Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Sunday, March 14, 2004
While the rest of the country fawns over the Super Bowl, for true sports connoiseurs, there's only one king of annual sports events: the NCAA basketball tournament. The Super Bowl is a bloated media event of over-exposed superstars that rarely delivers excitement; the Tourney is a rollercoaster of excitement that includes teams with names like the Mountain Hawks, Salukis, and Crusaders. And it never disappoints.
Well, the field is set. As always, there are winners and losers, teams that didn't make the tourney, teams that got bum seeds, and teams that get sweetheart brackets and homecourt venues.
Winners Gonzaga. The Zags could have gone as low as a four seed, but instead get a two seed and a first round venue in Seattle. They've been shafted for the past three years, so call this overdue justice.
Duke. They always get a great bracket, they usually play in NC, and they're usually seeded first or second. Check, check, and check.
Maryland. The Terrapins snag a four seed, despite failing to win 20 and losing 11. Before this weekend, they were on the bubble. Now they've leapfrogged over six-loss Wisconsin and Illinois and 21-win Syracuse. They had an RPI of 35, lower than Missouri, who didn't even make the dance.
Losers The Big Ten. Although the conference was uncharacteristically weak this year, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan State got seeds of just 5, 6, and 7. For my beloved alma mater (the Badgers), it's a mixed bag. Seeds aside, they're looking pretty good. They got a first round venue in Milwaukee, which offsets the low seeds. But how to reconcile the fact that Illinois, who was ranked lower in the AP, whom they beat by 20 in the Big Ten title game and beat 2 of 3 over the season, got a higher seed? You got to respect Bucky.
Pittsburgh. Arguably a 1 seed before the weekend, Pitt gets dropped to three and looks to face a seriously underrated 6 seeded Badger team in Milwaukee. For a squad who lost only four games all season and who should win 30 this year, that's a shaft.