UAB instead of Alabama? VCU instead of Virginia Tech? Has the NCAA Selection Committee gone crazy?
Perhaps the field of 68 that was selected today can be chalked up to a lack of basketball knowledge. After all, Gene Smith, the Athletics Director at Ohio State that headed up the committee, is a football man, which is something that should never happen in the NCAA's biggest moneymaking tournament.
How do you justify picking UAB for the Big Dance and leaving Alabama out? Don Shea, a retired veteran official, once called the league they played in the "ABC League," since all of the teams went by three letters, since they were all "directional" schools or branch campuses of larger universities.
Even more inexplicably, how can you pick VCU and leave Virginia Tech out? Aside from Colorado also being unfairly snubbed, it is obvious that the "committee" decided that they were going to force more major schools out of the tourney and force undeserving minor schools into it. That's just plain wrong.
Neither UAB nor VCU were on the radar to make the field of anyone with even rudimentary basketball knowledge. The selectors appear to have taken leave of their senses, to say nothing of ignoring their own criteria for what it takes to be included.
UAB played the 68th-best schedule in the nation. They lost by over 20 points to the only ranked team they played. Alabama, on the other hand, had a 12-4 regular season record in the SEC, and beat several teams that made the Dance, including Tennessee in Knoxville late in the year and Georgia in the SEC Tournament.
VCU's only quality win was over UCLA way back in November and they played the 91st-best schedule. They couldn't even win the Colonial League, losing to Old Dominion. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, beat No. 1 seed Duke late in the regular season and plays in a league that is always tough, the ACC.
On top of that, how do you leave out Colorado, a team that gave Kansas State three of their nine losses this season? That may be the biggest travesty of all.
One of the reasons you go to a major school and accept a scholarship there is that you expect that you will have a fair chance to compete for and win a spot on college basketball's greatest stage when you're playing against great competition in a stellar conference. Alabama, Virginia Tech and Colorado all deserved bids, especially in view of the fact there were no upsets in the conference tournaments this year.
So how do we remedy these inequities? Expand the field again from 68 to 72? Maybe the best thing to do is get some people on the Selection Committee that really know basketball.