Chris Chase

Should the NCAA tournament reseed before the Final Four?

Chris Chase
The Dagger

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Given that the two highest remaining seeds -- Duke and West Virginia -- are playing in a national semifinal, there have been some calls to reseed the NCAA tournament before the Final Four to ensure that the best teams will meet in the national final. It's a fine and lofty idea, but one that only works in theory, not execution.

The practical answer is that you can't reseed because then nobody will be able to fill out complete brackets before the tournament. The uncertainty of which teams would play in the Final Four would ruin everybody's office pool. Even if you're one of the few who called the Duke-West Virginia matchup, how could you possibly expect to know that they would be the two top seeds remaining and, thus, on opposite sides of the Final Four bracket? It couldn't work.

But let's forget about reality and view this from a purely basketball standpoint. It still doesnt make sense even then. First off, reseeding is rarely necessary. This is only the fourth time in 22 years that two higher seeds have met in one semifinal. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

It's true, some leagues reseed teams in the playoffs (the NFL and NHL do), but they do so closer to the beginning of their "tournaments" rather than the end. If the two best teams in the NFL are from the NFC (as was the case during most of the '90s), they play in the conference championship, not the Super Bowl. All the NFL's reseeding accomplishes is to ensure that the first game for the top seed is against the lowest remaining seed. It's an apples/oranges comparison.

The key argument against reseeding in basketball is that it would lead to more controversy, since the selection committee is far from perfect when it comes to seeding. (Witness: Villanova getting a No. 2 seed and West Virginia being placed in Kentucky's region.) Sure, this year it would be easy to pair Duke vs. Michigan State and West Virginia vs. Butler; but what about in other years when the rank of the teams isn't so clear cut? Do we really want to spend the Final Four lead-up complaining about seedings? We usually get that over with in the 48 hours after Selection Sunday. This week is a week for basketball.

What would have happened in 2008 when all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four? Would the committee reseed them based on what happened during the tournament? And what about last year when Villanova was the lowest-seeded Final Four team but was arguably playing the second-best basketball? And how many times would both top teams fail to win, thus negating the reason for reseeding in the first place?

There are far too many problems that could arise from reseeding. As it stands now, there's only one: The two best teams might be playing in the semifinals. So be it. They don't call it March Madness for nothing.

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