With March Madness looming, it’s natural that we see a host of articles popping up comparing the selection process for college basketball’s postseason and the BCS/bowl games. Here’s one from the Virginia Tech website that I found interesting.
Seth Greenberg, the Hokie basketball coach, in response to a question about where he thinks his team will be seeded, gets to the heart of the matter in terms of what counts in the tourney:
As for Tech’s seed this year?
“I don’t know that the number is as important as the match-up,” Greenberg said. “I don’t think any team wants to play, say, Syracuse in Buffalo. Or play Gonzaga anywhere on the West Coast. You might have a great seed but have a bad match-up, which hurts your chances.”
The NCAA has tried to walk the balance beam of keeping higher-seeded teams near their campuses without compromising the fairness of the tournament. Kentucky can’t play on its home court (Rupp Arena is one of the first- and second-round sites), but the Wildcats and their army of fans know that Columbus, Ohio or Winston-Salem, N.C., two other opening-round sites, are both drivable. Naturally, avid Kentucky fans purchased tickets at both venues the minute they went on sale many months ago.
“It’s all about the match-ups,” Greenberg said.
Again, if I may take the opportunity to whack on that dead horse a little bit, the element of subjectivity in a playoff format like March Madness is unavoidable. Unless you are going to fix which conference winner slots and which wild card slots play each other going into the season, as the pros do, the human element is there.
That doesn’t necessarily make the selection process for March Madness inferior to what we get with the BCS, but it sure doesn’t mean it’s an automatic slam dunk for “settling it on the field”, either.
Of course, if you’re like this guy, you don’t care. You just want to see Cinderella at the Big Dance.
Nike, seen here, is working ’round the clock to outfit Cinderella for the Big Dance.