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Monday, March 14, 2005

Field of dreams

Duke beats Georgia Tech for the ACC Tournament title.

Instead of letting Duke bask in its glory, we turn our attention immediately to the NCAA tournament pairings.

I'll say right off the bat that the subjectivity of selecting and seeding the tournament field has bothered me since it expanded to 64 teams. But it's reality, and there's nothing I can do about it.

So Duke, by winning the ACC tournament, bumps Wake Forest from a No. 1 seed. Fair enough. Wake's regular-season-ending victory over a less-than-impressive State team, coupled with the quarterfinal loss to a more-impressive Wolfpack, rated a drop in seeding.

It was a given that Carolina was a No. 1, no matter how the Tar Heels fared in the tournament. Considering the fact that the Heels played well against Tech but were beaten by the better team on that particular day, I don't have a problem with their top seed.

Illinois, of course, was no-brainer. That leaves Washington, the most controversial choice for a No.1 seed. Selection committee chairman Bob Bowlsby explained that Kentucky's abysmal performance against Florida in the SEC championship game knocked the Wildcats out of a top seed.

But what about Oklahoma State? I've been very impressed with them both times I've seen them play. They beat Kansas, the team with the top RPI, in the semifinals before winning the Big 12 tournament with a win over Texas Tech. Is the Big 12 not a stronger conference than the Pac-10? By the way, if the RPI is so important, how does Kansas drop all the way to a No. 3 seed?

I'm also wondering how Syracuse, winners of the Big East tournament, falls all the way to a No. 4 seed. I'm not saying the Orangemen deserve a No.1, considering the crowded field at the top. But, considering the fact that the Big East is one of the top conferences in the country, do they not deserve at least a higher seed than Connecticut?

For what it's worth, Dookie V makes his Final Four picks: Illinois, Wake, Duke and Carolina.

Safe picks. But Vitale ought to know there's going to be a wild card in there somewhere. He just doesn't know who or where. Nor do we. That's why it's called March Madness.