Relax, Michigan State Fans: Committee Did You A Favor with NCAA Tournament Seeding
The NCAA tournament selection committee passed over Michigan State for a No. 1 seed on Sunday even after the Spartans won the Big Ten tourney. Virginia was awarded the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region and Oregon got the No. 1 seed out west.
The outrage and uproar was instant as MSU fans took to social media to voice their indignation.
"How did a team with a worse record that didn't win its conference or league tournament get a better seed than us?!!" Spartan fans exclaimed about Virginia.
"Oregon plays basketball?!" they bemoaned.
Those are fair questions, to be sure. The answer probably lies somewhere between the RPI and non-conference strength of schedule: ESPN ranks MSU 11th and and 156th in those categories, respectively, while rating Virginia at 1st and 38th and Oregon at 2nd and 12th.
What's more, Spartan fans were too busy feeling disrespected--probably a vestige of football season--to realize the committee had actually done them a favor. Indeed, MSU fans couldn't see the forest for the trees!
How so? Consider the following.
Had MSU been named a No. 1 seed, it was probably going to be in the West Region. The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds there are played in Anaheim, Calif. Instead, the Spartans drew a No. 2 seed.
In the Midwest.
That should be music to your ears, State fans.
Now the Spartans are looking at playing the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds in Chicago. You know, that major metropolitan area that's just a few hours from East Lansing (as opposed to 3,000 miles and three time zones) and is home to one of the largest MSU alumni bases in the world.
Yes, it appears State is on a collision course with Virginia in the tournament for what would be the third consecutive season. And while I understand a Spartan fan's apprehension at another potential matchup with the Cavaliers and their unevolved, moribund brand of basketball, it's still better than the alternative: Playing Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the West Regional final.
And even though playing Virginia is about as painful of a basketball experience there is, let's not forget that MSU is 2-0 against them over the past two NCAA tournaments.
So relax, Spartan fans. This isn't football. Not everything is about disrespect. And even if this was, it works out better for you.
Also, there's this fortuitous bit of information:
So, on behalf of the NCAA tournament selection committee (which, by the way, is vice-chaired by MSU athletic director Mark Hollis), you're welcome.