We had a lot of fun on our live Selection Sunday Crosseast. The live episodes are the best. The mixture of unpredictability and humor always makes for podcast magic. For your convenience here’s a link to our first ever live Selection Sunday episode from last season.
Anyway, I digress. This Selection Sunday started off without a hitch. Indeed, I was right about six out of the seven conference tournament races on Friday, so that was a great way to go into the show. Just for the record: I predicted that Albany, UMass, Robert Morris, Georgetown, Cornell, and the Johns Hopkins University were all going to win their conference tournament crowns, and they did just that. Now as you all know - I HATE TO BRAG - it’s distasteful, ostentatious, and crass, so it pains me to call attention to myself or the fact that I was right all along. I am definitely not stating this just so I can gloat about the fact that I was right. No, I am pointing out this undisputed fact FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE of providing context about how my Selection Sunday started. Indeed, it wouldn’t be wrong to say I was in a joyful and festive mood to begin the show.
Anyway, as I said, the night started out great. Jokes were flying, takes were hot, and the conversation was flowing with ease. That was until the ESPNU crewed announced that Johns Hopkins was slotted in as the 5th seed. Now I won’t lie, I was a little annoyed about being #5. I mean, let’s be real here, the Jays just defeated the best team in the country, to win the AQ from the best conference in the country, and you’re gonna slot them at 5th? It didn’t really add up in my mind.
Now I know what you are going to say:
You the reader: Come on, Safe. You and I know both know that the legacy lacrosse media and the Atlantic Coast Conference industrial complex would never ever EVER give a gritty, upstart, blue collar program like Hopkins the respect it EARNED. Sure they deserve to be #3 seed AT THE LEAST, however, it is what it is. The road to 45 was meant to be tough.
Me: You know what, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. Thank you.
You the reader: No problem. But you know what, I should be thanking you. You’re were right about Sicario. It really is a fantastic movie. I should’ve listened to you in the first place. Don’t let those other College Crosse guys bully you from speaking your truth.
Me: THANK YOU!!! I really appreciate that. That means a lot coming from you,
It goes on like that, but you get the idea. THE POINT is, there really is no need to sweat where you are seeded in the tournament. All that matters is getting in.
After 24 hours of thinking about Selection Sunday, I am actually happy that the committee made the Jays the #5 seed, first off, now I can LEGITIMATELY call the Jays underdogs and there is not a thing anyone can say about it. Additionally, the NCAA just handed Petro the greatest motivating tool a coach can have: The “no one believes in us” card. This is arguably the most powerful tool in a coach’s arsenal and the NCAA just gave it to the Jays on a silver platter.
The other reason I am cool with Hopkins being the 5th seed is that, the 5th seed has actually done really well in the dance the last near decade and a half. Indeed, as I pointed out in this post from just before the 2016 NCAA Tournament, fifth seeded team made the Final Four six times from 2006-2015. The only seed that had a better record than that was the #1 seed, which made the Final Four nine times in that span. Alternatively, only three #2 seeds and four #3 seeds made the Final Four from 2006-2015. The pattern continued in 2016 & 2017, as neither the #2 nor the #3 seed made the Final Four in either of those years, while the #5 seed made the Final Four in both 2016 (Brown) & 2017 (Denver). The news isn’t that good for #4 seeds either, as they’ve made the Final Four only four times since 2006.
So on behalf of Blue Jays nation, I would like to say THANK YOU to the committee for making the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays the #5 seed. In one fell swoop the committee turned the Jays into lovable underdogs and lowkey slotted them in the express lane to the Final Four. I don’t know if the Jays are a definite to win title 45, but I do know that five seeds can certainly hold their own in the Big BBQ. Hopefully history repeats itself in the next few weeks.