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Let’s Take the Time to Thank the NCAA For Sucking at Their Job!

Thanks for the solid!

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Championship Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

We here at Hustle Belt generally don’t like the NCAA. It is not because they profit hugely on amateur athletes, or base major ethical rulings on the all mighty dollar, but because they stick it to the little guy, or in this case gal, every chance they get.

The RPI rankings are a pretty good indicator of just how good a team. It’s a basic model to rank teams, which us sports writing types call a “computer.” Really, it’s just a basic formula. We are usually adverse to such newfangled inventions, however this one works quite well. That is probably why the NCAA stopped “officially” using it to seed and select NCAA teams.

Here is a list of the current rankings, because I wasn’t smart enough to screen-shot it right before selection day. However, it hasn’t changed all that much, and I want you to notice the seeds next to the names. 8 is the magical number, anything below that and you are theoretically playing a better team in the first round. 4 out of the top 30 are seeded 9 or below. Half of those are the MAC teams, and they were the first two. They stuck it to the poor MAC, or so they thought.

11 for either MAC squad was terrible. Both were clearly in the top 40 in the country, by the eye test, wins and losses, and the RPI.

As the nerves were kicking in when I was watching Buffalo take on host Florida State and Central Michigan was taking on host Ohio State in the second round, these thoughts were rattling around in my head. At a point where both teams had proven they were competitive, but the outcomes were still in doubt, I made a dumb tweet. (I, unlike the NCAA, will man up to my mistakes.)

Like most times, I just wasn’t thinking. In my head, I knew the two teams were robbed of their rightful place in the initial seeding. I also understand how seeding works. My brain wasn’t meshing the fact that once the second round hits, getting shafted still matters, but getting really shafted actually helps. While counter-intuitive, their seeding slight actually worked to great advantage. Buffalo, if an 8 or 9 in their region, would have been squaring off against UCONN. CMU would have had to take on Megan Duffy’s Alma Mater Notre Dame.

Anything is possible, but I wouldn’t bet on Buffalo beating UCONN to reach the sweet 16, and while CMU would(will) have a chance against ND, the Irish are a more complete team than the Buckeyes.

So let’s all raise a toast to the NCAA, for being so wrong that it’s right!

And just how right is it? As most of our faithful readers know, and despise me for, I am also a Buckeye fan. Two MAC women’s shooty hoops squads making the sweet 16 in the same year is a big deal. I am not joking or exaggerating when I say I am riding a higher high right now than when OSU football knocked off Oregon for the first college football playoff national championship.