24-2, ranked No. 2 in the country? Check
Undefeated SEC Champions? Check
SEC Tournament Champions? Check
Lead the country in attendance? Check
Hosting an eighth straight regional? Che… Wait, what? No really? What?
What an absolute disgrace. There is no logical or rational explanation for how this happened. None whatsoever. These guys absolutely earned the right to make any team in the country, other than No. 1 Virginia, travel to Oxford to try and take them down.
Instead, the NCAA packs them up and ships them out to the home of our archrivals. Then they’ll most likely tangle with Texas A&M on their home court in the Sweet 16. The current NCAA spin is travel concerns, but with some of the distances other teams are travelling, that rings hollow.
LSU is an incomprehensible 10-11 this year, including a sparkling 4-7 in SEC play, so they obviously earned the right to host, much more so than the Rebels did. Joining LSU as SEC hosts are Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Florida, all of whom got their ass kicked to a varying degree of severity by the Rebels this year.
The Rebels have already beaten LSU twice this year (5-2 and 4-2), so they shouldn’t have to mess with them a second time.
From OleMissSports.com, Pete Boone had this to say:
"There's no words that can express the boneheadedness of this decision," Boone said. "The NCAA wants to cut down on travel, and I understand that, but to do this to the No. 2 team in the country doesn't make any sense whatsoever. ... We're certainly going to be on the phone in the morning with the NCAA trying to find out what the hell happened."
Head coach Billy Chadwick was a bit more diplomatic, but you gotta figure he’s pissed:
"If you're trying to grow the sport, it seems very odd that the place leading the nation in attendance that's also the second best team in the nation doesn't host."
Two positives can come out of this. The first will be kicking LSU’s ass in front of their home crowd. That’s always fun, regardless of the sport. Secondly, if this doesn’t put a chip the size of Lane Kiffin’s ego on the team’s shoulder, nothing will.
And while I'm not sure how effective it will be, the guys at Red Cup Rebellion have posted some applicable contact information for the selection committee. While it won't change this decision, and if Pete Boone calls something boneheaded, then by golly it's boneheaded. It should serve as a good outlet for creative writing and venting.
Download a full bracket here