The Mountain West ain't Alone
The MWC wins the "I'm the winner but I ain't going nowhere on Friday night" award. New Mexico said that. Did this travesty happen to other mid-major teams? Let's take a look. I'm getting angry before I even look. Grrr!
First, let's start with the team that SDSU faces. A champion faces a champion sounds ok but why does UCLA get a "break" and face Texas? Shouldn't an at-large choice face the top seed? Texas is no slouch, of course, BUT, they weren't even .500 in their conference and yet here they are. Guess which team won the automatic bid in the Big 19? Oklahoma State by beating Texas. Neither are worthy. I know; the Big 12 is very good but both Texas and OSU were under .500 in conference play and because of that shouldn't be granted any favors.
America East Conference (UMBC)
Binghamton is, by far, the best team in this conference. The rest of the members are .500 or below and yet UMBC wins the conference tournament and gets the bid leaving Binghamton out. This is ok with you? Really? UMBC was 23-23 overall and gets to go to Winston-Salem. They're located in Maryland for those who don't know. Which team had a better chance at winning this regional? Binghamton or UMBC?
WAC (Sacramento State)
Here I am back in my old stomping grounds. I covered the WAC and the WCC for a few years on my own blog but found I hadn't enough time in my life to keep up with three. I've talked a bit with the Hornets' coach and he gave me a lot more than coach speak and I thank him for that. With that being said, Sac State won the conference tournament after going 12-12 in conference. Finish hot. Grand Canyon wins the regular season title and gets nothing. Now THIS is a team that's getting screwed. They've been D1 for a short time and wins the title the first year as a D1 team. Can't go due to NCAA rules for new programs. So, now they can go and get handed a bucket of slop. Wrong!
The other conference I covered was the WCC. A pretty good conference with five good teams of which three tied for the conference title. BYU was one of the three so it's hard to argue as they won the tournament but what about Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount which also tied. Eh, sorry dudes, nothing.
Sun Belt (South Alabama)
Two divisions in this conference and South Alabama didn't finish atop either. Four pretty decent teams in the conference of which South Alabama is one. Coastal Carolina is a member and finished ahead of South Alabama in their division but lost out. They are the reigning national champions and they had a good year at 37-19 but get to watch TVjust like the rest of us? Yes, they got Rodney Dangerfield treatment.
Summit (Oral Roberts)
This team may be the Cinderella team in the tournament. They were 42-14 overall which says depth and strength. If they stay in long enough, let the wise cracks due to their name fly! Anyway, the first place team in the conference.
Southwestern (Texas Southern)
Another two division conference and the two best overall are left home. Texas Southern was 12 games under .500 (12!). Oh, yeah, this team will really represent. I can see a meeting of all the ADs in a locked room. So, Jim, who do you think we should send out there? The league champ or a team under .500 by 12 games? Geez, Ed, that's a tough one. What do the rest of you think? Texas Southern it is. Wrong!
The University of North Carolina Greensboro had a decent record but were the third place finisher in their conference. Yeah, I see a possible at-large bid with the automatic going to Mercer which was the regular season champion. Are you getting tired of hearing this? I know I am.
Patriot (Holy Cross)
Navy wins the title by four games with Holy Cross (23-27 overall) in second. I'm sure the middies are really happy. I certainly could see crowds getting behind the Midshipmen because of the times we are in.
Ohio Valley (Tennessee Tech)
A huge 11 team conference and Tennessee Tech is a good champion at 40-19. They could surprise in their regional and I hope they do. Some mid-major has to carry the flag.
Northeast (Central Connecticut)
Central was the second place team by one game behind Bryant. Central also had the best record in the conference but they were still second place and maybe were due an at-large for their record. Same old story.
Bethune-Cookman was the best team in the MEAC so I'll be quiet here as they were the deserving team.
The MAC has two divisions and neither winner is representing. Ohio finished behind a very good Kent State and, well, you know the rest of this repetitive sad story. Kent State seems to be always the Cinderella in the NCAA Tournament and should be this year but they'll be watching the big screen like the rest of us.
Metro Atlantic (Marist)
The MAAC had three good teams; Marist, Fairfield, and Canisius. All had records well above .500 so worthy reps but Fairfield was a game ahead of the other two at season's end. Three good teams and only one winner. I wonder how Fairfield's players feel?
Yale was the best team in the Ivy so, go guys and beat up on a big boy.
These guys finished a game ahead of Wright State. Both had good overall records so I guess both should go but it's a one bid conference. I've not dealt with SOS with any of the teams but that is always a consideration as it should be. Anyway, the one bid here was proper.
Nine teams in this conference and the fourth place team goes. Right. They were 13 games above .500 and, overall, may have been the best team but that begs the question; why did they finish fourth? Anyway, say hello to Texas Tech.
Big South (Radford )
This conference is even better than the Colonial. Ha! Ten teams and Redford was the fifth place finisher with under a .500 conference record as well as an overall record. C'mon, let's get real here. They either got hot for the weekend or very lucky. Hope it was hot as whichever team they play in their regional is licking their chops. Louisville, I believe.
Atlantic Sun (FGCU)
Florida Gulf Coast had an excellent year (42-18) so they should compete. But, guess what? They were the third place finisher in conference. Jacksonville was the regular season winner by 1/2 game and they were pretty good too (36-24). Geez, third place. What did they do, play JUCO's?
Thirteen teams with Steph Curry's old stomping grounds the sixth place (6th!?) finisher. No team really stood up in the conference but the top teams were mostly over .500. Sixth place? Come ON! No wonder they get #2 North Carolina. Good luck. Two Carolina teams going at it? Could be interesting.
Here are some scores from Thursday (this reminds me of Laugh In). BYU got humbled by Fullerton 13-2 and Stanford beat up on Sac State 10-0. Those were the only games and they weren't pretty for a follower of the mid-major.