Madness Paradox wrapped in March Enigma

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Beware: This post is opinion utilizing truth and fact.

Wow, just wow.

Forget March Madness, this is unfettered Norte Cack-a-lack-y Craziness.

The NCAA, after three year’s spent promising to revitalize their admittedly ancient and broken system of a way-too-subjective selection and seeding process in the largest income producing event in all of amateur sports, college basketball’s March Madness… went silently stupid again.

Astute followers of the game had clearly felt the obfuscation by the selection committee getting to be ever more ridiculous with each new year.

Terms like, “body of work, good wins; bad losses”; and of course, RPI and the “eye test” could be juggled like a jig-saw puzzle trying to explain the logic behind the choices they made. For some teams, fans, and coaches the decisions seemed arbitrary… to others it appeared purposely done for political and/or financial reasons.

NCAA-basketball-tournament-bracket

In some instances they (the NCAA selection committee) insisted that late season games mattered (like Duke’s ACC Championship tourney run) and moved team(s) up two lines, then turned around and ignored other Power conference tourney winning teams like Michigan, Kentucky, and Arizona… who raced through their own conference tournaments unscathed.

They then had the audacity to infer that 1-seeds were “locked” before some of the conference tourneys had ended, giving new meaning to the term,”meaningless money-making event”. Didn’t they think that the fans who travel and pay good money to attend these events deserved better? Apparently NOT.

wisconsin-kansas-gonzaga-kentucky-ncaa-tournament-march-madness-sweet-16-preview

Seeding Idiocy Continues

Although this year’s committee did meet with several luminaries of the sports metrics in-cliche during the off-season by sponsoring a sort of “sports analytics meet-and-greet”; supposedly to get ideas and opinions on how to put some reality in their game of “68-card-monte”; a “double-speak shuffle” so baffling and incomprehensible that even the wise-guys and sharp money in Vegas had begun screaming foul.

Now, there’s some crooked dice being rolled when Vegas chimes in.

So… what did they do…?

Basically, they (the NCAA) were told that metrics could solve the subjectivity problem and identify the best teams and proper seeeds, and that luckily most of the algorithms already existed to identify them. Some tweaking for the tournaments time zones, particular or specific rules like teams from same conferences not meeting too early, high seed fan-base ease of travel distance, distances from team fan bases, etc. are issues that computers and software were invented to solve.

The metrics guys love the idea of using the proper statistics in meaningful ways. All that was needed was for the NCAA to decide what exactly was meaningful? Spending a few bucks to have some software developed shouldn’t be a problem, considering the amount of money their “golden goose” brings to the party each year.

OK, so… what did they do…?

Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

Basically it was:

NCAA: Thanks, but not now, please go home. We are eye-test story-line based dyed-in-the-wool money-grabbing subjective punishment oriented here. Exactly how are we gonna pull the wool over the entire basketball crazed nation if…?”

They were implying:

There’s a lot of money to be made in amateur athletics, with the right match-ups and great story-lines.

NCAA: That’s what we’re ALL about. TV advertising markets, made-for-TV extravaganzas. You know, like a DukeCarolina Final… for all the marbles. First time ever to meet on THE BIG STAGE. Big money. The route to the FINALS is critical and there’s no guarantees, but we’ll at least do our part.

Now, I know about point-shaving, but has anyone ever heard of stackin’ the bracket? Well… maybe you oughta’ listen more carefully. The NCAA subjectively selecting and seeding is akin to having the wolves guard the hen-house. The committee is made up of some of the member schools’ Athletic Directors. Guys/People who understand who greases the pan at every Division 1 school. $how Me da’Money Men.

At least this year it appeared their BigMedia x-perts (read: ex-Dookie NBA players who fizzed) were trained beforehand on what to say, and what to never utter on Selection Sunday, at least not before the “Ad-Bonanza-made-for-TV seeds and selection” mashup show. For example, when asked to speculate on 1-seedsnatty the CBS panel of ex-Dookies (Seth Davis, Jay Bilas, and Jay Williams) all insisted Duke had earned the 1-seed, and would not even mouth the words K-K-K-Ken-tu-cky, or Ar-i-Zona; because those two party crashers could objectively argue for some prime ACC seed-real estate, otherwise  known as the ‘1-seed ACC lock-throne’.

