North Carolina Tar Heels’ Coach Roy Williams and Virginia Cavaliers’ Coach Tony Bennett have spoken out over only four teams being invited to the dance. In Williams’ case he tried to argue it wasn’t fair towards the league, whereas Bennett chose to play the ‘lack of respect’ card.
Numerous arguments could be made over the Selection Committee’s decisions towards the ACC, whether the Miami (FL) Hurricanes or Duke Blue Devils deserved a number one seed or more than four teams deserved entry. However, the fact of the matter is, it just wasn’t a great year for ACC basketball.
Sure, the Hurricanes could have been given a first seed over the Kansas Jayhawks or Indiana Hoosiers, but Miami (FL) doesn’t have hardly the same brand value as those two schools. With the Gonzaga Bulldogs already a questionable number one seed, the tournament is a lot sexier from a name value stand point with Kansas or Indiana at the top as opposed to the Hurricanes.
It also wouldn’t have made any sense to place Duke above Miami (FL) based on the Hurricanes’ superior success in the ACC this season.
As far as more schools in the tournament are concerned, Virginia might have a case that it deserved a bid, but losing five of its last eight in-conference match-ups sealed its fate as an NIT team. The Cavaliers have no one to blame but themselves for falling flat when all eyes were on them after knocking off Duke on Feb. 28. After the big upset over the Blue Devils, Virginia appeared on the verge of a bid, however, quickly threw it away with embarrassing back-to-back losses to the Boston College Eagles and Florida State Seminoles. Back-to-back defeats easily erased all the good created from the Duke win.
The only other team slightly worthy of arguing they deserved a bid would be the Maryland Terrapins, but their lackluster non-conference schedule and 8-10 losing conference record kept them on the outside looking in. Perhaps, if the Terrapins made it to the ACC tournament Finals the Selection Committee would have looked at them differently. However, they are another example of a team that has nobody to blame but themselves for not earning a bid.
It’s understandable Virginia’s Bennett is upset his team didn’t earn a bid, but instead of playing the respect card, he should learn from the experience to make sure his team doesn’t collapse against teams they are better than in future seasons. Meanwhile, Williams is likely just trying to pump the tires of his own conference or is maybe a tad upset North Carolina didn’t earn a higher seed.
Regardless, both coaches just need to suck it up and realize the ACC wasn’t as superior this year as it has been in previous seasons.
The parity in college basketball in the 2012-13 season has been maybe the best it ever has in the sport, the ACC having only four teams representing the conference is only another example of this.