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Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/12/2006 01:46:00 PM

A Good Ol' Bracket Debate

Ohio State
Will Ohio State be celebrating a No. 1 seed tonight, or settling for a No. 2?

Resident bracketologist Stewart Mandel released his final bracket this morning, ranking the No. 1 seeds in this order: UConn, Duke, Villanova and Memphis.

Three questions/opinions for you to digest while you wait for the selection show:

1. Memphis or Ohio State for the fourth No. 1? Remember, the Big Ten tournament title game is not guaranteed to be considered by the selection committee, since it starts at 3:30 p.m. ET today. What it comes down to is, do you think that the Buckeyes winning the No. 1 RPI conference's regular-season title -- and going to its tourney title game -- is more impressive than Memphis finishing 13-1 in the C-USA and beating UW-Milwaukee, Alabama, UCLA, Cincinnati, Gonzaga and Tennessee (plus, narrowly losing to Duke) in its non-conference slate? Ohio State has just one, solid out-of-league win (over LSU), and given the committee's emphasis on strong scheduling, the Tigers have the edge.

2. Should Gonzaga (a No. 3 in Mandel's bracket) get a No. 2 seed over Illinois or North Carolina? The Zags haven't lost since December, but they haven't played a top-50 RPI team since then, either. The Illini, meanwhile, has gone 9-5 in games against top 50 teams, including non-conference wins over UNC and Georgetown. And the Tar Heels have played the 10th-strongest schedule and gone 7-4 against the top-50. The Zags should be content with a No. 3.

3. Does George Washington deserve the low seed that most bracketologists are projecting? Mandel has the 26-2 Colonials as a No. 6, which they no doubt would perceive as a disappointing assignment. GW has the fewest losses of anyone in the nation, but it also played a non-conference schedule that ranked 323rd in the nation, and faced just two NCAA tournament teams -- N.C. State, a projected No. 8 seed, which beat the Colonials by 21; and Xavier a projected No. 13 seed, which GW defeated on the road. I don't think GW warrants anything higher than a No. 5 seed ... and a No. 6 shouldn't be considered a shaft.

Your thoughts?

posted by Luke Winn | View comments |  


Posted: 2:22 PM   by Luke Winn
For comments from now on, let's try to use names rather than "Anonymous" ... it'll help you guys debate amongst yourselves.
Posted: 3:08 PM   by Strangelaw
I want George Washington to get the highest seed possible so that I will get more points in my office pool when I pick them to lose in the first round. They will be this year's 5 that loses to a 12. Or if Winn is correct, a 6 losing to an 11. Either way, look for GW fans to be selling their tickets for the weekend 2nd round game.
Posted: 3:20 PM   by Dennis
I'm an OSU fan, but I'd rahter see them get a #2 and here's why. The national media has underrated the Buckeyes all year. It seemed they couldn't believe what they were seeing so they chose to ignore it. But a funny thing happened...the Bucks just kept winning. I think the last of respect fueled their motivation. Giving them a #1, could take away some of that lack of respect motivation that has helped propel them to where they are today. So, go ahead and give 'em a #2 and they will prove you wrong again!
Posted: 3:42 PM   by Timmy Tucker
Agreed . I also think OSU is more likely to get picked for the FF in people's brackets if it's a two rather than a three. The last 1 seed always is the most popular candidate to get uspet first.
Posted: 4:01 PM   by john
[[funny... that both UConn and Duke are ranked as the top 1, 2 (or 3 as of today) in the nation, so you'd think their bid would be more solid than it really is, this year. And are Villanova and Memphis (or Gonzaga, by ranking?!) also number 1's, or more like 1 and a halfs?]]
---I wonder how the Top 25 Polls, by Ap and Coaches, can be so easily ignored as to Memphis over Gonzaga... and yes, Ohio St. surely deserves to be up there... maybe. Why rank them so high, if their schedule and conference aren't Valued so highly? Is Gonzaga a Top 4 or not? Is GW a top 6? You know, best to Carolina and Illinois for charging up the ranks, but why rank GW and Gonzaga if it don't mean nuthin'???
---However, after all that, I'd be a fool to argue with Stewart:
back Duke, and UConn, and Villanova (and Carolina, and Syracuse!).
Probably back Ohio St. over Memphis.
BC, UCLA, Fla? I'd really like to back them.
---Don't Back GW, or Gonzaga... Texas or Washington.
---and don't trust any of these brackets this year! There isn't a clear cut 1 or 2 or 4 team Final Powerhouse to be found. (hahahaha. unless it's Syracuse, NC,Villanova and Ohio St.!! or was that Memphis?)
Posted: 4:11 PM   by AJ
Gonzaga was without Josh Heytvelt for all three of its losses. Derek Raivio was knocked out of the Washington loss in the first half. Erroll Knight, one-man defensive unit, missed the Zags' losses to UConn and Washington.

