Monday, May 28, 2007

Surprises on Selection Monday

The NCAA Tournament selection committee should be commended.

Staring down its own dubious history of rewarding power conferences -- and power programs -- the committee handed out only five bids to the Southeastern Conference and left Georgia Tech, a College World Series team a year ago, at home.

The ACC took home the most bids, putting seven teams in the 64-team field. The committee also rewarded northern conferences like the Big East and Big Ten with three bids apiece.

A year ago, the gnashing of teeth revolved around the unfair treatment of the northern teams and the perceived bias toward Sun Belt schools and conferences. At least for one year, the committee tried to make amends for that.

Quick hits: All 16 host teams are No. 1 seeds.

As predicted on this blog, though not necessarily in order, the eight national seeds are No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 2 Rice, No. 3. North Carolina, No. 4 Texas, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 6 Florida State, No. 7 Arkansas and No. 8 San Diego. If you're a fan of projections and old-school rivalries, you'll notice Texas and Arkansas would not meet until the national championship series. Same goes for Texas and Rice and Vandy-Arkansas.

Traditional programs -- like Georgia Tech -- took a hit. Tech is probably the toughest snub, owning a winning record in the ACC and an RPI of 29. Tennessee and Alabama, the two SEC Tournament teams still eligible to reach the tournament, had RPIs in the mid-50s and 60s. With a down year in the SEC, that's just not good enough to merit a bid.


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