Where the S-curve and geography meet

Editor's note: Charlie Creme will project the 2007 NCAA Tournament bracket right up to Selection Monday in March. Click here for his most recent Women's Bracketology and Charlie's team-by-team analysis. The following questions were submitted after he announced his field of 64 on Monday.

I think I understand the basic bracket stuff you explained, but one thing you did not address: Do you think a team which is less than .500 in conference play can make the Big Dance? Your comments about my beloved Big 12 teams would make it appear as if it were possible.

Mustang, Okla.

No rule exists excluding teams below .500 in conference play from making the NCAA Tournament. However, conference record is one of the pieces of information considered by the committee, and a losing mark doesn't help a team's résumé. Specifically with regard to the Big 12, I could see a scenario where a 7-9 Texas, Iowa State or Texas Tech received an at-large bid. Kansas State is going to need a big finish to get in now. That loss to Colorado was a killer, and four games below .500 doesn't cut it.

Only three teams from Big Ten is an outrage. It might be tough to pick a fourth because there are so many bunched up in the pack. But take Minnesota, which almost beat No. 10 Purdue and No. 4 Ohio State despite missing its lone senior. The Golden Gophers' record is not the best, but watch out for them in the Big Ten tourney. They've never done well there in the past, but if they do this season, they should get some serious consideration.

Rochester, Minn.

Apparently, Rochester did not read the accompanying column to the most recent bracket projection. Teams, not conferences, make the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten is not entitled to more than three teams unless the teams within the Big Ten earn it. But you are right about one thing, Rochester. It is tough to pick a fourth team from the league because no club after Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State has the credentials. At the time of the projection, Minnesota had lost four of five, was only 14-12 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten. The Gophers did win at Nebraska, but also lost at North Dakota State. Indiana, which is equally unworthy at this point, is the only other top-50 team Minnesota has beaten. Minnesota isn't even the next Big Ten team to be considered after the top three. Sorry, the Gophers don't stack up.

Once again, based on your projections, UNC gets hosed by the committee. If they beat both UConn and Tennessee, why do the Tar Heels get to travel the furthest of any of the No. 1 seeds? They are clearly No. 2 overall and should be in either Raleigh, N.C., or Pittsburgh, not East Lansing, Mich. Until the committee stops its years [of] favoritism of UConn and Tennessee, women's college basketball will still be perceived as inferior to the men's game and a much fairer selection setup (where the top four seeds are protected).

Karthi N.
Chapel Hill, N.C.

I understand what you are saying to a degree, but it's not that simple. Going to East Lansing does not "hose" North Carolina. How about the fact that I had North Carolina in the Dayton Regional and Tennessee in the Dallas Regional? With regard to the sub-regional, with NC State in the field and Duke clearly ahead of North Carolina on the S-curve, the Tar Heels are not going to Raleigh. NC State has to go there as a host school and Duke would get geographical preference. The Pittsburgh vs. East Lansing argument has more validity and could end up changing as time moves forward, but the travel distance isn't incredibly different.

I agree with your rankings, but where you are placing the second seeds doesn't make sense to me. I think it would make a lot more sense geographically for LSU to be in the Dallas Regional, Maryland in the Greensboro Regional, Stanford in the Fresno Regional and Ohio State in the Dayton Regional. Is there a reason why you placed these teams where you did?


Placing the No. 1 seeds is the first thing done when putting the bracket together. In this projection, Duke gets first priority as the overall No. 1 and therefore goes to Greensboro, N.C. North Carolina goes to Dayton as the No. 2 overall. Tennessee was next and Dallas is the next closest regional to Knoxville. That leaves UConn having the worst of it, going to Fresno, but the Huskies would be the fourth No. 1 seed. Based on that, Maryland couldn't got to Greensboro, N.C., as a fellow member of the ACC. Same with LSU in Dallas -- the Lady Tigers can't go there if Tennessee is already there. Teams from the same conference, by rule, must be kept apart as much and as far as possible. Times in the past the committee has placed teams so intraconference meetings could have come before the regional final, but it would never happen with No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

Charlie, what are the chances of the Lobos going to the Dance this March? I know they started conference play 0-3 (the three losses were by a total of eight points) with two losses at home. But the women went to Utah and BYU and beat them on their home courts. The Lobos are 7-1 since that 0-3 start.

Rio Rancho, N.M.

New Mexico is an interesting case because the Lobos are coming on strong and that matters. How a team is playing now is a consideration. The win over Texas could really help because the Longhorns might be a team New Mexico is competing against for an at-large bid. Getting to 22 wins would be a huge help. If New Mexico does that, which means winning three of the last four in the regular season and one in the conference tournament, I think the Lobos would have a real chance.

You got it wrong. Maryland is the true No. 1 seed, and when it will count, the Terps will carry their weight. UConn ahead of Maryland? I don't think so.


I'm including this one just to illustrate what I have to deal with sometimes. Ned, take off the blinders and realize that it really isn't even that difficult of a call to have UConn as a No. 1 seed and Maryland as a No. 2. UConn has more top-25 wins, fewer losses -- and the Huskies' only two losses are to two other No. 1 seeds (the Terps lost to Georgia Tech). UConn was more competitive against their one common opponent -- North Carolina -- and this season plays in a deeper league. Ohio State actually has a better argument than Maryland. I'm not sure this was that hard to see, but I thought I would make sure.

Click here to send Charlie Creme an e-mail.