NCAA bracket: Why the committee picked Virginia over Michigan State

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The NCAA Tournament selection committee did not have an easy task trying to pick the three No. 1 seeds to join overall No. 1 Kansas. The quality of the top group of teams wasn’t what we are used to seeing. There was a feeling that Villanova played itself out of contention with a loss in the Big East tournament final to Seton Hall, and that proved to be true.


Jerry Palm’s final projected bracket

The other prevailing wisdom was that Michigan State was playing for a 1-seed Sunday in the Big Ten title game against Purdue. That turned out not to be the case.

The committee decided on Virginia instead, and the Cavaliers aren’t a terrible choice. Virginia had more Top 25 and top-50 wins, plus, a better record against the Top 25. UVA also played a better schedule, which is partly evidenced by Michigan State’s RPI of 12.

Winning a conference championship or a conference tournament isn’t a prerequisite for a No. 1 seed.

This is one of the strangest, and likely weakest, collection of No. 1 seeds in recent history.

  • UNC is the first 1-seed that wasn’t above .500 against the top 50 in the RPI
  • Virginia is the first 1-seed with four losses to teams outside the top 50
  • Oregon is the first 1-seed with two losses to 100+ RPI teams.

That is the result of the parity in college basketball this year.

Michigan State’s final resume wasn’t strong enough to be a 1-seed. (USATSI)


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