The Answer

By the

March 15, 2001

In case you missed all the ridiculous looking Georgetown students with orange and red faces (I think that’s called sunburned, but there are a few lucky ones that know the difference between tan and burnt.), your full-service column is on top of our coordinate in the fourth dimension: It’s March, which means Madness.

As in college basketball tournament madness. While I still maintain that madness is no way to fairly determine who the best team in the land is, I can appreciate excitement and its offspring?hype.

Minute for minute, the NCAA Tournament is the most exciting sporting event/sports period of time. The NBA does a better job of letting the best team prevail with its seven-game series, but the fact that the best team probably won’t win the Tournament is precisely why the Tournament captures everyone’s attention. Considering recent winners such as Arizona and recent finalists such as Florida, everyone has a shot.

In 1997, the Wildcats had underachieved all season. Not only were they a lowly five seed, they were one of those teams that so-called experts told you to not pick because they were “cold” going into the tournament. I only remember because I was all excited that I picked them to get to the Sweet Sixteen, which helped me a lot because most people had them getting upset in the first round.

If you think you know something, you probably don’t. In 1995, I picked the Final Four and seven out of eight in the Elite Eight (Arizona let me down that year). In 1997, my Final Four was eliminated by the end of the Sweet Sixteen.

Still though, it’s very rare for a team seeded as low as Georgetown to reach the Final Four. The main reason for this is that the seedings do have some meaning. However, if you’ve noticed the past few years, the seedings are getting farther and farther from predicting accurately. In the end though, low seeded teams do poorly because they have to play a harder schedule than the high seeds.

In short, the committee gives some teams a major advantage even though they aren’t really much better than their lower seeded counterparts. If North Carolina hadn’t had to battle its way from an 8 seed to the Final Four they might have had more left against Florida last year.

The fact that the committee seeded North Carolina and Florida so low last season is obvious proof of the fact that the Selection Comittee is doing a bad job. The reason they are doing a bad job is because they are using their power to make political (in the sports sense) statements about non-conference schedules.

This year Georgetown is an obvious victim. Georgia, on the other hand is an obvious beneficiary. Despite an 18-14 record, the Bulldogs are an 8 seed. The fact is that Georgetown is a much better team than Georgia, but it will require a special effort by the Hoyas to prove this since the committee gave them a 10 seed.

Coaches should be able to choose opponents that think will best prepare their team for conference play. If a cup-cake schedule really doesn’t help a team improve, that will be obvious during the conference schedule. The fact that Georgetown went 10-6 in the Big East proves that their schedule was good preparation.

Schedule making should not determine who gets into the Tournament and, more importantly, it shouldn’t have such a dramatic effect on those who have a good chance at winning. The whole purpose of a tournament is to eliminate the subjectivity of assessing what makes a tough schedule.

Initially, Georgetown played down the importance of its seed, but on Tuesday Head Coach Craig Esherick stated the obvious complaint that the committee had dropped the Hoyas 20 places below thier season ending ranking in order to make a statement. That’s wrong.

Placing excitement over fairness is reasonable. Placing schedule politics above fairness is ridiculous.

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