The 2014 NCAA Tournament bracket is out and, as always, the Selection Committee has proven to be somewhat fallible. Here are the five most overseeded teams, beneficiaries of kindnesses from Indianapolis.
Michigan State, East Region No. 4 seed
Yes, okay: Michigan State is still sort of the Michigan State you remember it being, and did just win the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, taking down No. 2 seeds Michigan and Wisconsin on the way. The Spartans have been impressive over the last week, now that they have their full complement of healthy players.
But they also went 5-6 in their last 11 Big Ten games, losing to Nebraska and Illinois at home during that stretch. The Spartans getting a No. 4 seed is a pretty clear indication that non-conference schedule strength is very, very important to the committee.
Ohio State, South Region No. 6 seed
Here's another team buoyed by its non-conference performance. The Buckeyes went 13-0 before Big Ten play, and smartly larded their schedule with really good mid-majors (North Dakota State, Delaware, American, Wyoming) that had little chance of beating Ohio State in Columbus.
But Aaron Craft and Co. had a more difficult time in the Big Ten, going 10-8, and losing twice to Penn State. The difference between the Buckeyes and two other underseeded Big Ten teams — Iowa, which went 9-9 in the Big Ten and ended up in a First Four game in Dayton as a No. 11 seed, and Nebraska, which went 11-7 in the Big Ten and is a No. 11 seed — is their non-con schedule and results.
Syracuse, South Region No. 3 seed
Syracuse probably isn't "overseeded" in terms of resume-to-seed ratio, given its very good RPI and excellent non-conference schedule (wins over Villanova and Baylor among a slew of other good wins), but the Orange are 2-5 in their last seven games, and 5-5 in their last 10, and only two of those wins were by more than single digits. Fade late after starting hot? You're still a No. 3.
Saint Louis, Midwest Region No. 5 seed
And if you thought Syracuse was fading late: Saint Louis is 1-4 over its last five games, with losses to Duquesne and St. Bonaventure in that span. The Billikens were excellent until running out of gas at the end of their Atlantic 10 schedule, but, well, they're one line below red-hot Louisville.
Oklahoma, West Region No. 5 seed
Playing the "How does this team's seed compare to Louisville?" game makes lots of seeds look bad, though. The Sooners are plenty good, and played a good non-conference schedule that included games against Michigan State, Tulsa and Mercer. But that schedule doesn't quite track with a No. 5 seed, even with the Sooners' 12-6 record in Big 12 play — which included losses to West Virginia and Texas Tech.