INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Half the fun of March Madness is getting mad. And the selection committee spoiled it.
How are we going to spend the next two days griping about who got slighted? How are we supposed to work ourselves into a lather about teams being sent the wrong places? And how will we ever muster the appropriate outrage over clearly undeserved seedings?
How dare the NCAA?
They had a slam dunk for controversy, and they blew it.
So here, because we need something to do besides fill out those brackets, are some injustices for madness maniacs to whine about:
- Duke isn't a No. 2 seed. Certainly not at the expense of a Wisconsin or even a Stanford.
Yes, we know Duke is the paragon of college basketball and everyone else should consider themselves lucky to play with the Blue Devils. But strip the name off the front of the jersey, and this year's Blue Devils would look a lot more like a No. 3 seed.
They didn't win their regular-season conference title. Not only did they not win their conference tournament, they couldn't even deliver on that rubber match with North Carolina, getting bounced by Clemson in the semifinals. Throw in the loss to the Tar Heels in the regular-season finale, and the Blue Devils are heading to the NCAA tournament with two losses in their last three games and are 5-4 over the last nine.
True, Duke did beat Wisconsin. But that was at home way back in November. The Badgers are a different team these days, winners of 10 straight and sweeping the Big Ten titles. Wisconsin may not be the prettiest team to watch - folks on the West Coast had to be wondering just what game the Big Ten was playing this weekend - but the Badgers are effective. They lead the country in scoring defense, they take care of the ball and they have that rarity today, a balanced offense.
Stanford, meanwhile, reached the final of the Pac-10 tournament and lost by 3 to UCLA, a team many are touting for a third straight trip to the Final Four.
``These are really close decisions,'' said Tom O'Connor, athletic director at George Mason and the chairman of the selection committee.
- The wrong Arizona team got in.
The Sun Devils beat the Wildcats twice and finished with a better record in the Pac-10 and overall. Yet Arizona State is headed for the NIT while Arizona gets an all-expenses paid trip to the nation's capital.
``They were 2-7 against the top four teams in the Pac-10,'' O'Connor said. ``But in the final analysis ... the committee didn't feel they were one of the 34 best at-large teams in the country.''
- The Big East got twice as many teams as the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The ACC had the toughest RPI of any conference in the country, and the second-highest winning percentage. It is home to the No. 1 team in the country and has two in the top seven. The Big East, meanwhile, is fifth in RPI and has one team in the top 10. Of its top four teams, three couldn't even get out of the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
And yet the Big East got eight teams in the NCAA tournament to the ACC's four. Yes, that was Seth Greenberg you heard screaming from Virginia Tech on Sunday night.
If the Big East is going to be rewarded for supersizing itself, why stop at eight? Give them 10 teams or an even dozen.
What the heck, why not just send everybody?

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