Take out your brackets and work with me on this one. I, absolutely, love March Madness, especially the first two weeks when, Thursday thru Sunday, you have wall-to-wall college basketball from, depending on what region you’re in, early morning to the wee hours of the late night………… morning.
The regions, and seeding in those regions, are the issue. Having the West, Midwest, South and East Regions makes no sense anymore considering teams from every one of those regions sometimes don’t even play in their respective regions anymore. They add up the frequent-flyer mileage crossing the country, to and from all different regions, if they should happen to be fortunate enough to get to the Final Four, which happens to be in the North (Indianapolis), a region that’s not even represented in the March Madness scheme of things, at least on a “bracketology” map.
However, teams from the North are represented in March Madness. See what I mean!!
For instance, the top-seeded team in the West Region this year is Syracuse. That’s in the Northwest corner of New York state……on the east coast. The Orange plays its first West Region game Friday…………in Buffalo………in the northern part of New York State. Meanwhile, Gonzaga out of Spokane, Washington is seeded eighth in the West. The Bulldogs’ first West Region game is also Friday……………in Buffalo, New York! I KNOW! If you’re not a college hoops fan, your only thought is…………WHAT THE……!!!
Here’s another one for you non-college hoops geeks. Buffalo’s also hosting first and second round games in the East Region. The East Regional Semi’s and Finals are in Syracuse, New York. So, how is it that the Syracuse Orange aren’t the top-seed in the East. Kentucky is. By the way, Spokane Washington is hosting Midwest and South Regional first and second round games. But the “Zags” are nowhere to be found. Well, you can find ‘em. They’ll be in Buffalo. You get the picture.
“Who’s on First. What’s on Second. I Don’t Know’s on third. Tomorrow’s your Pitcher and he’s throwing to Today (catcher).”
Used to be the top teams from each region WERE from each region and you had to win YOUR region to get to where ever the Final Four happened to be. That was “back in the day” when the tournament was only 16 and 32 teams. UCLA won 10 National Championships under college hoops coaching god, John Wooden. The Bruins came out of the West region every time.
Of course, NOW, it’s all about TV and money…………yada, yada. Get the best teams in, regardless of region. That’s fine with me. So, NOW, you can be from the University of California……………the regular-season Pacific 10 Champion, on the West Coast……………and you’re seeded eighth in the South Region and have to play your first round game in Jacksonville, Florida. At least they have Jacksonville’s region right.
Wait! Now, the NCAA College Basketball Suits are discussing the possibility of expanding March Madness from the current 65 teams to 96! DON’T DO IT!!! March Madness is already expanded. The extra teams/games are called CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS!! ESPN calls it CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK!
If you’re going to expand March Madness Games for another week, there’s no excuse to NOT HAVE A PLAYOFF in the College Football Bowl Sub-Division (1A). I’ll stay away from that one for now.
There are 16 seeds in each of the four regions. Top four seeds in each are the favorites to advance to the national “Sweet 16.”
But, when you look at the top four seeds in the West Region, not one school is from out West. The top four West seeds are:
1. Syracuse (New York) – Big East regular-season champion
2. Kansas State (Kansas) – Big 12 regular-season runner-up
3. Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) – Big East regular-season runner-up
4. Vanderbilt (Tennessee) – Lost in SEC Tourney quarter-final
Both the Pac-10 regular-season and conference tournament champions aren’t in the West Region. We discussed West Coast Conference regular season champion Gonzaga playing in the West Region where they belong. But not in Buffalo! WCC tourney champion St. Mary’s isn’t in the West region.
There are a total of 14 teams out of the West region of the country in March Madness this year. Yet not one is seeded in the top four of the West Region. The primary men’s college basketball conferences in the West:
1. The Pacific-10 – Washington, California
2. The Mountain West – BYU, UNLV, San Diego St., New Mexico
3. Conference USA – UTEP, Houston
4. Western Athletic – Utah St., New Mexico St.
5. West Coast – St. Mary’s, Gonzaga
6. Big West – UC Santa Barbara
7. Big Sky – Montana
Based on seedings in other regions, New Mexico is the highest at three in the East. They should be the top four seed in the West. Also based on the top 25 where New Mexico and St. Mary’ reside, all should be in the West region. Even though the Pac-10 had an “off year”, seems to me Washington and/or Cal should be in the West region.
All I’m suggesting is all regions should have a team/teams from that region in the top-four seeds.
With all that said and suggested, it should be another great March Madness………………that ends the first weekend in April. Huh?
Oh. Here’s my FINAL FOUR:
West Region – Kansas State
Midwest Region – Kansas
East Region – Kentucky
South Region – Duke
Final Game: Kansas and Kentucky
National Champion: KANSAS
Of course I’ve probably put an unintended curse on all four teams and I’ll be completely shut-out in the Final Four. But, that’s why it’s called March Madness……………………that ends the first weekend in April.
Well. Anyway……………ENJOY THE GAMES.