The Best Elite Eight Ever?

At least it is according to the seedings and that is really ironic considering we were all told that this was a new age of parity in college basketball. This Elite Eight will feature the lowest combined total of seedings ever at 13 which averages out to 1.625. Here are the seedings for the Elite Eight since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985:

seedings.JPG

Source for Data: CBS Sportsline

Looking back at the history of the expanded tournament the closest we have ever come to this is 1993 when you also ended up with the lowest combined seeding total in the Final Four with three ones and a two. The 1993 Elite Eight had four #1s, two #2s, one #3, and one #7. The worst Elite Eight ever according to seeding? Twice in 1990 and 2000 which is interesting because in 1980 when the field was at 48 teams, the combined seeding total for the Elite Eight was 35. In other words the start of every decade produces some wild NCAA Tournaments.

I do think there is actually less of a chance all the #1 seeds will get to Atlanta because they are playing three #2s and a #3. At any rate you have eight teams at the highest level playing each other. It should be great.

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25 Responses to The Best Elite Eight Ever?

  1. C. Michael says:

    This is kind of funny…

    From ESPN:

    The Hoyas have, by far, the most unheralded Big East conference player of the year in recent history. Green has received a number of superlatives from his peers, coaches and broadcasters this season, but no one would blame mainstream America if it hasn’t caught on to Green’s magnificent talent.

    Right next to it, there is a picture with the caption:

    Jeff Green made the biggest play of the Hoyas’ season, and none of his teammates were surprised.

    The only problem… the picture is of Ewing Jr.!! Hilarious!!!

  2. C. Michael says:

    Also, I would like to apologize to Tar Heel nation. I have had a long week and with the 10:00 tip, I was lazy and stayed lying prone on my couch during the first 23 minutes of the game. When UNC went down 16, and I realized this may be the last basketball game I watch until Novemeber, I decided to man-up and take my customary positition sitting at the edge of the coffee table. We all know how the next 17 minutes went. I promise, that will NEVER happen again!

    Yours,
    C. Michael

  3. williamodouglas says:

    Maybe all the Georgetown players look alike to ESPN. That is pretty funny.

  4. Mike White says:

    That’s because all of the Georgetown players DO look alike!

  5. williamodouglas says:

    I am not saying this to be gay or anything, not that there is anything wrong with being gay, as people’s private sexual choices are nobody’s business but their own, but Patrick Ewing, Jr. is an attractive young man. I never thought of his father as being a particularly attractive individual.

  6. williamodouglas says:

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — USC coach Tim Floyd tossed the papers he holds throughout the game to the court, drawing a technical foul with 49 seconds remaining in the Trojans’ Sweet 16 game against top-seeded North Carolina.

    He might as well have tossed a white flag.

    Floyd isn’t the type to surrender anything, let alone a basketball game, but on this night, the frustration he felt was, in part, due to the 18-0 run the Tar Heels used to steamroll his Trojans and turn a 16-point deficit into 74-64 victory.

    Earlier in the evening, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings hadn’t felt the need to hurl anything on the court. He had every reason to believe his players were about to celebrate a Sweet 16 upset of No. 2 seed Georgetown. Instead, on one play by Jeff Green, the most versatile player left in the field (and maybe in the nation, because of his passing), the Commodores’ season was over.

    Jeff Green made the biggest play of the Hoyas’ season, and none of his teammates were surprised.

    Green sliced through a double-team from Ross Neltner and Shan Foster for a soft, off-the-glass shot to give the Hoyas a 66-65 victory.

    The combination of The Shot and The Run sets up a dream East Regional final on Sunday, and how both teams got to this point really defines them this season.

    The Hoyas have, by far, the most unheralded Big East conference player of the year in recent history. Green has received a number of superlatives from his peers, coaches and broadcasters this season, but no one would blame mainstream America if it hasn’t caught on to Green’s magnificent talent.

    Quite simply, Green is a go-to player who doesn’t need to take a shot. It’s rare that a go-to guy doesn’t always have to score, but there have been plenty of times this season when Green would set up the play, rather than complete it. He also has had his share of big shots, like against Villanova and Notre Dame in Big East play.

    On Friday night’s decisive play, Green had options — notably to find Patrick Ewing Jr. — but instead he opted to take the ball himself, drive inside, spin and convert with 2.5 seconds remaining.

    “He’s my security blanket,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of Green. “And I’m Linus [of Peanuts fame].

    “I just put the ball in his hands,” said JT3, who will be coaching in his first-ever Elite Eight on Sunday. “I trust his instincts. He is the smartest player I know. He knows what to do in situations. It’s comforting. He’s so intelligent and makes the right decision.”

    Vandy’s Neltner said he came over to help Foster, leaving Ewing Jr., and still can’t figure out how Green got through to the hoop. He said it all happened so fast.

