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The field is correct but the seeds are not

The NCAA Tournament selection committee deserve some credit where credit is due. Every year at this time we are left complaining about which teams got snubbed from the tournament, and which teams got in but didn’t deserve that spot. This year there are no legitimate snubs.

At the same time, the bubble was pretty weak.

Illinois State and Syracuse are the two teams that could argue they should be in the NCAA Tournament, but neither team deserved it. Any argument California, Georgia, Iowa or Illinois could try to make could be dismissed even easier.

The 27-6 Red Birds dominated their conference, and college basketball fans love to see good mid-majors sneak in as at-larges instead of seeing more middle of the road teams from power conferences, but Illinois State just didn’t do enough. First thing’s first, they played Division II Ferris State and lost to TCU and Tulsa. They only went 2-4 against teams in the Top 100 RPI and didn’t play any teams in the top 25 in RPI.

SMU, one of five teams in the field with 30 teams, should be much higher than a sixth seed.

Had they taken care of business and beaten Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game, they would be in, but they didn’t, lost two of three games against the Shockers and didn’t do enough to overcome the losses.

As for Syracuse, the had come tremendous wins over Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Miami and Wake Forest – all tournament teams – and went 10-8 in the best conference in the country. But they were 2-8 on the road this year and lost to Boston College, St. John’s and Pittsburgh. Losing to those teams doesn’t make a team worthy of being in the NCAA Tournament.

But the selection committee is not off the hook. They got the field perfectly correct, but they did a bad job at seeding some teams.

Minnesota got a 5 seed and Wisconsin got an 8 seed. The Golden Gophers got swept by the Badgers this year, lost their second game in the big Ten Tournament, finished lower in the conference standings yet are three seeds higher than Wisconsin? That makes no sense.

Vanderbilt was the first team in history to have 15 losses and get an At-Large bid. They should be in the field, but those losses should count. They can’t be a single-digit seed at No. 9.

South Carolina is over-seeded as a seventh seed, higher than teams like Wisconsin or Wichita State. They didn’t do well on the road and stumbled down the stretch. Keeping the Gamecocks in Greenville for the first weekend of the tournament also makes things pretty unfair for them too.

Wichita State being a six-point favorite over Dayton tells you that this is a misseading. The Shockers should be much higher than a No. 10 seed, but their RPI and strength of schedule had to have worked against them in a bad way. But remember, Wichita State being seeded low doesn’t necessarily hurt them. It makes things worse for Dayton and Kentucky. Well, maybe it’s not so terrible. Just flip Dayton and Wichita State’s seed lines and we’ll be okay.

SMU and Maryland both being six seeds is bad for opposite reasons. The Mustangs won 30 games, are ranked No. 11 in the AP poll and should be closer to a four seed. They dominated the American Athletic Conference and blew Cincinnati out in the conference tournament, but were given the same seed line as the Bearcats. Maryland again showed how the committee had no clue how to seed the Big Ten. Maryland stumbled down the stretch against the meat of the Big Ten, went one-and-done in what was essentially a home conference tournament and suffered losses to Nebraska and Penn State. Full disclosure, this writer grew up a Terps fan and covers the team for So Much Sports Baltimore, but a poor non-conference strength of schedule and lack of real signature wins should have left the Terps as a lower seed than a No. 6.

Lastly, Florida State is overseeded. This is a nod to the ACC’s power giving them a No. 3 seed, but they were a step behind the big dogs of the league. They lost twice to Notre Dame, finished with the same conference record and were seeded two lines over them. They were poor on the road as well.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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