More than half of our top twenty-four teams lost this week continuing a crashing trend that is nearly as bad as the stock market. Villanova, Purdue (twice), Duke, Virginia, Auburn, Kentucky, St. Mary’s, Oklahoma (twice), West Virginia, Arizona, Kansas, Miami, and Tennessee all stubbed their toes.
From this wreckage, the NCAA Selection Committee made its initial choices for the top four seeds in the four regions of the national championship tournament. As we have said many times, the tournament format favors the top three seeds which have won 29 of the last 33 tournaments (all the tournaments since expansion to 64 teams). Number one seeds have won 20 of those titles. So, seeds have meaning, and the committee is off to a bad start.
Visit www.nemosnumbers.com/basketball-rankings/ to the RPG system rankings in comparison to the committee seeds. Noteworthy differences include:
- Xavier is a #1 seed in the committee bracket while RPG has them at #11 which should merit a #3 seed. Xavier should thank the committee for the over-the-top gift.
- Michigan State is the team that was slighted by the committee’s Xavier mistake. The committee has them at #3 in the same bracket as Virginia and Cincinnati, two #1 seeds according to RPG, making the bracket outrageously top heavy. RPG has Michigan State at #5 overall, meaning they should get the best #2 seed.
- Gonzaga did not get a mention by the committee despite being ranked #7 by RPG. That ranking deserves a #2 seed.
- Wichita State did not get a mention by the committee despite being ranked #9 by RPG. That ranking deserves a #3 seed.
- Kansas is seeded #2 by the committee, no doubt a tip of the cap to glory years of the past, but is ranked #14 by RPG. That ranking deserves a #4 seed.
- And the most egregious mistake of all is the #4 seed awarded to Oklahoma. Yes, Trae Young is must-see TV, but the Sooners are not a good basketball team. They sit at dead last, #24, in the RPG rankings, the lowest #6 seed if we wanted to be gracious. However, as other teams are added to our rankings, the Sooners are likely to fall out of our rankings.
Once again, we see why human committees should not be allowed to make tournament selections, whether in basketball or in football.
Best win of the week goes to Cincinnati (a grade of 134.00), which smothered top fifty ranked SMU yesterday. As a result, (and due to losses by Villanova, Duke and Purdue) the overlooked Bearcats are now ranked #1 by RPG
Worst loss of the week goes to Tennessee (a grade of 80.03) which failed to show up for a game at Alabama. Keep an eye on the Tide who have ex-NBA star Avery Johnson as a coach.
Kudos as well to Texas A&M which has fully recovered from a mid-season swoon. Although unranked by the AP writers, RPG has them ahead of Miami, Kentucky and those overrated Sooners.
This week we added St. Mary’s (at #12) and Ohio State (at #17) to our rankings bringing our group to its final total of 24 teams. If we add additional teams to the rankings, the lowest members of this group will fall off.
Note to Butler fan who suggested we add the Bulldogs: Had the Bulldogs won either of its games this past week—against Xavier and Villanova—we’d have gladly added them. As it stands, they are in a group of teams receiving consideration including Rhode Island, Michigan, Seton Hall, Creighton, TCU and Louisville.