Except in case… if those 1-seed slots had been betrothed before Championship Weekend even started? Hmm…?

Hence, smart coaches like Bill Self took the information and ran with it… clear back to Kansas. The straw-man argument he used to get some R&R for him’s guys was losing to lowly ranked TCU because it included “punishing” star freshman Josh Jackson by sitting him for the game. Perfect.

“When you’re a lock and you know it… you can lose.”

When_March_Madness_basketball_FrankThe all too familiar ruse to sell  preferred but tainted and slanted propaganda in the name of fairness in college sports is troubling to a weary, knowledgeable and disgusted public. This time they took a page from the corporate controlled media machine, using recognizable but fake Big Media pundits to hawk their unbelievable stories and wares with a straight face, hoping we’d ALL buy in. But then the vaunted ACC just as quickly turned to marsh-mellow pudding before the sweet-16 tournament started; even after being handed extremely favorable seeds and match-ups.

After ACC teams Wake Forest, Virgina Tech, University of Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville, FSU, and Miami flamed out before the first weekend had ended… it took two blatantly obvious blown calls by the stripes for UNC to squeeze past SEC middling Arkansas. Even after one replay was checked at the monitor in the last minute by three blind mice and still called for Carolina despite anyone watching seeing it differently, Tarheel guard Joel Berry turned battering ram and plowed into and sent flying an Arkansas brick-house, shuffle-stepped and flipped the ball toward the basket. It was tipped in by Kennedy Meeks almost as an after thought. NO WHISTLE? OUCH! Arkansas had gone from up one to down three with precious time dwindling… Oh my!

Then ignoring the CBS/NCAA payday bonanza, Media/NCAA darling Duke laid a rotten egg against another SEC weak sister-in-law… South Carolina. Or maybe…?

HEY, maybe KENTUCKY was hot after all? Maybe, just maybe they were the rightful 1-seed to begin with, huh? A quick but not-so-well-thought-out post flew up “re-seeding” the sweet-16 teams left… making Kentucky number 10. Was it to hide their little screw-up? Psy-ops; now an NCAA vagarity with a twist?

I mean, there’s big money in amateur athletics.

No payday larger than “March Madness” the 68-team “big dance” each spring that pays the bills at almost every Division 1 sports program. Why not?


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 Stackin’ the Bracket Racket.

And, yes, I know Duke is 27-8. And, yes, I know no school has ever received a No. 1 seed with eight losses. But only two of those eight losses are sub-50 RPI losses — and those two sub-50 RPI losses came by a total of six points. Kansas, by the way, also has two sub-50 RPI losses. So does North Carolina.” 

by CBB blogspert Gary Parrish, CBSSPORTS

Mr. Parrish, another so-called expert is apparently clueless on this matter.  Or not. First, sub-villanova50 is below 50, PERIOD.

Duke had two losses above RPI 50, as in RPI 80 and RPI 142 (at home for god’s sake). They lost to RPI#s 2, 5, 7, 13, 42, and 48 by 14 points.

They beat RPI #s  5, 7, 11, 18, 23 of the top 25.

Lemme see:

But, Duke’s hot? Losing three of their last four regular season games is NOT hot. Kentucky had won 11 in a row. Michigan was on fire, Arizona dispatched all-comers in short order. Not so hot? Not. Hot.

Kentucky suffered losses only to RPI 3, 5, 7, 11, 16 and 80… a much better loss record than Duke’s. They were #4 RPI to Duke’s #6. Duke and Kentucky had 5 common opponents.

Both lost to Kansas and Louisville, both beat UNC, Michigan State, Florida. Duke beat UNC and Louisville for revenge, while Kentucky revenged Florida and Tennessee.

Kentucky was ranked ahead of Duke in EVERY reliable metrics/analytics site, like KenPom, Sagarin, Massey, Sonny Fox Power Index, and Five-Thirty-Eight, and even the NCAA selection committee’s bible metric called “The Nitty-Gritty Report” by Jerry (face)Palm. Not enough?

How about polls? Add the AP and USA Today Coaches polls where Kentucky was ranked higher than Duke.

