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juise
03-21-2010, 08:11 PM
So, I thought it would be fun to take a look at who (of the top 4 seeds) is left in each bracket since there was so much gnashing of teeth about the weakness of the South. I'm not necessarily arguing against the weakness of the South. I just think we should let the numbers speak for themselves.

Midwest: (2) Ohio State
West: (1) Syracuse, (2) Ohio State
East: (1) Kentucky, (2) West Virginia
South: (1) Duke, (3) Baylor, (4) Purdue

The South region is the only region with more than two of the "Sweet 16 seeds" still remaining. However, it is also the only region in which the #2 has lost.

To be fair, the Midwest and the West both have strong #5's who have tournament experience... particularly MSU.

The East has two double-digit seeds remaining and the South has one. I don't think anyone would consider those teams to be weak. Cornell and Washington each won by about 20.

juise
03-21-2010, 08:29 PM
West: (1) Syracuse, (2) Ohio State

Blast. I meant "(2) Kansas State." Buckeyes on the brain.

Saratoga2
03-21-2010, 08:37 PM
So, I thought it would be fun to take a look at who (of the top 4 seeds) is left in each bracket since there was so much gnashing of teeth about the weakness of the South. I'm not necessarily arguing against the weakness of the South. I just think we should let the numbers speak for themselves.

Midwest: (2) Ohio State
West: (1) Syracuse, (2) Ohio State
East: (1) Kentucky, (2) West Virginia
South: (1) Duke, (3) Baylor, (4) Purdue

The South region is the only region with more than two of the "Sweet 16 seeds" still remaining. However, it is also the only region in which the #2 has lost.

To be fair, the Midwest and the West both have strong #5's who have tournament experience... particularly MSU.

The East has two double-digit seeds remaining and the South has one. I don't think anyone would consider those teams to be weak. Cornell and Washington each won by about 20.

First of all, I think you meant Syracuse and Kansas State in the West.

Secondly, there are a lot of hot teams left who were not highly seeded. These are:

Midwest:
Northern Iowa (9)

West:
Xavier (6) and Butler (5)

East:
Cornell (12), Washington (11)

South:
St Marys (10)

We could see one or two of these teams in the Elite 8 after Thursday and Friday

CDu
03-21-2010, 08:46 PM
MSU may be in serious trouble if Lucas is out. He had an awkward looking injury in the game today, and Izzo didn't sound optimistic at all.

Troublemaker
03-21-2010, 08:57 PM
Duke's "easiest path" to the Final Four ended up being grossly overstated, imo. I think Purdue is just as good a team as (and perhaps better than) MSU, Cornell, and Butler (and I have a healthy appreciation for those teams). I think Baylor is just as good as (and perhaps better than) OSU, WVU, and KSU. Further upsets could still change things, of course, but that's the whole point. I feel like the punditry jumped the gun on the "easiest path" declaration, which is fine because that's what pundits do, but I bet they don't revisit the issue in a week or two like they should.

Wander
03-21-2010, 09:20 PM
This is not unlike 2005, when everyone was complaining about UNC's region being the hardest; I'm pretty sure I even remember some saying it was the most loaded bracket EVER. Then the 2, 3, and 4 seed all failed to reach the Sweet 16.

brevity
03-22-2010, 01:53 AM
I don't know if anyone has ever mentioned this, anywhere, but one of the unstated reasons the South Region has been perceived as weak is the prevalence of private schools over public ones. The top 3 seeds (Duke, Villanova, Baylor) are private, while Purdue (like Rutgers) is a public land grant university that happens to not be named after its home state. Most people would probably assume that Purdue is also private.

The West Region has a similar problem, with Syracuse and Vanderbilt among the high seeds. Meanwhile, the Midwest has big public schools like Kansas, Ohio State, and Maryland, while the East looks even more daunting with all public schools at the top: Kentucky, West Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin.

The problem is that the complainers are looking at programs in general here, and not necessarily the seasons these teams are having. Consider it a corollary of the much-discussed "eye test": the South looks easy because it's a bunch of small schools, while the Midwest looks tough because all the big schools are crammed together.

Ultimately, whether a team's path to the Final Four is considered easy or not should depend on the teams it actually plays. The West Region, for example, tells me that Syracuse didn't need its center Onuaku this week, and may not need him next week either -- their healthy players should be able to handle Butler and the Kansas State/Xavier winner. They essentially caught a break not having to play Florida State.

