Monday, March 20, 2006

Seeding crashers

The men's tournament has its Sweet Sixteen. The biggest story, in my opinion, is the collapse of the RPI's best conference, the Big Ten. 6 teams entered. Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin lost in the first round. Ohio State, Illinois, and Indiana lost in the second round. This hurt my bracket, as I had Michigan State make the Elite Eight and Ohio State in my Final Four.

Now that we know the Sweet Sixteen, it's interesting to compare them to my past predictions of the top 16 teams. At some point I had Washington, Georgetown, and West Virginia make the list, but Wichita State, George Mason, and Bradley are surprises. You can see how the committee regarded these six seeding crashers:

Atlanta Regional
01. Duke
08. Texas
09. Iowa
16. LSU
24. West Virginia

Washington Regional
02. Connecticut
07. Tennessee
10. North Carolina
15. Illinois

18. Washington
26. Wichita State
42. George Mason

Minneapolis Regional
03. Villanova
06. Ohio State
11. Florida
14. Boston College
27. Georgetown

Oakland Regional
04. Memphis
05. UCLA
12. Gonzaga
13. Kansas
52. Bradley

In the sweepstakes for state supremacy, North Carolina had 5 teams entering the tournament, but only one survivor (Duke). The representatives from Kansas are not Jayhawks, but Wichita State Shockers. Illinois' last hope? The Bradley Braves, instead of the Fighting Illini or Salukis. The only state with two teams left is Washington, the home of U-Dub and Gonzaga. (Though the DC area has Georgetown, and might claim George Mason of Fairfax, VA.)

At this point I would suspect that the regional finals will have Duke over Texas, Gonzaga over Memphis, Connecticut over Wichita State, and Florida beating Boston College. Though I'll certainly be rooting for Washington and Villanova.

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