The 2022 NCAA match bracket is ready. As is all the time the case within the rapid aftermath of the choice present, there are areas the place it seems the choice committee did its job to perfection, and others the place it seems the group fell quick.
Let’s have a look at the 5 greatest takeaways from this yr’s March Insanity draw:
1. The East looks as if the hardest area
There’s not a clear-cut, can’t argue in any other case winner to the annual “which area is the hardest” query, so kudos to the Committee on that entrance.
If pressed, I’ll go together with the East, which is the final area we had been proven.
Certain, the East has, on paper, the weakest No. 1 seed in Baylor, however that’s additionally a Bears staff that’s only a yr faraway from one of many extra dominant runs to a nationwide title that we’ve ever seen. You’ve additionally obtained the, with out query, strongest No. 2 seed in Kentucky, a third-seeded Purdue staff that for a lot of the season appeared destined to be on one of many prime two strains, and a 4-seed in UCLA that began the season ranked within the prime 5 and went to the Last 4 a yr in the past.
Under the highest 4 strains there’s additionally a Texas staff with far more expertise than your typical No. 6 seed. There’s North Carolina on the 8-line, a staff that two Saturdays confirmed the world what they’re able to once they’re enjoying their greatest. There’s red-hot Virginia Tech as an 11-seed, a staff that started the season with excessive expectations and has simply discovered its stride in the previous couple of weeks. There’s Saint Mary’s, a staff which beat No. 1 total seed Gonzaga by double-digits within the common season finale for each groups. After which there’s Murray State on the 7-line, the staff with one of the best total report in all of faculty basketball at 30-2.
If Baylor goes to turn into the game’s first repeat nationwide champion since Florida in 2006/2007, it’s going to be supremely examined earlier than it even makes it to New Orleans.
2. Duke didn’t deserve a 2-seed
Coming into Sunday, just about no person had Duke as a No. 2 seed, and that will have probably been the case even when the Blue Devils hadn’t gotten run off the courtroom by Virginia Tech in Saturday evening’s ACC match championship sport. But, there they had been, popping up because the very first No. 2 seed the general public obtained to see because the West Area was revealed through the choice present’s opening section.
A handful of groups appeared to have legit instances for taking the Blue Devils’ spot on the 2-line, however none extra so than not too long ago topped SEC match champion Tennessee.
NET – 13
KenPom – 12
SOS – 67
Q1 Wins – 6
Q2-4 Losses – 4
NET – 8
KenPom – 7
SOS – 4
Q1 Wins – 11
Q2-4 Losses – 0
It is a travesty by the choice committee.#SelectionSunday
— kcekjm (@kcekjm) March 13, 2022
The Volunteers, as a substitute, are the No. 3 within the South Area.
As soon as once more, the Committee tells us with out explicitly telling us that convention match championship video games on Sunday don’t matter, except they put a staff into the sphere that wouldn’t have in any other case made it.
Cue up each single conspiracy you’ve obtained in regards to the powers that be eager to see Duke dance so long as attainable in Mike Krzyzewski’s closing season.
3. Kansas has the best path of the 1-seeds
Kansas has flown a bit beneath the radar this season by way of the groups we discuss because the most certainly to chop down the nets. Everybody is aware of the Jayhawks are top-of-the-line groups within the nation, however nobody has been referring to them because the elite of the elite.
Nonetheless, KU has been rewarded with a Midwest Area that doesn’t look like practically as tough as its three counterparts. Kansas’ prime three opponents within the area — Auburn, Wisconsin and Windfall — are all groups which have proven main warts within the final couple of weeks and which aren’t precisely adored by the predictive metrics.
If there’s a staff that turns into a stylish upset decide for Kansas within the area, it’s in all probability going to be Iowa. The Hawkeyes are recent off their first Large Ten match championship since 2006, and appear to be extra well-rounded than the 2020-21 squad that earned a No. 2 seed however was hammered by Oregon within the match’s second spherical.
4. The First 4 is … kinda loaded
Whereas the overall sports activities world sometimes refers back to the NCAA match’s open Thursday as “the primary day of the match,” there are literally two opening spherical video games on the evenings of each Tuesday and Wednesday.
Right here’s the primary motive why you shouldn’t overlook these video games: A staff popping out of Dayton has received at the least one sport within the match’s “most important draw” in yearly however one because the First 4 turned a factor in 2011. The one time it hasn’t occurred was in 2019. General, the First 4 has produced a complete of 19 victories within the “most important draw” of the match, 5 Candy 16 squads, and two Last 4 groups, the latest being UCLA final season.
Right here’s the second motive: There are some very enjoyable groups and intriguing storylines heading to Dayton.
Most bracketologists, each beginner and absolutely licensed, had Indiana safely within the area of 68 after their Large Ten match wins over Michigan and Illinois. As a substitute, the Hoosiers had been the next-to-last staff within the area and can play a gap spherical sport in opposition to Wyoming, one of many greatest shock tales in school basketball this season.
Within the different at-large First 4 sport, a Rutgers staff that had six Quadrant 1 victories (the identical quantity as Duke for these conserving rating at dwelling) and a propensity for late-game heroics will tackle a Notre Dame that completed in second-place within the ACC. It will be a shock for that sport to be something apart from supremely aggressive.
And what in regards to the 16-seeds headed to Dayton? Oh, you’ve simply obtained the nation’s main scorer in Peter Kiss from Bryant taking over a Wright State staff that appears to have a stable case to be a 15-seed or higher. And you then’ve obtained Texas Southern vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi, two packages that simply straight up don’t like each other. I’ve obtained absolute no concept if that’s true, however they’re each from Texas, so let’s roll with it.
5. Everybody goes to love South Dakota State over Windfall
Yearly there’s a double-digit upset decide is so extensively predicted that it virtually feels too good to be true. In most years, that decide is a 12 taking down a 5, however this yr search for a 13/4 upset to be in all places you flip for the following few days.
Windfall (25-5) has lived a little bit of a charmed life this season. The predictive metrics hate the Friars as a result of they by no means lose an in depth contest and appear virtually incapable of enjoying another form of sport. Getting smacked by Creighton (85-58) within the Large East match semifinals didn’t assist issues both.
On the opposite aspect there’s South Dakota State, a staff virtually everybody assumed could be a 12-seed. The Jackrabbits (Jackrabbits!) are one of the best three-point capturing staff in America, they’ve the longest profitable streak in Division-I at 21 video games, and so they haven’t misplaced a sport since all the way in which again on Dec. 15.
Simply because everybody else has it, doesn’t imply you must avoid it. Not less than one 13 seed has received a sport within the match in 10 of the final 13 years.