Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Problems With March Madness Selection Process

After Sundays selection show on CBS people all over the country were outraged over who got into the tournament and who got left out.  People love to debate about who got snubbed and who got overrated whether its March Madness or the roster for the Pro Bowl there is always going to be someone who feels they got left out.

This year the 2 teams who people feel got ripped off the most are Colorado and Virginia Tech.  Dick Vitale went on record saying that leaving out Colorado and Virginia Tech while allowing UAB and VCU into the tournament was like picking Roseanne over Scarlett Johannson in a hotness contest. 

Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg put it a bit more eloquently when he told reporters, "You almost wonder if someone in that (selection committee) room has their own agenda, and that agenda doesn’t include Virginia Tech.  I totally wonder if someone in that room has an agenda. The explanation (for our omission) was so inconsistent with the result that it was almost mindboggling.”

In response to that comment by Greenberg NCAA Tournament chairman Gene Smith stated, “When we stacked Virginia Tech’s resume up against all the other teams, we just didn’t feel like they belonged in the at-large field.”

My response would have been a lot simpler: just win more games.

I hate when people complain about being 'snubbed' by the selection committee when in reality each team controls its own fate when it comes to making the tournament.  If you win games then you will make the tournament.  Both Virginia tech and Colorado lost key games in their season that, had they won, would have gotten them into the tournament.

For instance Colorado finished 21-13 overall but went just 8-8 in conference play (good for 6th in the conference).  Every team they finished behind in terms of the overall standings (Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri) all were selected to play in March Madness and all finished with more wins then Colorado.

If Colorado wants to blame anyone for their exclusion from the tournament they need to start with themselves. They lost key conference games to teams like Iowa State (worst team in the Big 12), Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Baylor.  They also lost games to teams that finished just ahead of them in the standings like Missouri. But their worst loss of the season came to San Fransisco which plays in the lowly West Coast Conference and went just 17-14 on the year.

If Colorado won any one of those games then they would be in the tournament.  Yet instead of taking a step back and saying 'well we had a good year but we didn't execute when we needed to let's try and improve and come back next year and win our conference' they are blaming the selection committee and saying they got "robbed."

The same argument applies for Virginia Tech who are making the most noise publicly about the supposed snub.  They finished 6th in their conference going just 9-7 in conference play and also lost some key games that, had they won, would put them in the tournament.  They lost to Virginia twice (7-9 in conference play), once to Georgia Tech (5-11 in conference play) and lost games to teams that finished ahead of them in the standings, who might I add also did not get selected for the tournament either, in Boston College and Clemson. 

 I know it sounds like I am repeating myself here but I just can't help it.  It is such a basic concept and yet it is often disregarded by fans and the media because they say its too simplistic.  If you win more games than the other teams in your conference you will be invited to the tournament.  That is a fact.  Win more games and you can't be snubbed.  If Colorado was 27-7 and finished 2nd in their conference and didn't get invited then maybe they have a legitimate complaint but as it stands right now they just sound like whiners.

If anything they should count themselves lucky they are involved in a system them allows them to win their way in for at least a shot at the National Championship.  At least they don't have to deal with a playoff system like the BCS where teams can go undefeated for a whole season and still not play for a National Championship. 

So really whose fault is it that both of these schools are now being relegated to the NIT rather than playing for a National Championship?  Is it the selection committees fault that Colorado and Virginia Tech didn't win more games?  These teams should count themselves lucky they are part of a system where they control their own destiny.  They should focus more on winning basketball games and making it harder for them not to be selected by the committee.

The selection process for March Madness isn't perfect but at least it puts every team on even and fair ground, win and get in.

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