Penn State: Out of the Tournament, But Should They Be?

Isaac LuberSenior Analyst IMarch 15, 2009

Minutes ago, Penn State was denied their NCAA Tournament Bid, and they look to be NIT bound.  However, was it the right decision to keep the Nittany Lions out of the Big Dance?

Here are the four teams that I thought were competing for three spots:

Michigan (20-13)

Wisconsin (19-12)

Penn State (22-11)

Arizona (19-13)

Based on overall records, you would say that Wisconsin or Arizona would probably be the one to go out.

Here are key wins for each team:

Michigan: Duke, UCLA, at Illinois.

Wisconsin: Illinois.

Penn State: Purdue, at Michigan State, Illinois, at Illinois.

Arizona: Washington, UCLA.

Based on key wins, you would say that Penn State and Michigan are most likely in, and Arizona and Wisconsin should be out.

Here are key losses for each team:

Michigan: Lost both games to Wisconsin, at Iowa.

Wisconsin: at Iowa, at Northwestern.

Penn State: Rhode Island, Temple, both games to Wisconsin, at Iowa.

Arizona: UAB, at UNLV, at Stanford, lost to Arizona State three times.  (Arizona State is good, but losing to them three times in a season is bad).

Based on key losses, Penn State and Arizona would most likely be out, and Michigan and Wisconsin would be in.

When you look at all three factors combined, Penn State would be first in, followed by Michigan, and then maybe Wisconsin.  

I would say that Arizona should be out no matter what.

However, due to history and reputation, Arizona got in the tournament, and due to the bad history of Penn State basketball, they were left out, and Michigan and Wisconsin got in, despite the fact that Penn State should be in based off of all these factors.

Not only that, but Penn State is also ahead of Michigan and Wisconsin in the Big 10 standings, and Michigan is 9-9 in conference, while Penn State and Wisconsin are both 10-8.  

Arizona is 9-9 in their conference as well.

So when you look at it all, Penn State should be in, and Arizona is the team that deserves to be out.  

However, due to bias in the skewed system of picking teams for the tournament, an unfair occurrence took place, leaving the better team out.  

Although most fans are disappointed, they will just have to look forward and hope that maybe next year will result in a more fair selection.