If I am Providence coach Ed Cooley, I am delighted I am part of the NCAA tournament field, but I am not real happy that the Friars tournament trip will start in the play in games in Dayton. And I am really not happy that the opponent will be USC, who the Friars met in the first round of last year's tournament. More about that later.
Here's what Cooley should be upset about. Providence is a No. 11 seed in the East Regional. Marquette is a No. 10 seed in the East and will face South Carolina in it's first game in Greenville.
Providence and Marquette should be flipped.
Let's look at some hard numbers first. Both teams finished with 10-8 records in the Big East. So what is usually the first tie breaker? Head to head. The two teams played twice. Providence won both times.
Not good enough. OK. The much talked about RPI. Marquette's last ranking was 61. PC? 55. Records against Top 50 opponents. Both teams were 1-4. Against Top 50, Marquette was 6-3, PC was 5-4. Against Top 100 PC was 2-1, Marquette was 2-3.
Strength of schedule? Providence was at 49. Marquette at 59.
The ONLY real edge that Marquette has is a 2 point victory over Villanova. The Friars lost to Nova twice.
In my opinion, PC should have been the No. 10 seed.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Now let's get to the Friars first round opponent. The principles of the NCAA tournament bracket states that, "If possible, rematches of the two previous tournaments should be avoided. But in fairness to the selection committed, with the four teams selected: USC, PC, Wake Forest and Kansas State there was no way to avoid that given the way the bracket had been set up in the higher seeds.
Lots of grumbling about Duke being selected in the No. 2 line after beating No. 1 North Carolina for the second time in three tries in the ACC tournament.
Please. Carolina was a comfortable winner during the regular season in the toughest conference in college basketball this season. And the selection committee didn't even have the Blue Devils as the Top No. 2 seed, trailing Kentucky and Arizona.
Syracuse didn't make the tournament for a variety or reasons, mainly because the Orange didn't have any quality wins away from the Dome and had a loss at Boston College on its resume.
So Syracuse will finish its season in the NIT, which could mean a anooher trip to Madison Square Garden for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim.
Don't be shocked if Boeheim retires this season, rather than next as expected. Walking out of the Garden with a trophy would be a fitting way to end Boeheim's career.
The Quinnipiac job is open and it should attract some good people. Great facilities and an administration that understands of successful athletics and a league (MAAC) that has no monsters. Keep an eye on St. Bonaventure's Mark Schmidt stepping into the picture.
If UMass wants to hire a rock star as it's next coach, it should take a long look at Florida Gulf Coast's Joe Dooley, who could be the A10 version of Jay Wright. Dooley has Jersey pedigree (always a strong thing), was a great recruiter at Kansas and has head coaching experience at East Carolina and FGCU.
The only problem for UMass is that if FGCU wins its opening game in Orlando in a West Regional game on Thursday night he will move to a higher level, with Power 5 conference schools chasing Dooley.[/membership]