NCAA tournament 2011: Which teams will cause selection committee members headaches?
If anyone has any thoughts on how we could best cover the NCAA tournament this season, I'd love to hear them. My tentative plan right now is to cover the Mountain West Conference tournament because of the great story lines out there. I also plan to cover the added play-in games in Dayton and will likely head to Anaheim for the Sweet 16 and then on to the Final Four in Houston. We'll also have the ACC, Big East and Big Ten tournaments covered, as well. But I'm uncertain where to head - if anywhere - for the first two rounds. We'll have beat writers with Georgetown, George Mason and Virginia Tech, of course, and have the Washington, D.C. regional covered with multiple writers. It's always a tough call because I don't want to get stuck at a site with dog games and blowouts galore and, in turn, miss drama ensuring elsewhere.
But we are also contemplating another possibility this March: I may stay home the first two round to take it all in and blog throughout. I am also toying with the idea of perhaps conducting a 12-hour marathon online chat Thursday, the first day of the tournament. What's everyone think about that? Or if you have any other ideas/thoughts about coverage, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, here are the teams that will be most difficult to seed in a few weeks:
No team has more top 25 RPI wins than St. John's, which has six. The Red Storm is experienced and capable of beating any team in the country. It also has nine overall losses and a non-league defeat against Fordham. Should it earn a top-five seed?
No one in the country is hotter than the Patriots. But we're judging Mason based on this season's resume, not based on what they did in 2006. The CAA is the nation's eighth-best league, and Mason has throttled most teams during the win streak. It has wins over ODU and Harvard, two potential tournament teams. Should the Patriots earn a top-six seed?
This is a capable, well-coached team. But the fact is that it missed opportunities in the two big games it had in non-league play. It lost to BYU and Georgetown. It beat St. Mary's by 10 in a Bracket Buster game, but St. Mary's resume has been compromised. Utah State also has a questionable loss at Idaho on its resume. It is just 1-2 against top 100 teams. Does Utah State deserve a single-digit seed? Does it deserve an at-large berth if it loses in the WAC final?
You can't hide Cincy's blemish: a non-conference schedule that ranks 274th in strength. The committee historically has frowned upon teams that don't at least try to play strong competition in non-league play. But this team has also beaten St. John's and Louisville. Does it deserve a single-digit seed?
The Seminoles' season has been a roller coaster. They lost to lowly Auburn. They recovered to beat Duke. They have also beaten Boston College. But they have yet to prove what they are without Chris Singleton. If he does not return, committee members will have to evaluate FSU based on what they are without him. So they won't have a large body of work to evaluate. How good is FSU without Singleton?
| February 22, 2011; 11:15 AM ET
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