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OPINION | WALLY HALL: March Madness selections can be crazy

by Wally Hall | March 15, 2022 at 2:49 a.m.

Every year there are surprises when the NCAA Tournament field of 68 is announced.

This year is no different.

Not sure which is more curious, the Big Ten getting nine teams in or the ACC getting just five.

The ACC has been the dominant basketball conference during March Madness since the field was expanded to 64 teams.

Indiana, with a losing conference record, got in for going 2-1 in the conference tournament after finishing the season going 5-8 record. The Hoosiers are a No. 12 seed and will play Wyoming in a play-in game, which the NCAA prefers to call the First Four, but this isn't written for, or by, the NCAA.

Michigan was 11-9 in Big Ten play but was 6-5 in nonconference games and they are a No. 11 seed.

Michigan State appears to be living off its reputation.

There is serious doubt those three could beat a well-rested Texas A&M, which didn't make the field.

We'll find out if the Big Ten was overrated, although the other six teams from the league in the tournament appear to be worthy of dancing.

The ACC may be a very good conference that beat up on each other.

The selection committee tried to help by putting in Miami, which had a NCAA NET ranking of 62.

Moving on but within the same conference: If Duke had beaten Virginia Tech for the ACC championship, the Blue Devils might have been a No. 1 seed. But they didn't and got a No. 2 seed, while Tech with the automatic bid was seeded No. 11.

It appears Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski no longer loses games, his players do, and he wins games.

While it will be a central theme for awhile that Texas A&M deserved to be in, the NCAA NET practically waved LSU in with a grin.

On Saturday, LSU coach Will Wade was fired after the school received its official letter of investigation from the NCAA, which on Sunday invited the team it said has been cheating to play in its tournament.

The Tigers and Aggies were both 9-9 in SEC play, and yet the Aggies made the SEC Championship Game with a 3-1 record in the league tournament, while the Tigers were 1-1.

The SEC got its six teams in, though.

The Big East and Big 12 also had six bids.

The Big East is good, but it is not the beast it once was.

After Arkansas beats Vermont, it will face the winner of the UConn-New Mexico State game.

Give the selection committee credit for sticking with the big boys. The members made Creighton a No. 9 seed and it had a NET ranking of 55.

The Big 12's Kansas and Baylor were No. 1 seeds, Texas Tech No. 3, Texas No. 6, TCU No. 9 and Iowa State somehow made the field as a No. 11 seed.

The Cyclones were 7-11 in Big 12 play and had a NET ranking of 49, while conference mate Oklahoma was also 7-11, but with a NET ranking of No. 39 and they split games during the regular season.

Oklahoma lost in the league tournament's semifinals, but the Cyclones -- who lost a round before the Sooners in Kansas City -- will win its NCAA Tournament game. It plays LSU.

The other leagues with multiple teams were the Mountain West, which looked to get three with Boise State, Colorado State and San Diego State as shoo-ins, but the committee slipped in Wyoming as a No. 12 seed.

The West Coast Conference got three deserved bids: No. 1 seed Gonzaga (fifth time to be a No. 1 in last nine years), No. 5 Saint Mary's and No. 10 San Francisco, which will face Murray State, which is very, very good.

The Pac-12 got No. 1 seed Arizona, No. 4 seed UCLA and No. 7 seed USC. Not sure how the Pac-12 is still considered a Power 5 league.

The Atlantic 10 got two because No. 12 seed Richmond won the automatic bid and No. 10 Davidson deserved an at-large invitation.

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