I can’t remember a NCAA tournament field ever looking quite like this.
Several lower seeds have stronger resumes than teams seeded above them, making upsets likely in the 2009 NCAA tournament.
It’s always difficult to feel good about your completed brackets, but it’s really difficult this year.
Ohio State beat Michigan State to advance to the title game in the Big Ten tournament – and promptly received a # 8 seed. The good news is the Buckeyes will get to stay in the Midwest region. The bad news is it gets to play Louisville in the second round, if it beats a tough Sienna team.
Utah won the Mountain West tournament – and received the # 5 seed in the Midwest. The Utes have wins over LSU (By 30) and Gonzaga, but the MWC is not the Big Ten.
Does Utah deserve a higher seed than UCLA, Arizona State, and Clemson? Hell no.
And then there is Gonzaga. The Zags defeated Tennessee (twice) and have a win over Oklahoma State on a neutral court. Although Gonzaga played a difficult non-conference schedule, it didn’t exactly dominate, with losses to UConn, Utah, and Memphis. Maybe the 90-40 win over South Carolina Upstate on March 3 impressed the committee.
Xavier, another mid-major team, also received a # 4 seed but it was well deserved. Wins over Memphis, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Auburn and Cincinnati are impressive. The A-10 is also much stronger than the WCC.
The biggest loser in the seeding process is probably LSU. The Tigers played a relatively weak non-conference schedule, but have a win over Xavier on the resume. A 26-7 overall record and a 13-3 record in the SEC earned the Tigers a first round game against a tough Butler squad. If the Tigers manage to beat the Bulldogs, it will be lucky enough to face North Carolina in the second round.
The SEC had a down year, without a doubt. But an # 8 seed is absolutely ridiculous.
At least LSU gets to play in the South Region.