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NCAA Tournament 2017 Bracket Analysis: March Madness snubs; what the committee got wrong


NCAA Tournament 2017 Bracket Analysis: March Madness snubs; what the committee got wrong

The field of 68 for the 2017 NCAA Tournament was finalized on Sunday afternoon following the Selection Sunday show on CBS.

The NCAA Selection Committee had an interesting task at hand when it came to picking the four No. 1 seeds. Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Arizona, Duke and UNC were all thought to have a chance to get the top spot in one of the four regions.

In the end, Villanova, Kansas, UNC and Gonzaga earned the top four No. 1-seeds.


That means the ACC Tournament champion Duke Blue Devils, SEC Tournament champion Kentucky Wildcats and Pac 12 Tournament champion Arizona Wildcats were bumped from the No. 1 seed line in favor of two teams — Kansas and North Carolina — that did not make the finals of their conference tournament. Gonzaga, despite their weak conference schedule, edged out Arizona because of their record vs. Top 50 teams, including a win over the Wildcats.

In terms of at-large snubs, it's hard to pin point many egregious errors. Kansas State earned the final at-large bid, ranked No. 46 according to the complete seed list. The Wildcats' resume was bolstered by two wins over a top 10 Baylor team, as well as a win over then No. 7 West Virginia. Kansas State's best non-conference win was against Colorado State, which makes the decision a bit surprising even though the tournament bubble was remarkable weak.


2017 NCAA Tournament snubs:

Syracuse, a team that lucked in to an at-large bid in 2016, was left on the wrong side of the bubble at the end of Selection Sunday. The Orange finished 18-14 (10-8 ACC) with non-conference losses to UConn, Georgetown and St. John's, three teams that did not make the 2017 NCAA Tournament. A key reason the Orange got in last season was because Jim Boeheim's team  had several notable road and neutral court wins. The Orange had very few this season.

Michigan State, Providence, Southern Cal and Wake Forest, four teams that joined Syracuse squarely on the bubble, we're rewarded with at-large bids. 

What the Tournament Selection Committe got wrong: Big Ten seeding

-- The Big Ten Seeding in the NCAA Tournament: #4 Purdue (Midwest), #5 Minnesota (South), #6 Maryland (West), #7 Michigan (Midwest), #8 Wisconsin (East), #8 Northwestern (West), #9 Michigan State (Midwest).

— Wisconsin earned a No. 8 seed in the same region as No. 1 overall seed Villanova. The Badgers finished in second-place in the Big Ten regular season and were Big Ten Tournament runners-up. By comparison, the Maryland Terrapins were given a No. 6 seed despite finishing behind the Badgers in Big Ten regular season play and losing in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Maryland and Wisconsin did not have a lot of stellar non-conference wins, but Wisconsin played a significantly larger number of competent teams than Maryland.

—  Michigan the team that won the conference tournament, was given a No. 8 seed and a date with No. 10 Oklahoma State. While Michigan was a bubble team entering the Big Ten Tournament, slotting the Wolverines above Wisconsin AND Northwestern is an interesting decision at best. 

— It's hard not to like what Richard Pitino a nd Minnesota did this season. It's hard to wonder how they got the second best seed of any Big Ten team. The Gophers won nine of their last 11 but have a similar strength of schedule to Maryland and Wisconsin. 

— The the Selection Sundy show on CBS, Selection committee chair Mark Hollis -- Michigan State's Athletic Director -- explained that with selecting the four No. 1 seeds, most of their decisions were complete before championship week. If that same thought process was used for seeding #5-#68, it's an issue. If it's not the same thought process, it's still an issue.

What the Tournament Selection Committe got wrong: Wichita State

— Wichita State was one of the most difficult teams to project. The Shockers won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and conference tournament championship. But their best non-conference win came against a marginal Oklahoma team.

-- The Shockers were given a No. 10 seed and a date with No. 7 Dayton, with No. 2 seed Kentucky potentially waiting in the wings. Kentucky and Wichita State faced off in the 2014 NCAA Tournament when the Shockers were an undefeated 35-0 No. 1 seed and the Wildcats were a No. 9-seed at-large team. 

— The team Wichita State beat in the MVC championship game, Illinois State, was thought to be on the bubble and many believe the Redbirds deserved an at-large bid. But Illinois State had limited games vs. Top 50 competition and no notable non-conference wins. Sorry, mid-major fans. Illinois State was not a snub.

