March 10, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Jordan Hulls (1) reacts during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NCAA Tournament: Teams Overseeded 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 six pampered schools who were over-seeded — at varying degrees — in the bracket. Our list of under-seeded teams can be found here.





Indiana Hoosiers


Don’t be deceived. Indiana “earned” a No. 1 seed because of its conference affiliation, not any team-specific accomplishments. If top seeds were meted out based upon merit, Duke, Miami and New Mexico would have all cut in front of Indiana on the 1-line. As it was instead, college basketball’s media darling in 2012-13 had its seat on the top line reserved since February, when lemmings everywhere unwittingly succumbed to the notion that Indiana was the prohibitive school to beat. The Hoosiers didn’t get the No. 1 seed because of their seventh-ranked RPI, No. 63 non-conference strength of schedule or their underwhelming 9-6 record against the RPI Top 50. They didn’t beat out Duke, Miami and New Mexico because their blind résumés were better. That’s just not the case. Indiana owes its No. 1 seed in the East to the Big Ten name, to the committee’s steadfast commitment to ensuring somebody from the league was represented at the top.


Marquette Golden Eagles


The Big East knows a thing or two about conference favoritism. The flagging league, which once stood as the premiere hoops association in the nation, has benefitted from favorable selection and seeding over the last half-decade. Enter 2013 Marquette, the latest Big East beneficiary of a spuriously enhanced reputation. Marquette secured the No. 3 seed in the East, which makes the Golden Eagles one of the weakest No. 3 seeds in the history of the field. Marquette built its artificially overvalued reputation on a 16-0 home record. Throw that away. Buzz Williams’ team finished just 7-8 away from home and spiraled out of its opening round game of the Big East tournament. The Golden Eagles were only 2-4 against the RPI Top 25 and 10-7 against the RPI Top 100 – unmoving numbers for a team earmarked as a top-12 outfit nationally. Marquette played a relatively soft non-conference schedule (No. 84), aided by a washout against Ohio State in the scheduled season opener. Give serious consideration to Davidson in the 14-vs.-3 matchup. The Wildcats, which rattled off 19 straight wins to close the season, are undervalued as a No. 14.


San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State

The bar for No. 7 seeds was evidently lowered for San Diego State. The Aztecs finished just 2-7 against the RPI Top 25, with six of those nine games played at home or on neutral courts. The 5-8 record against the RPI Top 50 and the 8-10 mark against the RPI Top 100 don’t figure to support Steve Fisher’s cause. Neither does the team’s 7-9 record away from its home gym. The non-conference schedule was fairly weak. The 5-5 finish to the season was indubitably weak. Like Indiana and Marquette, the Aztecs likely benefitted from its tie to the top-ranked conference as measured by the RPI. This is a No. 8 or No. 9 seed masquerading as a No. 7. Lucky seven is right.


Villanova Wildcats


Holy overseeded. A bubble team through and through whom the committee reasonably could have excluded from the 68-team field, Villanova indefensibly skied onto the 9-line, seeded above a handful of teams more deserving of the spot. That’s a 13-loss Wildcats team, whose only wins over NCAA tournament selectees happened at home, leapfrogging the likes of Iowa State (better team, better résumé), Colorado (better team, better résumé) and Oklahoma (better team, better résumé). The Cats played the No. 157 non-conference strength of schedule, finished just 5-8 against the RPI Top 50 and scuffled – to the tune of an 8-9 record – away from home. Villanova dropped games to Columbia (home), Seton Hall (away) and Providence (twice) – an open invitation to have your bubble popped – yet somehow finagled a favorable seed.


Saint Mary's Gaels

Saint Mary’s

One RPI Top 50 win (at home) and a light non-conference schedule compounded by an even softer conference. What’s not to love about the Gaels? The committee was right in assigning Saint Mary’s to one of the four first-round games. Too bad it bungled the seeding in so doing. Boise State and La Salle, the two No. 13 seeds playing in the other first round game (not involving 16-seeds), were each more deserving of an 11-seed than the West Coast Conference runner-ups. When your crowning achievement during the season is one of three losses to the same team (Saint Mary’s lost to Gonzaga by single digits on the road), stay clear of the 11-line. That territory is reserved for real contenders.


Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Middle Tennessee

Looks like the committee’s idea of equity was pairing together the two at-large invitees who accomplished the least during the regular season, seeding be damned. In a battle of teams with just one Top 50 RPI win, Middle Tennessee (the last team in the field) and Saint Mary’s will meet in the 11 vs. 11 quasi play-in game. The natural question is why they’re not playing as No. 13 seeds instead. Middle Tennessee’s lone Top 100 win came in early December against Ole Miss. Seriously. No at-large team seeded below the Blue Raiders has fewer than nine such wins. Figure that out. Moral of the story: seeding at the bottom of the bracket is not about who you beat, but who you avoided losing to.

Tags: Basketball Indiana Hoosiers Marquette Golden Eagles Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Saint Marys Gaels San Diego State Aztecs Villanova Wildcats

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