A little more than four weeks before Selection Sunday, the NCAA did something this Saturday that it hadn’t done before with the men’s basketball tournament.
The Selection Committee put out the top-16 teams as of that moment, and even bracketed them into the regions that they would be in.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said of the show existing. “I think it promotes interest in the tournament, and it also holds everybody accountable.”
This is sort of like what the College Football Playoff has done, giving the public an idea of what their thinking is. But unlike the CFP, this bracket preview will be the only one this year, and as everyone knows, a lot can change in college basketball in four weeks.
“Certainly there has to be an explanation of why you went up or down or whatever,” Miller continued. “I think it’s really, really good.”
With this being a one-time deal, it kind of makes it a flash in the pan as far as actually knowing what the bracket will look like.
“That’s today,” explained Miller. “Tonight it’s already changed, and it will continue to change every day moving forward, but I’m glad we were on the TV as one of the sixteen teams.”
“I’m just glad I saw Arizona. To be one of the sixteen is good on February whatever, but there’s only one date that matters, and that’s the real Selection Sunday. Tonight, we took a step forward, and we have another opportunity this week.”
The team right in front of Arizona is the Oregon Ducks, which put them in the West Region which goes through San Jose this year.
Arizona is currently in front of Oregon in the Pac-12 standings, but the committee said head-to-head was the deciding factor between those two teams.
Sean Miller has no issue with that.
“Were you at the Oregon game?” Miller cracked when asked about being behind the Ducks. “I’m surprised they put us on the TV after that. (Head-to-head) is a great reason. You talk about it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. That’s what they did, and I was there.”
After the 16 teams were announced, CBS’ Jerry Palm gave his projection on the rest of the bracket, giving Arizona a first round matchup with 14-seed Belmont, and then the potential of 6-seed Maryland looming in the second round.
“I love listening to (Jerry Palm),” explained Miller. “He has some real substance behind what he says, and we invited him this past spring to the Pac-12 Conference meetings, and he addressed our coaches. His insight on the tournament and scheduling was invaluable, so it was great to hear him as well.”
“The importance of non-conference scheduling,” Miller added about what Palm talked about. “To be a united group and have a real method to what we all do, and the consequences of non-conference scheduling can impact potential bids.”
As of Saturday, Palm had five Pac-12 teams in the Field of 68, with USC and Cal being the two teams not named in the top-16.
Anyway you slice it, I think this bracket reveal show was good for the NCAA Tournament, and next year, you should probably expect to see more than one.