LIKE IT IS:

No. 1 seeding no bargain for Wichita State

By: Wally Hall
Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Wichita State forward Carl Hall celebrates by cutting down the net after defeating Ohio State 70-66 in a West Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Photo by The Associated Press
Wichita State forward Carl Hall celebrates by cutting down the net after defeating Ohio State 70-66 in a West Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

It is about time.

The play-in games, or the first four as the NCAA likes to call them (although few sports fans use that term), are finished and the band is no longer warming up for the Big Dance.

Soon, hopefully, ESPN’s Dick Vitale will tire of his crying and whining about the seeding of the NCAA Tournament, especially Louisville being a No. 4 seed and Kentucky being a No. 8 seed.

Not sure if Vitale realizes there can only be four No. 1 seeds, four No. 2 seeds and four No. 3 seeds in the tournament. So the question is: In his great wisdom - he has insight into the game and is truly a nice guy - who should Louisville replace from that group?

That’s what we thought.

As for Kentucky, it lost twice to Arkansas and once each to South Carolina and LSU. None of those teams made the NCAA Tournament field, and the Gamecocks had an overall losing record.

The Wildcats may have been lucky to be a No. 8 seed, even if they did play Florida close in the SEC Championship Game. It was still their third loss of the season to the No. 1-seeded Gators. Of course,it makes it more difficult for Kentucky that it is in the Midwest Region, which is the region the NCAA Tournament selection committee should have been grilled about.

How can you put undefeated Wichita State in a region where its second game would be the winner of Kansas State-Kentucky, and it most likely would have to get by the two teams that played for the national championship last year, Louisville and Michigan?

Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan were Final Four teams last year. Why didn’t they just go ahead and stick in Syracuse, the other semifinalist last season, as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest? Oh, wait, that spot belongs to Duke.

The winner of the Midwest Region, if it avoids injuries, should be the toughest team playing in the Final Four at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

There has been a ton of chatter about the Arkansas Razorbacks programs this week, not just in the state but nationally.

The Razorbacks are the only SEC team not to get a bowl or NCAA Tournament invite. Not sure if the football team will go bowling next year either, not with that schedule, but the basketball team won its opening game in the NIT, and that is progress for Mike Anderson.

Also, not one SEC team that played in a bowl game was invited to the NCAA Tournament, which further illustrates how badly the SEC has slipped in basketball and become primarily a football conference.

Some eyebrows rose when Auburn hired former Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl to take over its basketball program.

Pearl, as everyone knows, lied to the NCAA during an investigation while coaching the Vols and got a three-year suspension. He turned to TV and working with a private business in Knoxville until he was hired by Auburn.

His suspension is up in August and no doubt Auburn’s director of enforcement, David Didion, who was director of enforcement at the NCAA when Pearl was suspended, will know how to word the formal request to end the suspension and let Pearl start recruiting.

Pearl might even be at next month’s Real Deal in the Rock, and he might even pay his registration fee like all the other coaches this time.

According to Vegas odds makers, the closest thing to a Cinderella is No. 9 Oklahoma State, which is 16th in the odds at 40-1; No. 8-seeded Kentucky is No. 15 at 33-1.

All the teams listed before them are Nos. 1-2-3, except for No. 4 Michigan State, which is the second favorite, behind Florida, and just ahead of No. 4 Louisville.

Sports, Pages 19 on 03/20/2014

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