It was a full weekend as conference tournaments came to an end and the 2011 brackets were announced. It is to bad the NCAA tournament committee doesn’t watch basketball cause they missed some real good games.
Over the years the selection committee has made mistakes and unusual decisions but this season they seem to have completely screwed the pooch. Hell the only two schools I think they didn’t piss off were Duke and Florida. That leads me to my first beef with the committee and their “strategies” for putting together a bracket.
How can you reward some teams for what they do in a conference tournament, while completely ignore others? It is clear that the committee watched the Big East tournament and saw the run UConn made to a title and as a result the Huskies were given a 3-seed. No way the 9th team in the Big East was getting a 3-seed without a conference tournament title run. The same with Duke and the ACC. Yes maybe the committee already had the Blue Devils as a 1-seed before they won their 3rd straight ACC tournament championship but that would be a bold face lie. I promise you if North Carolina had beaten Duke in that title game then they would have got the 1-seed and Duke would be the 2. The Tar Heels did win the ACC regular season, remember? So we know the committee watches and possibly jock those two tournament results but what about the others.
Kentucky finished a blink behind Florida in the regular season standings, dominated through the SEC tournament and capped it off by treating the Gators in the way that Florida treats UK in football. Do you think the committee cares? Better question is do you think any of them even knew the results of that game when they put together the bracket? The answer to both those questions has to be no. Everyone in the country knows how bad the SEC is this year in term of depth in talented teams but the ACC really isn’t much better. So how do their conference finalists get a winner 1-seed and loser 2-seed result while the SEC got pimp slapped loser 2-seed, winner 4-seed? Lets be honest even if Florida had one the game a 2-seed was to high. Then there is the Pac-10. Washington finished just three games behind Arizona and two behind UCLA. While Washington won the conference tournament beating Arizona but all their reward was a 7-seed. A 7-seed, the same seed given to UCLA who lost to a bad Oregon team in their 1st round game.
So we now know that the committee loves and respects the results of the ACC tournament and the Big East tournament, while considering the SEC and Pac-10 results like stepchildren.
That brings me to another thing that bugs me. How can you rewards some teams for their good play in conference tournament but not punish the ones who play bad? As I said before it is clear the committee moved teams like UConn up in seeding for what they did but teams that fold early in the conference tournament do not get punished at all. One example would be Pittsburgh. The Panthers were one and done and it seems the committee not only did not drop them down from a 1-seed as a result but even rewarded them with most likely the easiest region in the tournament. Louisville finished a head of West Virginia in the regular season and then knocked off Notre Dame before losing in a close game to UConn in the finals. The Mountaineers on the other hand lost in their 1st game but still got a seed just one below the Cards.
The same argument goes for why UCLA can choke to a lesser team but still get the same seed as the team (Washington) who played three good games and won the whole tournament. Oh yea did I mention that Washington also swept UCLA in the regular season.
Then there is the “snub” teams. I know everyone has to be sick of hearing how Colorado, St Mary’s, and Virginia Tech all got “screwed” out of a tournament bid. While all three of those teams have a reason to be upset, in my mind the clear-cut robbery fell to Colorado. I even wrote on this blog about how Colorado was a lock to get in despite losing to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament but now I wonder even if they had won that game would it had made any difference? Texas played well in the tournament before losing to Kansas (no shame) and they still got a 4-seed. Colorado beat Texas this season. They beat tournament teams Missouri and Kansas State (three times). Yes the Buffaloes had some bad losses and did not get any good out of conference wins. I will not deny this. They lost to San Francisco (on the road) in overtime 83-81, Harvard actually blew them out (also on the road) 82-66, and also lost to New Mexico at home (89-76). They also had two bad conference losses, one to Oklahoma and the other to Iowa State. These things are not good but are they any worse than the resumes of other bubble teams like….Illinois, UAB, Michigan, VCU, Penn State, or even George Mason?
Don’t miss understand me, I think Michigan and George Mason deserve to get in but their resumes are no better than Tad Boyles first Colorado team. I mean all of those out of conference bad losses occurred in the first month of the season. Dont you think the committee would consider that being the Buffaloes are playing under a new coach? Of course they wouldn’t…that would mean they have common sense and half a brain about how sports and basketball is played.
Okay I am sorry but I had to get a few of those things off my chest. Tomorrow I will give my tournament prediction but if you go back and look at my conference tournament predictions it is clear I know just about as much about college basketball as the selection committee does. At least I can admit when I am wrong….why can’t they?