Seth Davis: Villanova Has Easiest Path To Final Four

Taz and the Moose
March 12, 2018 - 11:22 am

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Seemingly every year, there is outrage directed toward the NCAA Tournament selection committee, with fans and analysts pounding their fists about what they perceive as an egregious snub.

That is not the case this year.

“I would give them an A,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Seth Davis said on Taz & The Moose. “I think they fulfilled their mission.”

That doesn’t mean that Davis agrees with every committee decision. He was surprised, for example, that Syracuse (20-13) got in.

“I think everybody would agree with that,” Davis said. “I had them as my third team out, so at the end of the day, if you’ve put yourself in a bubble situation, you really don’t have that much right to complain. We have two teams in St. Mary’s and Middle Tennessee who just didn’t have the same number of quality wins as these other bubble teams, including Syracuse. I sympathize with these guys because it’s harder for them to get quality wins because they don’t play in the same caliber of leagues, especially in the case of St. Mary’s. They’ve been prominent for long enough that they have the ability to schedule better games. They just have to be willing to play on the road against teams that aren’t going to come back to your arena. It’s not fair, but that’s life. It’s also not fair that you get to play in an easier league. So that was really the only one.”

Syracuse will face Arizona State (20-11) in a First Four matchup Wednesday at 9:10 p.m. ET, with the winner to face No. 6 TCU (21-11) on Friday at 9:40 p.m. ET.

Oklahoma State (19-14), meanwhile, was viewed by many as a snub, as the Cowboys had eight top-40 wins, including five against Quadrant I. As Davis pointed out, though, they also had 12 losses against Quadrant I.

“They just needed so many games to get those (five) wins,” Davis said. “It took them 17 games to get there. They didn’t have any horrible losses, but they really didn’t have a great schedule out of the conference, either. Outside of their league, there was nothing they could hang their hat on.”

Davis also felt that the regions were fairly balanced, though he does think Villlanova has the easiest 1-seed path to the Final Four.

“It would certainly appear that way,” he said. “Purdue, to me, was the weakest of the 2 seeds, but Purdue had a pretty solid season. They certainly deserved to be a 2-seed. The committee goes through this every year where their mission really is to give as much preference as they can to geography. At the end of the day, you still got to beat somebody.”

No. 1 Virginia (31-2), meanwhile, might have to play Arizona (27-7) or Kentucky (24-10) in the Sweet 16, but, well, that’s better than having to play both.

“Arizona and Kentucky are going to play each other (if they win their first-round games),” Davis said. “(The Cavaliers) don’t have to play both Arizona and Kentucky. They’re only going to have to play one of them if both of those teams win. There’s never an easy road to the Final Four, but I certainly like Villanova’s path. They’re my pick to win the whole thing.”