Posted by Bob on March 28, 2000
In Reply to: Seeded (Sports Useage) posted by Arden on March 24, 2000
: Does anyone know the origin of the term "seeded" as applied to sports, particularly Tennis? I could understand seated (as honored at a ceremony) or ceded, as conceded. It seems to indicate relative ranking and usually is preceeded by a number as Fifth Seeded. Right now we are going though March Madness, which is the basketball playoffs, and it seems to appear frequently in the news reports.
I've been puzzling this over, and a fair explanation would seem to be that tournament organizers 'plant' the seeded teams in strategic brackets to encourage the growth of the tournament as a whole. If you want to avoid the two best teams meeting in the first round, then the brackets cannot be arbitrary or capricious ... you must carefully plant the likely winners sufficiently far apart to let them flourish. (This is strictly speculation, but it sounds plausible to me.)