Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's Selection Sunday!

Yeah, yeah, I know it's St. Patrick's Day but, c'mon, what really is important is that it's SELECTION SUNDAY!  In case you've been under a rock and not cruising your favorite sports websites, today is the day when all of us will spend way too much time trying to find out Middle Tennessee State's Ken Pom rating or debate whether Gonzaga is truly deserving of a one seed, even if they do have the best record in the country.

Let's throw it around a bit as we all gamely wait for 5:00 p.m. CT and the talking heads at CBS, followed by the inevitable wailing from Dick Vitale and his posse on ESPN an hour later.

- Why isn't winning a regular season conference title a prerequisite for becoming an NCAA Tournament one seed?  Sure, as a Kansas fan, this is self-serving but the reality is that this provides greater relevance and importance to the regular season, thus heightening fan interest.

- The big one seed debate seems to be Kansas or Duke.  The so-called locks at the one line are Gonzaga, Indiana and Louisville who, by the way, all won their regular season conference titles.  Duke has long been suggested as a one but did not win the ACC regular season (that honor went to Miami) and is not in the final of the ACC Tournament.  Yes, I know that Duke was undefeated with Ryan Kelly in the lineup but he was starting when Maryland took the Blue Devils down on Friday.  If Duke gets the one, then Kansas will surely be the two in that region--likely the South.  But, the Jayhawks deserve the one by virtue of sharing the Big 12 regular season championship coupled with their winning the league's post-season tournament championship.

- John Higgins, the veteran ref who T-ed up Bill Self on Friday night, did not work the Big 12 Tournament final yesterday.  Higgins normally would seem to be a logical choice for that final game, given his experience and stature, which makes me wonder if league officials decided that pairing him with Self, the day after, was not a good choice.

- And, on the topic of officiating, yes, in both halves yesterday, there was an opening foul disparity of no fouls for Kansas and six for Kansas State.  The final tally in the game was 12 fouls on KU and 14 on KSU.  A key reason for the early gap in numbers was the way the Wildcats opened each half--eating up shot clock and standing on offense versus attacking the basket.

- Suggestion to Bruce Weber:  Don't tug on Superman's cape by lamenting the loss of a regular season conference crown due to questionable officiating in Ames, Iowa.

- Jeff Withey of KU won the Big 12 Tournament MVP but I'm curious about how many votes were cast for Kansas' Perry Ellis.  Ellis exploded in two games against Iowa State and Kansas State, going 15 of 18 from the field with six rebounds each night.

- Rodney Magruder of Kansas State is one of the least appreciated players in the country.  The kid is terrific at creating space to get his shots and is a load in Weber's motion offense.

- This weekend's Big 12 Tournament set attendance records, which means more of the same will follow should both Kansas and Kansas State make it to Sprint Center, as expected, on Friday and Sunday of this coming week.  KSU will likely end up in Kansas City, should they score a four seed or better.

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