March 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Johnathan Loyd (10) celebrates after the championship game of the Pac 12 tournament against the UCLA Bruins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Oregon defeated UCLA 78-69. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NCAA Tournament: Teams Underseeded in the Bracket

Where the selection committee succeeded (for the most part) in identifying the 68 best teams, it largely failed in properly seeding them. Below are seven slighted schools who were under-seeded — at varying degrees — in the bracket.






Miami (FL) Hurricanes

Sweeping power conference championships – regular season and tournament – doesn’t mean what it used to. Miami’s backhanded “reward” for conquering the ACC regular season and tournament championships: a 2-seed in the same region as the preseason No. 1 team. The Canes played the fourth toughest non-conference schedule, finished 5-2 against the RPI Top 25, 8-2 against the RPI Top 50 and lost just twice all season at full strength. Miami played without at least either Durand Scott or Reggie Johnson in four of the team’s six losses. Jim Larranaga’s team aces the eye test, it hits the jackpot in the numbers game and sports a résumé competitive with any of the four No. 1 seeds. Miami, more than Indiana and perhaps Kansas, merited a No. 1 seed somewhere.



Duke Blue Devils

Duke was in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall seed just last week, yet one slip-up in the team’s opening round game of its conference tournament – which the selection committee insists it doesn’t overemphasize – has inexplicably bumped the Blue Devils down to the 2-line. Worse yet, the Blue Devils landed in the region that houses the tournament’s top overall seed (Louisville). So much for the No. 1 RPI, the No. 1 overall strength of schedule, the No. 1 non-conference strength of schedule and the 18-1 record at full strength. And so much for the 6-1 record against the RPI Top 25, the 9-2 record vs. the RPI Top 50 and 15 wins amassed against the RPI Top 100. Duke’s portfolio was more deserving of the No. 1 overall seed than the No. 2 assignment with the least favorable pod. Coach K’s team certainly made a better case for a No. 1 than media darling Indiana (here’s proof). Moral of the story: the committee values conference affiliations and tournament performances more than it’s letting on. That, and the RPI is obsolete.


New Mexico

New Mexico Lobos



Unfairly overlooked as a bona fide 1-seed contender, the Lobos were more worthy of a No. 1 than the seed they actually got. Despite a nation-best 19 wins over the RPI Top 100, a top-two RPI ranking and formidable strength of schedule, Steve Alford’s team fell to the 3-line in the West Region. Like Miami, New Mexico won its conference regular season and tournament titles, yet couldn’t make headway for a No. 1 seed, or even enter the conversation. The noteworthy difference? UNM plays in the top-rated conference as measured by the RPI. The No. 2 RPI and No. 2 strength of schedule don’t carry the weight they once did.



Michigan Wolverines

The late-season freefall in Ann Arbor probably warranted a No. 4 seed, but not to the benefit of Marquette as a No. 3 instead.  The Wolverines own a better overall record, played in a superior conference and have far better wins away from home. Whereas the Golden Eagles scored just one win away from home against a quality opponent (Pittsburgh), the Maize n Blue wield four such wins against the RPI Top 50. The worst of those four is Pittsburgh. Flip-flop Marquette and Michigan for a more reasonable bracket.



Creighton Bluejays

In possession of 12 wins away from home, a perfect 5-0 neutral site record, a top-25 RPI ranking and respectable non-conference schedule, Creighton certainly deserved better than a 7-seed in the field’s toughest region. The Blue Jays are the No. 15 team according to Ken Pomeroy’s tempo-free ratings system and sport an impressive 10-5 record against the RPI Top 100. It’s difficult to justify a school like UCLA, which owns a similar résumé but that lost a key contributor for the rest of the season, as a higher seed.



Oregon Ducks

Unknown to every rational mind outside the selection room, Oregon was a bubble team until winning the Pac-12 tournament. Who knew? The committee slapped the Ducks, more specifically the conference they represent, across the face by pigeonholing the team on the 12-line. Oregon was 2-0 against the RPI Top 25 and 9-7 against the RPI Top 100, marks better than several schools seeded ahead of them that didn’t even win their league. If UCLA, the team Oregon swept in road and neutral sites, is a six-seed, the Ducks are about as much. Instead, in the most inconsistent seeding mix-up of the entire bracket, the committee essentially doubled Oregon’s seed from what it deserved. The biggest loser in all of this: Oklahoma State, the innocent 5-seed now stuck with an opponent as deserving of a No. 5 as it is.


 Boise State

Boise State Broncos

Finishing above .500 in the nation’s top RPI conference should do you better than a spot in the lower of the two quasi play-in games. The Broncos secured three wins against the RPI Top 25, racked up a signature road win at Creighton and avoided any excoriating losses in conference. That’s certainly more compelling than No. 11 St. Mary’s, whose lone quality win was Creighton at home, or No. 11 Middle Tennessee, who beat but one Top 50 RPI opponent all season.  

Tags: Basketball Boise State Broncos Creighton Blue Jays Duke Blue Devils Miami Hurricanes Michigan Wolverines New Mexico Lobos Oregon Ducks

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