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What the selection committee understood right and wrong

The NCAA Men’s Tournament Selection Committee unveiled its support Sunday night, here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong:

What the committee understood: seeds n°1

The Sunday drama of selection was not front and center this year. The committee shrewdly acknowledged that Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor parted ways with the rest of college basketball’s top teams.

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Gonzaga (26-3) sewn up the No. 1 seed overall when he revenged an earlier loss to Saint Mary’s to win the WCC tournament. Arizona (31-3) left no doubt they were also worthy of the No. 1 seed before they even added the Pac-12 Tournament title to their regular-season crown. Kansas (28 -6) solidified their No. 1 seed by winning the Big 12 tournament, while Baylor crashed out early but profited from a bit of chaos in the SEC tournament.

If Auburn or Kentucky had won the SEC title game, they might have amassed enough quality wins to knock Baylor down the No. 2 line. The Tigers fell in the SEC Quarterfinals and the Wildcats came out a day later, allowing the Bears to mount an impressive 18-6 record against the top two quadrants to their second straight No. 1 seed.

What the committee got wrong: Duke over Tennessee as the No. 2 seed

The committee did nothing to deter conspiracy theorists who argue Mike Krzyzewski is receiving preferential treatment. Duke landed an undeserved No. 2 seed in Krzyzewski’s last NCAA Tournament before his retirement.

While Duke toppled Gonzaga and Kentucky in the nonconference this season, the rest of his resume was uninspiring. An utterly mediocre ACC provided few marquee winning opportunities and the loaded freshman Blue Devils didn’t capitalize enough to deserve anything more than a No. 3 seed.

In Krzyzewski’s final home game, Duke fell apart against rival North Carolina. It was a similar story in the ACC title game a week later as Virginia Tech pulled away. to earn an entry into the NCAA Tournament.

Duke (28-6, 16-4, NET: 11, KenPom: 9)

Q1 record: 6-2

Q2 record: 6-3

Losses in Q3 or Q4: 1 (Virginia)

Best wins: Gonzaga, Kentucky, at North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest (2)

Losses: to Ohio State, Miami, to Florida State, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech

The team that deserved Duke’s No. 2 seed was Tennessee, which amassed more Quadrant 1 wins than any other team outside of Kansas after winning the SEC Tournament. The Vols have five more wins in Quadrant 1 than Duke, four fewer losses outside of Quadrant 1, and slightly better rankings in most relevant metrics.

Tennessee (26-7, 14-4, NET: 8, KenPom: 7)

Q1 record: 11-7

Q2 record: 5-0

Losses in T3 or T4: 0

Best wins: Arizona, Kentucky (2), Auburn, LSU, Arkansas

Losses: at Kentucky, Villanova, Texas Tech, at Texas, at LSU, at Arkansas, at Alabama

The only silver lining for Tennessee was that their draw as the No. 3 seed might be better than Duke’s as the No. 2. The Vols open against 14th-seeded Longwood and could face either sixth-seeded Colorado State or 11th-seeded Michigan. the knockout stages. On the other hand, Duke could fight against battle-tested seventh-seeded Michigan State if they face off in the second round.

March 13, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (30) celebrates after defeating the Texas A&M Aggies at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What the committee got right: Rutgers to the top four

The First Four is the perfect destination for this year’s bubble team with the most bizarre CV. Rutgers (18-13) has had as many Quad 1 wins as No. 1 seed Arizona, but the Scarlet Knights also suffered a hideous early-season losing streak. weighing down their profile like an anchor.

Last November, Rutgers lost three straight to DePaul, Lafayette and UMass, all of them outside the NET top 100. Lafayette’s loss was particularly damaging as it came at home to a 20-game losing streak ranked 300 or less in most major metrics.

Add in a Quadrant 3 home loss to Maryland, and it’s easy to see why Rutgers is a dismal 77th in the NET rankings and 53rd or worse in every metric that appears on the roster sheets the selection committee receives. worthy of one of the last general offers thanks to victories over every other team in the Big Ten NCAA Tournament – Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana and Michigan.

