- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014

The man in charge of the NCAA selection committee insists a win in November is worth the same as a win in March.

Don’t believe him? Check out the seeds slapped beside these conference champions:

-A 4 for Louisville of the American Athletic.

-A 4 for Michigan State of the Big Ten.

-Yet another 4 for UCLA of the Pac-12.

-A 7 for New Mexico of the Mountain West.

Oh, and don’t forget that 8 for Kentucky, which had the ball and a chance to beat Florida, the NCAA tournament’s top overall seed, in the waning seconds of the SEC title game.

Only Virginia, which wrapped up the ACC tournament Sunday to back up its regular-season title, seemed to get a significant bump from the conference tournaments that polish off resumes of teams before the start of America’s favorite office pool - March Madness.

Ron Wellman, chair of the NCAA selection committee, said the Cavaliers, considered a 2 or 3 on most mock-ups, “continued to impress us throughout the year.”

Asked to explain the mediocre seed for a team like Louisville, the defending national champion that has won 12 of 13 and rolled through the AAC tournament, Wellman explained the committee looks at the entire resume, not just March.

“We look at the total body of work, everything they did from November to March,” he said. “Every time we scrubbed that seed, Louisville ended at the same place every time when compared to the people above them.”

The people above them in the Midwest region, which shapes up as the toughest, include top-seeded and undefeated Wichita State, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Duke. Yes, that’s three of last year’s Final Four teams. The national semifinals are April 5 in Arlington, Texas.

On the ‘1’ line in the West was Arizona, which stayed there despite falling in the Pac-12 title game to UCLA. The Bruins are a ‘4,’ same as Michigan State and Louisville - their fellow power-conference champions.

“They pass everyone’s ‘eye test,’” Wellman said. “They’re playing as well right now as anyone in the country. If you look at the last three or four weeks, they probably would’ve been seeded differently. When you look at the entire season, then it’s a little bit different.”

Of course, the numbers are just that - numbers. In an era of one-and-done, superstar coaches and unending parity, the real drama starts after the brackets are out. That’s why Warren Buffett had no problem paying the insurance premium against a $1 billion payoff for anyone who fills out a perfect bracket.

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