"There shall not be more than two teams from a conference in one region unless a ninth team is selected from a conference."
"Conference teams shall not meet prior to the regional final unless a ninth team is selected from a conference. If the committee is unable to reconcile the bracket after exhausting all reasonable options, it has the flexibility to waive this principle to permit two teams from the same conference to meet each other after the first round."
Apparently these rules do not apply to the Big East. The selection committee placed three Big East teams in the South Region and set up two potential Big East Sweet 16 matchups (Villanova-Notre Dame and West Virginia-Marquette). We decided to follow the rules when bracketing, and it led to us missing all three Big East teams by more than one seed line.
That wasn't our only gripe with the selection committee, though. Here are some other seeds that we are still scratching our heads about:
1. Temple should be a 3, and certainly no worse than a 4. We guess the committee didn't think they should be seeded that far ahead of fellow A-10 teams (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense). The Owls also drew a dangerous Cornell team in the first round, which is a real double whammy.
2. Tennessee as a 6 seed is really harsh considering they beat the top two teams in the tournament.
3. SDSU and UNLV should swap seeds. The Aztecs have the biggest complaint of any team in terms of the seed they got. How can they possibly be seeded three lines lower than UNLV when their RPI was 30 spots higher, they finished tied in conference, and they beat UNLV two out of three times they played? The biggest joke, though, has to be the fact that SDSU has to travel all the way to Providence to play their first round game.
4. The two potential Sweet 16 match-ups weren't the questionable moves involving the Big East. Notre Dame and Marquette played well at the end of the year, but neither deserves 6 seeds, and Villanova, who stumbled down the stretch, wasn't deserving of the last 2 seed. (How does Temple not get the 2 over Villanova considering they beat them head-to-head?)
In terms of the teams selected, we can't really complain too much. Florida is seeded too high as a 10, but looking back, their overall body of work is slightly better than Mississippi State. We now regret watching the Mississippi State-Kentucky game on Sunday afternoon. We thought that the committee would be impressed by the Bulldogs' performance and that they would put more emphasis on conference tourney results. We also got too hung up on the fact that Florida had lost four of their last five. We couldn't imagine the SEC only getting three bids; we just picked the wrong team for the fourth bid.
Our biggest regret is leaving Utah State out of our final bracket, even though we are happy to see the committee give some more bids to mid-majors. In our opinion, Utah State is more deserving than Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, or Illinois. We should have done what we usually do and just go with what we think should happen, instead of what we think the committee will do. We finally bailed on the little guy and it cost us. It also appears from the final bracket that committee members were probably paying attention to how many bids each conference was getting. They didn't want to give the ACC seven bids, so they left Virginia Tech out; they wanted the SEC to get four bids so they went with Florida; and they didn't want the Big Ten to get six bids so they left out Illinois.
Stat-wise, we ended up with 31 teams seeded exactly and 54 teams within one seed line. By our math, we once again beat Lunardi. We'll post some more scores when all the math is complete. One thing we do know is that we ended up winning the Selection Sunday Expert's Challenge on NCAA.com over experts from CBS, The Sporting News, and Sports Illustrated, as well as some other bloggers.