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 winners of the 2022 March Madness bracket.
March Madness Bracketology: Biggest Winners From Selection Sunday
Juwan Howard may not be around to coach, but Michigan is in the NCAA Tournament nonetheless. Imagine winning just three games more than you lost all season, yet still being considered one of the 68 best teams in your sport. For that matter, the committee basically said the Wolverines are one of the top 60!
Not only is Michigan in the field, but they inexplicably managed to bypass the First Four games in Dayton reserved for the teams that just barely make the tournament. A 17-14 record on the season was enough to land Michigan an 11-seed and a First Round date with Colorado State. Yup, the Wolverines even get to open up against a non-power conference opponent. What a joke! The real joke, however, is the fact that Indiana does have to go to Dayton for a First Four game after beating none other than Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.
Big Ten Conference
Upon further review, Michigan was far from the only Big Ten Conference team to “win” on Selection Sunday. As a matter of fact, the entire conference was a winner. The Big Ten has been overhyped and overrated all season long. The same was true a year ago when its schools dropped out one by one during the first weekend. Well, that didn’t stop the committee from giving out nearly 25% of the 36 available at-large bids to Big Ten teams yet again in 2022.
Based on the fact that the conference has so much depth, the problem isn’t necessarily the fact that a whole host of Big Ten teams got into March Madness. The real reason the conference was a winner is that almost every team included is overseeded. We already documented Michigan’s situation. Co-regular-season champ Wisconsin is another one that stands out. The Badgers also were one-and-done in the conference tournament, yet drew the 3-seed in what is by far the weakest of the four regions.
Purdue scoring a 3-seed and Illinois landing as a 4-seed are also both stretches relative to where the two teams stack up in the KenPom ratings. Oh, and then there’s Ohio State, which only went 5-5 against Quad I and Quad II opponents this season. The Buckeyes finished 19-11 overall and still drew a 7-seed. Just like in football, the Big Ten sure knows how to generate a falsified hype train.
All credit to Ed Cooley and his Providence team for capturing the program’s first-ever Big East regular-season championship. Onlookers then watched as the Friars were blown out in the conference tournament by Creighton. While Providence has had a remarkable season, they have caught numerous breaks and pulled out a number of close finishes along the way. None of that prevented them from being one of the biggest winners of Selection Sunday.
How was Providence a winner on Sunday, you ask? Well, let’s break it down. According to the College Basketball NET Rankings, the Friars stack up as the 33rd-best team in the country. Providence is well below that according to KenPom’s overall rankings, where the Friars only sit 49th. Then there’s the selection committee, who apparently views Providence as one of the 16 best teams in college basketball. After all, they did give them the 4-seed in the Midwest Region. That right there is a big-time Selection Sunday dub.