The question has been bantered around how UNC ended up as the #8 seed in the South for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. There has also been angst about seeing potentially Kansas for the third time in six years and two seasons in a row. The NCAA Tournament selection committee chairman, Mike Bobinski discussed it with Jones Angell and Bubba Cunningham on the College Athletics Today podcast.
Regarding UNC's #8 seed Bobinski said there weren't many "high quality" wins to go on and in laying out the 1-68 list UNC ended up 29th overall. It is important to remember here UNC only had two wins against NCAA Tournament teams(NC State & UNLV) and both of those game at home. The Tar Heels went 0-6 against teams seeded either #1 or #2 with a loss to Indiana, two losses to Duke and three losses to Miami. So while there are plenty of comparisons to be made between the Tar Heels and those above them, it is clear that not beating anyone above them pushed them down to the #8 slot despite the improved play over the final month of the season.
Of course the seed placement is not nearly as big of a deal as being slotted in the same bracket with #1 Kansas in Kansas City, should the Heels get by Villanova. Here is Bobinski's explanation of the committee's rationale.
By procedure, by process we are required to separate the first three teams from a conference in the field. That can't be in the same region. So I think we already had Miami in the East I believe. I think Duke was in the Midwest. So the only two options were South and West for North Carolina at that point and time. The closest region was the South as opposed to Los Angeles. Then you go to the next step of your early round sites. At that point and time the only site that was available was Kansas City and it was really the luck of the draw that you end up in a bracket with Kansas. It wasn't by design. It wasn't matching up sort of a high one and a low eight.
Naturally that sounds like a perfectly reasonable explanation, especially given UNC was the highest #8 seed and would have been given a break on the geography by not being sent to Los Angeles. As for the notion that the committee set up a possible UNC-Kansas game? Bobinski says it's simply not true.
We never predict match-ups. We don't try to make match-ups. We don't look down the road. That's for everyone else to do once the brackets are done. With sort of the speed this comes at us we don't have the ability to sit there nor do the principles or procedures allow us to cook the brackets or concoct match-ups that might be interesting or have some personal angle to it we just don't do that.
Roy Williams was asked today if he "buys" the committee's explanation that they don't seed for potential match-ups. Williams said, "I'm not much of a buyer" right now and the committee can say anything they want. At the same time he dismissed the notion to some extent saying a UNC vs Kansas game is not necessary to fill seats in Kansas City. The Jayhawks' presence alone does that.
Some additional notes from the press conference with Roy Williams, Dexter Strickland and P.J. Hairston.
- According to Williams the team watched the selection announcement at his house. They were surprised to be a #8 seed and a little surprised to be in the same bracket with Kansas.
- Strickland and Hairston echoed those sentiments saying they thought the seeding was too low. Strickland said it added some "anger" to go out and prove they are better.
- Hairston said he was told "5-7 days" on his stitches and hopes to be out of them by Friday. During the press conference he was still wearing the wrap and padding on his left hand.
- Random fun fact: Hairston is left handed but shoots the ball with his right hand. Charles Shackleford thinks that's awesome.
- Strickland compared Marcus Paige to Kendall Marshall in the sense, Paige has exceptional knowledge of the game and where his teammates are on the floor. It is notable that as the season has progressed you have begun seeing Paige make passes that show the kind of court vision Marshall had.
- Strickland and Hairston both said Miami was the best team they faced this season.
- UNC leaves for Kansas City at 5 PM on Wednesday with a send-off at the Dean Dome.
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