Selection Sunday: Rapid Reaction

The excitement of Selection Sunday culminated with the announcement of the 2021 Mens Championship Bracket. The road has been long, but were getting March Madness for the first time in two years. Per usual, there will be plenty of question marks about teams, whether it is their seeding or inclusion. You can decide whether you agree or disagree with the selection committee, but the teams will prove themselves in just a few short days. . . Rapid Reaction on Selection Sunday. What the Committee Got Right. Number One Seeds. Gonzaga. Baylor. Illinois. Michigan. Those are your top seeds, in that order. These were the consensus top four seeds across many bracket projections. Illinois clearly vaulted ahead of Big Ten foe Michigan after winning the leagues tournament title. The only question that remains is just how close Alabama may have been to jumping the Wolverines. The Crimson Tide doubled down with the SEC regular-season and tournament title, which is weighted heavily when thinking about seeding teams. . . Including Wichita State and Drake. One of the biggest gripes the committee tends to get every season is the lack of respect they often show mid-major programs. Wichita State, while residing in the American Athletic Conference, is still closer to a mid-major than a high-major program right now. Meanwhile, Drake had a long week to wait and see if they would get in. The Shockers inclusion is certainly a little more questionable, but they did get a marquee win over Houston and win the AAC regular-season title. In Drakes case, they had metrics that seemed to merit inclusion, and the Bulldogs relied on them to get them into the field. These teams seem to be right where they belong. in the field but playing in the First Four. . . What the Committee Got Wrong. Syracuse. This is the biggest eyesore in the field. The Orange went a measly 1-7 in Quad 1 opportunities, with their best win coming against North Carolina late in the season. Syracuse clearly got in based on how highly the committee thought of both the Tar Heels and Clemson. The way they seeded the ACC overall is a bit head-scratching. Clemson has looked awful at times. Virginia hasnt been playing like a four seed over the past few weeks. Meanwhile, ACC Tournament Champion Georgia Tech feels underseeded at a nine. Once again, Syracuse makes the field, and the biggest victim seemed to be fellow ACC member Louisville. . . West Virginia versus Oklahoma State. This is a smaller point of contention, but it felt like Oklahoma State had arguably become the Big 12s best team over the past month. The Cowboys advanced all the way to the leagues tournament final, dropping one seed Baylor along the way. Meanwhile, West Virginia had faded a bit of late. Not enough to drop them out of a top 16 spot, but certainly enough that it feels like the Pokes should be seeded ahead of them. They ended up in the same region on opposite ends, so perhaps they can fight it out in the Elite Eight. . . Selection Sunday Bubble Evaluation. The last four teams in according to the committee were Michigan State, UCLA, Wichita State, and Drake. Weve already touched on the last two, but how about a First Four match-up involving two blue bloods? Michigan State snuck in on the strength of their recent wins over Illinois, Ohio State, and Michigan. Meanwhile, UCLA kept sliding back, and barely made the field based on their final spot. They only had a win over Colorado to boast about, and it ended up putting them in this position. One storied program will be going home before the first round. . . The first four teams out were Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis, and Mississippi. The best thing Louisville had done over the final month of the season was sweep a Duke team that missed the tournament for the first time in forever. They, along with Colorado State, were the teams that were pushed out due to the bid thievery of Georgetown and Oregon State. Saint Louis and Ole Miss each won a game in their respective conference tournaments before losing and being denied further profile-boosting opportunities. These programs can be bummed for now, but are on stand-by should a team currently in the field have COVID issues. . . The NCAA Tournament kicks off with the First Four on Thursday, and coverage of all the action from Thursday through Monday can be found on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV.

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