Monday, March 14, 2011

Some strange tourney selections, but don't weep for snubbees

The Bald Truth

Let me start by saying I'm thrilled Marquette is an 11 seed. Everybody knows it's better to be an 11 than an 8 or 9 because, if the 11 seed can beat the 6 in its first game, it then gets to play the 3 seed in the next round; the 8 or 9 must play the top seed in its second game.

Having said that, every year I'm reminded how crazy some of the seeding is. For example ...

Marquette and West Virginia each won 20 games and each played proudly in the best conference in the land. Marquette didn't have a single "bad loss" all season; West Virginia lost at home to Marshall. And not only did Marquette beat West Virginia during the season, my Golden Warrior Eagles defeated the Mountaineers in the Big East tournament.

Nonetheless, Marquette was one of the last five teams in the tournament -- and the very last that doesn't have to do one of those play-in games -- while West Virginia is a 5.


The Balder Truth

Illinois failed to win 20 games, never contended in the Big Ten, beat just about nobody all season and blew numerous games it was supposed to have won. Many Illini fans were convinced their heroes weren't going to make the NCAAs after a conference tournament loss to Michigan.

Yet here the Illini are, easy qualifiers as No. 9 seeds. Meanwhile, Colorado -- which beat Texas and Missouri teams that had defeated Illinois -- was snubbed. And while the Illini couldn't even handle Northwestern and Illinois-Chicago, Virginia Tech beat Duke but was snubbed.



Having said all that, I don't feel at all sorry for any of the snubbees.

I'm guessing that if Colorado had somehow found a way to beat Harvard, San Francisco and Iowa State or if it hadn't lost 6 of 7 during one stretch, the Buffaloes wouldn't have been excluded. I'm guessing that if Virginia Tech hadn't lost twice to a dreadful Virginia team and once to even more hapless Georgia Tech, the Hokies wouldn't have given the selection committee the chance to slight them.

One of the cool things about sports is that participants control their own destinies. Every single one of the snubbees had the opportunity to win another game or two and take itself off the dreaded bubble.

Rather than whine about "undeserving" teams that got in, snubbees and their fans need to look in the mirror and say:

"Yeah, but if we only had beaten San Fran (as Colorado didn't) or Virginia (as Virginia Tech didn't) or Iowa (as Alabama didn't) or San Diego (as St. Mary's didn't) or Yale (as Boston College didn't), we'd be in the tournament, too."

Nah ... much easier to whine and blame somebody else, right?

1 comment:

  1. Illinois will be one and done. Can't coach leadership or heart. Two important commodities Illinois players lack.