On Sunday night, the full 68-team bracket was officially unveiled for March Madness. Every year, Selection Sunday ultimately puts to rest any number of debates involving a countless number of teams. This season was no different as a number of teams emerged as clear-cut winners and losers. Several teams have legitimate gripes after being snubbed out of an NCAA Tournament bid altogether. Even within the bracket itself, a whole bunch of the committee’s seeding decisions insulted the intelligence of college basketball analysts everywhere.
At the time of writing, First Round games are still a few days away from tipping off. However, some teams have already won and others have already lost thanks to said questionable Selection Sunday decisions. The following looks at some of the biggest losers of the 2022 March Madness bracket.
March Madness Bracketology: Biggest Losers From Selection Sunday
Whatever happened to the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament having the easiest road to the Final Four? Gonzaga may have scored the top seed in the bracket again this season, but Selection Sunday 2022 really felt like a loss for the West Coast Conference powerhouse. Relative to the other regions in the bracket, the Bulldogs will arguably be playing in the second-toughest.
While we can safely pencil in a win for Gonzaga in the First Round against 16-seed Georgia State, even that matchup is quite pathetic. Relative to other 16-seeds, the Sun Belt Conference champs are a much more formidable opponent. From there, however, nothing will come easy for the Zags. If chalk were to hold all the way through the West Region, the Bulldogs would have to go through each of Boise State, Arkansas and Duke just to reach the national semifinals in New Orleans.
For the sake of argument, let’s suppose some minor upsets occur in each part of the bracket. The alternate route for Gonzaga would then include Memphis, UConn and Texas Tech. Needless to say, the No. 1 overall seed didn’t catch a single break this year.
The committee has received widespread criticism from various talking heads for posting SEC Tournament Champion Tennessee as a 3-seed. Not to hop on the bandwagon or anything, but the gripes are 100% justified. Rick Barnes’ team not only won the conference tournament but dominated in the title game against Texas A&M (who also was a Selection Sunday loser by virtue of somehow not even making the field). The Volunteers finished the year ranked No. 8 in the NET and No. 7 overall in the KenPom ratings.
From a defensive efficiency standpoint, Tennessee was one of the three best teams in college hoops all season long. Much like the hypocrisy of Boise State being an 8-seed when compared against other teams who made the bracket from the Mountain West, the Vols are seeded a full rung lower than two SEC cohorts in Kentucky and Auburn. All Tennessee did was the beat UK twice late in the year including in the SEC Tournament Semifinals. The Vols also knocked off Auburn late in the regular season and the Tigers were one-and-done in the conference tournament.
Boise State Broncos
While most people aren’t necessarily anticipating a national title run out of Boise State, Leon Rice’s ball club sure got the shaft when it comes to seeding. If the selection committee is correct in its assessment, the Broncos are technically the worst of four 8-seeds in the field. Every 8-9 matchup is tough, and getting past Memphis will be no easy feat. Should the Mountain West champs prevail, they would immediately have to go up against Gonzaga in the Second Round.
The primary reason why Boise State is classified as a Selection Sunday loser is the precedent set by the committee with regard to other Mountain West teams in the bracket. For those who may not have followed the conference all season long, note that the Broncos won both the regular-season and tournament titles. Yet, they aren’t even the highest-seeded MWC school in the bracket. In fact, Boise State landed two whole lines lower than 6-seed Colorado State! Talk about disrespect. Or maybe this was just a whiff on the committee’s part? Either way, it’s a tough break for the Mountain West champs.