Thursday, March 19, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
Tigers deserved number one seed
All the mysteries swirling around this year’s NCAA championship field were solved. Well, if solved seems a bit much, all the selections were made known to a vast number of hopefuls. There were quite a few crying towels used, one can be sure. The broadcast media was overflowing with speculation all day about the possible “ins” and “outs.”
Mike Slive, the commissioner of the SEC and also the chairman of the NCAA Selection Committee (this year), stated in his live interview that there were bound to be some disappointments. He went on to say the committee tried to be completely fair in the process. One can be sure that some of the “bubble teams” would be reluctant to agree.
Yours truly was surprised that of the four number one seeds across the four regions the Memphis Tigers were not among the elite handful. Taking the number one place overall was Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals. Louisville will lead the Midwest Region and will await the winner of the “play-in” game between Alabama State and Morehead. Last season the Cardinals were the number three in the East.
Pick number two for a one was Pittsburgh. The Panthers will lead the East. The third overall was University of North Carolina. The Tar Heels, who have more number one selections than anyone, head up the South Region. They will open up against Radford. The final one was Connecticut. They will start the West Region. The Huskies’ two championships were both won out of the West.
Maybe UConn deserves the rank after playing in the marathon game with Syracuse, which used six overtimes and lasted almost four hours (the second longest game in NCAA history). However, they lost, so should the Orangemen have been number one? They got a three berth in the South.
The SEC slid three teams into the mix, down from five last season. The Bullies of Mississippi State locked up the automatic bid after winning the SEC tourney. The other two teams are LSU and Tennessee, the former in the South and the latter in the East.
The Memphis Tigers, statistically speaking, are the best team, period – more wins in a four-year period (135) than any team in NCAA history and the best season record, including any of the one seeds. And the list of accolades goes on.
Thirty-one of the slate of 65 were automatics and 34 were at large (selected by the committee) bids.
Is the selection process fair? Sure it is. The NCAA Selection Committee says so.
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