10 immediate ladder takeaways after releasing the boys’s March Insanity area

We’ve a bracket and now we now have three days to speak about it. Let’s begin instantly.

Listed below are 10 fast ideas on this 12 months’s Discipline 68:

1. The West is the area of demise

Led by Kansas, UCLA, Gonzaga, and UConn, in my eyes, the Western area is by far the strongest of the 4. All 4 groups are at the moment within the high 10 in response to Ken Pom, with the ninth-ranked Jayhawks being the least revered this quarter (UCLA is No. 2, UConn is No. 3, and Gonzaga is No. 8).

The seeding of Kansas behind Houston not solely compelled them into this strained area, but in addition prevented them from taking part in a second weekend in Kansas Metropolis. Oh, and it might additionally see them face off in opposition to one of many all-time greatest eights in Arkansas within the second spherical.

Except the Jayhawks are billed by 8 p.m. in opposition to Texas on Saturday night time, none of that may probably occur. Do not let anybody let you know convention tournaments do not matter.

2. Rutgers was snubbed

Yearly on at the present time, there’s a heavy debate in regards to the final groups included and excluded from Discipline 68. Yearly, this debate is met with the galactic mind’s retort “they’ve solely themselves responsible for placing themselves on this state of affairs.”

Everybody is aware of that the bubble groups might have carried out extra within the common season to cement their place within the Large Dance. That does not imply we will not proceed to have a significant dialogue in regards to the deserves of a crew that was kicked out of the event versus a crew that bought its identify.


Rutgers, who in response to the Committee was the second crew to be excluded from the sport (Oklahoma State was the primary), definitely appears to be in a greater place than Nevada and perhaps one or two others that can be a part of March Insanity.

The Scarlet Knights have a highway win over Purdue that could be the very best win for any crew on this nation this season. That they had a complete of 4 highway victories in Quad 1 – three greater than Nevada and Mississippi and 4 greater than NC. They defeated Michigan of their first Large Ten event, then had been narrowly (and controversially) defeated by eventual event champion Purdue. And they’re the top-ranked crew on Ken Pom (No. 35) who’ve been overlooked, rating increased than 12 different groups which have garnered large bids.

In the end, Rutgers was completed off with three Quad 3 defeats and a 3-6 file after shedding ahead Mawot Magazine for the season on account of a torn ACL. The third of these Quad 3 losses solely grew to become a actuality after Seton Corridor fell down the NET rankings after a current second loss to DePaul within the first spherical of the Large East event.

A aim name that has turn out to be a aim name by a number of inches will be the distinction between euphoria and heartbreak this time of 12 months. Even for those who weren’t one of many two groups really taking part in the sport.

3. Sunday’s convention championship video games (I feel) mattered (considerably).

One long-standing criticism of the NCAA’s event choice course of has been that Sunday’s convention event championship video games are too near the ladder disclosure for the Committee to think about correctly.

Whereas this thought has definitely held sway through the years, it seems that in 2023, the championship matches performed at the very least a small position in figuring out who was the event’s No. 1 total.

Alabama, Kansas and Houston all had comparable résumés main as much as the weekend, and every had an nearly equally sturdy case to be the primary crew to listen to their identify on Choice Sunday. So how did the Committee select between the three? Properly, whereas that energy was not so easy, Kansas was crushed by Texas on Saturday night time within the Large 12 finals, Houston had a poor efficiency on Sunday afternoon shedding to Memphis, whereas Alabama was battling Texas A&M for the SEC crown on the identical time.

Bing, bang, increase: Alabama tops the event for the primary time in program historical past. The highest seed within the Southern Area will play their first two video games in Birmingham earlier than heading to Louisville to attempt to win two extra and advance to the Closing 4.

The opposite aspect of this argument? Houston’s efficiency on Sunday as an alternative of Saturday could have put him forward of Kansas although he had 10 fewer Quad 1 wins than the Jayhawks. That is large as a result of KU being #3 total as an alternative of #2 total will forestall them from taking part in their potential Candy 16 and Elite Eight video games in Kansas Metropolis.

4. The Midwest area might have some juicy first weekend matchups

One of many extra shocking seed jobs was Texas A&M, who scored 7 regardless of ending second within the SEC and advancing to the title recreation within the SEC event. The lack of the Aggies could possibly be a acquire for the general public because the A&M seed kicks off a spicy potential second-round recreation in opposition to previous archrival Texas. Buzz Williams’ crew should tackle Penn State first, whereas the Longhorns should cope with the robust fifteenth Patriot League champion Colgate.

