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Texas A&M Basketball

Selection committee's think-less job 'defies logic' by leaving A&M out

March 16, 2022
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Serving on the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee has often been a thankless job.

But this year’s committee did a think-less job.

The omission of Texas A&M from the 68-team field has been questioned by several coaches and media members across the nation.

How could the Aggies beat No. 4 Auburn and No. 15 Arkansas to reach the Southeastern Conference postseason tournament final and still be left out?

What was the 12-member selection committee thinking?

Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams had a different question: Why did the committee think A&M didn’t belong?

“After studying all of this non-stop the last two days and looking at it from every vantage point, it defies logic that we are not in the NCAA Tournament.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

Always analytical, Williams declined to react on Sunday night at the team’s watch party at the Tampa downtown Hilton.

Instead, he came home, pored over all the data and metrics the committee supposedly considers to choose the field and compared that against Texas A&M’s data.

His conclusion:

“After studying all of this non-stop the last two days and looking at it from every vantage point, it defies logic that we are not in the NCAA Tournament,” Williams said during an eight-minute statement following a 74-62 NIT victory over Alcorn State on Tuesday night. “Despite repeated pleas, I have only been given generalities by those above me — not data-specific evidence — on why we weren’t invited.

“Without logical reasoning because the decision — while knowing I still have to explain this to our guys and their families — it has caused me to lose all respect and faith in the system and those that are in it.”

Of course, some will dismiss Williams as a whiner.

They’ll argue that every year there are deserving teams that are overlooked.

Williams shouldn’t be criticized. He should be praised for pointing out the inconsistencies and flaws in the selection system.

Coaches Rick Barnes of Tennessee, John Calipari of Kentucky and Bruce Pearl of Auburn also expressed dismay that A&M was snubbed. So have some in the media.

It’s true there are omissions every year, but not every year are omissions so egregious.

Williams’ data was compiled on a nine-page report that was distributed to the media on Tuesday night. The data showed A&M’s NET ranking — which is supposedly the primary metric for the selection committee — was higher than seven of the 16 teams that received at-large bids.

The Aggies also had more Quadrant 1 victories than seven teams. Only six at-large teams have more Quadrant 1 and 2 wins than A&M.

The Aggies also have victories against opponents in the NCAA Tournament than 12 of the 16 at-large teams.

Yet, when asked about A&M’s exclusion, Committee Chairman Tom Burnett, commissioner of the Southland Conference, cited an eight-game losing streak in the middle of SEC play as the reason.

“We’re looking at an entire body of work,” Burnett said. “And that’s the entire season. That starts in November. That’s not just a week in March.

“And certainly, an acknowledgment that as well as this run has been by A&M here (in the SEC Tournament) and over the last week or two of the season, the committee... It’s hard for the committee to ignore maybe a rough patch that the team had back in January, maybe into the first half of February.

“So the total sum of what we’ve seen, what we’ve been monitoring throughout the year, as well. The committee is looking for beating good teams on a regular basis and taking advantage of the opportunities that a team may have.”

Burnett said to look at the entire season.

OK, before A&M’s eight-game losing streak, the Aggies were 15-2. Then, they closed SEC play by winning five of their last six. That included an 87-71 blowout of No. 25 Alabama on the road. Alabama is a six-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Aggies’ drubbing of Arkansas in the SEC Tournament was their second win of the season over the Hogs, who earned a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Then, in the SEC Tournament, the Aggies went 3-1. Auburn, which A&M beat, was given a #2 seed in the NCAA. Arkansas is a #4 seed.

If the committee was looking at the whole season, why did it just focus on that portion of A&M’s schedule?

That’s like saying you got robbed in March because your security system wasn’t installed in January.

Could it be the committee just forgot A&M?

Apparently. Because Burnett said Notre Dame got in only because Tennessee beat A&M.

That’s interesting because Williams’ analysis shows A&M had a higher NET ranking (43rd to 53rd), more Quadrant 1 wins (4 to 2) and more Quadrant 2 wins (2 to 5) than the Irish.

