Speed Reads


The NCAA tournament's horrendous seeding, in one infuriating chart

There's always a great deal of complaining come March Madness about how foolish the NCAA selection committee was in filling out the bracket. This year was no exception, with people particularly outraged that Louisville and Michigan State — two of the teams most favored to win the whole shebang — wound up as No. 4 seeds. But the committee's most egregious mistake, hands down, was its puzzling decision to throw Kentucky into the mix as a No. 8 seed.

Though the Wildcats have played inconsistently at times, they are an immensely talented team that some believed, at the start of the year, could complete a historic undefeated season. So how under-seeded were they? For one take, we can consult the Basketball Power Index (BPI), a formula that weights a number of criteria like strength of schedule, pace, and so on to produce an attempted "objective" ranking of every hoops team.

The only teams above Kentucky, per BPI: All four No. 1 seeds in the tournament, plus a No. 4 and a No. 2. Per BPI alone, that means Kentucky should have been a second seed. (For comparison's sake, the next best No. 8 seed, per BPI, was Gonzaga way down at 27th.) Poor Wichita State suffered as a result of the committee's terrible judgment, as they fell to Kentucky on Sunday, 78-76, and were the only top seed to not reach the Sweet 16.