No Date for the Dance
Selection Sunday has come and gone, and the Colorado Buffaloes failed to earn an invite to the 2019 NCAA Basketball Championships. Proponents argue that the Pac-12 was immensely weak this year, the Buffs strength of schedule was poor, and the team lacked quality wins. Compound that with a bad loss to Washington State and a limited number of spots, and the snub was more than expected.
But I have seven, completely unbiased reasons why the NCAA Selection Committee should have had the Buffs dancing in March.
- 21 Wins – Colorado finished 21-12. While you can downplay the achievement with a schedule that includes Northern Omaha, Portland, and some school named UIC, you can’t deny the fact that 13 teams in the tournament failed to win that many–including Ohio State (19-14), Fairlegh Dickenson (20-13), and Oklahoma (19-13).
- It’s the Pac-12 – We can all agree that Arizona, UCLA, and others had a rough year. But the Pac-12 is still a major conference. The SOCON had teams like Wofford, Furman, UNC Greensboro, and ETSU ranked higher than the Buffs. Two teams from the ASUN, Liberty and Lipscomb, were ranked higher as well. It’s bad enough when you don’t recognize the acronyms to figure out a conference, but ranked below a school called Lipscomb? Who’s their Athletic Director? Dick Butkus?
- Quality Wins – Besides the victory over ASU, there were wins over UCLA and Arizona. While both teams sucked this year, historically speaking both teams are awesome. The Buffs beat the South Dakota Coyotes, who in turn, beat the North Dakota State Bison, who made the tournament. Colorado also beat Drake, Canada’s iconic rapper.
- Bad Losses – The loss at Washington State (11-21) was a hard one. But the Buffs only lost by two. The committee didn’t seem to care that Arizona State lost by 21 to the same squad, at home, and still made the tournament.
- Strength of Schedule – It’s not Colorado’s (SOS 113) fault that the Pac-12 kept losing games all season. At least the country has heard of Oregon and Stanford. Belmont made the tournament with an SOS of 199. Guess the committee had alumni from Samford, Kennesaw State, and SIU Edward–three of Belmont’s main competitors.
- Star Power – The NCAA loves to market its “amateur superstars” in the NCAA tournament in order to bring in sponsors, fans, and dollars. But Duke’s Zion Williamson is basically the only big name out there. If Duke were to stumble, the Networks would be scrambling for great stories. How about McKinley Wright IV, who was named first team All-Pac-12; Tyler Bey, who was also made the first team while being named the leagues Most Improved Player; or Evan Battey, who recovered from a stroke in order to make his Buffs debut?
- The Wrong Conference Tournament – The Buffs fell to a decent Washington squad in the Pac-12 version, but what if Colorado moved to the Summit League, Mid Eastern Atlantic, or Metro Atlantic Athletic conferences, where powerhouses like North Dakota State (18-15), Northern Carolina Central (18-15), and Iona (16-15) all made the tourney?
The reality is that the Pac-12 was awfully bad this season and the Buffs were more than a few quality wins away from making the dance. But in a tournament that is supposed to invite the top 68 teams in the country, you would think the Buffs, 21 wins, playing in a conference you have heard of, would at least be number 67.
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