Opponent of Rutgers’ top four will be a Notre Dame team that also had an unusual profile. just four wins all season in the top two quadrants, the fewest of any bubble team.

What the Committee Got Wrong: Snubbing Texas A&M

Left for dead after a midseason eight-game losing streak, Texas A&M has returned to the mainstream race by winning eight of its last 10 games. against Tennessee in Sunday’s title game.

Most of the fake slices had Texas A&M on the field despite Sunday’s loss. Most of the fake slices were fake. The Aggies were the third committee team left out, behind Dayton and SMU.

Selection committee chairman Tom Burnett specifically cited Texas A&M’s 4-10 record in Quad 1 games when asked why the Aggies hadn’t received an offer. Burnett reiterated that the committee “looks at a whole job” and “not just a week”. in March.”

But while the committee has always said it would consider all of a team’s work and not just how it ends, that alone shouldn’t necessarily have disqualified Texas A&M. Not only did the Texas A&M’s season resume compares favorably to that of First Four-bound Indiana and Notre Dame, the Aggies also picked up a regular-season win over the Irish.

Texas A&M (23-12, 9-9, NET: 42, KenPom: 42)

Q1 record: 4-10

Q2 record: 5-0

Losses Q3, Q4: 2 (South Carolina, Mizzou)

Marquee wins: Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas (2), Notre Dame

Indiana (20-12, 9-11, NET: 38, KenPom: 40)

Q1 record: 4-7

Q2 record: 4-4

Losses Q3, Q4: 1 (Rutgers)

Marquee wins: Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame

Notre Dame (22-10, 15-5, NET: 52, KenPom: 54)

Q1 record: 2-8

Q2 record: 2-1

Q3, Q4 losses: 1 (Boston College)

Marquee wins: Kentucky, North Carolina, at Miami

Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork weighed in Sunday night, insisting the Aggies’ exclusion “doesn’t make sense” and is “difficult to understand.”

What the committee got right: Houston as the No. 5 seed

One of the committee’s toughest selection decisions was where Houston belonged in the group. The Cougars were ranked in the top six in the nation in key predictive measures, but had a resume that was nowhere near as good. .

Houston’s win over Memphis in Sunday’s American Athletic Conference title game was just the Cougars’ second Quadrant 1 victory all season. They had previously gone 0-3 against Memphis and SMU during the regular season, and have not beaten any NCAA tournament-caliber team in non-conference play.

How did Houston rank third in the NET and fourth in KenPom despite a lack of marquee wins? The answer is the Cougars are 27-1 in non-quadrant 1 games and have obliterated some respectable opponents, from Oregon to Virginia via Butler, to Cincinnati.

The committee’s best option was to award Houston a seed that would not ignore their computer stats or reward them unfairly.

What the Committee Got Wrong: Devaluing Conference Tournament Results

We already knew that Sunday’s conference tournament title games end too late for the committee to consider the results. This year, it’s not even clear how much this committee appreciated the results of the Saturday night’s conference tournament.

Tennessee won the SEC Tournament, but inexplicably stayed on the No. 3 line. Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament but jumped no higher than the committee’s lowest-ranked No. 5 seed. . at the time to win the ACC Tournament, the Hokies settled for an 11 seed.

Virginia Tech’s placement on the NCAA’s 1-68 seed list was 46th, one spot ahead of a Notre Dame team that was the last overall team to make the field. That suggests the Hokies wouldn’t have made the field if they didn’t beat Duke in Saturday’s ACC title game or they didn’t receive a lot of upside for that big win.

Ultimately, what this committee is telling you is that the final 24 hours of Championship week are made for television and have little tangible impact.

Other remarks:

  • The lower half of the Midwest region is the weakest part of the bracket. The No. 2 Auburn needs a better guard game than he’s received in recent weeks to live up to his lofty ranking. The Wisconsin No. 3 is ranked outside the top 30 in many predictive metrics and may not have a perfectly healthy Johnny Davis. No. 6 LSU is without his coach and No. 7 USC has two wins all season over NCAA tournament teams.

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