NCAA tournament 2012: How did those teams get in?
There are questions every year about why certain teams are invited to the NCAA basketball tournament and others not. The author looks at the 2012 'March Madness' field.
Sunday night’s NCAA basketball tournament selection show, at least with regard to the first few seed lines, carried relatively few surprises, and was generally well received by analysts across the broadcast spectrum.Skip to next paragraph
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But the waters were roiled a bit when earlier on Sunday, North Carolina fell to Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) tournament championship game – followed by Michigan State’s win in the Big Ten tournament title game over Ohio State. Kansas, favored by many to receive one of the four #1 seeds, lost last Friday to Baylor in the Big 12 tournament semifinals, and as a result, fell to a #2 seed as Michigan State took the final #1 seed in the West region.
It was a bit unsettling to hear Jeff A. Hathaway, the chairman of the NCAA selection committee, say at midday on Sunday - before the championship round of the Big 10 and ACC tournaments had even commenced - that the committee had basically finished its work, while allowing for various “contingencies,” which he did not elaborate on.
But a more immediate question involves the selection of very borderline Big East teams like ninth-seeded Connecticut, 10th-seeded West Virginia, and the University of South Florida - the latter of whom is playing in the “First Four” in Dayton, Ohio Wednesday to try and secure a 12th-seed in that elimination round. All told, nine teams from the Big East made the tournament – an inflated number at best.
West Virginia lost eight of nine games against ranked teams and was only 9-9 in the Big East. Not only that, it lost its first-round Big East tournament game to Connecticut. They were then, as some have reported, "rewarded" for their efforts with what amounts to a home game (in nearby Pittsburgh) against visiting Gonzaga who, despite their being seeded seventh, will have to travel the breadth of the country to play them.