(There's probably a side discussion to be made in the public vs. private debate regarding academic standards as it applies to recruiting, but it doesn't interest me because there are so many notable exceptions -- private schools with vast recruiting advantages, public schools with stringent academics. But I will concede that large public schools are ingrained into the sports culture of their state and surrounding region, and that has certain recruiting benefits that private schools are less likely to enjoy.)

uh_no
03-22-2010, 03:32 AM
i don't think that has anything to do with it

perhaps it could have to do with the quality of their basketball teams and nothing to do with the size of their school or whether it is public or private.....correlation does not imply causation my friend

CDu
03-22-2010, 07:52 AM
I don't know if anyone has ever mentioned this, anywhere, but one of the unstated reasons the South Region has been perceived as weak is the prevalence of private schools over public ones. The top 3 seeds (Duke, Villanova, Baylor) are private, while Purdue (like Rutgers) is a public land grant university that happens to not be named after its home state. Most people would probably assume that Purdue is also private.

The West Region has a similar problem, with Syracuse and Vanderbilt among the high seeds. Meanwhile, the Midwest has big public schools like Kansas, Ohio State, and Maryland, while the East looks even more daunting with all public schools at the top: Kentucky, West Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin.

The problem is that the complainers are looking at programs in general here, and not necessarily the seasons these teams are having. Consider it a corollary of the much-discussed "eye test": the South looks easy because it's a bunch of small schools, while the Midwest looks tough because all the big schools are crammed together.

Ultimately, whether a team's path to the Final Four is considered easy or not should depend on the teams it actually plays. The West Region, for example, tells me that Syracuse didn't need its center Onuaku this week, and may not need him next week either -- their healthy players should be able to handle Butler and the Kansas State/Xavier winner. They essentially caught a break not having to play Florida State.

(There's probably a side discussion to be made in the public vs. private debate regarding academic standards as it applies to recruiting, but it doesn't interest me because there are so many notable exceptions -- private schools with vast recruiting advantages, public schools with stringent academics. But I will concede that large public schools are ingrained into the sports culture of their state and surrounding region, and that has certain recruiting benefits that private schools are less likely to enjoy.)

I don't think public vs private has anything to do with why people thought our region was easier. Nobody thought Georgetown was a pushover, and they're private. Tons of people thought Syracuse deserved the third #1 seed over us, and they're private. Tons of folks were picking Baylor or Villanova to get to the Final Four, and they're private. And people weren't downgrading Purdue because they thought it was a private school - they were downgrading them because Purdue lost (by far) its best player and hadn't looked great since then.

The reason we were considered to have the easiest bracket is because we had what many considered the weakest #2 seed and what many considered the weakest #4 seed.

davekay1971
03-22-2010, 08:12 AM
i don't think that has anything to do with it

perhaps it could have to do with the quality of their basketball teams and nothing to do with the size of their school or whether it is public or private.....correlation does not imply causation my friend

More to do with the perception of the quality of their basketball teams. A lot of the bruhaha about the relative strength of regions had to do with several misperceptions.

1) The Big East was head and shoulders above everyone else.

1a) Georgetown, because they beat down Duke in a highly publicized game, was therefore a ridiculously tough 3 seed for Kansas

2) Purdue was dead without Hummel (rather than being appropriately downseeded from a 1/2 to a 4)

3) Teams without much history (ie: Baylor) must therefore suck

3a) A team with a nationally known coach, particularly one who has won a national championship, must therefore be tougher to beat (thus making Maryland and Michigan St. ridiculously tough 4/5 seeds for Kansas).

4) If a team looked good early in the year, particularly in a highly publicized game, they make a scary matchup (see Texas, Wisconsin, Louisville).

Listening to the "experts", you heard the same mantras over and over again. Kansas was the best team, and their bracket was so unfair with all the national champ coaches, the Big East Beast as a 3 seed, etc. Well, KU got KO'd long before they met those terrors down the line, and mighty Georgetown alerted everyone not previously paying attention that they are really, really inconsistent. Another mantra: Duke is ripe to fall, and Louisville will upset them. Louisville turned out to be no match for Cal, who turned out to be no match for Duke. Another mantra: the Big East is the best conference by far, and will dominate the Sweet 16 field. Both teams, huh?

