More information on the Gonzaga drug arrests: here. Good article on how the controversy has affected the school. Also interesting to note the differences between ND and Gonzaga. Both the AD and coach Mark Few have commented already on the situation. Most notable is how the school is handling the case, "They'll be treated by Student Life no different from the engineering major. They've done a good job of treating them as students, and that's what they'll do in this case." Good to see the same emphasis on keeping to precedent at a school with much more to lose than ND with a poor hoops program.
Going back to yesterday's topic: Duke and the NCAA Tournament. A couple of nice (if a bit dated) stories about the tournament committee on ESPN.com. Check out Andy Katz's article linked a little down to the right.
Which brings me to today's topic: what is the purpose of the at-large bid? We have a little commentary on my Duke article below, with Bryan making the very valid point that Duke would probably beat ND on a neutral court. But is that the point?
This is not college football. The selection committee by no means decides who can win the national championship. Any of the 65 squads is (technically) six victories away from winning it all. However, most of the 31 automatic bids would lose to teams with busted bubbles on a regular basis.
However, since most of the automatic bids cannot win it all, why must at-large teams be seen as NC hopefuls? I will say it right now. Duke will not win the national championship. Therefore, it's placement in the Tourney as a mid-level major conference team is unfortunate. More emphasis should be placed on selecting teams that have played well and have much to gain. As we learned last season, a team like George Mason can get hot and play better than big schools when afforded the opportunity.
Duke (and all teams with under .500 conference records)
Comments reguarding Duke are made expecting a 7-9 ACC record at the end of the year. There is still plenty of time and reason for the Blue Devils to finish strong and be more deserving of a bid. I would also mention that the selection committee should (and most likely will) treat a 9-7 ND team the same way. Just my two cents. Fell free to discuss.