Colorado Buffaloes, one of many pathetic placements by the selection committee
The day after Selection Sunday is filled with second-guessing and heinous remarks, and this year is no different. After hearing the 68-team field announced last night in what has become a 2-hour spectacle (growing up I enjoyed getting the brackets within 30 minutes) my anger grew for the teams left out, and the teams that were lucky enough to hear their name called.
I could go on in a 10,000 word column about how much the selection committee has failed the schools, student-athletes and fans year after year but I will leave that for our My Fantasy Podcast which records tonight. Today’s piece will focus on the Colorado Buffaloes and their disrespectful 8th-seed in the ever-competitive South Region.
The Buffaloes led by coach Tad Boyle, finished 5th in the vastly underrated Pac-12 conference with a 10-8 record (22-11 overall). With wins over tournament teams like No.1 Oregon, No.4 Cal, No.6 Arizona, No.7 Oregon State and No. 15 Hampton the Buffs know what it takes to battle top-level opponents.
That is why I found their seeding somewhat shocking. As an avid Buffs follower, I know the type of team assembled in Boulder and with their dominating front court and senior leadership, they have what it takes to make a deep tournament run. But as any college basketball fan knows, making a run in March has as much to do with seeding as it does with talent on your team.
Putting Colorado on the 8-line when fellow conference member Oregon State was given a 7-seed is a complete injustice of the selection committee. Colorado finished above the Beavers in conference play, and beat the Beavers by 17 at home in January. Now, the Buffs did head to Corvallis in February and lose by four to an Oregon State team that was unsure if they would even be in the field of 68, but that does not mean they should receive a better seed than the Buffs.
Let’s look at Wisconsin who scored a 7-seed just like the Beavers. Wisconsin ended the season 6th in the Big Ten with a 12-6 record 20-12 overall. Without a late season surge, the Badgers are likely on the outside looking into the tourney. Early-season losses against Western Illinois (7-17 record RPI: 262) and Milwaukee (RPI: 173) should have hurt their resume more than what it obviously did. The selection committee has said over the years non-conference SOS and how a team performs in their non-conference slate will have an impact. Clearly not. Colorado did not have any “bad-losses” and took elite teams like Iowa State and SMU down to the final seconds before letting the game slip away.
Some people may say, what’s the difference between a 7 and 8 seed? A lot.
In the first round the Buffs play one of, if not the hottest team in the country….the UConn Huskies, who are fresh off of another miracle conference tournament run. If they are lucky enough to win the dreaded 8 vs 9 matchup it secures them a date with the No.1 overall seed Kansas Jayhawks. Two seasons ago, Colorado did beat then No.1 Kansas 75-72 at home in Boulder, and many of those same players are on this Buffs roster. That being said, it is a tall task for any eight or nine seed to pull off that type of upset.
Oregon State plays 10th-seeded VCU which has a history of being a Cinderella team in March, but their roster is nowhere near what is has been in years past. Wisconsin takes on 10th-seeded Pittsburgh which is coming into the tourney somewhat sputtering, losing 7 of their past 11 games. Both of those matchups are “easier” than what the Buffs will see against UConn.
The selection committee has an unenviable task of choosing which teams continue their season, and which do not. But something has to change, too often seeding has no rhyme or reason behind it, and the selection of some teams over others makes zero sense. I’m looking at you Monmouth, who clearly deserved to be in the field of 68.
With my frustration no longer in my head and on paper, I can move past what the selection committee has done. And as soon at the play-in games tip-off on Tuesday night my concerns will vanish because the madness will be here.
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