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

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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.

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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.

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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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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

The offseason is time for fun activities that keep the competitive juices flowing.

In that spirit, our friends at Testudo Times have posed an interesting question about how to go about building a starting five of the best Maryland basketball players of all time, but on a budget.

With 25 players available, five for $5, five for $4, five for $3, five for $2 and five for $1 and a $15 budget, the task is to build the best starting five possible. It's a tall task, though one that can be completed in a number of different ways.

Before taking on the task yourself, some Terps alumni have some thoughts of their own.

There are a couple main themes here. First, this is an incredibly difficult task. Second, Len Bias is a must-include.

With that in mind there are a few ways to go about completing the lineup.

The best

Bias — $5
Juan Dixon — $5
Keith Booth — $1
Steve Francis — $3
Derrick Lewis — $1

This lineup can do just about anything. It can play fast or slow on offense and defense, it can shoot, rebound and play with toughness or finesse. Bias and Dixon are the superstars, Booth and Lewis are much better than their $1 label, and Francis can be the straw that stirs the drink.

The all-dunking lineup

Bias — $5
Steve Francis — $3
Dez Wells — $2
Bruno Fernando — $2
James Gist — $1

There's a mix of power dunkers and finesse dunkers on the squad with $2 left for an underrated dunker in Kevin Huerter.

The all-shooting lineup

Bias — $5
Dixon — $5
Huerter — $2
Lewis — $1
Fernando — $2

Everybody on this squad can score the rock. Huerter and Dixon are great 3-point shooters. Fernando is a near-60 percent shooter from the field. Bias is a staple on any and every team and Lewis was a good enough shooter during his junior and senior seasons to get the nod for the final spot.

The all-value lineup

Bias — $5
Booth — $1
Lewis — $1
Steve Blake — $5
Wilcox — $3

Bias is good value at any price and we've already talked about the value of Lewis and Booth. The lineup needs a point guard, and with a pair of $1 players, Blake makes the most sense, even as the most expensive option. Wilcox rounds out the team thanks to his versatility down low.

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

Anthony Cowan Jr. announced that he will return to Maryland basketball for his senior season after testing the NBA Draft waters.

Cowan, a local product out of St. John's College High School, has started every game at Maryland for the past three seasons. The point guard has led the Terps in scoring and assists the past two years, most recently helping the team to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. 

His return will be a huge boost to the Terrapins after big-man Bruno Fernando decided to forgo his eligibility for his final two seasons in College Park for the NBA Draft. Including Cowan, the team returns seven of its top eight scorers for the 2019-20 season and will be one of the more experienced squads in the nation.

With Cowan staying at Maryland, NBC Sports' Rob Dauster says that the Terps will be a potential top-five team entering the season.

His decision came hours before Wednesday's NBA draft withdrawal deadline. Earlier on the same day, he worked out for the Sacramento Kings, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus.

While Cowan has shown an impressive ability to lead his team in his three years, he was not a projected pick for the 2019 NBA draft. It's another year for the senior to display his ability, and lead a talented team to national prominence after he only scored 20 points in two NCAA Tournament games last year. 

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