Monday, March 18, 2013

Your Handy-Dandy Guide To Teams That Think They Got Screwed Out Of the 2013 NCAA Tournament

Every year, there are teams that claim that they got screwed out of a spot in the NCAA mens' basketball tournament. These teams tend to fall into two categories: teams from big conferences mad that teams from little conferences made it, or teams from small conferences mad that teams from big conferences made it. The truth is, once you get to a certain level it's all a crapshoot anyway, and nobody who's on the razor's edge for an 11-seed play-in game has a hope in Hattiesburg of winning the thing. (OK. Except for VCU that one time). But still, people squawk, and as such, it's our responsibility to give you a little information on why.

Without further ado, let's meet the screwed.

Who: Maryland
Tournament Claim: Beat Duke twice. This, in case you were wondering, means they did it once in North Carolina*. Play in the ACC. Have uniforms so ugly they're bound to draw ratings.
Reason They Got Screwed: Had a non-conference schedule so weak it included an intramural league at a retirement home in Boca Raton. Followed Duke win with the sort of hangover losses you'd expect out of Lindsay Lohan. Went sub-.500 in conference
Lesson Learned: Never, ever lose to Boston College. And I say that as a BC alum.

Who: Virginia
Tournament Claim: Beat Duke (I'm sensing a motif here), won at Wisconsin. Play in the ACC.
Reason They Got Screwed: Went 0-3 against the CAA. Lost to Old Dominion, which is a lot like losing at chess to your six year old cousin.
Lesson Learned: 11-7 in league doesn't matter much if you can't beat anyone of note outside it.

Who: Kentucky
Tournament Claim: They're Kentucky. You may remember them cutting down nets last year. Also, they beat Florida. And they're Kentucky.
Reason They Got Screwed: Injuries, inconsistency, consistently got hammered on the road. Had to make a statement against Vandy in the SEC tournament and did: don't invite  us to the NCAAs.
Lesson Learned: Beat Vanderbilt. By now, you should be good at it.

Who: UMass
Tournament Claim: 21 wins, beat Temple, beat Harvard, beat LaSalle
Reason They Got Screwed: Best win outside of conference was Harvard. Couldn't handle the big boys of the A-10, lost to St. Bonaventure. You lose to the Bonnies and the Crimson, you're done.
Lesson Learned: Scheduling tough non-conference games is good. Winning them is better.

Who: Alabama
Tournament Claim: 21-12 record, with a winning league record. Beat Nova and South Dakota State. They have to pick someone from the SEC, right?
Reason They Got Screwed: Lost to Tulane, Mercer, and Dayton, which may in fact be a law firm. Were basically .500 going into conference play.
Lesson Learned: When you're hanging your hat on beating South Dakota State, you need a different hat.

Who: Iowa
Tournament Claim: 6 wins over top-100 RPI teams, played in ultra-competitive Big N-where-N=some-number-that-used-to-be-10.
Reason They Got Screwed: RPI number is 71. Consistently lost close games to league rivals. NCAA selection committee not a fan of Alan Alda's work on M*A*S*H*.
Lesson Learned: When your RPI number is the sort of thing that would get issued to a backup catcher in spring training, stick a fork in, cause you're done.

Who: Baylor
Tournament Claim: Beat Kansas. Now discussed strictly in terms of basketball instead of player homicides.
Reason They Got Screwed: 18-14 record. Laid giant egg in Big 12 tournament. Lost at home to College of Charleston, which hasn't been relevant since the Shaq of the TAAC roamed the paint.
Lesson Learned: Try to lose less than 14 games next year.

*edit courtesy of Anthony Mancuso
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