The most undeserving Final Four team ever
Syracuse has had a fantastic run to the Final Four.
The No. 10-seeded Orange are the first 10 seed – and just the fourth double-digit seed – to ever to make it to the national semifinals.
Their 13 losses are tied for most ever by a final four team.
Syracuse rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half against to No. 1-seeded Virginia in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four.
The run for the Orange is truly remarkable and impressive.
However, it never should’ve happened.
Syracuse did not belong in the tournament in the first place.
The Orange finished the season with a 19-13 record and 9-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They suffered losses to St. John’s, Clemson and Florida State to name a few. They lost five of their final six games of the regular season, which included an opening-round loss to Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament.
So why are they in the dance?
For years the selection committee has favored teams from the “power conferences” as opposed to team from the “mid-major conferences.”
For instance, this year’s field of 68 featured just four “mid-major” teams receiving at-large bids.
Thirty-two of the possible 36 at-large spots went to “power-conference” teams.
That’s not right.
Teams like Tulsa, Michigan, Vanderbilt and Syracuse all got into the field over deserving “mid-major” teams like St. Bonaventure, Monmouth, San Diego State, St. Mary’s and Valparaiso to name a few.
The Bonnies actually become the most egregious snub this tournament season when they didn’t receive an at-large bid with an RPI of 29. If you aren’t familiar with the RPI (rating percentage index) it’s a computer-based system calculating a team’s wins and losses and schedule strength.
It’s a completely unbiased ranking system.
It has no human input. It simply tells it how it is.
The RPI said St. Bonaventure was the 29th best team in the country on Selection Sunday and the Bonnies didn’t get into the field.
God forbid we don’t put a team like Syracuse in the field, which entered selection Sunday with an RPI of 72.
For argument sake, Vanderbilt had an RPI of 62, Tulsa 58 and Michigan 57.
St. Mary’s boasted an RPI of 38, San Diego State 41, Valparaiso 49 and Monmouth 51.
The committee tells these false truths that if “mid-majors” want consideration for at-large bids, they should go out and schedule tough in the non conference.
San Diego State had a top five non-conference strength of schedule. Monmouth played nine true road games in November and December. The Hawks only played at home once.
They did exactly what the committee asked of them and owned wins over the likes of USC, Norte Dame, Georgetown and UCLA.
And the Hawks didn’t get in.
Thanks for keeping your word committee.
Give the little guy a chance.
That’s what March Madness is all about.
The team everyone falls in love with after they hit a game winner or have some kid go off for 40 points in a victory.
This year Middle Tennessee, Stephen F. Austin and Hawaii were those tourney darlings.
Note: those three teams all gained access into the field by way of winning their conference tourney.
Give us more Cinderellas and less 13-loss blue-blood schools like Syracuse.
This is the opinion of John Denega who covers Minot High athletics, Minot State softball and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @JohnDenega_MDN.