I start this article by admitting I'm a little biased.
I am currently a student at San Diego State University, so I have a vested interest in the Aztec basketball team, but also the Mountain West as a conference.
When CBS showed Utah as a 5-seed yesterday afternoon, I was excited. Things were looking good. The committee did the logical thing and recognized the Mountain West for what it is—a very good basketball conference.
But then things turned sour. BYU only got an 8-seed. And then...no other Mountain West teams names were called until they showed the "snub list."
Here is one of my beefs. San Diego State lost by two points to a team that ended up a 5-seed. They beat a team that was an 8-seed. They had a higher RPI than three at-large teams that got in the tournament. Those teams are Arizona (to me, the least deserving team in the field), Boston College, and Maryland.
New Mexico and UNLV were both higher than Maryland as well.
They had a better record than three Big Ten teams that received bids: Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And they played in seventh-best conference in America. I mean, we are not talking about the Colonial Conference or something. We are talking about the Mountain West Conference; one which had Utah win the Sugar Bowl this past football season.
And that leads me to my ultimate point: The conspiracy.
The Mountain West recently sent a proposal to the BCS to include the Mountain West Conference as an automatic qualifier each season. And who are the men on the NCAA selection committee? Yep, many of the same men who are part of the BCS.
The conference commissioners want what is best for their conference. They do not care about being fair, what is best for the overall game, or what is best for everyone.
What I'm saying is that these men are threatened by the Mountain West. It is a conference on the rise. It is getting to a point where it can realistically say it is among the best conferences in America.
It is probably equal to the Big East in football; perhaps you could add the ACC to that group as well. This season, it was pretty comparable to the SEC in basketball. Every year, there are one or two good teams to come out of the conference in baseball and many of the other sports no one pays much attention to.
And we all know that money rules the world. Well, it runs college athletics as well. Postseason appearances make a school a bundle of money, especially in the BCS bowls and the NCAA Tournament. The conference commissioners don't want their conferences losing money to some up-and-coming school which could use that money to better their product and become a realistic qualifier every year.
So for now, four Mountain West teams, two or three which had a realistic shot at the NCAA Tournament coming into championship week, will have to do battle in the NIT and CBI in order to prove their worth. Hopefully, all four represent the conference well in addition to the two in the NCAA Tournament. It is an uphill battle for the conference, but it can happen.
I understand the counterpoints to my argument. If SDSU would've just beat Utah, the Mountain West would have gotten three bids. I agree with that, but it doesn't solve the problem that SDSU should've been in, regardless of if they won or not.
And yes, if Southern California, Mississippi State, and Cleveland State hadn't won their conference tourneys, there are probably three extra spots. I don't doubt that one of those would've gone to San Diego State. But who would've gotten the other two?
My guess is either Penn State, Florida, or Auburn. Maybe St. Mary's would have, but I doubt it. There was clearly a bias against the "mid-majors" this season.
This needs to end...otherwise, why should these schools even keep competing if they know they're simply going to end up in an also-ran tournament?