If the committee really considers injuries and values nonconference scheduling, the Zags will probably get a pass and a 2.
Posted: 4:15 PM   by Mike
For the record, GW did play another Tournament team--Xavier, who they beat on the road, albeit in a close game. I'm not saying that they deserve more than a 5th or 6th seed, or that, if Pops isn't healthy, they'll necessarily get out of the first round. But I'm a stickler for details.
Posted: 4:18 PM   by Anonymous
Both Illinois and UNC lost in their respective conference tournaments (Illinois going out very early). I hate hearing about Gonzaga not playing anybody. They did an incredible job in their non-conference schedule. It isn't their fault that they scheduled Stanford so late in the season. Does anyone remember that Stanford was pre-season No. 13? Does anyone remember Gonzaga leading Memphis at half-time? I realize they ended up losing that game - but it was very close. Don't discount UNC's blow-out loss to USC either. Gonzaga deserves a two seed, and if anyone deserves it over them - it's UCLA, not Illinois or UNC. UCLA ripped through their conference tournament - and since you seem to focus so much attention on the end of the season - check out UCLA's margin-of-victory in the PAC-10 tournament. And don't forget they did everything this season without one of their starters (Josh Shipp). Not to mention all of their other injuries. They are coming into their own at the right time, look out.

one seeds - Duke, UConn, Memphis, Vill

two seeds - Zags, Ohio St (if they beat Iowa), Texas (if they beat Kansas), and UNC/Illinois - but I'd go with UNC b/c of their win over Duke.
Posted: 4:31 PM   by ACCfan21
Duke deserves the number one seed because they are better than where they were when they were previously given the number one seed. Uconn and Nova have both lost and Duke is playing at its best. Paulus and McRoberts have finally started contributing consistently, Redick is out of his shooting slump and Williams as he has been for the most of the year, is dominant. They deserve the overall #1 seed.
Posted: 4:32 PM   by ACCfan21
Duke deserves the number one seed because they are better than where they were when they were previously given the number one seed. Uconn and Nova have both lost and Duke is playing at its best. Paulus and McRoberts have finally started contributing consistently, Redick is out of his shooting slump and Williams as he has been for the most of the year, is dominant. They deserve the overall #1 seed.
Posted: 5:49 PM   by Mike
I don't think Ohio State should be a #1 seed. Sure they are probably one of the 10 best teams, but I also think they are a bit OVER-rated.

They have troubles winning if they can't hit 3s. They let a 9 point lead disappear today when they had Iowa on the ropes and then a bit later, a 7 point lead because they decided to fire up another horrible contested 3 pointer that barely hit the rim.

And yes I am an OSU fan. This is the type of team that looks GREAT on it's home court but has issues on the road. They don't have a go to scorer and they are working with a shorter than usual bench.

My prediction is that OSU will be out in the 2nd round, maybe the Sweet 16 at best.
Posted: 8:34 PM   by EWUhillstead
I think that 8 is way too low of a seed. Just because the A-10 was weak this year does not descredit their amazing record. I think they deserved at least a 5 or 6. God, I hope that Pops comes back and makes to to Duke. Prove the skeptics wrong Colonials!
Posted: 8:34 PM   by Anonymous
I was hoping someone could explain to me how Tennessee gets a two seed? UNC gets a three? Illinois has a better record than eirther of these teams, in a better conference, and beat UNC in Chapel Hill. Complete and utter hipocrisy.
Posted: 9:43 PM   by Case
Why is BC a 4 seed and UNc a 3 being considered for a 2 when BC beat them twice this season? The WCC is almost on par with C-USA. I don't think UAB would win the WCC. If Memphis is a 1 Gonzaga is a 2. If you are going to penalize teams for doing poorly in conference tournies, like FSU, UConn and Cincinnati. Then how can the Vols be a 2?
Posted: 4:35 AM   by Rice fan
What alot of people fail to realize about GW is they played 3 games early in the season without Pops Mensah. They are coming into the tourn. with the 3 time pennsylvania state scoring champ in Maureece Rice who also broke Wilt Chamberlain's 60 year old high school record. Not to mention that Rice is only a sophmore and was named 6th man of the year by the atlantic ten conference..with an honorable mention in the national regard. Now I am not saying that this team will win it all but they def. will make some noise in this tourn. MARK MY WORDS DUKE WILL BE UPSET!!!!!!!
Posted: 12:58 PM   by NATHAN Rice
Illinois a 4? and seemingly not protected at all having to go to San Diego then to Washington? Come on we play two lower seeded west coast teams, including one that should not even be in the tourney, on the West Coast.

I would just like the committee to explain why Tenn. is not only is a 2 but if they are going to hold a tourney showing against Illinois and ship them across the country, why didn't they do the same for Tenn.?
Posted: 2:51 PM   by Anonymous
There's no way that Tennesee is even a top 4 seed. Injustice to the Zags again. Go Georgetown See you in the sweet sixteen.
Posted: 6:01 PM   by Justin
I feel Gonzaga continues to get robbed with their seeding as in previous years. But my biggest Hate in the seeding is Illinois as a 4 seed and then sending them to the San Diego Pod. I thought the top 4 seeds where supposed to be protected with their travel? What happened with that
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