Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Beating a No. 1 seed during the season does not guarantee you a spot in the NCAA tournament—just ask Maryland or California.
But it really felt like Green Bay had the body of work to make the tournament.
With all due respect to the Wolfpack, I think we can all agree that NC State was the last team into the field. Thus, let's compare Green Bay's resume against that one.
They were very similarly ranked by the computers. NC State was a few spots ahead in RPI, while Green Bay was a few spots ahead in both BPI and KenPom, but they were marginal enough differences that they can be disregarded. So let's look at the scheduling.
NC State went 1-7 vs. RPI top 25, 3-9 vs. RPI top 50 and 6-10 vs. RPI top 100. In road/neutral games against the RPI top 100, the Wolfpack were 3-6.
Green Bay didn't have nearly as many quality opportunities, but fared better in them. The Phoenix were 1-1 vs. RPI top 25 (a 75-72 win over Virginia and a 69-66 loss to Wisconsin), 1-2 vs. RPI top 50 and 4-3 vs. RPI top 100. Away from home, they were 2-2 vs. RPI top 100.
Also of note, Green Bay only played four nonconference games against teams outside the RPI top 150 and played five nonconference games vs. RPI top 100. NC State played seven early games against teams outside the RPI top 150 and had four games against the RPI top 100—and Eastern Kentucky (RPI: 99) was a photo finish.
For years, the committee has shown favoritism to the little guys who scheduled well, won a lot of games and faltered in their conference tournaments. But not this year.
Honestly, Green Bay might have Southern Miss, Toledo and Louisiana Tech to blame. There were just too many quality mid-major teams under consideration.