    “He just squirmed his way through, I guess,” Neltner said. “He’s so versatile, at 6-8, 6-9 where he can shoot, penetrate, pass. I thought we had him stopped on that last play.”

    You can argue that Green traveled, if you’d like, although one person I know who has officiated e-mailed me Friday night and said a player is allowed to “alight” on his non-pivot foot to shoot or pass. There could be a debate over whether his right foot slipped a little, causing a violation, but he did make a step-through move, which is a taught move, to complete the play.

    Green says he didn’t travel. If anything, he said, “I probably got pushed and they didn’t call it.”

    Green did call glass, not that he had much vision of the rim when he released the game-winner

    “I didn’t have one,” he said of a clean look. “I just had to get the ball over the top of them and put it on the glass.”

    Georgetown center Roy Hibbert, who fouled out with 3:58 remaining, said Green pulls these kind of moves, scoring through a double team, every day in practice, so his doing it in a game is no surprise.

    “He’s just so comfortable in the post, as he is on the perimeter,” JT3 said. “He has the skills to get his own shot. He’s so unselfish, and so many times he makes the pass, but [Friday] he decided to shoot.”

    The Tar Heels will have just as hard a time defending Green, trying to figure out what his next move is. The other thing the Hoyas have that the Trojans didn’t in the second half is the ability to rebound. North Carolina’s relentless work on the offensive backboard in the second half led to the run that left the Trojans’ flustered and out of sorts.

    What did it feel like to go on an 18-0 run to take control of a game, and to do it without Tyler Hansbrough scoring a point?

    “I can’t explain it,” UNC freshman guard Wayne Ellington said. “It felt like we were playing Carolina basketball.”

    The run was happening so fast that UNC freshman point Ty Lawson said he had no idea how many points the Tar Heels had scored in a row.

    “I just knew we were back in the game,” Lawson said.

    “Was it 18-0?” USC freshman guard Daniel Hackett asked. “It was about controlling the boards.”

    “It was just an inability to rebound,” said USC coach Tim Floyd, whose Trojans allowed 13 second-half offensive boards as the Tar Heels took 37 second-half shots to USC’s 27. North Carolina made only 2 of 14 3s on the night, but had just nine turnovers to USC’s 18, and continued to attack, attack, and attack some more on the offensive backboard.

    “Everybody says we’re young, but this was good for us and showed how we can make stops,” Hansbrough said. “An 18-0 run is pretty good, especially when I’m a big offensive contributor to the team and (to not score) shows the depth we have on this team.”

    The Hoyas have their share of big-shot makers like Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp, but they beat Vandy by allowing the most versatile player on the court, Green, to make a play.

    Carolina has plenty of playmakers, the most talented depth of any team remaining in the field, so getting down by 16 doesn’t seem to rattle them one bit. When they turn it on, get out on a run, they can be as demoralizing as Green slicing through for a shot to win a game.

    Now The Playmaker and Team Tidal Wave will collide Sunday in what has been the most anticipated Elite Eight matchup since the bracket was announced on Selection Sunday.

    Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

  7. williamodouglas says:

    Well, the picture didn’t come through, but you are right, that is Ewing, Jr., number 33.

  8. C. Michael says:

    Did anyone just see the end of the DII Championship game??? Short of 8 in 17 seconds, that was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen!

  9. williamodouglas says:

    Well, what happened?

  10. C. Michael says:

    Barton was down 74-69, and scored a two with 22 seconds left. The inbounds was stolen under the basket, passed to Barton’s PG who hit a Lawson-esque hanging layup and was fouled. He missed the FT to tie and Winona St got the reb and was immediately fouled. Winona St. made one of two. Up 2. Barton’s PG races the ball up the court and makes a Lawson-esque reverse layup the that had no business going in. Tied at 75, under 10 seconds. WSU races the ball up court only to have the ball striped from behind right to Barton’s PG with 2.1 s. He then drives 3/4 the length of the court and hits the layup as the light went off… it was ridiculous.

  11. williamodouglas says:

    I remember one year, maybe 1979, where we were leading State by 20 points but they made a furious comeback to lead by one with 10 seconds left and were running the clock out when all of a sudden Dudley Bradley picked Clyde Austin and dunked the ball at the buzzer for us to win by one. I have never seen emotions go back and forth quite like that, from a sure win to a sure loss to a win. State was devastated as it was in Raleigh.

  12. williamodouglas says:

    There doesn’t seem to be much point in rooting in these other games, as the rest of the field is so strong as not to make any difference.