— Iowa State being given a No. 5 seed despite winning the Big 12 Tournament and finishing their season with wins in nine of their final ten games. The committee clearly devalued the Big 12 Tournament. 

Click here to join CSN's 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge to have a chance to win Washington Wizards floor seats and other prizes. Presented by Chasen Boscolo.

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Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State


Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State

RALEIGH, N.C.  — Kiara Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and North Carolina State beat Maryland 74-60 on Sunday in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Leslie, who spent three seasons at Maryland before graduating and transferring to N.C. State, finished one point shy of a career high.

Kalia Ealey and Chelsea Nelson added 12 points apiece while Akela Maize scored 11 to help the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (26-8) earn their first Sweet 16 appearance since the late Kay Yow led an inspirational run in 2007.


N.C. State, which shot 45 percent and was 7 of 14 from 3-point range, will play the Oklahoma State-Mississippi State winner on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.

Brianna Fraser had 17 points for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (26-8), who were held to 37 percent shooting.

Leading scorer Kaila Charles, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with four points -- 14 fewer than her average -- on 2-of-8 shooting before fouling out with 2:29 left. She had scored in double figures in 30 of her previous 33 games.

Maryland's offense, which averages 80 points, had trouble scoring against one of the nation's stingiest defenses.

N.C. State allows 56.7 points per game and only one team in the past two months -- top-seeded Notre Dame -- has reached 70 against the Wolfpack.


Maryland: The Terrapins were denied their sixth Sweet 16 in seven years in part because their potent perimeter game was nonexistent. Maryland, at 39.1 percent the nation's seventh-most accurate team, missed all five of its 3s. Kristen Confroy, who's third in the nation from long range at 40.3 percent, didn't attempt one.

N.C. State: Leslie kept tormenting her former teammates by turning steals into layups. Big brother C.J. Leslie led the N.C. State men's program to a Sweet 16 in 2012, and now she's headed to one, too.


N.C. State will play either top-seeded Mississippi State or ninth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.


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Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round


Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round

NEW YORK -- After struggling with injuries and poor play most of the season, Wisconsin is peaking at the right time.

Brevin Pritzl broke a tie with a foul-line jumper with 28 seconds left and Khalil Iverson secured the win with a steal in the waning seconds, leading Wisconsin past Maryland 59-54 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Brad Davison and Iverson each made two free throws in the final nine seconds, and the ninth-seeded Badgers (15-17) advanced to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Madison Square Garden after winning for the fifth time in seven games.

"It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room, how they've grown over the last month," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play."

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

The biggest plays were offensive rebounds by Iverson and Ethan Happ after Pritzl and Davison missed 3-point shots with the game tied at 53.

After the second miss with 40.3 seconds to go, Wisconsin called timeout and Pritzl got the game-winner 12 seconds later.

"I think, especially at the end of this game, the possessions are magnified," Davison said. "When you do things right those final possessions, you can really turn things around."

Maryland had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Huerter was fouled by Happ with 9.2 seconds to go, but he missed the first of two free throws and the Terps came up short for the seventh time in 11 games.

"I feel like we were fighting uphill all night," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We had the lead 24-23. It's the one time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. It really came down to two things. We fouled too much and we couldn't get a rebound when we needed a rebound."


Happ had 14 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin, which lost to Michigan State 68-63 less than a week ago. Davison finished with 13 points while Iverson had 11 and six rebounds and Pritzl 10 points. The Badgers, who lost starting point guard D'Mitrik Trice and reserve Kobe King to injuries in December, won despite shooting 36 percent.

"I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game," Iverson said. "I know we'll be ready for them."

Huerter had 20 points to lead Maryland. Anthony Cowan Jr. added 16 points and Bruno Fernando had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Wisconsin never trailed in the second half, but it never led by more than three points in the final 11:40 until the closing seconds.

Pritzl's jumper broke a 53-all tie. Huerter then missed the first free throw and made the second. Maryland fouled Davison on the inbounds pass and he made both shots with 8.5 seconds to go for a 57-54 lead.

Wisconsin fouled Cowan rather than let him attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Since it was a nonshooting foul, the Terps had to inbound with 5 seconds to go and Iverson stole Dion Wiley's pass and then closed the game with two free throws.

"He has evolved into our defensive end stopped," Gard said. "For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great."