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Story Archives: Basketball needs tweaking
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|Basketball needs tweaking|
First of all let me say I love March Madness. I love the fact 65 teams
will be playing for a national championship and the last one standing
will have earned the right to be standing right there.
Now, something has to be done about those small colleges automatically
getting teams into the tournament, while teams who just missed played
way tougher schedules and faced larger obstacles.
Mount St. Mary's, Coppin State, Belmont, Portland State,
Texas-Arlington and Mississippi Valley did not have to fight through
the SEC, ACC, Big 12 or Big Ten to get invites to the tournament.
The chances those teams have of getting to the second round are as
remote as Dick Vitale taking the next three weeks off.
And I love the Cinderella stories. More of those could be possible if
you picked teams from more deserving conferences. Some of those bottom
teams in the American East, Mid-Eastern, Horizon League, Patriot League
or Southwestern Athletic Conference would have trouble competing
against Cinderella's stepsisters.
Not picking on any one school, but I'm going to use Mississippi Valley
as an example because I keep up with the SWAC, doing weekly reports for
an Internet service called the Sportsxchange.
The Delta Devils had to beat Grambling, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Jackson
State to get an invite to the Big Dance.
Never mind they lost to Ole Miss 97-63 in their opener. Ole Miss is
staying home after finishing 21-10.
While Mississippi Valley fell to Pittsburgh 78-45, Air Force 58-40 and
Baylor 82-50 and posting their only SWAC wins over Dillard and Belhaven
College, Ole Miss went unbeaten in their pre-SEC schedule posting
victories over DePaul, South Alabama and Clemson before earning wins
over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Florida and Arkansas in the SEC.
Not meaning to pick on my buddy Sam West over at Alcorn, but the Delta
Devils lost to Alcorn State, which did not even qualify for the SWAC
You can use the same example for the other No. 16 seeds and some of the
No. 15 seeds.
At least make them all compete in play-in games against each other.
Even before the season you can say someone like Portland State or
Arkansas-Pine Bluff has a better chance to make the Big Dance than
someone like LSU, TCU or Arizona State, and that is just not right.
The NCAA puts a lot into its RPI, which is strength of schedule. But
that seems to go out the window when it comes down to automatically
taking conference tournament winners.
There needs to be more stringent criteria for the schools from
That's why these conferences are not part of the BCS in college
But getting back to the tournament, there will be some
championship-type games being played in the Sweet 16.
Louisville versus Tennessee, Kansas against Clemson, Gonzaga against
Georgetown, Memphis against Michigan State and UCLA against Connecticut
in my bracket have the chance to be classic battles.
My final four has North Carolina against Kansas and Michigan State
going against UCLA.
I have the Spartans upsetting Memphis, which has not had the tough
schedule most teams have had at that stage, as well as Texas, which
will reach the Elite Eight before bowing out.
Of course, a North Carolina-Kansas semifinal would be tough on Roy
Williams, pitting his Tar Heel team against a team he led to so many
victories over so many years.
Make it a North Carolina-UCLA final with UNC taking another crown.
One thing about it, even if it isn't those two standing in the end, the
two who do play for the title will have earned it - just not in their
first round games.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|