But, was the committee hell bent on a Wichita-State vs.Kentucky TV re-match of 2014, or The Blue-Blood Tour with UK, UCLA, and UNC, or a re-match of The 2013 Championship Re-match between Louisville and Michigan, and on and on. Enough so, as to put the “screws” to teams like Wichita-State (and Kentucky) by transforming the likely 3 or 4 seed into a 10-seed Cinderella re-match-up when it was clear to anyone with half a brain that Wichita State was no 10-seed?

Can the committee explain how 10-seed Wichita State was ranked #8 in Kenpom.com while 4-seed Butler was ranked #24th? I think this only a partial plan of possibility, the bigger being paving the Yellow Brick Road for UNC and Duke.

Or, did North Carolina draw a semi-intentional bye? I mean, They did play KenPom #36 Arkansas who dispatched #51 Seton Hall, before their big #24 Butler showdown who had the 4-seed? Or is “dispatch” the right word after the stripes collectively swallowed their whistles after a monitor review clearly showed Arkansas ball, then ignored a mini-dump truck running head-on into a mini-cooper after running a stopsign (J. Berry), sliding sideways then flipping an assist to a teammate as if nothing at all unusual transpired.

NCAA Men's Final Four - National Championship - Villanova v North Carolina
HOUSTON, TEXAS – APRIL 04: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 to win the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four National Championship game at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

OK. So #2-seed #4 ranked UK had to play #8 KP ranked W-S… a 10-seed. Anyone with LIAR written on their forehead in large letters can give you very good reasons. But then Kentucky faced KP# 16 UCLA, a run-and-gun team even Carolina openly feared. Can you say someone ran the gauntlet and someone went on holiday? GAUNTLET? Maybe UCLA should have been the 4-seed with Wichita as the 3-seed? ON paper, it makes PERFECT sense… but the only thing about this Tournament on paper are Federal Reserve Notes.

Had it happened, Kentucky is still playing and the losers are prolly missing those 8:00 classes, huh Luke? PR much? What an obvious ass-kiss at the NCAA.

No fair? Committee don’t care. Sports media talking heads don’t care. And where’s the hair on a pear? Nowhere môn-frair’.

A legitimate case can also be made for Kentucky being seeded over UNC in this Bracket Stack, not the least being that Kentucky beat UNC head-to-head. Had a better record and din’t lose to Indiana or Georgia Tech. Lost to UT by 2 at UT, Carolina beat UT by 2 at UNC.

And UNC lost to RPI 81 (x9) and 97 (x12). While Kentucky had 3 SEC opponents worse than 97, they didn’t lose to any of them. There are good losses and bad wins according to metrics guys. UNC beat Pitt by 4 in the Dome. UL beat Pitt by 55 at Pitt.

Sorry to break it to you RPI boneheads, but THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. According to Ken Pomeroy there are such things like margin of victory which are IMPORTANT. It’s borne out everyday in the metrics. But, you gotta’ look at ’em first…

As for Kansas, no team ought to be given a #1-seed Championship Weekend furlough bonus pass before/after losing a first round game to a high seed; so as to insure that the fans who attend see a hungry… not a “locked” 1-seed… earn their badge to the 1-seed line.

Losing to a first round weakling by the 1-seed is cause to be punished in the Mad Marchness seeding… not rewarded with extra days off for R&R. I mean… c’mon? Who are you kidding?

Self also used his gift to appease a concerned media and public by “punishing” his star Freshman, who was in another troubling but typical Kansas police/domestic incident. His punishment was also his “just reward”, or his excuse to lose and go home and get some rest.

It’s good work if you can get it.

But, I know the REAL REASON seeding was done this way and it has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do The Almighty.

Dollar that is, not Blue Devil.

LOL if they think we’re blissfully unaware and stupid too. And like ole Roy it’ll be deny, deny, deny, an lie, deny, and lie-lie-la-le-te-da… the lie. We know NUT-TEEN. No oversight, no foresight, no sight, and ain’t friggin’ right.

To hawk their “Golden Goose” with a straight two-face… que up “One Shitty, I mean Shining Moment”.

It’s time for a change in the NCAA tournament selection process; before THEY really lay the egg that finally kills her dead in her tracks. Somethin’ smells, and this ain’t Denmark.

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