The Las Vegas Sun has probably the most hysterical news story of the week, in which Vegas oddsmakers hold nothing back when discussing the 2014 performance of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
A few of the highlights...
On the ridiculous strength of the Midwest Region:
"That's probably the hardest bracket I've ever seen in my whole life," said Ed Salmons, assistant sports book director at the LVH Superbook who oversees college basketball. "It was a comedy show to watch all the teams they stacked that Wichita State would have to beat to get to the Final Four. It was over-the-top insane."
Four of the top 10 teams the Superbook listed in odds to win the title at the beginning of the week - Wichita State, No. 2 seed Michigan, No. 3 seed Duke and No. 4 seed Louisville - were stuffed into the region. Add No. 5 seed Saint Louis and No. 8 seed Kentucky to the mix, and Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello said the Midwest could have six of the top 20 power-rated teams.
The bookmakers' first fix to this field would be making defending champion Louisville a No. 1 seed. Avello expected to find the Cardinals on the No. 2 line Sunday, but called even that placement "a really big stretch."
He would currently favor Louisville in a game against any other team in the country, and said the Cardinals were assured to give points in every contest on their way to the Final Four. Salmons indicated just two teams Louisville would post as an underdog against in the whole tournament - Florida, the overall No. 1 seed, and Michigan State, another No. 4 seed.
"I don't know why they're doing this," Salmons said of the selection committee. "It's rare to see two of the top three teams favored to win the tournament are No. 4 seeds."
On Florida and the SEC:
Salmons isn't necessarily high on Florida, however, and described it more as a favorite by default.
"Someone had to come down and be the favorite," Salmons explained. "It's just so hard to tell how good Florida is because of how bad their conference is. The SEC is just awful, so Florida could be great or they could lose in the second round."
On the committee's overall performance:
Oddsmakers' criticism of the bracket wasn't limited to the top. Far from it, as Avello and Salmons also pointed out less publicized failings.
Although Avello qualified that it would have no effect in Las Vegas, he referred to leaving SMU out of the field as "ridiculous." Salmons tried to wrap his head around how Massachusetts wound up as a No. 6 seed with Saint Joseph's as a No. 10. The two schools split their regular-season meetings before Saint Joe's won the Atlantic 10 tournament championship with UMass bowing out in the quarterfinals.
"The committee is a bunch of frauds," Salmons said. "The way they do this thing makes no sense."
On undefeated Wichita State's draw:
"I'm not a big Wichita guy, but I feel bad for them," Salmons said. "The committee screwed them so bad."
There's a reason the lights stay on in Sin City. These people don't have jobs and don't make money because they're wrong.