This is a year in which the talking heads just seemed, even moreso than usual, to miss the boat. It's probably an issue of the wide spread of talent and quality in college ball. Who can take the time to pay attention to Baylor when the Big East is so awesome and Carolina's falling apart?

sagegrouse
03-22-2010, 08:41 AM
This is strictly a product of there being no news until... the games actually start. Fans are focused on the tournament from the Sunday selection show until the games begin on Thursday. What else is there to talk about except (a) who was left out and (b) the likely results in the brackets? I suppose there could be some benefits to viewers filling out brackets, if the analysis was actually helpful. It really wasn't.

Since Thursday, the talk has been totally about the games -- the results and the upcoming matchups.

The pre-tournament blather is just a yawn, with networks filling up empty space. Do you really expect them to spend real time covering the NIT, do you?

And the discussion was pointless. "Kansas had the toughest bracket." Boy, that bracket ruined the Jayhawks, leading to a loss to a #9 seed, didn't it? "Duke had the easiest road, and it was probably intentional to help the popular [popular?] Blue Devils stay in the tournament until the end." So why is the South the only region with three of the top four seeds?

We should ignore the bracket yammering for what it is: an attempt to fill empty airspace on a subject of interest to the sports audiences.

sagegrouse

91_92_01_10_15
03-22-2010, 09:28 AM
Duke's "easiest path" to the Final Four ended up being grossly overstated, imo. I think Purdue is just as good a team as (and perhaps better than) MSU, Cornell, and Butler (and I have a healthy appreciation for those teams). I think Baylor is just as good as (and perhaps better than) OSU, WVU, and KSU.

Not to mention that Baylor will be playing three hours from home...

UrinalCake
03-22-2010, 10:23 AM
I think another reason the South is perceived as weak is the lack of "star power." Other than Duke, if you asked the average fan to name a player on any of the other teams, the only names you'd get would probably be Robby Hummel (who's not playing) and maybe Scotty Reynolds.

Regarding the OP, if you look at things from the standpoint of "which #1 seed has the easiest path?" you could still argue that Duke does because every other region still has a #2 left, while Duke was placed with an over-seeded Villanova that struggled to even win one game.

ice-9
03-22-2010, 10:29 AM
For Duke's path compared to those of the other #1 seeds...
- First round: Even
- Second round: Harder
- Sweet 16: Harder
- Elite Eight: Easier

Classof06
03-22-2010, 10:31 AM
Regarding the OP, if you look at things from the standpoint of "which #1 seed has the easiest path?" you could still argue that Duke does because every other region still has a #2 left, while Duke was placed with an over-seeded Villanova that struggled to even win one game.

True, but I think anyone that watched the games this weekend can tell you that St. Mary's would give any of the other #2 seeds a serious run for their money. And regardless of what you think of Purdue without Hummel, the South still has its #1, #3 and #4 seeds alive. No other region can say that.

CDu
03-22-2010, 10:36 AM
For Duke's path compared to those of the other #1 seeds...
- First round: Even
- Second round: Harder
- Sweet 16: Harder
- Elite Eight: Easier

Not sure I'd agree with your Sweet-16 assessment. I'd take a #5 seeded MSU (who beat Purdue handily at Purdue) over Purdue without Hummel. Granted, the #1 seed in that bracket is no longer playing. But the path for that #1 seed still exists. I'd put it as "even". Purdue without Hummel is probably in the same category as Butler.

UrinalCake
03-22-2010, 10:51 AM
I also have a hard time believing that Cal is a better team than UNI.

ncexnyc
03-22-2010, 10:58 AM
I'm not sure why some people feel the need to justify Duke's seed. Exactly who are you trying to convince by posting a several paragraph analysis on the topic?

If people in the media want to take potshots at us let them do so. The bottom line is this, the eventual champ is going to be crowned because they managed to win 6 games and they will have beaten several quality teams along the way.

Dukeface88
03-22-2010, 12:39 PM
I also have a hard time believing that Cal is a better team than UNI.

I'd say that has more to with the preformance of their opponents than anything else. Kansas made UNI look good. We made Cal look bad. Who knows which one is actually better?

phaedrus
03-22-2010, 12:49 PM
Not sure I'd agree with your Sweet-16 assessment. I'd take a #5 seeded MSU (who beat Purdue handily at Purdue) over Purdue without Hummel.

But not MSU without Kalin Lucas, who is now done for the year.

CDu
03-22-2010, 01:06 PM
But not MSU without Kalin Lucas, who is now done for the year.

True. That injury definitely weakens MSU a LOT.