Monday, March 17, 2008

Selection Sunday

The nice thing about Maryland losing in the first round of the ACC Tournament instead of winning a game before losing is that I was able to watch the NCAA Selection show without sitting in the fetal position and rocking, cringing every time a 12 seed was announced and it wasn’t Maryland. Having no vested interest, I think the committee did a pretty good job. I don’t think anyone was snubbed. My biggest issue is with George Mason being a 12 seed. Any other CAA team with a similar resume would be a 14, Mason is basically the Duke of mid-majors now in that its name wows voters.

My greatest joy came out of Virginia Tech being in the NIT instead of the dance. Coach Seth Greenberg’s ridiculous statement and letter to the selection committee asking them to put his team in thankfully fell on deaf ears. In case you missed it, here it is:
Anyone who watched that game that knows anything about basketball, if you don't think this team is one of the top 65 teams in the country, you're certifiably insane. Because I don't know who else could come into this environment, basically play a road game, and play those guys the way we just played them. The only thing we didn't do is win the game.
Let’s focus on the last sentence. “The only thing we didn’t do is win the game.”

Well Seth, isn’t that kind of a big thing? He throws it in their like he’s saying “the only thing we didn’t do is box out the shooter on free throws in the second quarter.” But winning? Isn’t that a focus of the gameplan? Should that not be something the selection committee looks at?

Greenberg is making the argument that a close loss is almost as good as a win. Well, I guess the committee should go back this season and look at every team within two points of a win. Instead of quality wins, it should be called “quality wins/2 points losses.” And if the National Championship game is close, then we’ll have two National Champions.

I know not every loss is the game. If VT (19-13, 9-7 ACC) was really on the edge of the Bubble, a strong showing agianst UNC might have put them in. But really, VT wasn’t close. They had a good conference record because they beat up on bad teams. They were 1-7 against the RPI’s top 50, with the one being a win against Miami, not a Duke or UNC or anything like that. Really, they arguably had less of a resume than Maryland, who got a five seed in the NIT. VT had one more win, but Maryland’s best win (at UNC rather than Miami) was much better.

Another issue I have is with him saying “if you don't think this team is one of the top 65 teams in the country, you're certifiably insane.” The best 65 teams in the country don’t get at-large bids. Throwing that number out there is misleading since it clearly doesn’t really have any meaning in this context. To get an at large bid, a team has to be one of the best 30 or 40 teams in the nation. Yes Seth, you guys were better than Coppin State. You want to be in the play in game?

I think Greenberg should write a letter to the NIT thanking them for giving his team a one seed.

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