The Big Ten got a conference-best nine teams in this year’s NCAA tournament, leaving their haul (and seeding) up for interpretation.
And it didn’t take long for one of college basketball’s top analysts to take issue with it.
Seth Davis said Sunday night during CBS’ bracket reveal show that he was “surprised” to see Indiana in a First Four game this week after the Hoosiers beat Michigan and Illinois to reach the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Indiana will play Wyoming on Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, for the No. 12 seed and right to play No. 5 Saint Mary’s later this week.
“I’m a little surprised to see Indiana seeded this low,” Davis, CBS’ college basketball analyst said.
The Hoosiers (20-13) were among the last four teams in this year’s tournament, along with Notre Dame, Rutgers and Wyoming, leaving Davis to wonder why Michigan — carrying a 17-14 overall record and second-round exit in the Big Ten tournament—why wasn’t one of them.
More: UM basketball to face Colorado State as No. 11 seed
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“I’m surprised that Michigan is nowhere on this list,” Davis said.
His CBS colleague, Clark Kellogg, chimed in during the broadcast and agreed with Davis, but pointed to Michigan’s strength of schedule — as of Sunday morning, it was seventh nationally — as an advantage.
The Wolverines also carry a NET ranking of 34 and five Quad-1 wins this season, a strong indicator of a team capable of competing (and beating) some of the best in college basketball.
Michigan wound up with an 11th seed and will play No. 5 Colorado State in Indianapolis on Thursday, missing the play-in games in Dayton.
“We know how the committee views strength of (schedule), non-conference schedules especially,” Kellogg said. “And I think that carried the day (for Michigan), along with quality wins.
“The teams on the bubble, you’re being compared to other teams — and nobody is without more significant flaws than the rest of the field. Therefore, some of those things — strength of non-conference schedule, who you’ve beaten — all those things can carry a lot of weight and differentiate (you).”
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That appears to be the case for Michigan, one of the three “bubble” teams from the Big Ten to make the tournament, but the only team not required to head to Dayton first.
Rutgers (18-13) will play Notre Dame in a play-in game in Dayton this week, also.