March 13, 2006

victory. illinois (no S). varisty.

I promise that this will be the only bitching that I do about seeding in this year's NCAA tournament. But I do have a little bit of complaining to do.

I don't argue with Illinois being seeded 4 in the Washington bracket. They came in second in their league and lost in their first game of their conference tournament. The winner of the Big Ten regular season, THE Ohio State University Buckeyes, were given a 2 seed. The Iowa Hawkeyes won the conference tournament and were given a 3. It follows then that the Illini are a 4. (Maybe the Illini would have fared better if they changed their name to the Illineyes?)

My problem arises with the 2 and 3 seeds in the Washington bracket.

Tennessee is #2. The Volunteers, coached by a man who every good Illini fan should loath, ended the season with a 21-7 record to the Illini's 25-6. Not only did the Illini win 4 more games than the Vols, but they beat teams like North Carolina, Georgetown, Wichita State, Xavier, Iowa, Michigan State (twice), Wisconsin and Indiana. That's 9 wins against tournament teams. They have an overall record of 9-4 against other teams in the field of 65. All four of those losses are to conference opponents. The Vols are 4-5 against tournament teams, with victories against Texas, Florida (2) and Kentucky. Their losses came against LSU, Memphis, Albama, Kentucky and Arkansas. RPI and strength of schedule may have been a factor in this decision. Tennessee's RPI was 3, where as the Illini are 14. The Vols had a non-conference sos of 5, while the Illini were, somehow, 60. In my opinion, what a team actually does against high caliber teams is more important than computer-generated numbers. How the strength of schedule is calculated, I don't really know. But the Illini played in the conference with the second most tournament teams and played more games against other teams in the tournament.

North Carolina comes in between the Vols and the Illini at the 3 seed. They have a 5-4 record against tournaments teams, beating NC State twice, Kentucky, Arizona and Duke. In addition to losing head to head against the Illini, the Tar Heels also dropped two games to ACC new-comers Boston College, and one against Duke. The numbers may have hurt the Illini here again. UNC's RPI was 12 and their strength of schedule was 10.

All that said, I think the seeding as it stands gives the Illini a good chance of advancing to the Sweet 16. Air Force and Washington or Utah State should not prove to be huge challenges for the Illini. If they get that far, they will have a major obstacle to overcome, assuming the seeding holds and UConn advances to the round of 16.

Oskee Wow Wow - The Illini Basketball Band

Posted by dpetrella at 4:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack