I really enjoyed Matt Norlander's re-seeding of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 teams. What would happen if that actually happened? Let's jump on the trolley and head to the Neighborhood of Make Believe.
Sunday of Conference Championship Week: CBS broadcasts the Selection Show. Directional regionals (East, Southeast, South by SouthWest) are dropped for the city hosting the Regional Championship. Jokes about the Newark Regional causes Twitter to failwhale. The seeds are announced with great weeping and gnashing of the teeth. After the show is over, ESPN starts their selection analysis show with Jay Bilas flogging himself with a Cat O' Nine Tails.
Tuesday and Wednesday
Play-In 1st Round Games: Nobody cares except for the teams playing.
Thursday through Sunday 2nd & 3rd Round Games: Mostly Typical Madness. Second Round upsets won't be reseeded for their 3rd round matchups. Every high-seeded team that advances to the Sweet 16 ends up rooting for other higher-seeded teams to win. With more higher-seeded teams, the better chance one higher-seeded team will end up higher than 14th in the Sweet 16 Re-seeding. (Which means Florida State was really, really excited when VCU won.)
Monday at Noon: The NCAA Seeding Committee -- which consists of one or two additional analysis experts, preferably the sentient artificial intelligence Ken Pomeroy and Jeff Sagarin -- re-seeds the Sweet 16. Previous seeding are considered but not a lynchpin. Using Matt Norlander's overall re-seedings, the matchups would shake out as follows:
- Ohio State vs. VCU
- Florida vs. Wisconsin
- Kansas vs. Marquette
- Kentucky vs. Connecticut
- Duke vs. Richmond
- BYU vs. Florida State
- North Carolina vs. Arizona
- San Diego State vs. Butler
Weeping and gnashing of the teeth occurs. True mid-majors (like VCU) go from a winnable Sweet 16 game against Florida State to a death-sentence against Ohio State. High mid-majors (BYU, San Diego State) have a legitimate shot for a Final Four. Kansas loses their amazingly-weak Marquette/Florida State/VCU region. Bracket traditionalists declare jihad against the re-seeding.
Tuesday and Wednesday before Sweet 16 games: Americans enter in their Sweet 16/Elite 8 picks in their office pools and online bracket contests. The online game designers are immensely happy that millions of players are all logging in for a 2nd time to update their brackets and generate page views & clickthroughs. The secretary at the office who picked VCU because she saw a picture of Shaka Smart and thought he was cute is still ahead in the overall point standings but can really blow away her lead with bad picks in the regionals.
Thursday through Sunday of Regional Games: There will be one or two upsets just like a traditional bracket. Gus Johnson is given BYU's region and we are entertained. Every Elite 8 game is massively entertaining and competitive.
Monday at noon following Regional Finals games: NCAA Seeding Committee seeds the Final 4. Once again, the major underdog (probably San Diego State) is paired up with the best team (probably Ohio State). This time the weeping and gnashing of the teeth will be for the poor underdog who likely won't make it to the championship game. Everybody goes to update their brackets; fights break out over bracket scoring systems that make Fantasy Football scoring arguments look like mild disagreements.
Saturday and Monday of Final 4 Games: We all watch. When the National Champion is announced, columnists bend over backwards to declare the school won it's six games fair and square. Counter-arguments arise regarding how the overall #1 seed (supposedly the #1 team in the nation) is given every advantage in the tournament and criticism is leveled over the new importance on a team's overall schedule, RPI and Strength of Schedule.
The secretary in your office still wins the bracket. Most of America goes back to forgetting about college basketball until Feb 15th of 2012.