For the past few years the NCAA has invited members of the college basketball media to travel to Indianapolis, home of the NCAA headquarters, and take part in a mock selection process. This process allows the media to do what the NCAA tournament selection committee does but in a much more simplified form.
During this two-day process members of the media are given a list of teams to choose for their at-large pools, as well as given different scenarios that can play out to change their brackets. For example, one scenario that was given to this year’s committee was Kentucky losing to Arkansas in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament. Members of the mock selection process were to take this information and weigh it on where they would place the Wildcats in the tournament field.
Through this process the media is given more insight as to just how difficult it is for the selection committee to make decisions on seeding and matchups for the NCAA tournament. Besides the usual (strength of schedule, RPI, non-conference record, etc.) the committee must also figure out where each team will play geographically, potential for repeat games that have already occurred during the regular season (which are generally avoided at all costs) among many others. It’s a grueling process to say the least. Just trying to follow the action on Twitter can be exhausting.
Now the 2014 NCAA Tournament mock bracket is complete and available to other members of the media and fans alike to dissect, critique and admire. The official bracket can be found here and the official statement on the event from the NCAA here, but we’ve also placed it below for your convenience.
|East (New York)||West (Anaheim)|
|1. Syracuse||1. Arizona|
|16. Alabama State/Eastern Illinois||16. Utah Valley|
|8. VCU||8. Xavier|
|9. Arizona State||9. Gonzaga|
|5. Ohio State||5. Iowa|
|12. Harvard||12. Delaware|
|4. Kentucky||4. Saint Louis|
|13. UC Santa Barbara||13. Georgia State|
|6. Louisville||6. UCLA|
|11. Georgetown||11. Minnesota|
|3. Michigan||3. San Diego State|
|14. Canisius||14. Davidson|
|7. North Carolina||7. Memphis|
|10. Oklahoma State||10. Colorado|
|2. Villanova||2. Duke|
|15. Bryant||15. American|
|South (Memphis)||Midwest (Indianapolis)|
|1. Florida||1. Wichita State|
|16. Stony Brook||16. Coastal Carolina/ Northern Arizona|
|8. UMass||8. SMU|
|9. California||9. George Washington|
|5. Texas||5. Virginia|
|12. Providence/Missouri||12. Illinois|
|4. Wisconsin||4. Iowa State|
|13. Stephen F. Austin||13. Louisiana Tech|
|6. UCONN||6. Kansas State|
|11. Tennessee/West Virginia||11. Toledo|
|3. Creighton||3. Cincinnati|
|14. N.C. Central||14. Cleveland State|
|7. Pittsburgh||7. Oklahoma|
|10. New Mexico||10. Stanford|
|2. Kansas||2. Michigan State|
|15. FGCU||15. IPFW|
There are a few things that can be critiqued here but it’s overall a fair and respectable bracket. One of the oversights is that the UCLA Bruins (6-seed) is scheduled to face the Minnesota Gophers (11-seed). This would be a repeat game from the 2013 NCAA tournament where UCLA and Minnesota faced each other with the exact same seeds. It’s unlikely this game would happen because, as we mentioned earlier, the selection committee doesn’t like to go with repeat games, especially in the second round.
There’s also a few questionable selections for the automatic qualifiers on this bracket. Obviously a lot can happen during tournaments and maybe something crazy can happen just like every year. However, I found it extremely interesting to see that the Summit League champion is the IPFW Mastodons.
While IPFW is tied for second in the conference and holds victories over both South Dakota State (tied for second with IPFW) and North Dakota State (leader) they have lost three road games in the conference (one each to SDSU and NDSU as well as at South Dakota). Coincidentally, IPFW lost at SDSU by 28. Important to note, the Summit League championships are held in Sioux Falls, S.D. Maybe a bit of a stretch to have IPFW in as the winner but it could happen.
I’m a little disappointed because this bracket came out the same day I made my personal Final Four predictions. If this were to hold up two of my Final Four teams (Michigan State and Iowa State) would meet in the Elite Eight if both teams were to get that far. Also, a little self-pat on the back here, last week I wrote about the West Virginia Mountaineers making a run towards an NCAA Tournament appearance. Many called me crazy to think they could make it to the Big Dance. Well, guess who’s penciled in as an 11-seed in the mock selection bracket? The Mountaineers.
What does all of this mean? In the grand scheme of things, not much. This is merely a way to get media members to appreciate how much work, time and effort the selection committee puts into putting together the final bracket for Selection Sunday. All this is is another mock bracket and there are many of those out there during this portion of the college basketball season. It’s all in good fun until things start to get serious.
Take this with a grain of salt but it’s always interesting to see how the official NCAA mock bracket turns out. They have a pretty decent track record with these sorts of things.
Tags: 2014 NCAA Tournament Alabama State American University Eagles Arizona State Sun Devils Arizona Wildcats Bryant California Canisius Golden Griffins Cincinatti Cleveland State Coastal Carolina Colorado Buffaloes Creighton Davidson Wildcats Delaware Blue Hens Duke Blue Devils Eastern Illinois FGCU Florida Gators George Washington Georgetown Hoyas Georgia State Gonzaga Bulldogs Harvard Crimson Illinois Iowa Hawkeyes Iowa State IPFW Mastodons Kansas Jayhawks Kansas State Kentucky Wildcats Louisville Cardinals Lousiana Tech Memphis Tigers Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Minnesota Gophers Missouri Mock Bracket N.C. Central New Mexico Lobos North Carolina Tar Heels Northern Arizona Ohio State Buckeyes Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma State Cowboys Pittsburgh Panthers Providence Saint Louis Billikens San Diego State Aztecs SMU Stanford Cardinals Stephen F. Austin Stony Brook Seawolves Syracuse Orange Tennessee Texas Longhorns Toledo UC Santa Barbara UCLA Bruins UCONN UMass Utah Valley VCU Rams Villanova Wildcats Virginia Cavaliers West Virginia Mountaineers Wichita State Shockers Wisconsin Xavier Muskateers