Admit it. Even though it wasn’t listed on any projected
brackets, you were watching the Selection Show last night hoping
Michigan would find a spot somewhere.

You had to have hope — especially when North Carolina was
shown as a No. 6 seed in the Atlanta region (we’ll get to the
region names in a minute). Come on! Michigan-North Carolina! 1993
rematch!

But it wasn’t to be.

What was to be was the complete disrespect of the Big Ten
conference. Illinois, the outright regular-season champion, landed
a No. 5 seed, while Wisconsin and Michigan State grabbed No. 6 and
No. 7 seeds, respectively.

Wisconsin can’t be too happy with the seed, especially
given that the Badgers beat the Spartans like a rented mule this
year, going 3-0 against Michigan State, and then won the Big Ten
Tournament title.

The selection committee won’t be receiving any fruit
baskets from Pittsburgh in the near future, either. After winning
the Big East and barely losing in its conference tournament final
to Connecticut, Pittsburgh was screwed out of a No. 2 seed. Then
the committee smacked the Panthers upside the head again by setting
up a second-round matchup with Wisconsin … in Milwaukee.
Nice.

Speaking of stupid moves by the committee: Who decided to rename
the regions? The East Rutherford region? The Phoenix region?
It’s not exactly inspiring visions of grandeur. First off,
nothing should be the “East Rutherford” anything. Was
it really that difficult to have the Midwest and Southeast
regions?

Anyway, the Atlanta region appears to be far and away the most
difficult right now. Duke, Mississippi State, Texas, North
Carolina, Cincinnati, Illinois, Arizona, Air Force. Oh, wait. AIR
FORCE? The Falcons RPI wound up in the 70s, they got bounced in the
first round of their conference tournament and they’re …
Air Force.

People around the country will no doubt be huddled around their
television sets to see if Air Force can stay within 30 of North
Carolina. Yeah, yeah, that’s why they play the games, upsets
happen, etc.

Meanwhile, out in the East Rutherford region, St. Joe’s
snuck out a No. 1 seed. That ought to be good enough to get them
knocked out by Texas Tech or Charlotte in the second round. Florida
grabbed a No. 5 seed and a matchup with Manhattan. The winner of
that game will take on whoever is victorious in the Wake
Forest-VCU. VCU, in case you’re wondering, is Virginia
Commonwealth, we think. It might be Very Cool University …
or Victory City University … or Vanilla Coke University. Who
knows? Or cares?

There are some intriguing matchups in the St. Louis region,
including Michigan State-Nevada. The Wolfpack romped Kansas earlier
this year, so they’re no pushover. And Michigan State beat
… um … DePaul and … Michigan and Bucknell.

The winner of that one will likely take on Gonzaga, which landed
a No. 2 seed and a game with Valparaiso in what will from here on
be referred to as the “Cinderella Bowl.”
Gonzaga’s going to be playing in Seattle, so it’s
basically a home game for the Bulldogs. It’s also a rough
trip out west for the Spartans. I know everyone in Ann Arbor is
devastated.

Kentucky’s up top in the St. Louis region, playing the
winner of the play-in game between Lehigh and Florida A&M.
Nothing says March Madness like Lehigh-Florida A&M on Tuesday
in Dayton.

And that’s what we call a lead-in. Dayton (the team, not
the city), stole an at-large bid and will battle DePaul in the No.
7-No. 10 game in the Phoenix region. The winner gets Connecticut in
the second round after the Huskies beat Vermont. Sleeper in the
Phoenix region? Western Michigan, which might be the best team in
the state.

The Broncos drew Vanderbilt in the first round. The Commodores
are led by forward Matt Freije and there’s probably some
other guys on the team — no one knows who they are, though.
Playing the Vandy-Western Michigan winner is the N.C.
State-Louisiana Lafayette winner. Could be a tough draw for the
Broncos, but at least they get to spend a weekend in Orlando (Yes,
Orlando is in the Phoenix region).

There are plenty of interesting ballgames to watch on Thursday
and Friday when you’re skipping class (Note: Skipping class
is not condoned by The Michigan Daily) (Note: The prior statement
is a lie).

So there it is: Selection Sunday is over, Michigan is headed for
the NIT and March Madness is upon us. It’s the happiest time
of year for college basketball fans — not Michigan fans right
now, but you’ll get over it. If not, you can always head out
for a weekend of basketball in majestic East Rutherford.

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