Maryland Terps

Quick Links

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

snubs.jpg

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.

RELATED: PRINTABLE NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

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.

RELATED: PLAY CSN BRACKET CHALLENGE

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.

Quick Links

Darryll Pines named Wallace Loh's replacement as Maryland president

Darryll Pines named Wallace Loh's replacement as Maryland president

Darryll J. Pines, PhD,  was named University of Maryland, College Park's newest president on Wednesday, succeeding Wallace D. Loh, who announced his planned retirement in 2018 following the death of Terps football player Jordan McNair.

Pines is a dean and professor at Maryland, first arriving at the university in 1995 as an assistant professor. He’ll begin his tenure as the 34th president at College Park on July 1.

“I’ve known him as an outstanding teacher, a dedicated mentor, a brilliant researcher, and an extraordinary leader,” University System of Maryland chancellor Jay A. Perman, MD said of Pines in a statement. “It’s fitting -- and gratifying -- that UMD will be led by a member of its own family, by someone who knows so well its people and programs, its considerable strengths and enormous potential.”

Loh had been president since November 2010 but in October 2018 announced his eventual retirement after the football program drew criticism for allegations of abuse and the circumstances surrounding the death of the 19-year-old McNair.

That same day in October, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents decided that football coach DJ Durkin would return from the August leave of absence he had been placed on. Against the board’s wishes, Loh fired Durkin the next day. Maryland hired Mike Locksley as its new coach later that year.

Loh initially was supposed to remain as president only until the end of the 2019 school year, but it was later announced he would stay on through June 2020 while the university searched for a successor. Officials believed his continued leadership in the wake of the football scandal would help with athletic reforms among other things.

“I’m deeply grateful to UMD President Wallace D. Loh, PhD, JD, for his decade of exceptional service to the university, for his committed work in moving UMD into the top tier of the nation’s public research universities, and for positioning the institution for still greater success to come,” Perman said in his statement.

MORE TERPS NEWS:

Quick Links

The Big Twenty: Maryland men's basketball wins the national championship

The Big Twenty: Maryland men's basketball wins the national championship

NBC Sports Washington is rolling out the 20 biggest stories in DMV sports in the past 20 years. Here is No. 4.

Maryland’s men’s basketball team won the NCAA national championship in 2002, which fits nicely into the 20-year window of NBC Sports Washington’s The Big Twenty project.

But to understand how important that accomplishment is, you need to go outside that window to 1990. For multiple violations under then-head coach Bob Wade, Maryland was placed on three-year probation, banned from the postseason for two years and barred from appearing on television during the 1991-1992 season. The program, fresh off the tragedy of Len Bias’ death in 1986, had hit rock bottom.

Enter Gary Williams. The Maryland alum returned to College Park in 1989, unsure of what punishments were coming. His task: Build Maryland into a nationally competitive program while dealing with Duke, North Carolina and the rest of the ACC blue bloods, all while handcuffed by major sanctions. You know, no big deal.

Build the program he did. By 1994, the Terrapins were back in the NCAA Tournament and the Sweet 16. By 1998, Williams had the Terps as high as No. 2 in the AP poll. And just when the fanbase thought the program had plateaued, in 2001 Williams guided Maryland to its first Final Four appearance.

The loss to Duke in that year’s NCAA semifinal was a bitter pill, but Williams had almost his entire roster returning. That included a starting lineup of Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake, Chris Wilcox and Byron Mouton. Most of them had been overlooked in high school. All had been passed over by other power conference schools for varying reasons. Williams built his program around these diamond-in-the-rough, chip-on-the-shoulder players with something to prove. His roster was full of them in 2002. It was a perfect fit at Maryland, a program constantly ignored in the rugged, tradition-rich ACC.

Maryland ran through its 2001-2002 schedule with ease. With a balanced lineup and a rock-solid eight-man rotation, the Terps went 15-1 in the ACC. That included an 87-73 blitz of No. 1-ranked Duke in February. They earned a top seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Maryland beat a UConn team with Ben Gordon, Caron Butler and Emeka Okafor in the Elite Eight to make its second straight Final Four. A week later, it knocked off Drew Gooden, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison and Kansas to make the title game.

On April 1st, 2002, the Terrapins beat Indiana, 64-52, to claim the school’s first national championship. Dixon led the way with 18 points and keyed a 22-8 second-half run to put the Hoosiers away. He earned first-team All-America honors. His retired jersey currently hangs in Xfinity Center. Williams was named ACC Coach of the Year. The floor of Xfinity Center is now Gary Williams Court.

The lasting image of the title game is Dixon heaving the ball to the Georgia Dome rafters as the last seconds ticked off and his teammates celebrated. For Dixon, the championship was the final
highlight of a record-setting career in College Park.

For Williams, it was validation. He had built the team his way, with players in his image. For the program, it was the concluding step of a journey that started in 1990.

Maryland had climbed out of the deepest valley to reach college basketball’s highest peak.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE BIG TWENTY: