NCAA Tournament and Seeding Observations

Joe Murphy

1. Such a difference. In college football, polls are hugely important and have helped determine the national champion. In college basketball, the polls couldn't be more meaningless. Louisville as a 4-seed is the college basketball equivalent of Alabama being #3 in the polls and thinking that they're going to be in the college football playoff - only to be told by the Condoleezza Rice, Archie Manning, et al. committee telling Bama fans that the team is actually #13.

2. The East region's #1 and #2 seeds (UVa and Villanova) have three losses where they were outscored by 84 points (28 point average margin). Louisville has five combined losses with a 31 point combined margin.

3. I truly believe that if Louisville wins the game at Memphis (the one when Louisville was up 8 with 4:23 left), then they would be a 1-seed safely (they would be 30-4 with a 13-game win streak -100% 1-seed IMO). So, in other words, one single loss cost Louisville three seed lines.

4. On the flip side, I think Creighton's loss to Providence didn't matter at all. Creighton was likely capped at a 3-seed win or lose.

5. Villanova lost to Seton Hall. Seton Hall lost to DEPAUL.

6. If Kentucky was the #1 overall seed in the tournament, they would get assigned the St. Louis and Indianapolis path. As the 8-seed...they are in the St. Louis and Indianapolis path. I thought that Louisville would have a big homecourt advantage in long as Kentucky isn't there too.

7. Not only is Louisville underseeded, but they got dealt a tough hand by now needing to do "pre-scouting" on three teams (instead of two) because of the play-in game. In the background, the coaches need to be prepared for SLU, NC State AND Xavier.

8. Per the official NCAA seeding of teams 1-68, of the top 9 seeds in each region, the Midwest has the strongest: 3-seed, 4- seed, 7-seed, 8-seed and 9-seed. Yes, that's correct - instead of the "S-curve" the Midwest has highest rated in five of the top nine seeds in each region. On the flip side, the Midwest has zero of the weakest seeds of the four regions for any of the top nine seeds in each region.

9. By comparison, the West region has the weakest: 2-seed, 4-seed, 5-seed and 6-seed. It also has the second weakest: 3-seed, 7-seed and 9-seed. On the flip side, the West does not have the strongest seed of any of the top nine seeds in each region. ***Remember, this is the NCAA's 1-68 rankings - not Las Vegas.

10. My key takeaway is that teams MUST play in one of the early season eight-team tournaments (eg, Maui, Puerto Rico, etc.). That way, the team has a chance to play three average-to-quality non-conference opponents to bolster the non-conference strength of schedule (see below).

11. Non-conference games between major teams have all upside and no downside. If you win, you get huge points for winning. And, if you lose, you get credit for having a great non-conference schedule. Case in point: Villanova vs. Kansas. Villanova wins the game and gets major credit which allows them to cover up getting smoked by Creighton (twice) and losing to Seton Hall. Kansas, on the other hand, gets huge credit for having a great non-conference schedule so the loss essentially doesn't matter.

12. Kansas lost nine (9!) times. Is there anything else they could have done to play themselves out of a 2-seed? In addition, did the committee factor in the projected #2 NBA draft pick not playing for the first weekend at minimum? Instead Kansas was rewarded with bus trips to St. Louis and Memphis.

13. Apparently, the committee does not care as much about bad losses. Teams with a 1-seed, 2-seed, 3-seed or 4-seed have losses this year to to Northwestern (at home), Charlotte, Seton Hall, a 35-point loss, a 28-point loss, a 21-point loss, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Clemson (by 13), Boston College (at home), Georgia Tech (at home), Wyoming, Washington St. (RPI 219, by 18) and Illinois (at home). Louisville has losses to four teams who were all ranked....all by single digits.

14. The committee not only underseeded Louisville, but it also hated Louisville's opponents too. I took a look at USA Today's final seeding projections (from, but it has since been taken down). In that analysis, Cincinnati was a projected 4-seed (actual 5-seed), UNC was a projected 5-seed (actual 6-seed), UConn was a projected 6-seed (actual 7-seed) and Kentucky was a projected 6-seed (actual 8-seed).

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