Two of the top mid-major teams in the country, Wichita State and Dayton, will be forced to cannibalize each other in the first round after the NCAA Tournament selection committee made one of the worst decisions in its history.
Wichita State and Dayton finished #2 and #4 respectively in our final Mid-Major Madness Power Rankings, and they both appeared to be more than capable of making a deep run in the tournament this year. Both teams won the regular season titles in two of the top-ten leagues in the country. Now, thanks to the committee, only one of them will survive past Thursday.
According to Kenpom, Wichita State is the eighth best team in the country. According to the selection committee, they’re a 10 seed. The Shockers went 30-4 in the regular season, and three of their losses came against NCAA Tournament teams. They won 21 of their final 22 games, but apparently, that was not enough to put them above teams like 15-loss Vanderbilt in the eyes of the committee. The fact that the Shockers are a #10 seed is downright laughable.
If there is one man in America with more of a right to be pissed off at the committee than Gregg Marshall, it’s Archie Miller. His Dayton Flyers earned a 7 seed for the second year in a row, and for the second year in a row, his team got a brutal first round matchup. Last year, Dayton was routed by a 10-seed Syracuse team that eventually made it all the way to the 2016 Final Four. Their first-round opponent this year appears capable of doing the same.
The worst part of this matchup is that it means that at least one of these mid-major programs won’t have the chance to show what they can do against power-conference teams. Is a team that went 17-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference better than a team that went 10-8 in the SEC or the Big East? Thanks to the committee, we may not get to find out.
I don’t know who the winner of Friday’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be, but I already know who the losers are. It’s all of us. Every single college basketball fan loses thanks to this abominable decision by the selection committee.