Pictured: The NCAA Hall of Champions. Its newest member: logic.
If you watch a lot of college basketball -- even if you don't actually, even if you're just one of those who swoops in as the conference tournaments are finishing up -- you know that confusion surrounding the way the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee seeds the NCAA tournament is the biggest negative we deal with every March.
There's always something. Some team didn't get in because they're a mid-major, and they couldn't schedule teams to come play them, or some major conference team finished its season with a second place run in the conference tournament and anyway they played major conference teams and a tougher schedule all season and doesn't that count for anything anymore and sometimes you just want to throw up your hands and put every D1 team in the tournament, "Hoosiers" style, and see what happens.
One consistently lingering issue? How teams' resumes are interpreted temporally. By which I mean, how much wins in the beginning of the season count versus wins down the stretch. How much did your team improve at the end of the season? That stuff.
In the past, the selection committee had this little caveat. It said that the last 12 games of the season should be considered as one of the factors in where a team should be seeded. It was nebulous and never explained very well, and it led to a lot of complaints. Hopefully, those days are over: the committee has deigned to consider every team's game equal in the eyes of the law, the law in this instance being whatever the NCAA says is the law, you feckless prole:
The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has decided to no longer consider the results of a team’s last 12 games as one of the tools available in the selection criteria for the 2009-10 season.
While the basketball committee uses several variables when it comes to selecting the 34 at-large teams that are placed into the bracket each March, its members concluded that college basketball stakeholders were confused by the last 12 games being part of the process.
“As the committee continues to hone its message regarding how it views the season, parsing a particular segment of games and implying it had greater weight than others seemed misleading and inconsistent,” said committee chair and Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive. “The removal of this reference avoids confusion in the room and brings our reporting in line with our process.”
Indeed. Being a college basketball "stakeholder," I was always confused at the notion that a win in January didn't mean as much as a win in February, and that a win in February meant considerably less than a conference tournament win in March. Now all wins are equal! Glad we got that out of the way.
What's next? Now those disenfranchised December wins can begin the long, hard road toward equal rights not only in theory but in practice. If I'm recalling my AP American History correctly, they should get there in about, oh, three or four generations? Give or take.
(HT: The Sporting Blog)