USA Today Sports’ George Schroeder recaps all the March Madness action from Sunday, including a rough day for two of the ACC’s top teams.
USA TODAY Sports
After Selection Sunday, Kentucky coach John Calipari — a longtime NCAA selection committee skeptic — surprisingly complimented this year’s seedings.
“I thought they did the best job of seeding this year that I’ve seen in eight years,” Calipari told reporters. “And you all are amazed I’m saying something nice about that committee. I’m just telling you, I watch closely, and I keep saying they were more transparent this year than they’ve ever been.”
Of course it helps this year that Kentucky’s athletic director, Mike Barnhart, is on the committee.
After his second-seeded Wildcats played a gritty Wichita State team down to the wire before escaping by three points for a Sweet 16 bid, Calipari reiterated a popular opinion by many who felt Wichita State was way better than the No. 10 seed it drew.
“Wichita State, they’re a good team,” Calipari said on ESPN. “They got misseeded.”
KENTUCKY: Freshmen spearhead Sweet 16
BRACKET: Track the tournament
Previously, he said Kentucky was ‘playing a No. 4 seed in the second round.” Based on KenPom analytics, Wichita State was one of the 10 best teams in the country. But based on what the selection committee looks at on a consistent basis, the Shockers were in the No. 8 to No. 10-seed range. And had they gotten a No. 8 or No. 9, then they’d have played a No. 1 in the second round. Wichita State’s résumé featured just two top-50 wins. Two. That’s it. And they came against Illinois State, a team that didn’t make the tournament. WSU’s RPI in the 30s on Selection Sunday was decent, but its non-conference strength of schedule was in the 80s and Missouri Valley opponents outside of Illinois State did the Shockers no favors with a conference RPI worse than the West Coast Conference, where Saint Mary’s got a No. 7 seed with similar credentials.
Virtually no one watching Kentucky’s Sweet 16-advancing win felt Wichita State played like a No. 10 seed. But if the committee is doing what Calipari criticizes them for the most — consistency and transparency — that’s exactly what it did with the Shockers. A really good team doesn’t mean a really good seed.
MARCH SADNESS: THE AGONY OF DEFEAT IN THE NCAAS