'll go by the current "company line" and go with Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier. But, heck, NCAA Committee folks, you want more than just the numero uno seeds, right?
So, in keeping with what was our weekly routine, here's how we actually see the top four seeds in each region:
EAST - Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Texas Tech
MIDWEST - Kansas, Cincinnati, Purdue and North Carolina
SOUTH - Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee and USC
WEST - Xavier, Arizona, Gonzaga and Ohio State
Next up, we'd like the good committee folks to not worry so much about what might be the Saturday/Sunday potential matchups (more often than not they don't happen anyway!) and so let's load up on Thursday/Friday games with some real oomph ... for example, let's get those non-power conference "name teams" getting a crack at the middle-of-the-pack power conference crews and so a Nevada vs. Arkansas matchup works for us as does a Rhode Island versus UCLA showdown. In other words, give the non-power teams a real crack at hitting a home run right out of the gate instead of pairing off the non-power teams against one another. Also, if you want to "punish" a team that bombed out in their conference tournaments this past week (yet was deserving of an NCAA berth based on their regular-season resume) then make the likes of Middle Tennessee, Marquette and N.C. State have to play in the "First Four" games in Dayton on Tuesday/Wednesday. Seems fair, right?;
Make sure there's a message or two being sent to teams that don't deserve near home court advantage: We're thinking about Duke as Friday games in Charlotte should include both Virginia and North Carolina, but not a Blue Devils team that was beaten in Friday's ACC Tournament semifinal round game. We say make Duke travel to Dallas or Detroit. Same goes with the likes of Kansas State and Oklahoma State - no way do they get to play at the Wichita site, okay?;
When in doubt, go with the non-power conference team that was consistent over a power conference team that was consistently mediocre. Here's some examples: Reward Saint Mary's over Syracuse, Boise State over Maryland and BYU over Oklahoma - as it is the power conferences figure to comprise close to 65 percent of the entire 68-team field and we're long been against rewarding run-of-the-mill/middle-to-lower part of the power conference teams over the solid clubs from the "lesser" leagues;
Okay, you ask, what power conference teams should be invited to the "Big Dance"? Glad you asked:
ACC (8) - Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, Florida State and N.C. State
Big East (7) - Villanova, Xavier, Creighton, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler and Marquette
Big 10 (6) - Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State
Big 12 (6) -- Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma State
Pac-12 (6) - Arizona, USC, UCLA, Utah, Oregon and Arizona State
SEC (8) - Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas A&M and Alabama
Add 'em up and that's 41 power conference teams in the projected NCAA Tournament (or just over 60 percent). Finally, we'll even set up those aforementioned "First Four" games for Tuesday/Wednesday ... how about Marquette vs. N.C. State (call 'em a pair of #10 seeds) doing battle in one game with #14 seeds Iona playing Charleston; then make the other two "First Four" matchups be #12 seeds Middle Tennessee State vs. Penn State and #13 seeds Nevada vs. Arizona State ... sounds good!
NOTE: Get all our March Madness goodies in the next Jim Sez.