Taking a cue from their buddies in the football world, college basketball’s power brokers decided – for the first time ever – to release a mock NCAA Tournament bracket on Saturday. The bracket revealed the only the top 16 seeds, but it allowed fans to better understand how the whole process unfolds.
But the selection committee didn't get everything right. Here are 5 teams it totally whiffed on:
Gonzaga (No. 1 seed)
Gonzaga was the fourth No. 1 seed overall, according to the committee. This despite wins over a pair of the committee's No. 3 seeds (Arizona and Florida), as well as over Iowa State, which beat Kansas (one of the No. 1 seeds ranked higher than the Zags) in Lawrence.
In a fun twist of luck, however, being ranked the final No. 1 didn’t hurt the Zags. They ended up with the fourth No. 2 seed (Oregon Ducks) in their bracket.
The Wildcats are always one of college basketball’s most polarizing teams, and always a threat to make a deep tourney run. However, this Kentucky team doesn’t deserve to be on the three line. Not based on its current resume.
The Wildcats have have lost four of their five marquee games (UCLA, Louisville, Kansas and Florida) this season, including two (UCLA and Kansas) at home. Other than the victory over North Carolina, there really aren’t many signature wins on their resume.
Plus, Kentucky isn't playing its best basketball of late, having lost three of its past five agmes entering Saturday. This club feels much more worthy a four seed, if not a five.
UCLA (No. 4 seed)
Had this bracket come out a week ago, this seed line would have made sense. At the time, the Bruins had just one signature win (at Kentucky). However, UCLA beat Oregon on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion to bolster its resume, which is pretty sound at 22-3. Two of the Bruins' three losses (at Oregon, Arizona) are to teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25.
Does that sound like a three seed to you? Especially when you compare it to Kentucky’s resume and consider that the Bruins have a head-to-head win over the Wildcats?
Duke (No. 4 seed)
I mean, c’mon man! The Selection Committee clearly has an affinity for the ACC (five teams in the top 16), but the Blue Devils' best win didn’t come until two days ago -- and that was at home against North Carolina. And other than a neutral-court victory over a solid Florida squad, their resume is pretty thin. Duke also has some woeful losses, including to NC State at home and to a Virginia Tech team that is 5-6 in the ACC.
If their jerseys said anything other than “Duke” on the front, would the Blue Devils have ended up on this seed line?
Wisconsin (not seeded on the top four lines)
Yes, the Big Ten is down this season, but that’s out of the Badgers' control. To their credit, they have taken care of virtually everyone in conference, winning eight straight games since losing at Purdue in just the third game of league play.
Wisconsin has quietly been one of the most consistent teams all season. The Badgers' only losses other than Purdue came at Creighton when the Bluejays were at full strength (before Mo Watson’s injury) and against a really good North Carolina club. The Badgers’ resume feels more impressive than a couple of the teams slotted on the four line, including Duke.