Selection Sunday, one of the best sporting days of the year. Selection Sunday, the only reason Joe Lunardi makes more money than you do.
His Last Four In (Pomeroy Ranking):
Minnesota (45th)- The Big Ten is ridiculously overrated this year, but the Golden Gophers get a pass from me because they aren't Penn State. They beat Louisville on a neutral site, a good win even if it was at the beginning of the year. I don't get how 9-9 is clearly good enough in the Big Ten (not listed in the "Last Three In") when the Irish are well off the bubble at 8-10 in a much better conference and ranked eight spots higher by Pomeroy.
Maryland (54th)- 7-9 puts the Terrapins in but the Irish are well out at 8-10? Not that I think Notre Dame deserves to be in the Tournament (they don't), but this is the best example I know of how erratic basketball seeding is. Beat UNC and Miami at home, but was absolutely pounded by Georgetown on a neutral site. Ranked 28 places below the Hoyas by Pomeroy.
Creighton (68th)- Talking heads have to be careful talking about mid-majors because they don't want to offend anyone. However, there's a reason high-major teams take almost all of the at-large bids. They're better, it's not even close. With the exception of George Mason in 2006, a team that was actually seeded far too low at 11, mid-major schools just don't stack up against ACC and Big East programs. The Patriots' numbers ranked them 23rd that year. If there's anything I've come to learn about Ken Pomeroy's computer rankings, it's that they are the single best predictors of future success that I have found in college basketball. 23rd is good, 68th is not.
St. Mary's (60th)- Speaking of overrated small school teams, I give you the Gaels. Much is being made about how they lost Paddy Mills in the middle of the season and could have contended for a WCC title with him healthy. But who have they beaten? San Diego State? Utah State? Providence is decent, too, but no other wins over the top 100. The game of basketball is about winning, not trying really hard with your leader out.
Teams Who Should Be In-
Arizona (39th), San Diego State (34th), New Mexico (38th)- The Wildcats have fallen down the stretch, but they have some really big wins to their credit. Beating Gonzaga, Kansas, Washington, and UCLA as part of your nine top 100 wins is much better than St. Mary's joke of a resume. The Gaels did beat San Diego State head-to-head, but the difference between strengths of schedule is enormous. The Aztecs played a non-conference schedule ranked about 160 spots above Creaighton. If you're looking for a mid-major to support, why not one that's actually battle-hardened? New Mexico is another good option, having beaten Creighton by seven on the road. Their quality wins have come in conference, but BYU and Utah are ranked much higher than anybody the last two teams have defeated.
Team Who Should Be Really Really Far Out of the NCAA Tournament-
Penn State (78th)- 10-8 puts you on the bubble in the Big Ten, but Big East team Providence is sniffing a 3 or 4 seed in the NIT. In the words of Dick Vitale, "Are you kidding me?" Sure, they beat Purdue by three at home, but have since been clearly out of their element against the Boilermakers. Michigan State is a good win, same with two against Illinois, but 38-33 is an incredible load of filth. Their defense, one of the few remaining excuses for Big Ten apologists, is worse than Notre Dame's (117th).