NCAA Tournament March Madness 2013: Committee Seeding for Ratings?


March 23, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks mascot and cheerleaders celebrate after the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament against the Saint Louis Billikens at HP Pavilion. Oregon defeated Saint Louis 74-57. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been  a lot of talk about bungled seeding in the field of 68 during this NCAA Tournament. I’m personally not so sure it’s all that “bungled” to be honest.

Let me preface this by saying, the field has got to be a beast of a thing to schedule. Take like the top 75 or so teams and you have  to seed 68 of them out in 4 regions, making them as fair and as close to accurate as possible 1-16 in each region. There are a few great teams, a few really good teams, a lot of good teams and the occasional “shouldn’t be here” conference tourney champion. There’s a lot of jockeying and a lot of difficult decisions to make, like how important is the beginning of the season in comparison to the end, so seeding is kind of a toss up in many instances. But then there are teams that flat get screwed and there’s hardly an explanation other than that the committee wanted to put a strong team into the slot to make the field look really good or create an upset situation. It’s an argument right?

Over the past two or three seasons there has been more “parody” in college basketball than ever before. Or is it just that the committee is pairing with upsets in mind?

The top three and bottom three seeds are pretty straight forward every year, based on conference affiliation. Here are some obvious candidates for “dunce cap seeding of the year” in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and we’re just scratching our heads with the Sweet 16. Of course LaSalle and Florida Gulf Coast are the exception, but even they are thought to have been too low but many based on the resume and some of the teams above them.

Based on their excellent performance thus far in the tourney, Oregon is the first and most obvious choice as a seed that was given with no thought or preparation, or perhaps it was on purpose, we’ll ask that question again in a minute. 26-8 season record, tied for second in the Pac-12 regular season and a convincing tourney title over UCLA. yet they were placed as a 12 seed? Does the Pac-12 really have that bad of a rep? A seed that low from a power conference would suggest that the team barely made it into the field… really? For comparison’s sake, UCLA was ranked 6 spots higher as a 6 seed and had 2 more really bad losses than UO by my count, and Oregon beat them twice.

Another team I look at for being too low is Ole Miss. Are you kidding me with another Tournament Champion (SEC) with single digit losses (26-9) being seeded #12? By the way, Ole Miss beat #3 seeded Florida to earn their auto-bid. Good thing for them too, apparently.

So basically you’re telling me that those teams wouldn’t have made the tournament if not for winning their tourney championships? That’s utterly ridiculous. A team like UNLV with a super weak non-conference schedule and a generally weak conference gets a #5 seed. UNLV’s resume was somewhat similar to Oregon’s, except the Ducks beat them and the Rebels lost in the Semi’s of their Tournament to UNM. There’s no way the Rebels were seven spots better and Cal proved the point last Friday.

And again, that’s just scratching the surface. Plenty of people can see that those teams were screwed up, and if that’s interesting, BustingBrackets has this must-read article about more screwed-up seeding in the 2013 field, a whole lot more. After reading it, I am asking the question that begun this entire article; Is this on purpose? We all know that ratings throughout the Tournament are an important part of it and the tv ratings are as high as they’ve been in 15 years!

We may never get the answer, but the jury is out on the NCAA Tournament committee after this season. I contend that it’s about what matchups will make for the best tv from round to round, while still being somewhat close to accurate. Then again, I could be totally wrong on that and the committee could just be an incompetent group that doesn’t watch or pay any attention to major college basketball all season long. Either way, something’s wrong.