The NCAA bracket is out and you’ve probably already gone through about fourteen different versions of your Final Four already. But here are the basics: Virginia is the number one overall seed. Villanova, Kansas, and Xavier are the other number ones. And there are story lines everywhere: Lipscomb making its first trip. The March Legend, Ron Hunter and Georgia State, making his return. And both Hurley’s, Bobby and Dan, taking their teams to the big dance. And nobody did their celebration quite like Bobby Hurley and Arizona State. The Sun Devils were watching at Hurley’s home and when their name was announced, they went total pool party.
The best part of the celebration isn’t the fact that they jumped around and then jumped into a pool, it’s Hurley was exploding out his chair before Greg Gumbel could even say Arizona State’s name. Dude still has the cat-like reflexes that made him a college hoops legend.
While the Sun Devils may have broken with tradition by taking their party to the pool, a few traditions still remain. Like someone not getting in who deserved to; and someone getting in who didn’t. Like someone getting hammed hard. Take Syracuse and Notre Dame. The ‘Cuse got in. Notre Dame got hammered. Even though the Irish beat the Orange in their house when ND was without their two best players.
And of course, the biggest storyline of the college season popped up on Selection Sunday as well. USC, Louisville, and Oklahoma State are all part of the FBI investigation. USC, Louisville, and Oklahoma State all missed the tournament. The committee says those three not getting in had nothing to do with the investigation. Maybe not. But maybe it did. Probably. Hard to imagine it had nothing to do with it. Just because it wasn’t discussed doesn’t mean it didn’t have an impact on their thought process. Of course it wasn’t discussed in the room. But it didn’t need to be. And if it really did have nothing at all to do with those three being left out, it still seems a little odd.
Just like it’s a little odd that Arizona and Auburn, two other programs who are part of the FBI investigation just happen to be lower seeds than you’d expect. Again, the committee would tell you that they never talked about it and I believe them. Just because I don’t know how that conversation would go or that you’d even need to have it in the first place. Some things don’t need to be talked about.
And as long as you’ve got your conspiracy hat on, John Calipari would like a word. Because it wouldn’t be Selection Sunday if Cal didn’t feel like he got screwed by the Selection Committee. And you know what, he’s right just about every time.
Kentucky just won the SEC tournament on a run where they beat Alabama and Tennessee and their reward?! : A five-seed in the South Region, a matchup with Davidson in the first round, with Arizona and Virginia likely after that. So Cal’s got questions: “How did (Arizona) drop to a 4? Didn’t they win their tournament? Did Davidson win their tournament? Did Virginia win their tournament? Oh wow. Did we win our tournament? Wow.”
Oh, and it gets worse. Cal was laying it on thick and I love it: “Is ours like the toughest again? Like, by far? Is anyone in here surprised? We’re not playing on Thursday, right? Because we just got done playing today. We’re playing on Thursday? Oh, but we’re close?” (Reporter then says they’re in Boise.) “Anchorage or Boise? It is what it is. They’re not going to make it easy for us, and they can all say, ‘This is all by the numbers and all that.’ OK.”
And when Cal says it’s ok, best know he’s not ok with it. Used to it, but not ok with it. Not when he feels like it happens to him and the BBN every single year. Again, I’m not saying the committee is out to get Cal, but the guy does make a pretty compelling case.
And the way he has his team playing right now, they COULD make some noise. Or could’ve, if they hadn’t been shoved into such a brutal region. And as Cal would be the first to tell you, as he does every year, when you mis-seed someone, it’s not just the mis-seeded team that you hurt, it’s the team that has to play the mis-seeded team that gets screwed as well.
The First Four kicks off tomorrow night. The tournament itself starts Thursday. Get your brackets ready. And in the meantime, if you want to talk about who got jammed and who got over, you know where to find me.