Selection Sunday is less than two weeks away and still there is much unsettled about what the bracket will look like on March 16. The top line of the bracket is still somewhat up in the air with Florida, Kansas, Wichita State, Syracuse and Arizona likely battling for the top seeds.
The middle of the bracket is even cloudier than the top line. Teams currently being placed on lines 2-11 haven’t done much to set themselves apart from each other. I’m not talking about the stats the selection committee will pore over when bracketing teams, I’m talking about the eye test. Very few of these teams in my opinion look much different when watching them play. A couple of examples of what I mean, on a neutral court do you pick Wisconsin or Harvard? What about Villanova or Gonzaga? Well in ESPN’s latest bracketology Wisconsin and Villanova are 2-seeds while Harvard is 12 and Gonzaga a 9 seed. Over at CBS Sports we run into the same issue, is Oklahoma a 4-seed six lines better than 10th seeded Xavier?
Another factor that is muddying up the waters is the fact that unlike previous seasons there are only a couple of mid-major teams that are on the fringe of an-at large bid should they slip up in their conference tournament. Toledo out of the Mid-American conference at 24-5 and Stephen F. Austin from the Southland at 27-2 seem to be the only two teams that would garner at-large consideration from a mid-major conference.
While the bracket may be littered with mediocrity, the evenness of the teams may prove to be a blessing. With such a wide variance on such a large number of teams the unpredictability of the tournament could be even more evident, and that should be good news for all of us watching.