LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — No NCAA Tournament — and no bracket.
That was the final answer Sunday from NCAA senior vice president for basketball Dan Gavitt.
There will be no fussing from me. Our world is about to pause in way we’ve never seen it pause. It’s annoying and disappointing and frustrating not to have an NCAA Tournament for the first time in 82 years but basketball is a footnote.
Gavitt said need the need to remember why we are in this situation with the coronavirus was one reason he decided not to ask the Tournament Selection Committee to issue a bracket Sunday.
Another reason was the bracket would be inauthentic because the final four days of the conference tournaments were not played.
Seed lines would have shifted. Your favorite team had plenty of time to bounce from In to Out and back In.
I also suspect other issues: A coach would have grief from his fan base (or even lost his job) if his program would have been listed outside the field.
Many coaches have bonus clauses in their contracts tied to making the 68-team party. Guys who collected could celebrate. Guys that failed to collect would howl the results were unfair or bogus.
They’d be correct.
But, in a generation or two, new fans of the game will look back at this season and wonder what the local programs achieved in context of the national scene.
They achieved this:
Louisville No. 4 seed
I’m not a bracketologist — and I don’t try to dress as one at Halloween.
But unless Chris Mack’s team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, the Cardinals were destined to sit on the 4-line.
That is where Dave Ommen of Bracketville, the highest-rated bracketologist of the last five years had the Cardinals.
That is where the folks at Delphi Bracketology, the 2016 winners of the bracket competition, had Louisville.
That is where Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com placed the Cardinals.
The Cards could have vaulted Duke (a team they beat in Durham) and either Maryland or Michigan State (whichever lost in the Big Ten) with a strong weekend in Greensboro, N.C.
But reasonable minds had Louisville on the No. 4 line — with a reasonable chance of knocking off a No. 1 seed like Baylor, Dayton, Gonzaga or Kansas (the consensus picks as the top seeds).
I said reasonable (especially against Baylor or Gonzaga), not likely.
Kentucky a stronger No. 4 seed
Like Louisville, Kentucky landed on the 4-seed line at BracketMatrix.
That was the consensus call, one backed by Delphi Bracketology as well as by Bracketsblogs, which won the competition bragging rights last season.
But … there was considerable dissent. Despite the overall weakness of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Bracketville put Kentucky on the three-line.
The next time Lunardi goes to Lexington somebody should buy him dinner. Lunardi ranked John Calipari’s team as a No. 2 seed, ahead of Villanova, Duke, Seton Hall, Michigan State and Maryland.
Don’t act surprised or outraged. If the argument narrowed to Kentucky or Louisville for the final No. 3 seed, the tie would go to the winner.
The winner was Kentucky, even though the Wildcats needed overtime (and Louisville to miss 11 of 20 free throws) to beat the Cardinals in overtime in Rupp Arena.
Put Indiana on the 10-seed line
Lunardi will not get a free meal in Bloomington.
His final bracket placed Archie Miller’s team as a No. 11 seed, as he ranked the Hoosiers’ five spots away from missing the tournament.
Don’t show that to Miller. Show him the work of others who argued that Indiana had plenty of breathing room prior to their Big Ten quarter-final game against Penn State that was canceled.
BracketMatrix? IU was a No. 10 seed.
Bracketville? No. 9 seed.
Delphi Bracketology? No. 10 seed.
BracketsBlog? The top No. 10 seed.
Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Archie Miller 1, Joe Lunardi 0.
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