Welcome to another week of the Talk to the Palm Bracketology mailbag. If you missed last week’s edition, and one person who got his question answered then seems to have, you can find it here.
Let’s get right to the questions, and I would like to begin with the most common question I get asked. It takes the form of something like this…
Is my team in?
If my team finishes with record, number of wins, etc, are they in?
The answer to questions like that is simple: I have no earthly idea. There is a lot of missing information in those questions. Which teams did your team beat and/or lose to in finishing with that record? Which teams did they play and ultimately lose to in the conference tournament? How did the other 40-50 teams still on the bubble finish the season? Because it’s not just about you.
Those questions are almost impossible to answer two weeks from selection Sunday, let alone seven weeks away.
Here are a few questions I can answer. There are several good ones this week. The first is very timely.
Question: How will the committee judge Kansas if they have players sitting out for a few games due to imminent suspensions? — @replayitback
Talk to the Palm: That fight between Kansas and Kansas State on Tuesday was ugly. There may be a couple suspensions that are more than a few games. The most important thing to remember about how the committee handles suspensions, injuries and other roster issues is that all of the losses count. They will not pretend a team would have won a game if it had been at full strength, and they will not pretend the game didn’t happen. This also applies in reverse to the opponents that kicked them while they were down. Also, roster issues only affect seeding, not selection. That does not apply to Kansas, but a team has to earn selection regardless of roster issues. If a team’s resume isn’t good enough because a key player missed some games, even if he comes back later and the team does better, that team will still be out. A better potential example of that this season is North Carolina and Cole Anthony. For seeding, the committee will put a little more weight on what a team did, good or bad, with the roster it is taking into the tournament than otherwise. It is typically no more than a 1-seed line adjustment though and often times, there is no discernable adjustment at all.
Question: (San Diego State coach) Brian Dutcher has said that the Aztecs would prefer a 2 seed in the West to a 1 seed in any other region Is this something the committee would consider in the event that both SDSU and Gonzaga merit 1 seeds? — @aznalytecs
Talk to the Palm: No. Your seed is your seed. They change seeds only when absolutely necessary. It is more likely to happen to BYU than any other team because they cannot play on Sundays, but otherwise, it would only happen to avoid some other bracket rule problem like teams from the same conference having to play each other. The only team that has a choice of location is the overall No. 1.
Question: Is Baylor closer to Omaha or St. Louis? Could they go to St. Louis to help avoid sending a play in winner to Spokane? — @james_hintz
Talk to the Palm: Baylor is about 20 miles closer to Omaha and the committee could do something like that, but it would likely depend on which team they would have to switch from St. Louis to Omaha to accommodate that. For example, they would not swap Louisville from St. Louis to Omaha to make this happen. Louisville has earned the right to play close to home. While it is not ideal to have to ship PIG winners out west, those teams have not earned any geographic consideration.
Question: Would Stephen F. Austin get an at-large bid if they win out but lose a close one in the Southland championship game? It would be tough to leave out a 29-4 team that beat Duke. — @mgoring10
Talk to the Palm: And after that big opening to this column where I said questions like this are almost impossible to answer, here comes an easier one. You would be surprised how easy it might be to leave them out. Yes, they won at Duke, but they will have played one of the worst schedules in the country overall and lost two conference games in one of the lowest rated leagues, one of which was at home. That is not going to get it done. It is unfortunate, but the margin for error for teams like this is ridiculously small.
Keep the questions coming by sending them to me on Twitter @jppalmCBS! Talk to you again next week.