By Kevin Sweeney
Monmouth. Valparaiso. San Diego State. Saint Bonaventure. Saint Mary’s.
These teams all didn’t get in on Selection Sunday. Instead, the selection committee once again rewarded middling high-majors with bids over the top mid-majors who got bounced in their conference tournament.
We always hear the lip service from the committee about “total résumé”, “strength of schedule”, and “challenging non-conference slate”. Teams from mid-major leagues get such few chances to bolster their résumés. However, Monmouth did everything they could in the non-conference, playing at UCLA, at USC, at Georgetown, as well as neutral site games against Notre Dame, Dayton, and USC (again). They went 4-2 in those games. Yet the committee chose to keep the Hawks out of the field, instead putting in Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Tulsa. Vanderbilt lost 13 times this season. Michigan was a middling team without quality wins who knocked off Indiana in tournament play and was rewarded with a bid. Tulsa was seen as out after losing to Memphis, yet were still put into the field.
What is perhaps the most frustrating thing for mid-majors is the stinging reality that the regular season doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who you play, who you beat, or how well you play all season. If you don’t win the conference tournament, you are nothing in the eyes of the committee.
The committee sent a clear message to mid-majors tonight: they don’t care about you. They will still reward high majors because of their strong résumés. I feel that it is unfair to simply compare résumés between mid-majors and high majors. Majors get more opportunities, so their résumés will always be better. The committee needs to look at the eye test and see that mid-majors can easily play at the highest level.