• February 9, 2023

Joe Lunardi’s 2021 NCAA tournament bracket winners and losers

College basketball selection Sunday winners and losers are preparing for the 2021 NCAA tournament, according to Joey Brackets:

WINNER: 68 teams, approximately 1,000 college basketball players, and millions of March Madness fans around the world. My co-writer, David Smale, calls Voting Sunday “the biggest non-sporting sporting event” in America. He’s not wrong.

LOSER: By and large, none. The world didn’t stop spinning because we didn’t have a basketball tournament. And tragically, we can’t bring back any of those we lost to the pandemic just because the Great Dance has returned. But we can all smile a little and hope that this NCAA tournament will in some way help bring COVID-19 into the rearview mirror.

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WINNER: The four top seeds – Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois and Michigan – were correctly selected and placed. It’s rare that the line between the elite and the very good falls exactly after four teams, but that’s the case this year and the selection committee got it right.

LOSER: Alabama was good enough to be number 1 for most years, but we ran out of regions. The Crimson Tide will have to be content with being the number 2 in Michigan’s bracket and the possibility that the Wolverines will not reach full strength in the later rounds.

WINNER: The committee has also pinned the top 16 teams, which can be a subtle element that often governs the entire course of the tournament. Just as there was a suitable dividing point between seeds # 1 and # 2, the same can be said for the top four lines compared to the rest of the field.

LOSER: Did the committee lose its cable signal in the process? Oklahoma State played? The Cowboys were much closer to being a 2-seed than the # 4 they received. West VirginiaBeat the Cowboys twice in the past two weeks, climbed to number 3 in the NET despite Oklahoma State lagging 14 spots. This is a clear seeding bug.

WINNER: Non-power 5 bubble teams Utah State, Wichita State and specially drake were treated fairly by the committee. And both Colorado State and Saint Louis made the list of the four replacement teams. Whenever these conferences, which should never be called mid-major, have selected the next level teams, they should be commended.

Carlik Jones, who moved from Radford, led Louisville in the standings, but the Cardinals were banned from the NCAA tournament. Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

LOSER: I thought Louisville would make it before Wichita State, but the Cardinals really have no argument. Pandemic or not, the cardinals were of the classic “medium” type that is usually included. Kudos to the committee for recognizing that our planet will be fine with only seven ACC teams on site (and for not being involved duke somewhere).

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WINNER: HartfordJohn Gallagher, the reluctant coach, was convinced that his Hawks would appear in an opening round for the first time in an NCAA tournament. I told him Hartford would play Baylor or Illinois. It’s Baylor. And, John, don’t mess with the bracketologist.

LOSER: I thought my hometown Drexel kite got a little stiff when it fell below the 16 line. The Dragons get Illinois instead of a slightly simpler No. 2 seed. Regardless, it’s hard to be a loser when you’re in the tournament for the first time in a quarter of a century.

WINNER: UConn, Clemson and specially Villanova. Each may have been littered due to the strength of the conference or recent performance. In the case of the wildcats, it’s hard to see they’re playing without a senior star, even though we correctly predicted their # 5 seed Collin Gillespie.

LOSER: LSU, North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan State, UCLA and specially Wisconsin. All of these teams join Oklahoma State in the “particularly understaffed” club. Metrics are a big part of the equation, but they shouldn’t be the whole story.

WINNER: Each of us overjoyed to have the world’s greatest sporting event back.

LOSER: Every body else …

Happy tires!

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Jack

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