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A Tale of Two Tournaments in Elite Eight

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  • A Tale of Two Tournaments in Elite Eight

    This is truly an interesting Elite Eight for several reasons.

    For one, each Region has a favorite left standing that was reasonable to predict once the Tournament was seeded: Three No. 1 seeds have survived, with only Illinois being eliminated; but No. 2 seed Houston (now up to #3 overall in KenPom) remains in that Region. All in all, the Top Four teams in KenPom (Gonzaga, Baylor, Houston, Michigan) are all still alive.

    On the other hand, three of the four "underdogs" in the Elite Eight games were seeded No. 6 or below, with UCLA and Oregon State both having double-digit seeds.

    What's more, much has been made of the performance of the Pac-12. But, it's not just the Pac-12 which is unusual; the geographic make-up of the Elite Eight is very limited: you have four Pacific Coast schools: Gonzaga, USC, UCLA and Oregon State; and you have three schools from the Texas-Arkansas Southwest region -- all three of which were in the old Southwest Conference before it disbanded: Baylor, Houston, Arkansas.

    So, 4 from the Pacific Coast; 3 from the Southwest. And then there the one outlier, the only school from east of the Mississippi: Michigan.

    The percentage of Americans living east of the Mississippi River is roughly 60%; the majority of all Division 1 basketball programs are located east of the Mississippi. And yet, only one of the eight schools remaining comes from east of the Mississippi.