Today is Selection Sunday, one of the best days of the year to be a sports fan, and it feels especially good when you are still trying to erase the thought of a brutal six overtime loss to a hated rival. But enough about that horrid game. Now, all that sits between UConn and eternal glory is about 4 hours and the whims of a small group of people sitting in an Indianapolis hotel room. With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind as you watch the selection show.
Being a 1 seed is nice, and it gets a lot of attention, but ultimately, where you are placed does not matter nearly as much as who you are matched up against. With that said, there seem to be 5 teams still with a shot at the top seed line. They are North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Memphis and UConn. The general consensus seems to be that the first three are locks and either Memphis or UConn will get that last No 1. Because the committee uses an "S-Curve" to place teams, the weakest 1 seed (UConn or Memphis) will get matched up with the strongest 2 seed (again, UConn or Memphis), so no matter where UConn wins up playing, chances are good that Memphis will be in their bracket. For the record, this terrifies me. Memphis is an extremely athletic team that plays tremendous defense. Sure they have not played anyone this year, but since the Dyson injury took away a key scorer who could make his own shot, the thought of a team that can shut down A.J. Price and bring UConn's offense to a grinding hault is not a pleasant one.
With that said, there are two other possible scenarios though. The first is that the committee really decides to hit UConn hard for the loss of Dyson and losing 3 of its last 6 games. In that scenario, UConn would slide further down the "S-Curve" and since the committee will not put two Big East teams in the same regional as the 1 and 2 seeds, it means UConn will likely be matched up against North Carolina. That is the nightmare scenario, North Carolina is the most talented team in the dance and aside from perhaps Pittsburgh, the team that I would least like to see play UConn.
The other scenario, which seems like the least likely but would help the Huskies a lot, involves Memphis being shipped somewhere other than UConn's region and UConn being matched up against a team that will provide a more favorable matchup. The most likely culprit in this scenario is Duke, who by winning the ACC championship could vault itself up the "S-Curve" and bring its unathletic style right into the waiting arms of Hasheem Thabeet. A dark horse here could be Oklahoma. Blake Griffin is a force to be reckoned with, but I feel like Thabeet could at least slow him down, vastly limiting the one advantage the Sooners would have.
The final element to keep an eye on is the location of UConn's region. With any luck, UConn will wind up playing in the East regional, which would give it virtual home games in Boston for the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8. Getting shipped out to Glendale, Arizona would not be the worst thing in the world either. Playing out west will likely remove a lot of distractions from the team (you'd have to imagine that if UConn wound up in Boston, the entire city of Brookline would be calling Jeff Adrien for tickets non-stop) and in both of UConn's previous title runs, the Huskies came out of the west.
Also, for the record, the man, the myth and the legend that is Kevin Meacham has predicted that the Huskies will face off against either Cornell or Cal State Northridge in the first round. (For the record, I don't follow the dregs of college basketball as closely as Meacham, but I cannot see the committee shipping a California team across the country to play UConn in Philadelphia. I would not at all be surprised by Cornell though.)
Of course, these are all shot-in-the-dark guesses based off of blind picks by charlatans and fools, so your best bet is probably just to check back here tonight for analysis after the real brackets are released.