Posted: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, 2013
About that seeding again?
As we've been over before, seeds aren't derived from the college basketball polls. But if the polls are an indication of just how good a team is at the current point in time, this week's rankings, if nothing else, should make the selection committee wonder if they underseeded Pitt.
This week, the Panthers came in at No. 20 in the AP poll and No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. That's a drop of three spots after Pitt's loss to Syracuse in the Big East Tournament - completely reasonable.
By that estimation in the polls, you'd surmise Pitt could be as high as a five seed or as low as a six seed. A seven seed would appear unfair, while an eight would be egregious. Many factors go into the seedings, so it's impossible to determine a team's seed by the polls. But again, if the point of the polls is to line up the best teams and the point of the selection committee is to seed teams according to how good they are, then you would think there would be a similar correlation for the most part.
And about that correlation, I couldn't help but laugh at the seed that much more when I noticed UCLA was slotted below Pitt by four spots in both polls. Somehow they wound up with a seed two spots higher. When the brackets were released, my initial point was that there was no logical reason for a team like UCLA to be that ranked that much higher by the committee and that still holds true.
ESPN's BPI/seeding predictions had Pitt as a No. 4 seed. Most other reasonable projections had Pitt as a No. 6 or at the worst, a No. 7. As I said earlier in a separate post, I think the Panthers' No. 8 seed was the largest disparity among all of the teams. There was some mention of Pitt being underseeded in ESPNU's Selection Sunday show on after the NIT bracket was released. Plus, when supergenius Jay Bilas mentioned the worst seeding screwups, he first mentioned Pitt.
The other thing I hasten to mention is that the counterargument will surely be, 'Well, let's see how they play in the NCAA Tournament. If they lose in the first round, the seeding was correct.' Nothing could be farther from the truth. In addition to the 'Anything can happen in a one-game scenario', playing at a lower seed means you've got a tougher first game, thus increasing the likelihood of a team losing. Put it this way, take a No. 1 seed like Gonzaga and put them as a 15-seed just for the heck of it. If they lost to a 2-seed like Georgetown, does that mean they were seeded correctly? Of course not.
Any way you look at it, the Panthers got the short end of the stick. No one has a bigger beef than Oregon who was jobbed beyond belief, but that doesn't change the fact that Pitt was underseeded as well.