Also, A&M has more victories (23 to 22).

There’s also one more pesky detail: The Aggies BEAT Notre Dame in November, 73-67.

And as Burnett said himself, the season starts in November.

Burnett also indicated Indiana got credit for its run through the Big Ten Tournament.

But A&M didn’t get credit for its run in the SEC.

By the way, the committee’s rankings show that the Big Ten was a lesser conference than the SEC, which has six teams all seeded between second and sixth.

Yet, the committee wasn’t fazed by the fact Indiana lost six times in an eight-game stretch. The wins in that span were over Minnesota (13-17) and Maryland (15-17).

Also, consider that Burnett is one of seven members of the committee that represented a mid-major conference or university.

Maybe that explains why teams like Wyoming and Davidson, which either had a lower NET ranking or fewer Quad 1 wins, were selected over A&M.

All this data doesn’t change the NCAA field, but it is food for thought.

You know… Thought.

Something the committee obviously didn’t put much into while doing its think-less job.

Discussion from...

Selection committee's think-less job 'defies logic' by leaving A&M out

10,667 Views | 13 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by ShotOver
TAM85
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ToddyHill
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AG
Buzz is the Bomb! I love his passion and emotion.
el_guapo
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Thankless and Think-less. Niiiiiiice.
larry culpepper
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AG
Who else picked ND to lose in the first round?
Sterling82
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I've made it a point to tune out but Burnett obviously had no business being on the committee. As a matter of fact, if the net is a good parameter, I say just screw the committee and take the best net after autos are in. At least it's analytical and not the musing of a lazy blowhard that just failed miserably. And the idea posited a few days ago should be in play...don't schedule southland opponents any further.
94chem
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Sterling82 said:

I've made it a point to tune out but Burnett obviously had no business being on the committee. As a matter of fact, if the net is a good parameter, I say just screw the committee and take the best net after autos are in. At least it's analytical and not the musing of a lazy blowhard that just failed miserably. And the idea posited a few days ago should be in play...don't schedule southland opponents any further.
Yes, make it public. TAMU-CC would be the exception.

No reason for a journalism major at La Tech to be deciding that we don't belong. I'm sure he was a little giddy to see TAMU-CC in the tourney while he could play a role in excluding one of the big boys. He made it clear that we were the 4th team out, as in not even close. He had SMU ahead of us. We weren't 69. We were 72. So when he says that ND made it because we lost to TN, that doesn't mean that ND took our spot. He should be held accountable for the lies he has to tell to cover his bias.
john looney
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You can not change their decision. Win the NIT and kick ass next year.
Aggie Joe 93
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AG
I think it's clear they saw '8 game losing streak' then ignored TAMU otherwise.
Which was lazy and incompetent.
Or there were personal preferences which adds corrupt to the valid list of descriptors of that group.

What a disappointing lack of effort (by the committee).
Midnight Rider
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AG
Glad Buzz said what he said.

Now the Aggies can underscore it and highlight it for the nation by winning the NIT.
jaxisback
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This is such a bad comment.

Leadership is about changing what is broken, going along is called following. The question isn't "can you change the committee's mind" the question is can you "destroy the committee" replacing it with something cleaner and more transparent.

The answer is yes, if you keep enough pressure on the SEC conference office such that it is made to see the embarrassment in its conference getting 42% of its teams in while the Big 10 and Big 12 get 65% of their teams in.

The NCAA does not ignore the wealthiest, most powerful conference in America.
greg.w.h
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AG
Their logic is they can't be held accountable. Lunardi's logic is he's the smart guy with the leaks. The NCAA acts primarily in its own self-interest to preserve the bureaucracy.

Buzz isn't wrong, but tilting at windmills seems unlikely to be the right pathway to change.
Z Team
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AG
It doesn't defy logic. It just reveals there is a variable that is not being made transparent.
If things don't add up it means you haven't accounted for all the pieces yet.
ShotOver
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AG
How long are we gonna keep whining about this? It's done get over it
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