From Arizona being under-seeded to USC getting left out completely, there is some strong evidence to suggest it’s possible.
The biggest storyline in college basketball this season had nothing to do with what was happening on the court. We talked about wiretaps instead of pick-and-rolls, money laundering instead of jump shots and bribery instead of post play.
The FBI’s investigation into corruption throughout the sport dwarfed everything else. The NCAA got to sit back with its arms folded and enjoy watching real cops enforce its rules.
A number of the teams involved in the scandal appeared to get a raw deal on Selection Sunday. Is this a coincidence or did the NCAA use this as a chance to extract some measure of revenge on the (allegedly) guilty parties?
It’s impossible to say for sure, but there is some strong evidence to suggest the NCAA might be holding a grudge.
Arizona is under-seeded as a No. 4
Arizona won the Pac-12 in the regular season and then took home the conference tournament championship. We had Arizona as a No. 3 seed in our final bracket projection, but the committee stuck them with a No. 4 seed.
It’s not just that. Sean Miller’s team got an incredibly tough draw in the South region, needing to potentially get past Kentucky in the round of 32 and then No. 1 overall seed Virginia in the Sweet 16. That means the committee had Arizona as the weakest of the No. 4 seeds.
Arizona a 4 seed. LOL. Come on. Could the NCAA make it more obvious they’re sticking it to the FBI investigation schools?
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken)
Arizona, of course, had assistant coach Book Richardson arrested in the FBI probe. ESPN also reported that Miller worked to send $100K to star center Deandre Ayton. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe not.
USC was left off completely
USC had the best case to make the NCAA tournament of any of the snubs. Given that the Selection Committee still heavily favors RPI to make its decisions, this fact is pretty shocking.
With an RPI of No. 34, USC is the highest-ranked major conference team ever left out of the NCAA Tournament in the 68-team era.
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman)
USC was also the only team our Bracketologist Chris Dobbertean missed in his final projection of the tournament. The Trojans were in 141 out of 150 possible brackets according to the Bracket Matrix.
USC went 23-11 this season and made it to the Pac-12 title game before losing to Arizona. If you count the conference tournament, the Trojans were 14-6 in Pac-12 play. Compare that to Alabama, who made the tournament finishing 8-10 in the SEC and were still under .500 (10-11) even if you count its two conference tournament wins.
Yes, USC’s resume had some flaws — read Alex Kirshner’s full breakdown here — but it was still solid. The Trojans should have been in the tournament.
Louisville got left out, too
USC had the highest RPI of any team ever left out of the NCAA tournament. Louisville had the second highest RPI of any team ever left out of the field.
Louisville had an RPI of 38. It was featured in 41 of the 150 brackets in the Bracket Matrix. Compare that to Syracuse, which had an RPI of 45 and only appeared in 20 brackets on the Bracket Matrix.
Oklahoma State had a case, too
If the committee wasn’t stressing RPI so much this year, then OSU would have made sense. The Cowboys’ only had an RPI of 88, but had 10 Quadrant 1 wins, beat Kansas twice, won at West Virginia and beat Texas Tech.
Syracuse getting in over Oklahoma State is B-A-F-F-L-I-N-G.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander)
Maybe Syracuse just shouldn’t have gotten in.
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