Fire Jim Tracy

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Getting What You Asked For

So when Texas Tech came up as a #6 seed, I said out loud "So I wonder who gets to knock Bobby Knight out of the first round this year." So there's that. My problem is that I talk too much.

UCLA Basketball, by the way, is an innocent bystander in my ongoing jeremiad against Bill Plaschke. They are what they are, which is a rebuilding team that was lucky enough to get into the tournament in a bad year with a mediocre resume (an opinion that was validated by the committee putting them on the same line -- and the last at-large line -- as Northern Iowa and UAB). Next year they might be 25-4 and a #1 seed. I do not hold Bill Plaschke's fawning against them; I simply state who and what they are. I singled them out because they happened to be the best example of what I was talking about -- a mediocre team in a weak year -- and I am most familiar with them. There are any number of examples -- Texas, NC State, Iowa, Stanford -- but they all got higher seeds than UCLA too.

As to the brackets themselves, the committee had one job. Keep Notre Dame out of the Tournament. They did it (or to be precise, New Mexico and Utah State did it). Here are two non-conference schedules. One of them is Notre Dame's.

1) Harvard, IPFW, Charlotte Southern, at Michigan (L), at Indiana, DePaul (L), Army, Marist, Western Illinois, Samford, UCLA (L)

2) at Boston U., at Harvard, Marist, Princeton (L), at Minnesota (L), at Fordham, at Boston College (L), at Brown, Northeastern, Vermont (L), at Rhode Island, Dartmouth, Iona

You know which one is Notre Dame's schedule. But what of the mystery team? Who is that? Well, while Notre Dame was sitting their fat &#*(R%& at home beating up on the likes of IPFW, Army, Charlotte Southern, and only deigning to leave the comfort of South Bend for the paycheck coming from Big 10 mediocrities Michigan and Indiana, this other mystery team was losing to Boston College by 3, Vermont (a desperately underseeded 13) by 5, travelling to Minnesota (an actual Big 10 tournament team), Rhode Island, and Boston U. (a 20-game winner). Who was that team?

24-6 Holy Cross, which, of course, wasn't the first team Billy Packer, Dick Vitale (Vitale gets bonus points, because he did also mention Miami(Ohio) which probably was hosed in favor of Northern Iowa), and Digger Phelps started screaming about when the brackets came out. You want strength of schedule? According to ESPN:

Holy Cross - 105
Notre Dame - 109

Here's one way of looking at this. Notre Dame's non-conference schedule (in other words, the discretionary schedule that schools themselves choose to play) was SO BAD that even the fact that Notre Dame plays in the Big East and Holy Cross plays in the PATRIOT LEAGUE (all Army, all the time -- but subject of a great book by John Feinstein) couldn't make up for the difference.

You want RPI?

Holy Cross - 50
Notre Dame - 92

The case for Notre Dame is non-existent. Listening to these guys try to flack for Notre Dame just because they're friends with the coach and, anyway, it's Notre Dame, is an embarrassment. UCLA bashing? Not really. Notre Dame bashing? Both barrels.

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