For college basketball fans around the country, Selection Sunday is a momentous day. After watching over 30 games and comparing resumes of teams from different conferences, all the speculation about seeding and who will the make tournament is finally put to rest. Sure, there will almost always be griping from a handful of schools, but it's not like the last team left out of the tournament really had a chain to cut down the nets in early April.
With the revealing of the brackets less than a day away, here are a few things that fans should be paying attention during the hour-long selection show:
Naturally, the most important factor is the first round opponent. While fans of all 68 teams probably have the grand dream of winning a National Championship, the reality is that you need to survive the opening round to keep that dream alive. The one guarantee with the first round is that the committee will do everything in its power to avoid a rematch from the season. This means that your team will face an opponent it likely won't be familiar with. With these circumstances, coaching becomes even more important, as a staff will only have 4 or 5 days to prep a team for an unfamiliar opponent, while also trying to implement some basic information about a future opponent.
The next thing every fan should scout is how the bracket should breakdown. As a Gonzaga fan, I always harp on the loss to Davidson as a blown opportunity, because the bracket setup perfectly for Gonzaga after the first round. With an extra rebound, or one more defensive stop, the Zags easily could have been playing in the Elite 8.It's always interesting to speculate who the future opponents may be, as well as what could potentially happen to your side of the bracket if it has a 12-5 or 13-4 upset.
Another key point of interest is the location of the games. While I hate to harp on the Davidson loss, I will never understand the justification of a 7-seed (Gonzaga) traveling across the country to play less than an hour from the campus of the 10-seed. One of the most beneficial aspects of the difficult non-conference schedule Gonzaga plays is that it prepares the team for traveling across the country and playing at a high level on short notice. So when you see the name Gonzaga appear on the bracket, try and see what the travel will be like, as well as what the travel will be like for the other teams playing at that location.
Obviously, all of this information is useless if your team shows up and lays an egg. If you open the game shooting 1-of-15, it really doesn't matter how far your opponent had to travel to get to the game. With that said, the tree points I discussed are just some basic background on what to keep an eye on when everything is revealed.