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NCAA Selection Committee Handed Duke the Championship

I mean that in the most literal sense possible. UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero doubles as the NCAA Selection Committee Chairman and he was the one who handed Duke and their coach Mike Krzyzewski the championship trophy for winning the NCAA tournament. See:

As commenter J.S. has pointed out, the NCAA tournament doesn’t necessarily yield the best team in the country but rather the tournament champion. I still believe Kansas and Kentucky were the two top teams in the country and that they would have met in a championship had there been a double-elimination format or seven game series. Both those teams made early exits from the tourney and now we recognize Duke as the national champion for the fourth time. Moreover, coach Mike Krzyzewski is now in a class with Adolph Rupp and John Wooden as the only coaches with more than three titles (Wooden has 10, Rupp four).

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Why Your March Madness Bracket Sucks

Ah March Madness, the time of year when we scramble to finish our brackets confident that we have chosen the biggest upset in the history of college basketball. We stand assured that our number 16 seed will take it all the way. We ignore the “you are insane” looks we receive from friends and co-workers when we submit our bracket and prepare our windpipes to laugh at them because we were once doubted. Then, inevitably, we get knocked out in the first round.

I’ve been doing my research because I too want to be the psychic of NCAA tournament predictions picking Murray State and Old Dominion, so I figured there must be some tips to follow. Surely, someone must know the answer as to how to my bracket better and my wallet bigger. There’s lots of tips out there and I’ve complied what I think the best ones. Basically, if you didn’t follow these, your bracket might suck.

1. Use your head, not your heart

Just because you like a school, or you have a connection to it (a family member goes there, you’re an alumni) does not mean that they will win anything. Do your homework and make sure that emotions are not outweighing logic.

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LBS Expert 2010 NCAA Tournament Picks

For the 2011 Tournament Picks, go Here

Yes, we obviously use the term “expert” quite lightly. The only thing we’re experts in knowing is that the tournament is unpredictable and that Cornell is not going to the Elite Eight. Anyway, you want expert March Madness picks for 2010? Here are the LBS 2010 NCAA Tournament Picks, broken down by bracket (you’ll have to click on each region two times to enlarge, once after you get to the next screen):

I have Kansas over Kentucky in the championship game. If you’re also wondering why I took chalk to the Final Four it’s because the Midwest Region got stacked with the toughest teams leaving the South and West void of difficult challengers to Duke and Syracuse. To me, it’s Kansas and Kentucky in a class by themselves with everyone else at least a step below. Even though I’ve been touting Kentucky the entire season, I feel that they have a few minor weaknesses whereas I can’t find any with Kansas. Kentucky’s weaknesses are limited to sometimes free throw shooting (see DeMarcus Cousins vs. Tennessee both games) and outside shooting (12-73 on threes during a four-game SEC stretch). I think Kentucky has the talent and weapons to overcome these deficiencies against anyone except Kansas. I’d also give the coaching nod to Bill Self over Calipari for in-game adjustments. I welcome all comments regarding the picks.

Mid-Major vs. Mid-Major Complaint Is B.S.

Ever since the NCAA tournament brackets for 2010 were released on Sunday, I kept reading a complaint that too many mid-majors were playing each other. The argument is that the beauty of the tourney is watching the little guys knock off the big guys, seeing David slay Goliath. Moreover, the feeling is that the tourney wants bigger-name schools to advance, presumably to draw better ratings. I think all you have to do is examine the tournament field and you can tell that this complaint is utter nonsense and nothing other than complaining for the sake of complaining, likely because you were going to complain about this “issue” regardless of what brackets the committee spit out.

Out of the field of 65, 33 teams are “mid-majors,” which I classify as non-BCS schools. Inevitably, these schools will have to face each other. Moreover, if you’re rewarding the smaller-schools for having good seasons, then you have to give them a high seed, and they will accordingly be matched up with another small school. That’s what happened with New Mexico, Temple, Butler, and Xavier. Drop those teams down in seeding and then you’re really being unfair, but at least you get a mid-major against a BCS school, right? Pointing out the few mid-major vs. mid-major matchups also ignores the several other cases where mid-majors play BCS schools in the first round. So Gonzaga playing Florida State, Xavier getting Minnesota, Notre Dame drawing Old Dominion, BYU getting Florida, Houston drawing Maryland, and San Diego State having a chance to upset Tennessee means nothing? There are several more cases where mid-majors have a chance to upset a BCS school than vice versa.

Out of the 32 first-round games, 22 are BCS vs. mid-majors, five BCS vs. BCS games, and five mids vs. mids. The only matchups I can really see a legit complaint for are the 7-10 game of Richmond/St. Mary’s and the 8-9 game of UNLV/Northern Iowa. I don’t see two games out of 32 being a trend, nor problem, nor something worthy of a complaint. If anything, I think it’s good to have a few mids-vs.-mids games to ensure at least one mid moves on. Moreover, I like seeing the 8-9, 7-10 BCS vs. BCS games because it allows us the chance to compare the strength of conferences. Who doesn’t look at Cal vs. Louisville as the Pac-10 against the Big East and the Oklahoma State against Georgia Tech as the Big 12 vs. the ACC? That’s part of the beauty of the tournament, too.

Sources:
Dear Non-BCS Schools: $!#@ You. Love, NCAA [Basketball Prospectus]