Top-seeded Gonzaga, Villanova (6 overall), and Virginia (9) crashed a gridiron greats (and merely goods) get-together Saturday, as the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee revealed its prospective top 16 seeds for March Madness. A preview in the mold of the pointless weekly College Football Playoff ranking reveals now features many of the same schools.
Just look at this list! Alabama and Ohio State, your college football title tilt just over a month ago, now both in the top half of hoops’ preliminary Sweet 16 … plus all-time, old-timey football programs like Michigan, Texas and Oklahoma ... but it’s not just football royalty, nosiree … all your favorite middling bowl-eligible programs are here too, including 2020 Liberty Bowl champion West Virginia, plus Tennessee, Iowa … and more!
Ohio State (4) didn’t need a rules change this time (ahem) to see its way onto the 1-seed line with sworn enemies Michigan (3, and just happy to right now be avoiding the Buckeyes until a later round given the way the football team has performed against them in the Jim Harbaugh era). Illinois (5) rounds out a Top 5 trifecta for the Big Ten.
2021 national champion (in that other sport) Alabama slots in behind ’Nova on the 2-seed line, along with recent New Mexico Bowl participants Houston. West Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma rounding out the 3-seed line behind defending champion Virginia. (Yes, this time I mean basketball … but it’s been awhile since anyone paid attention, so don’t feel bad if your last memory of the Cavaliers is shitting the bed as the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed in UMBC, before winning the 2019 crown.)
The 4-seed line is straight off an early-October Saturday on the gridiron: Iowa, Texas Tech, Texas, and Missouri..
March Madness has a new look this year, and by new look I mean good luck recognizing a lot of what happens next month.
Conference tournaments? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tournament regions? Well, all games are in or around Indianapolis so … not so much.
First round games? Now on Friday and Saturday, eschewing the usual Thursday tip-off that had my grandmother calling me in a tizzy every year because she was missing her programs (that means soap operas). And finally, you may be noticeably missing some blue-blood basketball programs up above. They all kinda stink this year.
Get used to the idea of a tournament without Duke, Kansas, or North Carolina. Kentucky might not even be good enough for the NIT.
It all adds up to an unpredictable tourney, and ain’t that really what we all want? Okay, yes, fine, that’s what we want for one weekend at least.
Anyway, go team, rah, first and ten do it again. And just get us through these post-Super Bowl February doldrums to March right quick, please and thank you. Meanwhile, wear a mask.