One of the unfortunate characteristics of the NCAA basketball tournament for the past several years has been the misnomer of the geographical regions of the tournament.
The selection committee has made it clear that one of the perks for the elite teams (top 4 seeds) in the tournament is to keep them as close to their campus site as possible throughout the tournament, which is spread across the country.
The committee must counter that, however, by making sure the tournament field is as competitively balanced as possible. The problem, of course is that there have been some areas–mainly the West–which have not produced enough quality teams.
Connecticut , for example, has won all three of its national championships coming out of the West Regional.
This season, however, may be different. Parity throughout the country has created a balance which could transmit itself into the NCAA bracket.
Take a look at the potential Top 2 seeds in each region.
1. Michigan State 2. Duke
1. Miami 2. Florida
1. Indiana 2. Kansas
1. Gonzaga 2. Arizona
The Regional sites this year are: Washington (East), Dallas (South), Indianapolis (Midwest) and Los Angeles (West). The committee is precise about placing its top seeds in the geographical location closest to its home, sometimes making decisions based on a few miles.
If you use the current premise that Indiana, Michigan State, Gonzaga and Miami are No. 1 seeds (very changeable, of course, with still almost a month of the regular season remaining), you can see some obvious choices.
Indiana still looks like the No. 1 seed overall in the tournament, so placing it in the Midwest in Indaanpolis, with first and second round games in Dayton, Ohio seems obvious. Michigan State as the other No. 1 would move to the next closest region, which would be Washington D.C. (and Auburn Hills, Michigan) and the East Regional. Gonzaga looks like the best team in the West and would be slotted into the Los Angeles regional and first and second round games in Salt Lake City. Miami as the fourth No. 1 would be placed in the South regional which will be held in Dallas this season, with first and second games scheduled to be played in Lexington, Ky.
There is some wiggle room in this procedure, with the higher rated teams receiving geographical preference.
But if you look at the rankings right now, the form for a competitive tournament as well as a geographical fit seems to be taking shape.
The West is obvious with Gonzaga and Arizona. The Midwest with Indiana and Kansas fits. So does the South with Miami and Florida and the East with Michigan State and Duke creates a very interesting and intriguing Top 8.
All of this will fall apart quickly with a series of upsets in the next few weeks and during the opening round of the NCAA tournament. There are other bracket rules which also must be followed such as the first three teams from each conference with multiple bids must be placed in different regions.
Looks like a very good year for mid-majors with conferences such as the Mountain West and the Atlantic 10 on track to receive multiple bids. The balance in this, of course, is that some of the traditional big conferences are having off years. The SEC leads the way: Other than Florida there really is no lock for a bid right now in the league, which might get only two or three bids. Defending national champion Kentucky is one of the teams that could be left out. Big East might still lead the way and could receive as many as eight bids.© Copyright 2013 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: A Jersey Guy