NCAA Bracket very fair and balanced

March 15, 2005, midnight | By Michael Bushnell | 19 years, 4 months ago

Late rounds likely filled with marquee games; snubs should blame only themselves

The Terrapins are in the tournament. The National Invitation Tournament. The NCAA Tourney will be Turtle-less for the first time since before the first Michael Jackson accusations came out. The Terps, and every other team that was snubbed this year shouldn't blame the committee; they only need to look at themselves when they wonder why they didn't get a ticket to the Big Dance.

Notre Dame was also left out by the Selection Committee, which spent the last five days in Indianapolis making the bracket. They played the hardest Big East schedule and went 9-7, but they finished 1-4 in their last five games and lost to Rutgers in the Big East Tournament, a squad that was 2-14 in the Big East this year. They choked their spot away.

Maryland lost their last four games to cough up a berth as well. They were probably one of the last teams out, but how they could drop three games to Clemson is baffling. Gary Williams championed the ACC to bring the conference tournament north of Greensboro for a year, and then the team blew it, losing to them again.

Virginia Tech and Indiana had terrible non-conference performances that undid great work in league play. VaTech sealed their fate by losing to Georgia Tech in the ACC Tourney on Friday; that said, for a team that was supposed to finish 11th in the conference, they were great. Seth Greenberg should be ACC Coach of the Year.

My biggest shock of a snub was actually Buffalo, who got left out at 22-7 with an RPI of 32. Their 2-point loss to Ohio was a tough way to go; I would bet they were the first team left out.

As for the 65 that got in, it was nice to see Gonzaga finally get their due with a three seed in the Albuquerque bracket. Their first two games against Winthrop and either UCLA or Texas Tech (I say UCLA) gives them a chance to go deep in to the tournament. Plus, they also are in the region with Washington, the weakest number one seed.

That said, U-Dub is better than anyone's seen. Point Guard Nate Roberson can jump higher on gravel than most people can on a trampoline. I like them to win that region and get all the way to the Final Four.

The Selection Committee knows which games CBS wants in their field, and once again, they didn't upset the network or the viewers. If seeds hold, the Sweet 16 could have Kansas facing Uconn, as well as Duke-Syracuse, Oklahoma-Kentucky, Arizona-Oklahoma State and Illinois-Boston College. What a group of games that would be!

Even further along, there's a good shot of a Duke-Kentucky Elite Eight rematch in Austin. In 1992, Duke's Christian Laettner hit an improbable game winning buzzer beater over UK for a 104-103 victory. He parlayed the fame from that one shot into a roster spot on the 1992 Dream Team and, even more importantly, the chance to join the storied list of spoiled, whiny malcontents that have become a staple of the Washington Wizards organization. It could be J.J. Redick's chance to experience that same glory.

The chant of "snub!" was not nearly as loud this year as in Selection Sunday's past simply because there were far less desirable teams this year. The fact that Buffalo was probably the biggest snub this season just shows how badly the other bubble teams were.

I'm very excited for another tournament, starting Thursday at Noon with the best 36 hours in sports: the first round. The 32 games will surely be full of upsets, most of which I can't see as of yet, and won't be able to.

The teams were seeded with the later rounds in mind, and this season has been top-heavy anyway. The top 25 had no teams fall out of it for nearly a month, and there are very few desirable low seeds that could upend a weak inflated seed.

If I had to look for a very low seed upset, that is, a 13 over a 4 at the least, I would look at Ohio-Florida and Vermont-Syracuse as games to watch. Will either of them be upsets? Most certainly not; Florida won the SEC and Syracuse is loaded, but of all the 13 seeds or worse, Ohio and Vermont are the best in the bracket.

I'm taking North Carolina to win it all this year, because I think they're the most complete team in the bracket. Sean May and Marvin Williams are two of the best big men in the nation, and they have the talent and the all-around ability to give Roy Williams his first National Title.

Then again, I'm probably completely wrong. The safe money is actually on Fairleigh Dickinson to hoist the National Championship trophy in St. Louis.

Let's go Knights!

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Michael Bushnell. Abandoned at sea as a child, Michael Bushnell was found in 1991 by National Guardsmen using a bag of Cheetos as a flotation device in the Pacific Ocean. From that moment, he was raised in a life of luxury; first as the inspiration for Quizno's … More »

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