If there is a method to figuring out the madness of NCAA Tournament seedings, Bruce Weber insists he is no more aware of it than the average fan.
That is why Kansas State’s men’s basketball coach will be as eager as anyone to learn where he and his Wildcats will be sent when the 68-team field is revealed at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
“I have no idea,” Weber said Friday night at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., after his Wildcats were bounced from the Big 12 Tournament with a 63-59 semifinal loss to Iowa State. “I don’t follow (bracketology). The coaches do.
“I gotta believe we’re somewhere between a 3 and 5 (seed). But, you know, we’ll just have to see. I think we found out last year it doesn’t matter. It’s how you prepare and if you’re ready to go.”
The only certainty this year is that the NCAA Tournament Selection Show promises to be a different viewing experience for both Weber’s Wildcats and Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks, whose bid for a Big 12 tourney championship fell short with a 78-66 loss to Iowa State on Saturday night.
While the Wildcats have comfortably secured a berth in this year’s field, the selection show was a bit of a tense watch each of the previous two seasons. They were awarded one of the final four spots in the 2017 tourney, then were seeded ninth a year ago when they marched all the way to the South Regional finals before being ousted by Cinderella darling Loyola-Chicago.
The Jayhawks, meanwhile, find themselves in the unfamiliar position of looking up at others. KU, which reached its 15th Final Four in 2018, has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament each of the past three seasons and six times since 2010.
That won’t be the case this year. In fact, many college basketball pundits expect both the Jayhawks (25-9) and Wildcats (25-8) to receive No. 4 seeds from this year’s NCAA selection committee.
As of noon Saturday, bracketologists for CBS Sports and ESPN listed the Jayhawks as a No. 4 in the South Region, the Wildcats a No. 4 in the East. USA Today assigned KU a 4-seed in the West and K-State a 4 in the South.
None of those outlets expected either team to play close to home next week during the first two rounds of action. All three publications had K-State opening in San Jose, Calif., while KU was expected to debut in San Jose or Salt Lake City.
Not that the players are concerned in the least. They're just eager to test themselves on college basketball's biggest stage, no matter how far they may have to travel to do so.
One of five Jayhawk starters set to make his NCAA Tournament debut, freshman guard Quentin Grimes agreed with the notion that the team's 88-74 victory over West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals could be the start of something special for the group. That outcome represented KU's highest scoring output since late December, with Grimes pitching in 18 points and five made 3s.
“The team’s kind of coming together now," Grimes said Friday, "and getting momentum going into the tournament.”
As for the Wildcats, their goal now is to move past a disappointing Friday finish that saw them squander a late five-point lead against Iowa State.
“We’re not going to dwell on it,” senior guard Barry Brown said. “It’s going to suck today, maybe even suck tomorrow. But once our names go across the screen and we find who we are playing it’s going to be about that team and not what happened in the past — not the good that happened in the past and not the bad that happened in the past, just what we can do to move forward and survive and advance.”
During the madness of March, that is the only method that really matters.