No crying on the bubble

From Tuesday’s Dispatch

Usually, the day after selection Sunday, I have great sympathy for some team whose bubble got busted when the NCAA Tournament bracket was released.
Today, not so much.
In a year that cries out for a smaller-than-65-team tourna­ment field, I’m amazed the selection committee could find enough decent teams to fill out the at-large spots.
But just because I don’t think anyone out there has a case doesn’t mean there isn’t a certain amount of whining go­ing on.
So let’s break down the pretend­ers before getting into the teams that actually got on the dance floor.
Arizona State is the team that most pundits are stump­ing for, and I understand the argument. The Sun Devils beat Xavier, Stanford and Wash­ington State while sweeping Arizona and finishing ahead of Oregon in the Pac-10.
And they got absolutely jobbed in the Pac-10 Tourna­ment on a phantom over-the­back call.
But aside from his obligatory complaint about being left out, Coach Herb Sendek himself spelled out why his team was sent to the NIT.
It was all about schedule.
Want to get in? Don’t lose to Illinois and Nebraska by double digits. Don’t sign up to play Cal Poly, Florida Gulf Coast and Montana State.
Truth be told, the Sun Devils weren’t expected to be any good this year, and scheduled ac­cordingly. Next year, especially if James Harden doesn’t leave early, they’ll be in with a bullet.
Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenburg is crying the blues about his Hokies getting left out, but if he really wants someone to blame for his team’s exclusion, he should pause the next time he passes a mirror.
He scheduled four teams with RPI numbers higher than 200. His team lost to Penn State, Old Dominion and Rich­mond. Virginia Tech managed to beat one tournament team all season, and that was Miami in the ACC Tournament.
Sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it.
Dayton and Illinois State?
Please. Beat somebody, then call me.
There are some quality games on tap for this year’s edition of March Madness, however.
I think Miami/St. Mary’s, Washington State/Winthrop and Clemson/Villanova could be fun to watch.
Looking for upsets? I like Davidson over Gonzaga in Charlotte, St. Joseph’s over Oklahoma and Baylor to knock off Purdue.
Final four picks? I’ll take North Carolina, Georgetown, Texas and UCLA. Carolina will get its revenge on the Hoyas in one semifinal game while UCLA will avenge an earlier loss to the Longhorns.
I’m no fan of UCLA, but it’s hard to bet against a team that plays lock-down defense, has great guards and a big man inside to clean the boards as a potential national champion.
Check, check and check.
I’ll take the Bruins over Carolina in a physical contest.
Let the madness begin.


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