Questions to ponder over Selection Sunday brunch with the bracket unveiling about six hours away:
* With Kentucky clearly the NCAA tournament’s top overall seed, and Duke a weaker No. 2, will the bluebloods be bracketed for a potential regional final?
‘Twould be a natural, 20 years after their epic East Regional final in Philadelphia, won on Duke’s Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner connection in overtime. And CBS would milk it for all it was worth.
Best guess: It happens. But unless Ryan Kelly recovers quickly from his foot injury, don’t bank on the Blue Devils reaching any regional final.
* Is a lower seed better for Virginia?
The ceiling for the Cavaliers is likely an 8/9 game. But that translates to a subsequent encounter with a No. 1 seed.
Might Virginia be better served as a 10 or 11, which means an ensuing game with a No. 2 or 3 seed?
If the Cavaliers are an 8/9, figure on Pittsburgh or Louisville as their destination, to play Syracuse or Kentucky.
If they’re a 10, as I suspect, possible venues might be Omaha, Neb., where Kansas appears a likely No. 2, or Columbus, Ohio, where Michigan State could be a 2.
* If North Carolina is a No. 1 seed as expected, to which regional will the Tar Heels be assigned?
Syracuse is a natural for Boston. Kentucky could go to Atlanta or St. Louis – the latter is actually closer to Lexington, Ky. The fourth No. 1 – Kansas, Missouri, Michigan State or Ohio State – could play in eitherSt. Louis or Phoenix.
The worst scenario for North Carolina, and one the selection committee ought to avoid, is shipping the Tar Heels to Phoenix. That would mean Friday-Sunday games in Greensboro, N.C., with a crazy-quick turnaround to Thursday-Saturday in Phoenix.
The best way to play this is Syracuse to Boston, North Carolina to Atlanta, Kentucky to St. Louis and the fourth No. 1 to Phoenix.
* Norfolk State figures to be a No. 16 seed, but will the Spartans’ first Division I tournament appearance start with an opening-round game in Dayton, Ohio? In other words, is Norfolk State among the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers?
It’s possible. Only three AQs – No. 135 Vermont, No. 143 Mississippi Valley State and No. 189 Western Kentucky – are below No. 128 Norfolk State on the RPI.
Not to suggest the committee seeds based strictly on RPI. Lamar or Detroit could easily land in Dayton instead of the Spartans.
If not Dayton for Norfolk State, bank on Greensboro to play North Carolina, or Pittsburgh to face Syracuse or the winner of today’s Big Ten title game between Michigan State and Ohio State.
* Does anyone want to play VCU?
The short answer is no. The Rams look like a No. 11 or 12 seed – I lean 11 – and given their postseason pedigree and full-court defensive pressure, higher seeds will cringe at seeing them in their bracket.
Jerry Palm of CollegeRPI.com and CBS, has VCU playing Wichita State in a 12-5 game and a rematch of their 2011 BracketBusters meeting. I hope he’s wrong. I’d rather see both these mid-majors be paired against, and cause havoc for, power conference opponents.
Felt the same last season when Old Dominion met Butler. Both were capable of deep tournament runs, and sure enough, after beating the Monarchs 60-58 on Matt Howard’s loose-ball, buzzer-beating layup, the Bulldogs advanced to the national championship game for the second consecutive year.
That’s all for now. Here’s a link to my projected field of 68.
Enjoy today’s conference championship games and have pencil and bracket sheet ready at 6 p.m.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
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