Ron Wellman: High seeding in national championship game part of parity
ARLINGTON, Texas -- NCAA basketball committee chairman Ron Wellman paused to consider whether it was good or bad for the selection group that the Kentucky-Connecticut championship game is the highest seeding total since the format was adopted in 1979.
''I don't think it's bad,'' Wellman, the athletic director at Wake Forest, said Sunday. ''I wouldn't say it's good, either. It's unique for sure.''
Monday night's matchup includes the eighth-seeded Wildcats and their collection of potential one and done freshmen against the No. 7 seed Huskies, who knocked off overall top-seed Florida in the semifinals Saturday.
Kentucky (29-10) was a conundrum because the gaggle of high-school all-stars had double-digit losses after getting the preseason No. 1 nod from The Associated Press.
Connecticut (31-8) came from the American Athletic Conference, which pundits thought was undervalued by the committee.
Defending national champion Louisville got a No. 4 seed even though the Cardinals were hot late in the season and Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown's SMU team was snubbed before reaching the NIT title game.
''We talked in the committee room that you could actually take a whole line of seeds just about at any location and adjust it two lines and nobody would even know the difference because there's that much parity in college basketball today,'' Wellman said. ''My personal opinion is that you're probably going to see these types of seeds doing well in the future in college basketball because I don't think we're going to lose parity in college basketball.''
It's also worth noting that the highest combined seeding also involves teams with 11 championships between them -- eight for Kentucky and three for UConn. The latest titles are recent, too -- UConn in 2011 and Kentucky a year later.
''I don't think we were an eight seed and I don't think Connecticut was a seven seed, and I don't think Pitt was a nine seed and I don't think Louisville was a four seed,'' Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. ''Now, the problem with that is the other teams in those pockets get hurt.''
Best example: undefeated Wichita State. The Shockers were 35-0 when they fell to Kentucky in the Round of 32 in one of the best games of the tournament. The Wildcats also beat Louisville in the Sweet 16.