With 24-hours to digest it, and less than that until play-in games start, here are the Confidential’s quick thoughts on the bracket:
The NCAA did Wichita State a favor. Suppose that the Midwest bracket was changed to make Louisville the 2-seed, and UCLA the 4-seed, with Kentucky swapping with UMass as the 6th/8th seeds. With Louisville a 2-seed and Kentucky a 6-seed, everyone could step in off the ledge and stop looking for further signs of the apocalypse. Not suppose Wichita State runs that table to get to the Final Four: (a) Game 1, a victory over a 16th seed; (b) Game 2… win over the winner of Kansas State/UMass…yawn; (c) Game 3… win over the winner of UCLA/St. Louis/Cinderella…still not impressing anyone; and (d) Game 4… win over Louisville or Duke. With one win over an impressive, name opponent… Wichita State would still be somewhat of an question mark heading into the Final Four. NOW, if Wichita State gets to the Final Four, it will have beaten good names AND good teams. This is much better than if Louisville was a #2, Duke was a #3, and Creighton was a #4. The casual fan will want to see Wichita State up against the best before deeming the season historical. Mission accomplished.
As for Louisville, chillax. The committee was instructed to look at the whole season. If the committee was to look at just the last 6 weeks, it would be violating that directive. In the not-so-distant past, momentum heading into the tournament was relevant. Now, it is has been formally deemed a lesser variable. Maybe it should be changed back. Fair enough. But to do so in this bracket would have been to violate the current rules. Moreover, imagine if the bracket was this: 1. Michigan, 2. Wichita State, 3. Louisville, 4. Duke. Would moving up one seed have mattered? No! Same basic opponents. OK, just switch Louisville and Duke, without switching Wichita State and Michigan–still have to beat two of the three anyway. The order is insignificant. Just go win the darn games.
While the Midwest bracket is tough at the seeded level, are St. Louis, UMass, and Texas scaring anyone more than Kentucky? No. And is Kentucky really scaring anyone? It is a perfect matchup for Wichita State–let the country root for the #1 seed against the collection of one-and-dones. Great way to get fans rooting for a #1 seed for a change.
The East bracket is sneaky tough, with Virginia, Villanova, Iowa State, and Michigan State. Villanova is a 28-4 team, but seems like the worst of these four teams right now. Does that make sense? Actually, it does. The South is not horrible either. If Syracuse gets is mojo back, that is three teams that might have been #1’s a month ago. Throw in UCLA, VCU, Ohio State, and New Mexico… and that is a deep region. The West. Sigh.
What do you think?
P.S. Still time to get into the Confidential’s bracket contest @ https://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/quickenloansbracket/group/9921/invitation?key=8777f32b05a883ef