In the identical half of that area, we even have the potential for a Xavier-Pitt showdown, with resurgent Sean Miller taking over the present the place he first rose to prominence. For that to occur, the Panthers might want to beat Mississippi State within the high 4 after which upset Iowa State in the primary draw.

5. The fifteenth seed will (at the very least) push the 2nd seed to the brink

Fairly a number of of the highest mid/low rank groups within the nation are serving throughout Worlds Week and chopping the nets of their convention tournaments. Consequently, we now have much more energy in lanes 13-15 than most years.

The perfect proof of that is lane 15, which is dwelling to Colgate and Vermont – two groups which have dominated their leagues and two packages with a championship pedigree. The opposite 15 seeds, UNC Asheville and Princeton, are additionally packages with greater than a smidge of March historical past and the flexibility to strike worry of God into their first-round opponents.

Thursday and/or Friday is not going to be a nice expertise for at the very least one crew from two lanes.

6. Rick Pitino faces a well-known foe in a well-known place

Rick Pitino could also be getting the higher hand along with his supposed return to the Grand East. The previous Louisville coach will lead thirteenth seed Iona in opposition to 4th seed UConn in a first-round match in Albany, a spot the place the New Yorker (then head coach of St. John’s?) is certain to have quite a few fan assist.

Pitino had loads of success in opposition to the Huskies throughout his time in Louisville, together with sweeping eventual nationwide champions in 2013-14. His crew’s 33-point victory over UConn in 2014 is probably the most lopsided defeat for an eventual nationwide champion in historical past.

7. The East Area can go loopy

When you’re on the lookout for a single area the place you possibly can completely go loopy and create a few second-weekend matchups that do not appear to make any sense, look no additional than the East.

It begins with Purdue, a crew headlined by Zach Edey, arguably nationwide Participant of the Yr but in addition failing to get a dependable defensive play at key moments all year long. Marquette and Kansas State (seeded 2nd and third) have been stable, however groups which have delivered dramatic outcomes in opposition to their preseason expectations have a historical past of early exits from the NCAA tournaments.

No. 4 seed Tennessee is a good defender however cannot rating. No. 5 seed Duke has been scorching these days, however issues are getting scorching in a particularly weak ACC, he begins with 4 freshmen and has a 35-year-old freshman coach. No. 6 seed Kentucky has been inconsistent all 12 months, and John Calipari has not carried out so in March lately.

Pleasant reminder: each however one Closing 4 since 2012 has had at the very least one crew seeded No. 7 or worse. Since 2011, a complete of 11 groups seeded seventh or worse have misplaced the ultimate weekend of the season. Do not be shocked if one other one from this area exhibits up.

8. Florida Atlantic entered Nevada into the NCAA Match

The final of the so-called potential “bid thieves” bit into the mud on Saturday, when UAB had been soundly defeated by a Florida Atlantic crew that, regardless of how they fared within the Convention USA event, would make a giant dance. If the Owls weren’t so stellar, then Nevada, the final crew to get a giant 68 area bid, could be observing their NIT draw.

Steve Alford owes Dusty Could a beer or 12 at one level.

9. Mountain West Will get One other Likelihood

Talking of Nevada, which is a controversial current inclusion within the area, their choice sees 4 Mountain West groups on the course this 12 months. Wolfpack joins the fifth seeded state of San Diego and the tenth seeded states of Utah and Boise.

Mountain West additionally had 4 groups within the event final 12 months… and all 4 had been eradicated earlier than the primary Friday of the Large Dance. Not solely that, however all 4 groups missed the 70-point mark, with Wyoming and Boise State each lacking the 60-point mark.

Regardless of its standing as a near-perennial multi-deal league, Mountain West is simply 3-15 within the NCAA Match as of 2015 and has solely despatched one crew to the event’s second weekend in the identical time slot. As of 2016, the convention is 1-11 in first spherical video games.

Final 12 months’s embarrassment made Mountain West solely the third convention in NCAA event historical past to complete 0-4 or worse in a single March frenzy.

And but hope is everlasting this time of 12 months.

10. Duke-Oral Roberts is the very best first spherical matchup

The favorites of the 2021 event vs. the crew America likes to hate. The one crew to guide the desk in convention play on the event’s most famously upset venue. Max Abmas’ scoring sensation in opposition to Duke’s protection profitable crew underneath rookie head coach Jon Scheyer.

This one has all the things you could possibly need in a 5/12 recreation and I would be shocked if it did not ship on Thursday.

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