Thursday, March 17, 2011

What is Wrong with the NCAA Selection Committee?

Why is (was) UAB in the tournament?
Why isn't Colorado in the tournament?
Why is Michigan an 8-seed?
Why isn't St. Mary's in the tournament?
Why are there five (Penn State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Marquette, and USC) 14 loss at-large teams in the field? (There were only 5 14-loss teams in the tournament from 1985 to 2010 combined)

These are some questions that almost anyone who follows college basketball has asked since the brackets were announced on Sunday night. Not only is the tournament field very watered down this year, but to make matters worse, the selection committee absolutely dropped the ball in it's selection process this year. Some teams have used this criticism as motivation such as VCU in their destruction of overrated USC in last night's first round game. Some teams such as Colorado and Virginia Tech won't have a chance to show why they belong. One thing we know for sure is that UAB did NOT belong in the field, and they showed it on Tuesday night.

What annoys me the most is that we have all these horrible conference champions in the tournament. Teams like UNC-Ashville, UC-Santa Barbara, UT-San Antonio, St. Peter's, and Boston University have absolutely no business playing in the NCAA tournament. It's understandable that it's only fair to see all of the mid-major and borderline D-II conferences represented in the field of 68. But it is precisely this notion that waters the tournament down.

So here is my advice to the selection committee and the NCAA:

Scrap the "First Four" idea. Play-in games are dumb and pointless.
Stick to a symmetrical 64 team bracket.
Get rid of the automatic bids for mid-major and borderline D-II conference champions.

And finally:
Just use common sense and pick the 64 best teams in the country, regardless of whether the St. Peter's Peacocks won their conference. If the Peacocks win their conference, stick them in the NIT, but don't water down my NCAA basketball tournament and let Purdue beat the hell out of them every year in the first round. Just think about how much better it would be if we had the 64 best teams in the country playing in the tournament. This would eliminate all or most of the questions that we currently have about the current field of 68.

Now that I got that out of the way, enjoy the games, and hopefully this year's tournament will be one to remember.

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