Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Twelve Things We Learned From the NCAA Tournament Bracket

There are certain things we learn every year on Selection Sunday: who made the cut, who didn't. What teams got screwed by their seeding and which ones got an easy path to the Sweet 16. And then there's the deeper learning, the true lessons imparted by the deeper subtext of the bracket itself. To wit:
  1. When in doubt about your possible seeding, make sure your school plays football. They do not need to play football well, they just need to play people who play football well. This will ensure the selection committee things highly of your school's basketball prowess.
  2. If your school plays football but with other schools that do not play it well, you are out of luck.
  3. If your school plays in a conference with the word "Valley" in its name, then you are doubly out of luck.
  4. A key factor in determining how a school will perform in the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament is whether it had a legendary coach in the 1960s or 1980s.
  5. Unless, of course, your school doesn't play in a big football conference.
  6. If your school plays in a non-Power-5 conference and is clearly much superior to the rest of the league, this will be held against you as proof your school didn't play anybody good and thus your record should be discounted.
  7. If your school plays in a non-Power-5 conference and that conference was highly competitive, it will be held against you as proof that your conference wasn't very good and thus your achievements should be discounted.
  8. It is Bad Form for Duke to get upset in the second round by a school no one has ever heard of; therefore, therefore all steps should always be taken to ensure they don't end up running into a liberal arts college with an enrollment of 3400 and a couple of good perimeter shooters before the Round of 16.
  9. It is perfectly fine, however, to ensure that same liberal arts school runs into Georgetown immediately. 
  10. The intent of the Midwest Regional is clearly to ensure Kentucky does not in fact need to wake up until the Elite 8.
  11. The best reason given for why UCLA is actually in the tournament this year was "Look! Is that a sasquatch?" The other explanations got worse from there.
  12. The tournament committee very clearly sets up certain matches down the line, such as a possible Kansas-Wichita State game in round 2 (no, we don't consider the First Four a real round). With that in mind, one can only assume the entire selection committee was giggling like twelve year olds when they scheduled a game that ESPN abbreviated to BUT-TEX.
  13. With the bracket officially here, we won't have to hear from "professional bracketologist" Joe Lunardi for at least another year. Err, six months? Four months? A month? Next week? Whatever, for the love of God, we'll take it*.

*Yes, we know it's 13. Call it a commentary on the NCAA's commitment to academics, which involves pulling all these kids out of class for a solid month for the tournament. 
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