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Is the NCAA Stacking the Deck Against the Mid-Majors?

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Joe Sheehan is annoyed:

The committee did it again, matching up non-BCS schools aggressively and keeping them away from BCS schools. UNLV/Northern Iowa. Butler/UTEP. Temple/Cornell. Richmond/Saint Mary’s. The committee is taking one of the best things about the tournament–that the big guys ahve to play the little guys on a neutral floor–and destroying it, aggressively so. Defenders of the bracket and the committee will always point out that this isn’t intentional, but after it happening year-in, year-out, I simply don’t believe them. You can’t keep playing off the non-BCS schools one another every year and pretend it’s not a strategy. It very clearly is one, and it’s designed to prevent the possibility of the schools from smaller conferences showing that the main difference between them and the middle of the BCS leagues is home games. The commmittee and the NCAA should be embarrassed.

There are 15 non-BCS schools on seed lines 5-12 in this bracket. Eight of them are playing each other. Thanks, NCAA. Just what the fans want.

Damning evidence. But wait. 5-12 seeds? That's eight teams per region, thirty-two teams over all. Almost half of them are non-BCS, and half from the big six conferences. If, to make the math simple, there was 16 BCS and 16 others, and you paired them completely random, you'd end up with... eight non-BCS teams playing each other. And eight BCS teams playing each other. And the remaining eight games would pit one small team against one large one. 

That's pretty close to what we got. Michigan State (5) plays New Mexico State (12). Tennessee (6) vs. San Diego State (11). Gonzaga (8) vs. Florida State (9). Brigham Young (7) vs. Florida (10). Xavier (6) vs. Minnesota (11). Texas A&M (5) vs. Utah State (12). Notre Dame (6) vs. Old Dominion (11). Seven games, balanced relatively fairly as to which team is the higher seed.

If you want to argue that the committee should only seed mid-majors against the middle ranks of the BCS conferences, that's one thing. But that seems just as hacky as doing it the other way around. There are a lot of problems with the seeds, but that there's a concerted effort to keep the little guy down isn't one of them.