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Enough of all this rational empirical analysis, it’s time for some good old fashioned polemics and schadenfreude. The only redeeming quality of an NCAA Tournament without Syracuse involved is that there’s still plenty of teams participating that I hate, and it’s always fun to watch them suffer heartbreaking losses.
Duke? Gone. Virginia? Gone. Virginia Tech? Gone. Boston College? Gone. Georgia Tech? Gone. Maryland? Gone. The ACC sent 7 schools to the NCAAs this year, and 6 of them couldn’t get out of the opening weekend. Only North Carolina is still standing, which is appropriate since they’re the only team in that conference that’s as good as its reputation. The rest, in typical ACC fashion, coasted on the sails of a top-heavy league that ramped up their RPIs despite limited individual performance, found themselves with overvalued seeds in the NCAAs, and lost to supposedly inferior opponents that weren’t really inferior at all.
How Virginia, with an RPI of 55, a 19-10 record against DI opponents, and a 4-4 record down the stretch that included a win against something called Longwood, garnered a FOUR SEED, is beyond my ability to comprehend. The committee’s ability to be rational when dealing with ACC teams gets shakier every year, and they didn’t exactly start on sound footing.
4 of the 6 bounced ACC teams lost to midmajors, which is delightful. One other, BC, lost to a Big East team (G-Town), and UVA deservedly lost to the SEC’s Tennessee. Only one sixteenth of the Sweet Sixteen is represented by the over-hyped and overvalued conference down south, which is just the way it should be.
For the record, the Big 10 also got smoked, with only Ohio State making it out of the first two rounds, amongst the 6 teams their conference sent. This is hardly the first time the Big 10 has had some serious ’splainin to do after a crap out Tourney performance, but I hold little ill will towards them, so I won’t harp on it. The SEC and PAC-10 came off the best, with 3 teams each moving on, including USC’s eye-opening trouncing of Kevin Durant’s Texas team. The Carmelo comparisons can officially stop now, thank you very much.
The Big XII and the Big East come in next with two teams each. Neither great nor terrible showings. The Big XII comes off better proportionally, since they only got 4 teams in to begin with, and because Texas A&M knocked off Louisville. But with Pitt and G-Town living up to expectations so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big East proves to be the only conference with 2 teams in the Elite 8.