NCAA Basketball: The Tears of Madness
After the field of 68 college basketball teams was announced yesterday for the annual Tournament, almost on cue was the annual backlash against the committee’s decisions. They weren’t arguing about the No. 1 seeds mind you - almost universally Ohio St., Pittsburgh, Kansas and Duke were accepted as among the best four teams in the country. All of this hubbub has been saved for Virginia Tech and Colorado.
Prior to Selection Sunday almost all of the talking heads agreed that this year’s Tournament was among the weakest in recent memory. Therefore if a team was snubbed, they argued, there wasn’t any room to argue since they obviously didn’t do enough to make it.
But here we are and the talking heads are in a rage. Why were Virginia Tech and Colorado not included when the University of Alabama, Birmingham and Virginia Commonwealth University with seemingly inferior credentials were invited to the dance?
They are arguing about one-and-done teams who at their luckiest might make it to the round of 32. It’s not as if North Carolina, a team that can really do some damage, was omitted. These are teams who are not impressive, but since the selection committee had to fill 68 spots they entered the conversation.
The only people who should care are the coaches and players involved. In a cutthroat world of collegiate coaching not making the Tournament could be cause for firing. Okay, that sucks. But yet again if you were not good enough to recruit the players and coach them up to avoid being on the bubble, how can I feel sorry for you?
The only people I feel sorry for are the players since they’re the ones who actually create the product we all enjoy for our nefarious gambling purposes. After fighting since November to try and make it to the Big Dance, a lot of them will have to muster up the emotion to play in the National Invitation Tournament (or as it has been dubbed the Not Invited Tournament.)
But for all I care if the committee used a 12-sided die to determine which bubble teams got in, fine.
As for the Tournament seedings everything looks correct. UCLA might have been seeded a little too high at seven which is where I thought they would be before they did a belly flop in the Pac-10 Tournament against Oregon. USC is a pleasant surprise although they have to face the aforementioned VCU in a new face-off play-in whatever-you-want-to-call-it game in Dayton Wednesday night.
San Diego State ended up getting a two-seed while BYU got a three-seed. Nothing too egregious on that note. Although as Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd this morning, “You can play your way out of a bad seed, but you can’t play your way out of the NIT.”
Most importantly though is come Thursday early evening, screams of joy will go out wherever I and former LAist editor Tony Pierce are when the University of California Santa Barbara as a 15-seed upsets the two-seed University of Florida. That’s my only guarantee. Mark it.