March Madness 2011 Bracket: Winners and Losers on Selection Sunday
Selection Sunday is complete and the field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament is set. The brackets are filled with 68 competitors all vying for the title of National Champion.
The NCAA selection committee has the difficult decision of choosing 68 teams to join the field and the process will always be covered in controversy and this year was no different.
Many teams were thrilled to be part of college basketball’s biggest event, but others did not make the cut and feel snubbed.
Here is a look at some of the winners and losers for 2011 Selection Sunday.
Winners: Big East
The Big East is arguably the best conference in college basketball, and Selection Sunday confirmed it. The Big East became the conference with the most teams in the Big Dance.
A total of 11 teams were selected to the field of 68 to include a No. 1 seed with Pittsburgh. This will give the Big East a chance to make up for disappointing performances in the past during the Big Dance.
Losers: Colorado Buffaloes
The Buffaloes did not make the field of 68, and many are scratching their heads over this selection.
Some may argue that the Buffs lost games to San Francisco, Harvard, Georgia and New Mexico and that out of conference schedules should count for something.
However, Colorado is the only team in the Big 12 to play three true road games and have three wins over Kansas State and an impressive double-digit comeback over top-ranked Texas.
Colorado should feel snubbed with other teams making the big dance instead of Colorado.
The Buffs are the biggest losers on Selection Sunday.
Losers: Notre Dame
The Irish impressed this year by posting 11 wins against the Top 50 RPI.
They beat teams with the three-pointer from Tyrone Nash inside opening up the perimeter. Ben Hansborough is a shot maker and an impressive leader on the court to which his teammates react.
They may have been exposed in their loss to Louisville, but they are deserving of the No. 1 seed and could go deep in this tournament.
Before you feel too bad for the Irish, however, take note that a two seed close to home in Chicago is not a bad thing for this team.
Winners: Duke Blue Devils
After an impressive blowout victory over North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, the Duke Blue Devils secured a No. 1 spot when many experts thought it would go to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Coach K will have his players ready to play ball during March Madness. Though I have the Blue Devils as a winner in this spot, geographically it's not easy for the Blue Devils who could have played on the East coast with a No. 2 seed.
Winners: BYU Cougars
After Brandon Davies was suspended from the team, the Cougars had a difficult time on the court.
They lost to New Mexico, struggled against Wyoming on senior day and got blown out by San Diego State as they stumbled into the Big Dance.
BYU is a team that will rely on Jimmer Fredette without Davies and could easily get ejected early.
The Cougars will also benefit from location as this region will hold games in Denver Colorado, which will be close to home for the Cougars.
Getting a No. 3 seed is a win for this team.
Winners: Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs could easily be the biggest winners on Selection Sunday.
Before the day started, many experts had the Bulldogs as a bubble team that may not make it. Not only did the Bulldogs make it, but they somehow grabbed a ten seed in the process.
They had good strength of schedule, and it's hard to find one bad loss on it. They were, however, 3-9 against the Top 50 teams in the RPI and had worse records then several teams that did not make the tournament.
Losers: Alabama Crimson Tide
How did the Alabama Crimson Tide not make this tournament?
They won the SEC West and had impressive wins such as a big victory over Kentucky.
They beat the Georgia Bulldogs, not once, but twice and made the cut as a No. 10 seed.
The Alabama Crimson Tide should feel robbed that they did not make the cut while teams undeserving made it to the field of 68.
Winners: Pitt Panthers
The Pitt Panthers were a lock to get a No. 1 seed but are winners due to the bracket that they are in.
The Panthers won six games against the Top 25 and may finally break through to the Final Four with the seeding they have in this year’s tournament.
They won the Big East regular season title and are one of the best teams in the country when it comes to rebounding.
Ashton Gibbs can make shots, but Pittsburgh is still lacking the go-to guy on offense to make the big shot.
The Panthers have three losses by a total of nine points in the Big East and put up 20 wins for the ninth straight season.
Pitt is a winner on Selection Sunday due to the seeding in the bracket.
Losers: Texas Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns were one of the best teams in college basketball all year long.
At one point they were being considered as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but when the brackets were announced, the Longhorns were labeled a No. 4 seed.
Texas struggled down the stretch, but rebounded very nicely in the Big 12 tournament by making it all the way to the finals. They beat Kansas this year in Kansas for the first time in a very long time and were deserving of a better seed than No. 4.
The good news for the Longhorns is that, if they win, they will get a nice home court advantage with games in Houston on tap.
Winners: University of Alabama Birmingham
The Blazers make the tournament despite some poor accomplishments on the season.
They played in a weak conference USA and played one ranked opponent and lost miserably. The Blazers were one and done in their conference tournament losing badly to East Carolina.
They have the 173rd ranked schedule and their only impressive win is over VCU—if you can call that impressive.
They are 1-4 against teams in the Top 50 of the RPI and should be lucky to be in this tournament.
VCU made the tournament, so perhaps they should be considered a winner, but they will be the one team that all of the experts believe should not have made the cut.
They finished fourth in their own conference and had six loses against the rest of the Colonial Athletic.
They lost four out of five of the last regular season games and only a decent run in the conference tournament saved them from going to the N.I.T.
The Rams are headed to the Big Dance but will be surrounded by controversy.
Winners: Clemson Tigers
The Tigers had made the tournament three seasons in a row but were a controversial selection this time around.
They were 0-6 against the Top 50 RPI and had a tough time producing impressive victories.
The best non-conference win was at college of Charleston, and they were just 6-9 in road/neutral games. A win over bubble team Boston College and an impressive run in the ACC tournament helped their cause.
The Rest of the Field
UAB and VCU will open the door for plenty of teams to complain about not being selected.
Boston College and Virginia Tech may have a beef, but their omission may have come down to politics.
With many of the bigger conferences grabbing all the bids, the selection committee had to snub some bigger schools—try explaining that to St. Mary's.
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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