Gonzaga: An 11th Seed in Name Only

Published on 20-Mar-2016 by J Square Humboldt
Basketball - NCAA Mens / NCAA Basketball Daily Update

Zags do what Zags gotta do.

It's no secret that the Rating Percentage Index is a stat that feeds on itself.

Which is why it's the perfect stat standard for Power Five conferences to secure the numerical bias they enjoy every time the March Madness Selection Committee gets together.

It's well known this is why outliers like Gonzaga from alleged mid-major conferences have great difficulty scheduling Power Five teams.

For years, the Zags have utilized the philosophy of going anywhere possible -- usually neutral-court sites -- to schedule Power Fives in the non-con portion of their schedule.

Still, any stumble of any sort -- in spite of key injuries -- and they're toast if they don't earn an automatic berth.

So they did. Gonzaga's good that way.

It's also well established that the usual high-water mark for mid-major champs is a No 12 seed. But Gonzaga's built itself into a nationally-recognizable name. What's that intangible worth?

What else? Unless a phenomenal season preceded it -- like Wichita State in 2013-14 or the Zags every now and then --  it's an 11-seed.

Well, tell Seton Hall about 11 seeds:

And that was an off-game. Mark Few cleaned a few things up on Friday, and voilà!

What was supposed to be a showcase battle of the EuroBigs -- Lithuanian Domantas Sabonis v Austrian Jakob Pöltl -- became a sidebar:

It's back to the Sweet 16.

And really, who's surprised at this? RPI numbers are too impersonal for that, so they're joining most Madness fans from a different angle.

Most fans would also agree there's now enough parity in the game for the Big Dance to stop filling brackets with the privileged classes.

For their part, West Coast Conference teams are collectively raising their expectations. With only BYU and Saint Mary's offering resistance to Gonzaga's annual automatic berth anointment, four of the WCC's other seven teams are seeking new coaches. Plus, Stanford is giving a hard look at the Gaels' Randy Bennett.

That leaves the Selection Committee to get with the program. Mid-majors matter. Both KenPom and ESPN's BPI are better indicators than the RPI.

It's 'way past time for the Committee to accept progress and update its perspective.

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