Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Slight Detour: March Madness

*First let me remind our wonderful readers that yours truly, Holy Hitter, attended Duke University (Duke Divinity School to be exact) from 2004-2007. I say this because while I try to be objective, I might actually still have some subjectivity in me.*

Patrick Reusse went on a rant over the NCAA selections, you can read it yourself here. Nevermind that the whole topic of the article is overdone and a piece that gets written every year across the nation. No the problem I have is a lack of objectivity. Reusse states:

"The committee also offered the usual bouquet to Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. The Blue Devils lost four of their past 10 games. The last of those came against Clemson in the ACC tournament semifinals.

No matter.

CBS and the NCAA were heartbroken when their beloved Dookies were knocked out in the first round by Virginia Commonwealth a year ago. The committee was going to make sure that another early exit did not befall Coach I Deserve Every Call.

Duke was given a second seed and placed up the road in Washington D.C. It has Belmont in the first round and the minor task of defeating West Virginia (seventh seed) or Arizona (10th) in the second round."

1st- Duke is a good basketball program. Personally, I thought they were more deserving of a #3 seed, but I can see how the committee comes up with giving them a #2 seed. The notion that Duke always gets the "favor" of the committee does not objectively look at the facts that over the past 10 years no other program has won more games. Yes, they lost 4 out of their past ten games. 1 was a horrible loss to Wake Forrest, the other a quality loss to the 3rd best team in the ACC (the Miami Hurricanes). The 3rd was to #1 overall seed North Carolina (a game that Duke had won but then let slip away in the final 2 minutes), and the last came Saturday to Clemson in which they played the absolute worse game of the year (well except for maybe that Wake Forrest game) and still had a chance to win the game in the closing minutes. While they maybe should have had a #3 seed, saying that they are getting their "usual bouquet" is not objective or factual.

2nd- The notion that CBS and the NCAA were heartbroken over Duke's loss to VCU last year is 100% bogus. That loss made for a good story line and almost everyone loves to see Duke lose. Duke might be the most televised program because of that fact. People watch hoping that they lose.

3rd- His name calling of Duke and Coach K show his lack of objectivity. Reusse does not like Duke. I get it and he proves it by calling Coach K "Coach I Deserve Every Call" and calling them the "Beloved Dookies"

4th- He talks about how they get put up in Washington D.C., but then he fails to mention that they then cross the country to the Western Bracket to play out the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games (if they make it that far). D.C. is roughly 5-6 hours away from Durham. Omaha is roughly 6-7 hours away from Madison.) Now looking at Wisconsin who got the #3 seed in the Midwest, if they make the Sweet 16 only has to go to Detroit to play. Yeah, poor Badgers. They got jobbed.

5th- No doubt teams might have legitimate gripes about their seed or not making the tourney, but if someone is going to gripe I expect them to look at the whole picture and not just beat their bias drum without doing some objective broad research in their critique. Reusse talks about how Arizona got in yet ASU didn't even though ASU beat Arizona twice. But lets look at the whole body of work. Yes Arizona was 19-14 which is two more losses than ASU's 19-12 mark. Yes ASU had a 9-9 conference record while Arizona was 8-10, but lets also look at the losses by Arizona (2 vs. UCLA, 1 vs. Kansas, 1 vs. Memphis, 2 vs. Stanford...yes folks half of their losses were against top 10 ranked teams and 5 of those against top 4 in the nation teams). Combine that with two wins vs. Washington State, a win over Texas A&M and they start looking respectable. How about ASU? They had a big top 10 win vs. Stanford, 2 losses vs. UCLA and 2 Losses vs. that same Washington State team that Arizona beat twice. So lets see they had two wins vs. ranked teams and yes had 8 losses vs. unranked team. Say what you will, it could be debated but Reusse just uses the logic that teams with similar records that have met each other's bids should be determined by their head to head matchup, but that misses the fact that Arizona might not have as many losses if they wouldn't have had a far tougher non-conference schedule.

That is all I have to say about Reusse. Those people who wrote comments though are another story. The Badger beating drum is strong. How Wisconsin got jobbed and should have gotten a #2 seed because they won the Big Ten regular season and tourney. Folks have to come to the realization that the Big Ten aint what it used to be. Yes the Badgers beet Texas by one point earlier in the season, but Texas has shown that they deserved that #2 seed. Tennessee, well they probably should have been a #1 so their #2 is warranted. Georgetown deserved the #2. The only gripe could be against Duke. Duke had 5 losses didn't win the ACC regular season or tourney so maybe Wisconsin should have gotten the #2, but remember Duke throttled Wisconsin early in the season, has quality losses vs. Pitt (back before Pitt got injured, more like the current Pitt team that just won the Big East Tourney) vs. UNC and then Miami and Clemson. They have that one horrible loss vs. Wake. Wisconsin lost to Purdue twice, got whooped by Duke, and lost to a Marquette team that Duke beat. Then remember that Duke also beat UNC once. I think it is pretty fair that Duke got the #2 seed over Wisconsin. I don't think it has anything to do with a bias to Duke or some favoritism, but rather I think the committee objectively thought Duke was more deserving of the #2 seed. I just wish people would use reason and logic rather than just ranting about some Duke bias.

P.S. I was reading a comment about how Billy Packer loves Duke. I have never believed this, and as a Duke fan I hate Billy Packer because he always seems to be ripping on Duke (especially if they are playing UNC or any other ACC team).


  1. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Dude, Billy Packer is biased towards Duke and the entire ACC. To say anything else is blind homerism.

    Normally I would be irate that Duke got a 2 seed over a team like Wisconsin, but Duke did wax them, so there's no way you can put the Badgers over Duke.

    And for Arizona, if we're going to put a team in the tournament because of their losses, why not let Maryland in with their win @ UNC, 2 losses to Duke, and loss to UCLA? Actually, Oregon was more of a joke than Arizona was.

    VCU should have been in instead.

  2. Anonymous12:33 PM

    The comment on Arizona was in reaction to Reusse's semi-rant/argument that ASU should have been in instead of them.

    The point was more to counter Reusse's lack of objectivity and what I would consider "good journalism" in order to beat his drum.

    Did the committee err? Probably, but as will any institution that is based on a subjective opinion like a committee. They try their best and probably some times they get it wrong. Personally, I don't feel Oregon, Kentucky, or Arizona deserved to be in.

    Again I wasn't putting Arizona "in" because of their losses, but rather trying to show how they could be justified as being selected over a team like ASU.

  3. Not that I believe that Wisconsin should be a #2 (that would be blind homerism on my part), but one important thing to remember about that Texas game was that the Badgers were playing without their leading scorer (so it's a little more impressive). I don't think the Badgers will get past the Sweet 16.

    My final four: Georgetown, Memphis, Tenn, UCONN.