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Headlines: NCAA Hoops Tournament Field Set

Brian: We all know by now that the Eagles (22-11) received a 7 seed in this year's NCAA tournament and will head to Minneapolis to play the 10th seeded Southern Cal Trojans (21-12). I largely agree with Eagle in Atlanta in that I like the first round draw against USC. I think the Eagles know that they could have won the ACC tournament this past weekend and will have something to prove this weekend. Also, remember what happened the last time the Eagles were placed in the Midwest bracket?

My question though, is how did the Eagles receive a 7 seed in the tournament? I am a bit surprised that there is such a discrepancy between our seed and the final regular season ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Not a single Top 25 vote received for BC. Other than the Top 25, there are 12 teams also receiving votes this week, but not a vote cast for the Eagles. To me, a 7 seed would imply that the selection committee thinks you are one of the top 28 teams in the country, let BC can't even garner a vote good for 37th place in the poll. Jeff, what gives?

Jeff: Remember the last time the Eagles played in Minneapolis? They lost to Villanova.

As for the polls and seedings, I think Duke got a little love by moving up to a 2 after winning the tournament when they probably would've been a 3 and maybe dropped to a 4 with a poor showing. Meanwhile Maryland obviously played its way into the tournament and BC move up probably 2 spots. UNC was always a 1 though, Wake and Clemson dropped singificantly after losing their first game of the tourney and FSU didn't budge despite knocking off UNC and making it to the finals. Of all the ACC teams FSU has a lot to complain about because they had a great run in the tourney including knocking off UNC and their seed did not improve. Meanwhile, in the Big East, Syracuse would've been seeded the same or behind FSU prior to the conference tournaments and jumped to a 3 seed with their very similar performance of making it to the finals and losing to a very strong team.

Brian: The Big Lead previews the Midwest regional and profiles Tyrese Rice as a potential one-man gang. Do you see Rice taking over one of these games in the tournament, or is this a slightly misinformed preview given that Rice has evolved his game this year to play more of the facilitator role?

Jeff: Has Rice's game really evolved or is he just not playing as well or are defenses just more aware of him on the court? Last year he could put up big numbers in losses. This year it's different because teams are having to play a full 40 minutes against the Eagles. Rice will likely put up 20+ once or multiple times if we keep winning but he will not take over a game with a 30+ point performance unless overtime is. This year, we have solid second, third and fourth options making it unnecessary for him to be a one man show.

Brian: Julian Benbow called the Trojans 'red hot' in the Globe today. Can you really consider the Trojans - winners of five straight - to be red hot? They finished the regular season at home with two games against the pathetic Beaver State teams Oregon and Oregon State, and then won three straight games in the Pac 10 tournament. Those games were played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, virtual home games for USC (and UCLA, for that matter). Before USC rattled off five wins, they lost 6 of their previous 7 games and all lost of their last five road games to UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, California and Stanford. Can we really consider this team to be 'red hot' given that they are a mere 6-6 in their last 12 games?

Jeff: USC is not red hot hence their #10 seed. USC won the conference tourney of a not so great conference. The highest seed from the Pac-10 is only Washington at #4 and even though the conference did get 6 bids they are made up of 2 6 seeds, a 7, 10, and 12 which is not at all impressive.

Brian: The Eagles open as 2 point dogs to USC. Both Boston College and Southern Cal are 100:1 to win the whole thing. You like those odds?

Jeff: BC 100:1 is not a good bet. You'd be better off just betting the Eagles each round and rolling over your winnings each time. The Eagles will be underdogs in all six games should they play that many. I love taking the Eagles getting 2 points on Friday night.

We move to the other basketball action from Sunday. In the Southeastern Conference final, Mississippi State won the tourney marking the second year in a row that an SEC team who otherwise would not have made the dance punched their ticket with the auto bid. This confirms our previous thoughts that the SEC is terrible this year, right?

Brian: Terrible. Maybe ... maybe if Mississippi St. didn't punch their ticket to the Big Dance, South Carolina or Florida would have gotten in as one of the final at-larges, but that is a big if. This league didn't deserve more than 2 bids this year and should be very thankful they received 3 bids.

Jeff: Similarly, Purdue has been ranked all year and won their conference tournament yet the Boilermakers are only a five seed. Sign of a weak conference, correct?

Brian: False. Purdue received a 5 seed because while they won the conference tournament, they failed to win the Big Ten regular season title. Michigan State had an overall better year and was rewarded with the highest seed for a Big Ten team. Even though I wouldn't dare compare the Big Ten to the ACC or the Big East, the conference statistically is the second best conference in the country. The fact that they put 7 teams in the dance - right or wrong - shows that the conference is not that weak. Even though I'm fairly anti-Big Ten, I'd suspect a couple of the Big Ten teams will make it out of the first weekend.

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