March 15, 2013
We're all waiting for it. That magical day that a 16 seed beats a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. To this point, it's never happened.
In fact, since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1980, the 16s and 0-112 against the 1s.
There have been close calls. Murray State falling by four to Michigan State in 1990. Princeton and East Tennessee State coming within a basket of Georgetown and Oklahoma in 1989. Western Carolina falling to Purdue by two in 1996. But we just can't get the ultimate underdog to come through with that final possession that ends the favorites run way early and sends tons of brackets to the trash can.
Well, don't expect it to happen this year, either. Because quite frankly, this crop of 16 seeds will be awful.
Don't believe me? Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo! Sports agrees.
Looking at the bracket that we at CBTonNBC have now, it's clear that the top of the bottom seeds won't stack up - this excludes a few teams that are already out of the running, such as Norfolk State in the MEAC.
None of the possible 16 seeds are even in the Top 100. That tells the masses that there's not a ton of talented teams on the lower end of the conference this season. Not that any of this matter to the teams that won their conference tournaments to get to this point. They deserve to celebrate. They earned it. Just don't be prepared for any of them to celebrate anymore wins after the First Four.
Liberty (287 in the RPI) at 15-20 is sure to be a 16 and start in Dayton. Historically, the winner of the SWAC Tournament, which does feature a 20-win team in Southern, takes up a 16 seed, based on their poor RPI. The Jaguars sit at 188 now, the best of the eligible SWAC teams (Texas Southern is at 183, but is ineligible for postseason play due to poor APR scores.)
There are various reasons these teams can't match up. Western Kentucky (166 RPI) lacks the true post depth. LIU-Brooklyn's (184) guards can't guard any from a 1-seed. Other possible 1-seed candidates, such as James Madison or the winner of the America East Conference title game between Vermont (123) and Albany (147), just flat-out doesn't have the talent. But that could be seen as the reason for any 16 that loses to a one.
It's a novel thought, and eventually it will happen. The selection committee with undervalue a Top 100 mid-major program with a possible future NBA All-Star on the roster, and they'll fall into a match-up with an overrated 1-seed that's backed into the tournament, not playing their best basketball. Just not this year.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten
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