This post is probably a day late (stupid life getting in the way of blogging), but a few teams out there that had their bubbles burst on Sunday have been doing quite a bit of whining. Lucky for them, I'm just the kind of guy to give them a little tough love. Who's up first?
SYRACUSE - Geez, we have this conversation every year, don't we? Ok, let's get to the point. Your non-conference schedule is just plain mediocre. Now it's better than it usually was, and you got some decent wins over tournament teams like Siena, St. Joe's, and Cornell (though I doubt that's why you scheduled those games). But you've got three out of conference losses to NIT squads (Ohio State, UMass, Rhode Island), and two of those were at home! Yeah, you've got wins over Georgetown and Marquette, but you've also got losses at Cincinnati and South Florida. Your road record sucks (would it kill you to schedule more than one road non-conference game?), and you were 4-6 in your last ten games. Sorry, that's just not gonna cut it. Next!
ILLINOIS STATE/CREIGHTON - Group therapy, just the way I like it. Ok guys, here's the deal. I get that no one wants to play you because you're in the scary non-power conference that is the MVC, and they've got everything to lose and nothing to gain by playing you. And no one's more irritated than me about the power conference jubilee the big dance is becoming. But you know, when you get the chance to play those teams (like you did ISU, when you had Indiana and Kent State back-to-back), you've got to win those games. Beating Drake one of the six times you played them would have been a good thing too. Maybe you're just going to have to go on the road and take the big boys on. It worked for UMass, Cincinnati, and Gonzaga, and it can work for you too. Ok, next victim.
VIRGINIA TECH - I'm going to go easier on you, since your coach Seth Greenberg took it like a man Sunday, and didn't get all whiny with the ESPN guys. So I'll let you guys in on a little secret: you're not in the ACC. Well technically you are, but you're not really in the ACC. You play Duke, UNC, Miami, and Clemson one time. You're really in a consolation group with Wake, BC, Georgia Tech, and those kind of guys, and the big ACC teams are more of a non-conference yearly series you play. Which means you're going to have to schedule a little harder, and you can't lose five games to teams outside the top 100. Yeah, your conference semifinal game against UNC was nice; it almost made me forget about the 39 point drubbing they gave you four weeks ago. Maybe next year. Bring in the next one.
DAYTON - This one's pretty simple. 13-1 with Chris Wright, 8-9 without him. And guess what? Chris Wright isn't walking through that door! Roosevelt Chatman isn't walking through that door! Negele Knight isn't walking through that door! No soup for you! Keep 'em rolling...
OHIO STATE - Ok, I'll give you a little credit, you finally upped your non-conference schedule strength - too bad you didn't win any of those games (oh, sorry, forgot Syracuse, that changes everything). Playing Butler, UNC, and Tennessee only counts for something if you beat one of them. 4-8 on the road isn't going to do you any favors, especially if only one of those four was in the top 100. Losing to Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota...why were we even considering you? If you hadn't gotten those late wins over Purdue and Michigan State (your first wins over tournament teams not named Maryland-Baltimore County), this conversation wouldn't even be necessary. And those wins only brought you up to 4-6 over your last ten games. I've thoroughly enjoyed this. I got time for one more.
ARIZONA STATE - Good goodness, how much have you paid Digger and Vitale to plead your case? I haven't seen that much man love since the second season of Queer as Folk! Waaah, we beat Arizona twice, and they're in and we're not. Take responsibility for your own problems! Your non-conference schedule included Xavier...and Princeton, LSU, Idaho, Delaware State, Florida Gulf Coast...I didn't even know there was a Florida Gulf Coast university, are you sure you didn't create them just to play them? You played one true road game out of conference, and you got stomped at Nebraska! You're 5-10 in your last 15, and went 9-9 in the Pac 10. Bottom line: teams that can't win on the road and play 200+ RPI squads have to finish better than .500 in their conference if they want to dance. It's just that simple.