Louisville, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Connecticut have all received #1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
NCAA Men’s brackets have been announced today and Rick Pitino and his Cardinals are the number one overall seed in this year’s tournament.
Though I’m not a Big East fan, I must admit that this is their year. Three of the four overall number one seeds are out of the Big East.
Louisville made it clear that they deserved to be the number one this year after going 28-5, 16-2 in conference play, and destroying all challengers in the Big East Tournament: 73-55 against Providence, 69-55 against Villanova and 76-66 against Syracuse in the championship game. Louisville will the the number one seed in the Midwest Region, playing their games in Indianapolis.
Pittsburgh had a strong case for the number one as well. They were the regular season number one for three months during the 2008-2009 season. until they lost to Louisville 63-69. But after a 28-4 season (15-3) they were recognized as the second best team; not only in the Big East, but in the tournament as well. Pittsburgh has been awarded the number one seed in the East Region, playing their games in Boston.
North Carolina, the only number one team not from the Big East was the number one team during the regular season as well. In the highly competitive ACC, The Tarheels were dominant. In route to winning the ACC, Carolina posted the best record going 28-4 (13-3). The second place team in the conference, (Wake Forest #4 seed) went 24-8 and 11-5 in conference play. With the way Carolina handled the ACC this year; beating the #2 seed Duke twice during the regular season, they are more than deserving of a number one seed.
Carolina will be the number one seed in the South Region hoping to make it to the regional championships in Memphis.
Last but not least, another former regular season number one: UConn.
Connecticut fought hard this year in the Big East going 27-4 (15-3). The first, second and third place team in the Big East are all number one seeds this year, a testament to the dominance of the conference this year.
The Huskies played games against both Louisville and Pittsburgh this year, beating the Cardinals 68-51, and splitting their series with Pitt, losing 76-68 in February. But the Huskies rebounded in March, beating the Panthers 70-60.
UConn rounds out the tournament with the number one seed in the West Region.
Though their seemed to be more parity last year, it doesn’t seem as if this year’s tournament will be much different than last year’s.
The number one seeds look to be the most dominant teams, and will probably advance to the final four.
The tournament is losing its parity, in the last few years Non-Power Conference teams are losing “At-Large” bids.
Five years ago in 2004, there were twelve.
Last year there were six, this year, four.
Remember the excitement of the 2004 tournament?
St. Joseph’s led by guard tandem Jameer Nelson and Delonte West making it to the Elite Eight?
Manhattan knocking off SEC power Florida in the first round 75-60?
Nevada beating Michigan State and Gonzaga to make it to the Sweet Sixteen?
Seton Hall beating Arizona in the first round?
Alabama upsetting Stanford and Syracuse to make the Elite Eight?
It truly was Madness in 2004, and in 2008 as well.
Remember Siena’s upset Vanderbilt?
Davidson’s upset Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin to make the Elite Eight.?
Western Kentucky’s upset Drake, and beat San Diego in route to the Sweet Sixteen?
San Diego upsetting Connecticut in the first round?
Now there will only four Non-Power Conference teams thanks to the Selection Committee.
I’m excited for the tournament, but in the future will it actually be “March Madness” ?
(Bracket’s coming soon….)