This Sunday the annual selection for March Madness takes place, and once again it's hard for a UB fan to care.
Sure I have a passing interest in where MAC Winner gets seeded but aside from that its kind of hard to stomach the whole thing. The MAC has been a one bid conference for some time and nobody in the conference distinguished themselves to end that run.
If you don't know how this works:
Thirty teams have automatic bids by winning their conference tournament, plus the Ivy League regular-season champion. So there are only 37 at-large bids bid to be had. The ten-member selection committee, made up of athletic directors and conference commissioners throughout DI basketball will dole those out. Usually those go out to the ACC, A-10, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, C-USA, MWC, Pac-10, and SEC. Back in 2005 when UB and Miami were both top 50 teams (in terms of RPI) they could not bust the bubble. For that to happen a team has to have a really special season.
The Missouri Valley Conference has been the greatest victim of selection in justice, so far they have had 5 RPI top 40 teams excluded. The team which suffered the biggest ever snub was Utah State who was 25-2 in 2004 and ranked. When they lost their conferece tournament they were relegated to the NIT. UB Was the victim of a pretty bad snub back in 2005 when the team was easily one of the top 50 RPI schools in the nation. The Bulls lost the MACC to Ohio on a last second tip in and were denied a ticket to the dance by the selection committee.
Whoever does get in be seeded painfully low in the bracket.If Kent runs they *might* get themselves a 13, likely thought they end up 14 or 15. If its anyone else out of the East look for a 16 seed. If, Lord help us, a team from the West wins the MACC the MAC might actually be looking at a play in game!
|Good Wins||RPI||Bad Losses||RPI|
Of more interest to me will be the selection process for the NIT, College Basketball Invitational and the CIT (CollegeInsider.com) tournaments. They are the after thoughts of College Basketball
UB's EPIC collapse late in the season probably ended UB's hopes of getting into any of these but a good run in the MACC, say to the Championship game, might sway somebody.
UB will benefit from profile for making the MACC but they will also pick up a badly needed 'good win' over Kent, record aside UB's resume leaves little to be prideful about.
Losses to teams like EMU and Youngstown put some real blemishes on their record. UB also coughed away a chance for another 'good win' against Indiana State (RPI 85). Swing those games and take one against the Falcons and the Bulls are sitting in a much better position (3 good wins, 4 bad losses).
If Kent does not win the MACC then they will be heading to the NIT for their second consecutive shot.The MAC regular season champ is guaranteed a shot, hence this is where UB Ended up when they got snubbed in 2005.
This is actually the oldest of the NCAA tournaments and for a very brief time, one year, had a legit claim to be the NCAA Championship. It's half the size of the NCAA Tournament (32 teams) and every conference champ who fails to make it to the dance gets a bid.
The seeding process is similar to the NCAA tournament, except that in the NIT t higher seeded teams will always host games. In the past, higher seeded mid-major teams would often be forced to travel to play less highly regarded major conference teams that would be likely to sell more tickets to the game but that was one of many things fixed in recent years.
Buffalo has no shot at the NIT, really its hard to see anyone from the MAC getting in except Kent. WMU, because they won the West, has the best shot and even that might rely on them not completely choking in the MACC.
This is one of the newer tournaments. With the field of NCAA division one team ballooning in recent years the The Gazelle Group began the event. 16 teams are selected and games are played on home courts of the higher seeded team.
What is not commonly advertised to students is that the 'higher seed' is a team willing to drop tens of thousands of dollars for a home game.
One interesting aspect of this event is that while the quarter and semi finals are single elimination the championship is determined by a best two-out-of-three format.
Back in 2009 Buffalo was a participant. After losing a tie breaker to Bowling Green during the regular season and losing the MAC Championship to Akron the CBI was the best option available to the Bulls. UB wnet on the road to Wichita, and lost.
If UB get's to the championship game they will have amassed 21 wins, and knocked off Kent in the process. That might be enough to get some interest but with all the parity in the east and UB's late season collapse even 21 wins might not be enough for a bid.
Yet another johnny come lately tournament. Like the CBI it is a 16 team tournament where money is exchanged for home games. The pool of teams that competes is similar to that of the CBI. Teams that fall short of an NIT bid but have a moderately successful season.
Akron was invited last season when they went 24-10. The Best the Bulls do, without dancing, 21 wins. Like the CBI this might be enough for a bid but there are three four other teams in the MAC with a shot at 20 wins.
Basically UB is in a win or go home mode. If last years team did not do enough to get invited there is little reason to think that this years squad is accomplished enough. Too many bad losses out of conference (Youngstown, Indiana State) and their slide in conference could not have come at a worse time.