Column by Chris Graham
Can’t say that with any authority. Wake Forest and Clemson both lost on Thursday and got bids.
Both played Virginia Tech once in the 2009-2010 regular season. Both lost those games.
Georgia Tech lost its home regular-season finale to Virginia Tech to fall to 7-9 in the ACC in the ’09-’10 regular season. The Jackets got a bid on the strength of their run from Thursday to the ACC Tournament final. Wonderful. They got rewarded for beating the #10 seed (UNC) and the #11 seed (N.C. State) wrapped around a win over #2 seed Maryland.
So much for all the hullaballoo over how an expanded NCAA field would devalue the regular season. Georgia Tech’s presence in the Big Dance this year is a clear indication that the regular season already means nothing.
The Selection Committee clearly values wins on TV against #10 and #11 seeds more than it does consistency over the course of the entirety of a season.
That is clear as well in the case for Minnesota, whose claim to fame is a win over an overrated Purdue team in the Big 10 semifinals on Saturday and a 90-61 loss to Ohio State in the Big 10 title game today. And a loss in December in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge to the ACC doormat Miami, whose upset of Virginia Tech on Friday apparently disqualified the Hokies from the NCAAs.
Seems fair. Miami beats Minnesota, which ends up with a lower RPI than Virginia Tech, in December, but Minnesota gets in, and Virginia Tech is left on the outside looking in because of a loss to Miami in March.
Virginia Tech wins at Georgia Tech in the regular season, but Georgia Tech beats two of the three worst teams in the ACC in the conference tournament, so the Jackets are in.
Virginia Tech goes 3-0 against Wake Forest, Clemson and Georgia Tech, but those three teams get in – with worse conference and overall records than Virginia Tech.
And the reason for all of this – strength of schedule.
How about that 10-6 regular season in the third-ranked RPI conference? How does that factor into strength of schedule?
It’s Seth Greenberg’s fault, apparently, that a Penn State team that was on the cusp of an NCAA bid last year and returned its key players for another run at the Dance this year faultered big time, that it got stuck with an Iowa team in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge that ended up going 10-22, that Georgia ended up going 6-12 in the SEC, that Seton Hall was itself a bubble team.
Bottom line: A 9-9 Big 10 team, two 9-7 ACC teams and a 7-9 ACC team are playing for a national title, and a 10-6 ACC team is not, and I can’t tell you why that’s so, because it doesn’t make any sense based on anything in their respective resumes.