On the latest “Capital Games” podcast, we seeded the field with some of the best minds in politics and college basketball: Greg Shaheen, the former organizer of the men’s college basketball championship tournament; Jonathan Martin of the New York Times; and Harry Enten, senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight.com.
Regions provide a bit of a challenge, and this exercise is actually far less impactful than the work of the college basketball selection committee. Rather than breaking down by ideology or job title, we stuck with geographic regions: Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest.
Polls notwithstanding, Enten doesn’t think Trump deserves the top overall seed. But based on polling, he’s the frontrunner, thus earning a first-round matchup against the winner of the play-in contest between George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. (Is Dayton, Ohio, available to host?)
Strong arguments could be made for Marco Rubio grabbing one of those slots –- but he and Bush will fight it out in Florida before the Final Four, in all likelihood. Our guests also feel like Cruz is the weakest of the No. 1 seeds -– Rubio or Kasich could shift regions -– though Martin likened Cruz to a team that could get hot in the conference tournaments (Iowa?) and wind up going deep.
There’s plenty of hoops to be played before the voting starts, and we reserve the right to re-seed the field. But this week’s first Republican debate starts the winnowing process, with 10 tickets available for the first contest.
“Capital Games with Andy Katz and Rick Klein” is part of the ESPN Perspectives podcast series, with original programming on issues across the sports world. The program explores the intersection of sports and politics, through interviews and analysis, and can be downloaded free podcast apps, or on the ESPN Website.