The NCAA basketball tournament 2011 finally has a field. But the debate over the field still isn’t over, however. Bracketology is not an exact science, but it is right more often than not, at least in Joe Lunardi’s world. Yet in doing the Bracketology math, Lunardi and his impersonators firmly believed some bubble teams were in, while others had no chance. However, the results of the NCAA tournament puzzled a lot of people, both in who was in and out.
Thanks to a weak bubble and a 68 team field, it wouldn’t have taken a lot for someone to get in. As it turned out, there were more combined losses in this group than in any other in history, and not just because there were four more programs.
But most projections had the likes of Colorado and Virginia Tech in, with USC and VCU out. However, the Buffaloes and Hokies were controversially left off, while the Trojans and Rams will face off in a play-in game.
Experts from CBS and ESPN railed over this decision, since Colorado and Virginia Tech won key games this week that seemed to put them in. USC reached the Pac-10 semifinals, as VCU advanced to the CAA finals, but that wasn’t considered enough.
Yet they made the tournament after all in a field that also included five 14-loss teams, and several more with 11 and 13 losses. Some of that was the result of parity, and some of it was from the Big East, which got its record-setting 11 teams in – although a few limped into the Big Dance.
Although most of the outrage was over the Buffaloes and Hokies getting snubbed, there were also questions about keeping out St. Mary’s, Boston College, Alabama and Harvard. Meanwhile, other bubble schools had more leniency, like UAB, VCU, USC and Georgia.
UAB became the most controversial member, after the Blazers lost in the first round of the Conference USA championship. However, the Blazers were rewarded for winning the regular season title, despite questionable numbers elsewhere. For their efforts, they enter their own play in game against Clemson, which nearly made it to the ACC championship.
Luckily for the selection committee, the tournament begins on Tuesday this year, so there may be less time to slam their bracket. However, since a few of the most debatable teams are in the “First Four” it might keep the controversy going until Thursday. But once Thursday comes, most fans and experts will be too excited by the games to think about the committee anymore.
Sporting News- “Virginia Tech, Colorado feel biggest NCAA snubs”
Washington Post- “Selection Sunday is NCAA’s not-so-shining moment”