Selection Show 2019: All the facts and figures from the NCAA tournament’s field of 64.
The NCAA tournament field is set! After Sunday night’s selection show, the regional hosts have been announced, at-large bids have been granted, and teams are set to play, beginning on Thursday.
This season is arguably the closest that the selection committee has come to ‘getting it right’ in many years. The top sixteen teams selected to host regionals, while jumbled up and out of place in some ways, are the appropriate top sixteen teams that should host. There was some question around who a couple of the teams would be, but, to their credit, the committee at least got the teams themselves right.
Seedings, on the other hand, included some significant error. After a sub-par and downright average regular season showing, although with Saturday’s SEC tournament championship in hand, the Florida Gators were named the #5 overall seed. The Gators finished 12-12 in the regular season standings, and even with a 4-0 showing in the SEC tournament, did not have the body of work to earn such a high seed. This was one of two mistakes that the selection committee made that were arguably the most egregious.
On the egregiousness scale, while Florida’s high seeding can and should be debated extensively, so should the seeding of SEC regular-season champions Alabama. The Crimson Tide were named the #8 overall seed, barely high enough to host Super Regionals, should that occasion arise. The Tide won the SEC’s regular season championship, going 18-6 in conference, and had a so-so non-conference schedules that did include a solid number of ‘cupcake’ games, but also saw the Tide beat South Florida, Cal State Fullerton, Arizona, and Minnesota twice – all of whom are tournament teams, and the latter two of whom are seeded higher than the Tide in this NCAA tournament field.
Fans of the Big Ten Conference are ecstatic after their league earned a trio of hosting bids for the regional round. Minnesota was the only team representing the B1G to earn a national seed, coming in at #7 overall, while Michigan (#15) and Northwestern (#16) will also serve as hosts during the regional round.
Last Four In/First Four Out
It was a weak bubble this year, so while the Last Four In/First Four Out can be debated as to whether or not some teams had better cases for inclusion in the field, the fact remains that of a group of about ten teams, no one was a lock to be anywhere, whether in or out, with a lot of parity among many of the teams on that bubble.
Per the NCAA selection committee, the last four teams to make the field were:
- Boise State
- Southern Illinois
- Texas A&M
The first four teams on the outside looking in were:
- Oregon State
- San Jose State
Thought by many to be a potential 3-bid league, with four teams in the top 50 in RPI, the Mountain West conference only saw two of their member teams selected, with automatic qualifier/conference champion Colorado State joined by at-large selection Boise State.
By the Numbers
2 – The number of teams appearing in the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time. WAC
champions Seattle University and Horizon League champions Detroit Mercy are making their inaugural appearances in the tournament.
8 – Conferences that saw multiple teams earn bids to the tournament. The SEC led the way with
all thirteen teams selected, followed by the Big Ten with 6; ACC (5), Pac-12 (5), Big 12 (4), American (3), Mountain West (2), and Missouri Valley (2).
10 – The number of first-year head coaches who have led their teams to the NCAA tournament. Six teams earned their way via the automatic qualifier process, while four – Louisville, Boise State,
Missouri, and Virginia Tech – were selected as at-large entrants.
33 – Arizona’s streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. The Wildcats have played in
the NCAA tournament every year since 1987.
41 – The RPI ranking of Oregon State in the May 5th rankings. The Beavers were the highest RPI to not earn an at-large bid.
257 – Alabama State’s RPI in the May 5th rankings. The SWAC conference champions and an automatic qualifier for the tournament, it is the lowest RPI ranking of the sixty-four teams in the tournament.
1992 – The last time that Toledo played in the NCAA tournament. The #7 seed in the MAC tournament, the Rockets made a Cinderella run through their conference tournament and won the tournament championship.
For a printable bracket, click here. For the full list of regional seedings, see below:
Los Angeles Regional
Cal State Fullerton
#4 Florida State
North Dakota State
Sam Houston State
Baton Rouge Regional
#11 Ole Miss
Southeast Missouri State
#13 Oklahoma State
Ann Arbor Regional