The thought that crossed my mind when the tournament bracket was released on CBS and I saw Oregon’s No.12 seed was, “What are they smoking?” The second thing was, “Why does every MAJOR SELECTION COMMITTEE NOT LIKE OREGON??”
Oregon sports have been on a major upswing over the last few years, but the national perception of Oregon sports hasn’t caught up to the reality yet. We must watch, not so quietly, while it does. How else can you explain the lower than expected No 12 seed?
There are five teams representing the PAC-12 in the tournament this year. The seeds and regions are:
- Arizona – No.6, West Region
- The Wildcats will meet Belmont in Salt Lake city on March 21st
- UCLA – No.6 South Region
- The Bruins will play Minnesota in Austin on March 22nd
- Colorado – No.10, East Region
- The Buffs will play Illinois on March 22nd in Austin
- California – No.12, East Region
- The Golden Bears will play UNLV in San Jose on March 21st
- Oregon – No.12, Midwest Region
- The Ducks will play Oklahoma State on March 21st in San Jose
Out of all these teams, Oregon is the one I think would have been least likely to be seeded at the bottom of the PAC.
UCLA’s seeding being so much higher than Oregon’s was one of the most surprising for me. Not only did the Ducks beat UCLA both times they played, the second time came in the PAC-12 tournament championship. The Bruins will also be without star Jordan Adams, who suffered a season ending broken right foot on the final play of their victory over Arizona in the PAC 12 semi-final game.
While Arizona’s resume is impressive, I don’t think it warranted the Wildcats being 6 seeds higher than Oregon, either. The Ducks did beat the Wildcats in their one meeting of the season, and the Wildcats lost both their games against UCLA (who Oregon beat). As befuddling as that sentence is, it boils down to the fact that both Arizona and UCLA should have been closer to Oregon and Oregon should have been seeded higher.
The positive side of the whole mess is that Oregon has a good chance to be a Cinderella story. There is a chance, however small, that Oregon can upset Oklahoma State and advance onto Round 32 to play either St. Louis or New Mexico State. Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight gives Oregon a 39.5% of advancing past this round. All I can say is that it would be the ultimate “I told you so” in the committee’s face if Oregon ends up making it to Final Four and maybe even winning the championship.
This year’s bracket has the usual mixture of the expected and the unexpected in both the pairings and the seeds. It will be interesting to see how things turn out and if the teams that are on top right now, will be that way when we (finally) get to the Final Four.