Wednesday, March 18, 2009

God's Bracket 2009: Men's Edition

Here it is: my annual look at the religiously affiliated schools in the NCAA Tournament.

2009 was not a good year for men's basketball at Protestant colleges and universities. Only four Protestant schools and two denominations (United Methodist and Baptist) are represented (and that's only if one counts Wake Forest as a Baptist school, which is debatable). Calvinists must be especially frustrated: Though both showed flashes of brilliance during the season, neither Davidson nor Tulsa made a convincing case for a Presbyterian bid. (The Wildcats and Golden Hurricane were not predestined to be in this year's field.) Belmont (Baptist) lost its hold on the Atlantic Sun Conference; Oral Roberts (Charismatic) lost its grip on the Summit League; Pacific (United Methodist) fell short in the Big West; and the ELCA, Missouri Synod, United Church of Christ, and Church of Christ all failed to produce a conference winner.

As usual, Roman Catholic schools dominate. But Ben XVI will nonetheless be disappointed because this year's six bids is a plenary-indulgence-sized step back from last year's eleven. Georgetown, Notre Dame, and San Diego had disappointing seasons and fell off the bubble. While Providence and St. Joseph's had good seasons, neither was able to put together a tournament-worthy résumé. If this trend continues, a Papal Council on Hoops may be in order.

Anyway, here is this year's God's Bracket breakdown:

Roman Catholic

  • Xavier (#4, East)

  • Gonzaga (#4, South)

  • Marquette (#6, West)

  • Boston College (#7, Midwest)

  • Villanova (#3, East)

  • Siena (#9, Midwest)

United Methodist

  • Duke (#2, East)

  • Syracuse (#3, South)

  • American (#14, East)


  • Wake Forest (#4, Midwest)

Latter-Day Saints

  • Brigham Young (#8, West)

Note: My forthcoming book, Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports (Pilgrim Press 2009), includes an appendix with a complete list of religiously affiliated Division I schools. Stay tuned for details.


Blogger elvisfreakshow said...

As previously disclosed, I don't give a flying hooey about basketball unless it's in my backyard. Yet each year I read this post for nuggets like "plenary-indulgence-sized step back."

Hard to believe it's my third year with your blog...

7:07 AM  

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