A boring bracket isn’t necessarily an outrage, but it is depressing and yet another indictment of how poorly the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee brackets the NCAA Tournament on an annual basis.
To be sure, a boring bracket without any bracketing errors is perfectly acceptable… but of course, this bracket isn’t an error-free edition. Michigan State being given Duke’s region is an appalling bracketing error. So is Kansas being kept in the Midwest (Kansas City) Regional despite failing to win either the Big 12 regular-season or tournament titles, and despite not being the highest-seeded team in its conference. (KU is a 4 seed, Texas Tech a 3 seed, from the Big 12.)
There were also some bad seeding errors — Purdue one seed line ahead of Florida State when the seeds probably should have been flip-flopped; Florida State and Virginia Tech being on the same seed line; Villanova as a 6 instead of a 5; Oklahoma as a 9 seed despite a 7-12 record in its conference. (OU deserved to make the field, but as an 11.)
Boring brackets without errors can be tolerated. Boring brackets containing huge errors are unacceptable.
Really: What WAS the committee doing with the bracket? Not paying attention, that’s what.
How, in addition to all the errors made in bracketing and seeding, could the committee have failed to change up the matchups in the 2019 field relative to 2018?
Here are matchups — first round and beyond (actual and potential meetings in this tournament) — which could repeat in 2019 after being presented in 2018:
Virginia and Kansas State did not meet last year because of the UMBC upset, but they could meet in the Sweet 16 this year.
Tennessee and Cincinnati did not meet last year because they both lost in the round of 32 and were bracketed to play in the Sweet 16, but this year, they could meet in the round of 32.
Purdue and Villanova almost met in the Elite Eight last year. They could meet in the round of 32 this year.
Auburn and New Mexico State could have met in the second round in San Diego in 2018. They WILL meet in the first round in Salt Lake City in 2019.
Michigan and Montana met in the first round last year. They will meet in the first round this year.
Florida and Texas Tech met in the round of 32 last year. They could meet in the Sweet 16 this year.
Gonzaga and Florida State met in the Sweet 16 last year. They could meet in the Sweet 16 this year.
Gonzaga and Florida State were in one part of the West Region bracket last year, and Florida State won the right to face Michigan in the 2018 Elite 8. That scenario could emerge this year in the Elite 8 as well.
Virginia was bracketed to face either Tennessee or Cincinnati (among other teams) in the Elite 8 last year. That remains the case this year.
Your mom could have created a more original bracket than the committee this year.
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