I’ve been promising all season that I’d crank out a quality curve comparing the efficiency of this year’s seeds to their historical counterparts. Up until now, I’ve just taken the KenPom top 20 with no sense of where they would be seeded. Of course, the NCAA Selection Committee never follows Ken to a tee. So I wait until the bracket is out before comparing the efficiency of this year’s seeds to like seeds from the past nine dances.
Well, I just did the curve—and the results are, in a word, scary. Take a look at what we have:
Top seeds are close to the average quality of one seeds. But with each succeeding seed from two to six, the teams get progressively weaker compared to their historical strength. Sevens and eights are a slightly better than average, nines and tens are solidly weaker…and 11’s and 12’s are significantly stronger. As for the last four seeds, 14’s and particular 15’s are much stronger.
What does it all mean? Here are my first-blush thoughts:
- Let’s see—really weak five and six seeds and stronger 11 and 12 seeds. I smell more upsets. UNLV, UCLA, Butler are particularly weak high seeds. St. Mary’s, Minnesota and Ole Miss are unusually strong low seeds.
- Super-strong 15 seeds and meh two seeds? Uh-oh. Don’t tell me we’ll have another teeth-gnashing bracket crusher right out of the chute? Georgetown and Miami are the least efficient two seeds. Pacific and Iona are the most efficient 15’s. Iona is head and shoulders above the other 15 seeds. Alas, they play the strongest two seed in Ohio State. Pacific, on the other hand, gets Miami. Hmm. I say, “Hmm.”
- If sevens are strong and twos are weak, could we be looking at some second-round 2v7 shockers? If so, the powerful sevens are Creighton and San Diego State. Creighton gets a solid Duke squad, but Fisher’s bunch gets a vulnerable Hoya team.
- With the ones close to average quality and everyone else pretty weak, we could be looking at waltzes to the Elite Eight. But watch out for one eight seed in particular. Pitt is the seventh most efficient team in the land. They would take on a Gonzaga team that’s slightly weaker than your garden-variety one seed.
Anyone seed anything else that jumps out?