We left off talking about how St. Mary’s was unfairly left out to the convenience of Syracuse. The other last team in was Arizona State. Arizona State is an interesting case. At their height, Arizona State was two in the country and 12-0. They were hosting their in state rival, and big brother, Arizona. The game went down to the wire and ASU ultimately lost. A completely excusable loss by anyone’s standards, the question after the game was whether or not ASU could earn a one seed in the bracket later on. So why should they have not been in the tournament?
Since starting 12-0, ASU spiraled into total chaos finishing just 20-12, including losing five of their last six. Their conference was by far the weakest of the power six, and not even one of the best 7 conferences this year in terms of bids and seedings. The PAC-12 got 3 bids, two of them coming as last four in teams. The AAC, a non power, got three teams in and none were lower than a six seed. With this in mind, completely disregard the argument that ASU had a tough conference schedule. At least for Syracuse that is a valid point, because they did lose to good teams. ASU lost to very bad teams, and their RPI reflected it. Their RPI was 62 in the country, a whole 20 spots lower than St. Mary’s, or Middle Tennessee. But because of their conference, ASU got in on name alone. Sorry mid-majors.
The committee also shows incredible bias to let teams that have one star get in the tournament. Oklahoma was one of the last teams team in. Should they have been? They finished with only 18 wins and lost 9 of their last 10 to end the season. St. Mary’s had a full ten wins over Oklahoma and did not get in. Why? Simply because of one player, Trae Young. The committee knows that people are going to want to watch a big school like Oklahoma with a big name like Trae Young in the tournament. Trae Young is unequivocally the best freshman in the country and he goes to a school with a lot of alumni. Money talks and the committee after is the head of a business. More viewership means more money and the committee putting Oklahoma in over a small little school like St. Mary’s.
The second way that the committee disadvantages the mid major teams is through their unjust seeding. TCU got a six seed who they were ranked below Loyola Chicago. Loyola was ranked 27 and got an 11 seed. They played Miami who was ranked 22 and a 6 seed. In reality, Loyola was better than both of those teams but the committee is a lie. They say their job is to put together the best tournament possible with the best teams. To them, the best teams are the teams that have mediocre conference seasons in a power conference. A team from a non power conference must be perfect in their conference. Even that, however is not enough in most cases if they do not win their conference tournament.
The selection committee is all a lie. At the end of the day, the committee is going to pick the teams that have big names and big followings regardless of whether or not they are truly better. They can state all they want that they are going to pick the best teams, but even their criteria used is biased. The stat, RPI, rewards teams for losing to good teams more than it does for bad teams. A team in a power conference gets ranked higher for losing to bad teams than a mid major does when it beats a bad team. Should a mid major have a bad day and lose to a bad team, however, their whole season gets blown up and the committee regards them as completely inferior. The only true way for a mid major to guarantee that they make the tournament is to win their own conference tournament. The mid majors, however, cannot avoid the poor seeding they will receive once they do make the tournament.
Why? Because the selection process is a lie.