|Monday, March 10
Updated: March 11, 6:09 PM ET
Georgia's 'domino effect' busts up bracket
By Joe Lunardi
Special to ESPN.com
Georgia was No. 14 on the ESPN.com "S-Curve" at the time of its unexpected departure from postseason play. That made the Bulldogs a solid No. 4 seed, in the West Region via Tampa, in Monday's original projected field.
And then came the press conference in Athens announcing, among other things, that the Bulldogs would not participate in either the SEC or NCAA tournaments. The aftershocks of this quake are being felt as far away as Minneapolis and Tucson, and as nearby as New Orleans.
Picture Georgia as the 14th domino in a 65-team row. When it falls, so do domino Nos. 15 through 65. Once repositioned, however, those 15th through 65th dominoes move up a spot. And domino No. 66 fills in the final missing slot.
Congratulations, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are now off the dreaded "Last Four Out" list and back into the projected NCAA field. They join 16 other teams who see their seeding and/or geographic placement rocked by the Harrick family.
Some of the highlights/lowlighths include:
Oh, and did we mention that the SEC tournament had to be re-bracketed as well? But that is Thursday's story. In the meantime, perhaps the most common sense solution to the NCAA tourney dilemma has been ignored.
What would I do? Scrap the screwy "play-in" game and use Georgia's withdrawal as justification for a return to the preferred 64-team bracket. That could have happened if Georgia's announcement had come after Selection Sunday. As it stands now, the Bulldogs never had a bid (automatic or at-large) to relinguish.
Joe Lunardi is the resident Bracketologist for ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN Radio. He may be reached at email@example.com.