5/31/2011 1:07:56 AM
Well, the selection committee made it clear today that it has no respect for conference prestige at all. The SEC received 3 national seeds, 1 #2 seed, and 3 #3 seeds. In other words, the committee feels that the SEC has 3 of the top 8 teams in the country, 1 team ranked between 17-32, 3 teams ranked between 33-48, and 5 teams ranked outside of the top 48. I personally feel that 10 of the 12 SEC teams (excluding Kentucky and Tennessee) are at minimum among the top 40 teams in the country and have the ability on the field to merit playing in the NCAA tournament. Apparently the committee doesn't feel the same way. Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi State, Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss probably all feel like they deserved better than what the committee gave them (I realize that Auburn was ineligble, please do not respond and tell me so). It seems as though the committee is only focused on how you perform within your conference now. I find it funny when people say "if you have a losing record in your conference, you don't deserve to be in." If you have a 12 team conference with 10 NCAA tournament worthy teams, 3 of whom are among the best teams in the country, how are all 10 teams supposed to have a winning record? It's impossible. It's simple mathematics. I also find it funny when people say "if you don't make your conference tournament, you don't deserve to be in." Once again, when you have 10 NCAA tournament teams and there only 8 sports in the conference tournament, 2 are going to not make it. That is pretty obvious. So if the SEC expanded the tournament field to 10 or 12 teams, those 2 teams would then become worthy of making the NCAA tournament all of a sudden? I am not saying that these two measures should not be factored into the equation. It just seems as if they were the only two measures used this year.
Furthermore, the committee made it painfully clear that they have absolutely no concern for what a team does at home in their non-conference schedule. Apparently you could play the New York Yankees 26 times at home and go 26-0 and it would not matter. The chairman so much as stated that if your conference resume doesn't merit inclusion in their eyes, non-conference road games are the ONLY other way to prove one's self. This is evidenced by LSU's resume. LSU had literally as close to a NCAA tournament worthy conference resume as possible at 13-17 since I believe that no 14-16 SEC team has ever not made the NCAA tournament. This is a list of our non-conference opponents: Cal St. Fullerton (3)(regional host), Southern Miss (1, @ neutral site) (#2 seed), Southeastern Louisiana (1), Tulane (2, 1 on the road), UL-Lafayette (1), and Wake Forest (3) (7th place in the ACC at 15-15). That is a minimum of 11 games against quality opponents. We went 10-1 against that slate. We went 23-3 overall in the non-conference. Apparently, despite being 1-2 conference wins away from being a "lock", that is not a good enough to show the committee that we were worthy of receiving a bid. The committe proved their point. Nothing you do at home in the non-conference matters. Apparently what matters is getting swallowed up by Alex Box Stadium and looking like a little league team for three games. For that, the committee will award you a host site. For the team that dismantled them, no bid. Losing on the road is more important than winning at home. That is the message.
So, what should the SEC do in the future to earn the appropriate amount of berths to the NCAA tournament if the league is going to get no more respect than any other league and no home non-conference games mean anything? The obvious answer is for each team to have a brutal schedule those first four weekends. It's not that easy, though. At least two of those series would have to be on the road you would assume (which I guess they would need to be since no home games means anything). It is that easy for virtually all other teams in the country. They don't make enough money from home games for it to matter. From an LSU perspective, however, it is fiscally irresponsible to play road games. We make too much money off of home games. Losing an additional six home games a year would result in a loss of a significant amount of the revenue making up our program's budget. I honestly don't know what the answer is. The NCAA has made it an agenda to expand baseball geographically and they are willing to treat the SEC unfairly in doing so, 10 out of 12 teams mathematically can not produce a conference resume good enough to merit postseason inclusion on its own, and the NCAA no longer values home games while several SEC teams can not afford to play additional road games. It seems that the only way to gain fair treatment under the NCAA's current mindset is to sacrafice money to play road games which would eventually reduce the quality of the league anyway, possibly making the league not have a situation where 10 of the 12 teams are tournament worthy, therefore negating the entire argument. The times of conference strength being rewarded are over. I guess there's going to be a lot of disappointed SEC teams in the upcoming years.
edited by ccox11 on 5/31/2011