Monday, March 14, 2011

Strike up the band

After plenty of speculation and surprises the 2011 NCAA tournament field has been announced and as always not without its share of controversy. Hey even Joe Lunardi got six schools wrong and a bunch brackets out of order. On top of that it has been no secret all year long that the parity in this year’s field is unprecedented and upsets will be the order of the next three weeks. Also common place are the schools that have a compelling argument to be an attendee at the dance but were not extended an invitation, some of the biggest we’ve listed below. However the even with the expansion to 68 schools the same criteria has always held true for those that do not come from a power conference; lose your conference tournament at your own peril, and for the second time in three years St. Mary’s missed their ride and despite going 25-8 and having a RPI of 48, will miss the big dance and will be heading for the NIT. Probably for the first and last time, Harvard students failed their entrance exam by losing a one-game playoff to Princeton and thus the streak of 50+ years without a tournament appearance continues, not a fortuitous end to their best season in years going 23-6 with the best RPI among non-invitees at 37. Lastly, not quite a from a “power” conference but UTEP at 25-9 could have an argument over some at-large qualifiers, and 11 entries from the Big East making up 16% of the entire field. It’s obvious the SEC doesn’t have quite the pull on the hardwood that it does on grass as Bama’ is left off the list with 21 wins and a 12-4 conference record. The strength of schedule of 136 had to be the crux of the issue here. Who do you think were the major snubs? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.
The biggest snubs based on RPI
RPI Team W-L
37 Harvard 23-6
41 Cleveland State 26-8
44 Missouri State 25-8
48 Saint Mary's 25-8
49 Colorado State 19-12
53 Marshall 22-11
56 UTEP 25-9
57 Boston College 20-12

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