Although CBS’s Selection Show was endless — it may still be going on — the selection committee needed less than five minutes to reveal both its bias and its incompetence.
It isn’t that Oregon isn’t a good team. Even in a watered down Pacific-12, the Ducks played well enough to earn a No. 2 seed, albeit a shaky one.
But apparently Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir wants to be sure his conference brethren buy him very nice Christmas presents — and they should. Muir somehow convinced his pals to make the Ducks a top seed and to make Oregon State a No. 7 seed in the same region.
Who benefits from this silliness? Well, perhaps Saint Joseph’s, way under-seeded at No. 8, which — if it can get by Cincinnati — might very well knock off the Ducks and reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004.
Then there’s Duke, which not only got a No. 4 seed but, if it doesn’t have one of its every-other-year first-round stumbles against UNC-Wilmington, ought to beat Baylor to reach the Sweet Sixteen, where it is perfectly capable of beating Oregon or Saint Joseph’s. This isn’t one of Mike Krzyzewski’s 15 best teams — but it could reach the region final.
The real beneficiary should be No. 2 seed Oklahoma, which should be able to find its way to Houston. Not only is Buddy Hield the national co-player-of-the-year (with Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine) but Lon Kruger is a tournament-tested coach, who has been to the Final Four (Florida, 1994) and has taken five schools to the tournament.
The Sooners will get challenged in the second round by VCU, another under-seeded Atlantic-10 team at No. 10, but should survive to play Texas A&M — or, yup, Northern Iowa. Shaka Smart has done a wonderful job at Texas in his first year, but the Panthers will be a tough first round out.
The Aggies are talented and experienced, but may have put a little too much emotion into trying to beat Kentucky for the SEC title Sunday.
Oklahoma will beat whomever comes out of that group to move to the region final, where Duke could be waiting. That game could be a 99-96 affair because both teams love to shoot threes and neither can guard especially well.
If there is a dangerous floater in the bracket, it is Baylor. Scott Drew’s team is a Jekyll-Hyde, either very, very good or very, very bad. The Bears could lose to Yale, in the tournament for the first time since John F. Kennedy was President (1962), or could win that game and then beat Duke too.
The committee not only left Atlantic-10 regular season tri-champion St. Bonaventure completely out of the field; it put St. Joseph’s and VCU in the same bracket. Shameful.
More 2016 NCAA tournament coverage:
Graphics: NCAA tournament campaign buttons
Fancy Stats: The most likely upsets for the first round
Fancy Stats: The top threats to beat the Kansas Jayhawks