|Mid-majors cry foul over decline in NCAA bids|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 15 March 2009 15:45|
And there's nothing the non-power conference schools seem to be able to do about it.
The six BCS conferences took 30 of 34 at-large bids in Sunday's NCAA tournament draw, their highest total this decade.
Davidson, last year's tourney darling with Stephen Curry, is out. St. Mary's, San Diego State and Niagara, all with RPIs in the top 50, are out. Creighton, the regular-season co-champion in the Missouri Valley Conference, is out, too.
But the committee did take Arizona from the Pac-10, with an RPI of 62, and three Big Ten teams - Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota - that were hardly locks to make the 65-team field.
To the smaller-name schools, it's a message they don't want to hear.
ch Bob McKillop said. ``The margin for error is ever so slight.''
Since non-power conference schools received 12 at-large bids in 2004, the number has dropped in four of the past five years to this year's total of four, the lowest this decade.
Yet committee members, including chairman Mike Slive, insist they don't look at conference affiliations.
Slive told reporters Sunday that the first time he learned that the ACC, Big East and Big Ten each earned seven bids was when the bracket was printed just before it was released to the public. More than an hour later, Slive said he had to double check to see how many conferences got six bids. That would be two, the Big 12 and Pac-10.
To change the trend, Slive wants to see stronger out-of-conference schedules.
``You know, there are several teams, you could take a Gonzaga, you could take a Butler, you can take Xavier, that at some point in time we're not doing that,'' Slive said. ``They've gone out and they've found a way to play games and to create a resume that resonates with the committee.''