Call a timeout

The Baltimore Sun

North Carolina had a decided home-court advantage in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., this past weekend. Given what transpired, it could be foretelling what might happen in this year's NCAA tournament as well.

Seeded first among the four top seeds, the Tar Heels won't have to leave the state unless they make it to the Alamodome in San Antonio for this season's Final Four that starts April 5. They make a trip this week to Raleigh and a potential return trip to Charlotte in the East Regional.

"It's an advantage if you play well," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "Just because the crowd's cheering for you, I've never had a crowd win a game. I know it sounds wacko."

You want wacko? How about the NCAA selection committee putting a couple of Baltimore-area teams in the play-in game tomorrow night in Dayton, Ohio?

Instead of sending Coppin State and Mount St. Mary's to Dayton, maybe they should reconsider and bus the Eagles and Mountaineers to College Park now that Comcast Center is available. Maryland will be playing in the National Invitation Tournament at Minnesota.

You want wacko? How does the Big East merit eight teams and the ACC only four?

Does that mean the 16-team Big East is twice as good as the 12-team ACC, or should the ACC just keep expanding? There's no argument for the Terps being included, but should Virginia Tech, which nearly knocked off North Carolina after soundly beating tournament-bound Miami, be excluded?

You want wacko? How does the top seed in the tournament find its way into what is probably the toughest regional?

North Carolina will get a second-round matchup with an Indiana team that was ranked in the top 15 before its coach, the phone call-obsessed Kelvin Sampson, resigned; the Tar Heels also have a potential regional final matchup against a Tennessee team that was ranked No. 1 in the country less than a month ago.

You want wacko? How does CBS claim it has nothing to do with the seedings, and then voila, we get Southern California and Kansas State in the opening round?

The game between the sixth-seeded Trojans and the 11th-seeded Wildcats in Omaha, Neb., will likely mark the last college game of either USC freshman star O.J. Mayo or Kansas State's Michael Beasley, considered the best freshman in the country and the likely No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft.

Of course that was just a coincidence.

You want wacko? That's probably how first-year Butler coach Brad Stevens reacted when he learned that his seventh-seeded Bulldogs were going to play 10th-seeded South Alabama in the opening round in Birmingham, Ala.

While South Alabama's campus in Mobile is not exactly a hop, skip and jump shot from Birmingham, don't you think a few more of its fans will find their way to the game than the Butler supporters in Indianapolis? What happened to the unwritten rule that lower seeds were not going to get home-court advantage?

You want wacko? Given that's the unofficial nickname by some of the closest friends of a certain basketball coach -- here's a hint, his team will be playing at Minnesota tomorrow night -- it's obvious that this year's NCAA tournament will go on without him.

That's unless the NCAA selection committee can see fit to put Coppin State and Mount St. Mary's at Comcast Center instead of in Dayton.

don.markus@baltsun.com

MULTIPLE BIDS

The conferences that received more than one NCAA bid:

Conference ........................ No.

Big East .................................8

Pacific-10 ..............................6

Southeastern .......................6

Big 12 .....................................6

Atlantic Coast ......................4

Big Ten ................................4

West Coast ..........................3

Atlantic 10 ...........................3

Mountain West ..................2

Sun Belt ............................. 2

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
34°