Revision to First Four seed list tweaks opening games to NCAA Tournament

Very rarely does NCAA Tournament bracket news in the middle of July recruitment season usher in important nuggets of information.

Consider this blog as one of these VIP keys to future understanding of the NCAA brackets each and every March.

CBSSports.com mentioned this past Monday these criteria that will hopefully see the NCAA Men’s Division One Basketball Committee achieve more geographic balance and hopefully some overall fairness in future brackets:

  1. At-large teams are voted into the field currently four at a time in an unranked fashion. The seeding process then ranks the field 1-68, also done four at a time. In the past, the at-large half of that group was determined to be the last four such teams voted into the field during the selection process. Those teams were kept together behind the other at-large teams in the seed list. With this new system, those teams will be subjected to the full seeding evaluation that goes on during that complex and intricate process.  In other words, when the full seeding list from 1-68 is complete, the last four at-large teams on that list will play in the First Four set of games in Dayton, Ohio.   It should not be that unusual for certain teams to be seeded in a different order than they are voted into the field, although you could safely presume that would not create such a large discrepancy in terms of pecking order.
  2. This new rule change will not prevent the Dayton Flyers from playing in their home gym.  While it might be possible for the Flyers to be placed in a different seed if that was allowed to be part of that process, this change does not prohibit Dayton from playing at home if they are in fact one of the last four at-large teams in the field.
  3. Remember Kentucky and Wisconsin when they both occupied number 1 seeds this past March?  The committee now has given itself the flexibility to move the overall top No. 2 seed from its natural geographic region if it shares that region with the overall No. 1 seed.  This will achieve a fairer balance between the rest of the 16 teams that will comprise each of the four regions.
  4. This is more of a cosmetic rule than anything else, but certain committee members will be disqualified from discussing or voting on teams in future tournaments in which an immediate family member is employed by the school’s athletic department or they occupy a roster spot of any men’s basketball team.

Again, if the NCAA feels in their best interest to tweak the overall S-Curve–so be it.  If in fact it does happen, I am sure you will probably hear me talk about it in a future podcast.

In separate news…Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis was tabbed to be the 2016-2017 NCAA Division One Chair of the Men’s Basketball Committee.  This coming year, the 10 person committee will be headed up by Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione.

At least, that should be an easy answer for all of you CBS Sports trivia buffs as the first guy that Jim Nantz, Greg Gumbel, Seth Davis, and others will be picking brains with during the next two Selection Sunday broadcasts.

Palestra to host doubleheader honoring Big Five 60th anniversary

Game reunites four of Philadelphia’s Big Five schools in January 2016

NBCSports.com mentioned on Thursday that a doubleheader inside Philadelphia’s legendary facility will take place with these matchups on January 20, 2016:

La Salle hosts Temple and Penn will host Saint Joseph’s.

Give lots of credits to the athletic directors of each school trying to coordinate each school’s current conference affiliations and making sure any potential travel headaches (future blizzards a distinct possibility in that region notwithstanding) would be kept to a minimal.

For you college history buffs, the last time anniversary games took place in “The City of Brotherly Love” was in December 2004 when Temple beat Villanova, while the Penn Quakers outlasted La Salle and Drexel* took care of Saint Joseph’s.

* Small note:  Drexel was not a Division I member when the Big 5 was created (didn’t actually move up until the 1973-74 season).  Drexel is also a city school but is not an official part of the Big 5.

UNLV announces preseason schedule

Surrounding the Runnin’ Rebels home opener with Cal Poly on November 13, the rest of the slate features plenty of teams that reached the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Among the road games include a pair of tough contests at Wichita State (December 9) and Arizona (December 19), a neutral site game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena against Oregon (December 4), and a home tilt with Arizona State (December 16).

And they’re also playing in the Maui Invitational during Thanksgiving week, with the field including Indiana, Kansas, UCLA, St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and host Chaminade.

The Rebels bring in a talented recruiting class that nearly missed out on last season’s Big Dance during the Mountain West Conference postseason tournament.  We will see how this group tries to gel come Christmas time.

Las Vegas Invitational matchups are set for Turkey weekend

Not too early to start stuffing parts of your brain with hopefully tantalizing matchups at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas after we cram our stomachs with the traditional stuffing and cranberry sauce.

It will feature Cal and San Diego State, both schools hoping to use this game to pad their resumes for possible inclusion into the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

The other matchup will have West Virginia taking on Richmond.  Both teams by most reporters and fellow bloggers have both the Mountainers and Spiders possibly being some of the last bubble teams sweating things out in the first days of March.  Finishing in the middle of their respective conferences would not be a bad measuring stick as far as rebuilding their programs is concerned.

Expect a lot of cool defense to be played, just in case if the shooting takes a holiday (see, no Green Day reference just yet).

A little over three months remain until my comprehensive 2015-2016 college basketball season preview will hit your inboxes and smartphones.

Something to look forward to.  In the meantime, have a pleasant day.

ICYMI: Home Run Derby achieves second highest rating ever

According to the Sports Media Watch website, the revised format for baseball’s Home Run Derby in Cincinnati nearly matched the record from 2013 during the final season of play at the second Yankee Stadium in New York.

The full ratings of the last several years can be found here:

http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2015/07/home-run-derby-ratings-espn-mlb-highest-overnight-since-2009/

At least, for all of you bracket followers–there was a mini-upset in the semis as the top seed of Albert Pujols went down, but not without a fight in bonus time.

That crowd reaction was pleading for those few balls not to find grass, too good for words.  And yes, I hope Major League Baseball is smart enough to keep this four minute per round timed format–it does not need to drag more than it was on Monday night.

Just enough time for everyone to get their proper cuts, if you will.

Overall, it was a fun night.

Small update to Home Run Derby rules, please read ASAP

Due to the chance of major storms hitting the Cincinnati area Monday night, each timed round will be shortened from 4 minutes instead of the original 5 minutes.

That is great news in my observation–largely because 5 minutes would have been a bit teetering on the boring side.  This way, each bracket will be more exciting to watch (or listen to if you are listening on the ESPN Radio app or any affiliated radio station across the United States).

Enjoy the Derby!

South Carolina moves (finally) in the right direction

Confederate flag will be taken down from State Capitol on Friday morning

Thanks in large part to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley amid pressure from many groups, all flags outside the Palmetto State capitol will be lowered and NCAA Championships can take place there in the future.

More than likely, volleyball or cross country could be the first sports to play host.

In terms of basketball, all venues have been booked up to the 2018 Tournament.  Looking back, 2002 had the Bon Secours Wellness Arena (formerly known as the Bi-Lo Center) host first and second round tournament games.  The earliest that arena or Columbia Life Arena could host might either be in March 2019 or 2020.

Here is the statement released by the NCAA saluting the end to this nearly 15 year struggle:

“We commend South Carolina lawmakers for taking this action to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds. For nearly 15 years we have specifically protested the flag by not allowing states like South Carolina to host pre-selected NCAA championships.  With this impending change, and consistent with our policy, South Carolina may bid to host future NCAA championships once the flag no longer flies at the State House grounds.”

Kirk Schultz, the NCAA Board of Governors chair and Kansas State president, in a statement released by the NCAA