Every year, the NCAA tournament committee manages to make at least one glaring mistake. And we’re always here to call them out on it.
Last year, it was the comparatively minor violation of giving Butler the shaft when it came to seeding. Last year’s Bulldogs, who were clearly good enough to get a No. 5 seed (at worst) and were probably worthy of a 4-seed, instead got saddled with a 7-seed and ended up facing No. 2 Tennessee in the second round instead of a far more beatable opponent.
At first, it seems like the team to blame for San Diego State’s demise is Arizona, which appears to belong in the tournament about as much as the dude from Project Runway’s dick belongs in a vagina. The Wildcats are a weak-ass 19-13 and are stumbling into the tourney having lost five of their last six games.
Unfortunately, when you compare Arizona to the two teams who are considered by most to have been the last two left on the tournament’s doorstep — San Diego State and Saint Mary’s — the Wildcats have head-to-head wins over both. So even though Arizona’s RPI pales of 62 in comparison to that of San Diego State’s 35, their one meeting in the regular season was too much for the Aztecs to overcome.
Basically, Arizona got in by default more than anything. Yet there is still no question that San Diego State is still better than many of the teams in the field. The Aztecs have a better RPI than at-large teams such as Texas A&M (36), LSU (37), Cal (39), Texas (41), Minnesota (42), Michigan (44), Wisconsin (45), Maryland (54) and Boston College (60).
So who is to blame for this transgression? Of course there is the tournament committee, which claims not to look down conference lines even though its actions indicate otherwise. If the RPI rankings put a 35 next to a big-name program like Arizona or Maryland, do you think there is any chance that team would be left out?
But the primary culprit for bubble bursting is the Southeastern Conference. (Southern Cal is also to blame after winning the Pac-10 tourney, but at least the Trojans have talent. They just played below that talent all year because they’re coached by Tim Floyd.)
Maybe it’s time to start making the SEC a one-bid league. For the second straight year, some horseshit team has won the conference tournament to knock someone off the bubble, though at least Mississippi State looks somewhat respectable compared to last year’s run by Georgia. At any rate, you’re not going to find too many SEC fans outside of Kentucky who really care if their team makes it to the tourney. In fact, getting a bid might actually bother them because it interferes with the media attention given to spring football practice. So I think this might be a win-win for everyone. It’s more fun to pay attention to what stupid thing Lane Kiffin has just said anyway.