  13. […] In fact, the seeds remaining this weekend amount to the best Elite 8 matchups…ever. That is, at least on paper. So far the games haven’t exactly been epic. The Ohio State win over Memphis was tight […]

  14. 52BigGameJames says:

    I don’t know william–even tho I like Kansas, I like the fact that UCLA will likely get a rematch w/Fla. Aside from the fact that I know one of the most ridiculously obnoxious Gator fans alive (why is it the casual fan/know-nothings are always the worst?), I know the Bruins are itching for another shot at Fla. I think they’ll take the Gators (should they meet) but will have spent all their “capital” on UF. All predicated of course on UNC running the table from here on in. You’re right, they’re all strong from here on in, but it’s the “special motivations” that could spell the difference now–I don’t need to elaborate on a potential KU/UNC match-up.

  15. williamodouglas says:

    Well, that’s not going to happen. At least, Roy made it to four Final Four’s and two Finals for Kansas. The competition is so good that none of these teams, including us, look very good, even when winning.

  16. Josh Bowling says:

    C. Michael, I happened to catch that division two game. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were witnessing. That little point guard has to be a relative of Lawson or AC Law. Speaking of which, who do you think between AC and Ty would “lay down the law” the best? That article has only made me more scared of Georgetown. I wonder who’s fear is greatest-theirs or ours? I must say we have GOT TO HIT SHOTS this game. We will not be getting as many of those offensive rebounds in this one, given their bodies are bigger and heavier. We must make them prone to foul. Foul trouble will take away some of their intensity, which is a strong point of theirs. I know Sapp is much bigger than Lawson. We will have to hit shots-that will keep them off of the “breaks”. Those Princeton like backdoor cuts need to have some light shed on them as well. I think we will be prepared for most of it.

  17. 52BigGameJames says:

    agreed, but try explaining that to your average Jayhawk fan.

  18. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Based on what I have seen from Kansas during the past four years perhaps Roy was not to blame for them not winning any titles. The fact he was there got them to the doorstep.

  19. 52BigGameJames says:

    I don’t want to be too harsh here, but it’s not a little co-incidental that Marty Schottenheimer’s contributions were treated the same way by many in that same geographical area. In Roy’s case, add the “jilted woman” factor. And we all know: “Hell hath no wrath….

  20. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I am talking about a perception in general of Roy not being able to win the big one. Of course he goes to UNC and wins in the second season. I think you have to conclude that the reason Roy did not win any titles at Kansas had more to do with Kansas and not Roy.

  21. williamodouglas says:

    I went to the Kansas site and they had interviews with disappointed fans about the loss by KU and several of them said that they would root for UNC now that KU is out, because they still like Roy. So, apparently it is a vocal element that drives whatever hatred is left. I think Carolina winning in 2005 took away a good part of the anger for some because once he won it all, what was the point of continuing to go against him.

    But at the same time, there is also a vocal minority that wants to fire Self, which seems silly, even though I am not a great fan of coaches that change schools every couple of years as he did, going through 4 universities in a decade, until remaining at Kansas since 2004.

    KU has done fine since Williams left. He left the program in excellent shape but Self has not squandered that advantage. Roy had a 8 year gap between his 2nd and 3rd Final Four there and for all the bluster about Roy saving Carolina(this is not a criticism–I like him more than any other coach we have had) UNC had only gone to one fewer Final Four this decade than had Kansas when he arrived. (2-1).

    Giving Dean credit for 1998, albeit unofficial, Smith/Guthridge went to 5 Final Fours in his last 8 years, winning one overall, when arguably we only had the best team twice during that period, in 1993 and in 1994 and many would argue that we never had the “best” team on paper during those years, far different from 1982 or 2005 where we were clearly the best, although closely followed.

    Roy went to 4 Final Fours and 2 Finals in Kansas during 14 years and had a winning percentage close to .800, pretty darn good for anybody not named Dean Smith. Now with the East coast advantages lacking at KU, Williams has a chance to propel himself past K and Bobby Knight into the company of Wooden and Smith, if he can win two or three more titles during his 10-14 years left that he is likely to coach.

  22. 52BigGameJames says:

    you’re right, it’s unfair to judge the whole on a vocal minority, but I (like you–Sendek?) find it very unfair for that minority to trash what good contributions any coach has made. I based my observations on what Jayhawk fans on a certain Chiefs website used to proffer…a hateful, vociferous bunch indeed, who trashed Roy (and Marty) every chance they got.
    Who do you guys think will replace Tubby at UK? I read an interesting article yesterday that made the case for Slick (Calipari). I can’t stand the guy, but he would be a good choice imo, if winning is the priority. Donovan is the front-runner apparently. This is a good example of the fan base being a potential obstacle.

  23. williamodouglas says:

    Honestly, KU fans do have some cause for anger, but at UNC, not at Roy. UNC should not have pressed the hiring issue until after the KU-Syracuse title game. I can understand why some of them think that the Jawhawks lacked concentration in that game and missed 18-30 free throws….

  24. williamodouglas says:

    I saw one article that said Bill Self, although for him it is beginning to get ridiculous. What is the difference between what he had at Illinois in terms of talent or at KU? Very little. Maybe Kentucky should hire Larry Brown….

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