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Archive for Monday, March 18, 2013

Opinion: Seeds say KU in toughest NCAA region

March 18, 2013

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The clocks have changed. Winter is about to step aside for spring. So it’s that time again — time for every supporter of every NCAA tournament team to grouse about their team having the toughest road to the Final Four.

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Now, thanks to the NCAA tournament Selection Committee’s efforts to become more transparent, there is a way to measure such claims, and by that measurement only 16 schools from one of the four regions can say the numbers back them up.

That region is the South, whose top seed is Kansas University.

The committee seeded the field from 1 through 68 and released those seedings. The best means of determining which region is toughest is to add up the overall seeds of the top four seeds in each region.

In the South, Kansas is seeded second overall, Georgetown seventh, Florida 10th and Michigan 13th, for a total of 32.

Next toughest is the Midwest with a total overall seed number of 33, followed by the West (35) and East (36).

Of course, the objective measurement presupposes the committee’s seedings are on point when in fact they are the subjective consensus of 10 members.

Even in the world of opinion it’s difficult to see KU’s hurdles as anything but the tallest among the four No. 1 seeds.

Michigan a No. 4 seed? Michigan? The Wolverines are tied for 10th in the latest Associated Press poll, which would make them a No. 3 seed if that’s how they were assigned.

Michigan point guard Trey Burke is the leading candidate for national player of the year honors, and Big Ten coaches also voted Tim Hardaway Jr. to the five-man first team in the nation’s best conference.

In order to reach a potential Sweet 16 matchup with Michigan, Kansas must first defeat Western Kentucky — not a problem — and then the winner of Villanova vs. North Carolina.

The Tar Heels head into the tournament on an 8-2 roll with the only losses coming to a pair of No. 2 seeds, Miami and Duke.

Complaints from KU backers about their team’s path to the Elite Eight have merit, but suspicions that the NCAA intentionally put Kansas coach Bill Self and his predecessor, Roy Williams, in each other’s path do not. A potential third meeting in six years between the coaches ranks as no better than the third-best story line Kansas could have drawn from the 8/9 seeding line, which was where Missouri, in the Midwest, and Wichita State, in the West, landed.

The Self-Williams storyline can’t compare with a Border War reunion one year after “the last game ever” between the bitter rivals.

And if the selection committee wanted to get into the business of matches made in TV heaven, it could have put Wichita State in Kansas City and interviewed the Kansas legislators who want to pass a law forcing the Jayhawks and Shockers to play each other. Better yet, they could have put Wichita State against Missouri, ensuring major drama. That’s not how it works.

And despite what you might have heard on your television, here’s how else it doesn’t work: When bracketing, the committee no longer follows what is known as an “S” curve, wherein the top seed on a line faces the worst seed on the next line and the worst seed on a line faces the best on the next line. It used to work that way.

Now, one-by-one, the committee places a team on the bracket, starting with No. 1 and working backward, and the school that is, so to speak, the batter up is sent to its most geographically friendly position.

When the mouse is put over a site, the mileage from that school pops onto the screen on the wall, but the decision isn’t purely based on miles. For example, Lawrence is 527 miles from Indianapolis and 526 miles from Arlington, Texas, a virtual tie. Indy is in Big Ten country, Arlington in Big 12 country, where Kansas has a much bigger footprint, so KU was placed in the Arlington region, known as “North Texas” so as not to offend the tall hats in Dallas.

Comments

RiverCityConservative 1 year, 5 months ago

Toughest team goes to the toughest bracket. North Carolina will be a heck of a test, and the KU-UNC meetings are always great at NCAA time. Then comes Michigan. We are certainly going to be toughened up by the time we get to Elite Eight. I think these are much better match-ups on a national stage than MIssouri or Wichita would be. Last team standing wins the championship--these early contests will force the Jayhawks to raise their game a bit more each new round of play. I disagree with the reporter's premise.

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flloyd 1 year, 5 months ago

We gotta get past Western Kentucky first. This team really scares me and may be the sleeper of the tourney. They are a much tougher team than TCU and for sure WKU is better now than Northern Iowa, Bucknell and Bradley were when they beat us in the tournament. I am sure Coach Self and staff are perusing the tapes of WKU very, very carefully.

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halfnhalfkw 1 year, 5 months ago

There is nothing scary about this team. Look at their schedule. They have accomplished nothing other than going on a lucky run at the end of their conference tournament. They are a fluke.

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RiverCityConservative 1 year, 5 months ago

good point. we've been sideswiped before and more than once.

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Robert Rauktis 1 year, 5 months ago

"Kansas must first defeat Western Kentucky — not a problem" Nothing is possible for those who write about it. They can be suitably incommunicado hoping no one remembers.

"When I coached, I always wanted to know how we could lose. what do we have to do to keep from losing. Then there's only one alternative and that's to win." -Bob Knight

You definitely lose if you think the other team isn't showing up.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 5 months ago

"Sorry."

Don't be--your prediction is as irrelevant as everyone else's.

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jack22 1 year, 5 months ago

I predict consumer1 will make many more dumb and ill informed posts this year. Sorry.

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msezdsit 1 year, 5 months ago

KU definitely has the toughest two and three game if higher seeds win at least to that point. Come on, UNC was a very young team and that team has grown up. A lot. The seed represents the entire season and if we play them, that game will represent the UNC that is a very good "vintage UNC" team right now. Michigan's seed represents their late season slide. Of course if KU and Michigan win into a matchup, the Michigan (ask Indiana which Michigan team they just got) team that was ranked #1 may very well be the team that KU gets. KU should't face this caliber of teams before the sweet 16 or the elite 8. Maybe not even until the Final Four.

However, if KU shows up and plays to their capability, they should handle these two teams anyway. If not, well, there's always next year.

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Kent Noble 1 year, 5 months ago

I must say my confidence in this years team has me alittle worried. EJ just has not proven that he can be a consistent point gaurd. To much up and down play and Naadir just dosen't have the experience in the NCAA Tournament. Teams with really good point gaurds always seem to make the big runs when it come to March Madness. I hope I'm wrong, would love to see KU at least make it to the Sweet 16. Good Luck this weekend Hawks!!

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