With the start of March Madness less than three weeks away, speculation already has begun on which teams will sneak in and which will be left out of the NCAA tournament.
Call it parity or a down year for college basketball, but the large number of teams with mediocre records probably means there will be more schools on the bubble this season than in previous years. "It appears this year [the pool] could be larger than ever, and it seems each year we say that and that's a reflection of parity in college basketball," said Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick, the chairman of the tournament selection committee. "It seems there are a lot more good teams out there and it will be hard to select them and seed them. My guess is between 50 and 70 teams would be in the category of at-large consideration. That would be more than we've considered initially in the past."
Frederick said that most teams' conference records likely will be negatively affected by this season's parity, and the committee will take that into consideration.
"It is certainly not one of the principles that we say you have to be .500 or better in your conference," Frederick said. "It depends each year. If you're in a large conference and there are two weak teams, it's possible there would be a larger number of .500 or above teams in that conference. But if everybody is fairly even, you'll have fewer teams .500 or above.
"Conference record may play into each member's mind differently, but it is not one of the principles we have. The two basic principles are to pick the best 34 at-large teams available and that there is no limit on the number of teams from one conference."
FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE? - So Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins is cocky. OK, maybe his attitude borders on arrogance. But give him credit for this much: He knows it and, if anything, seeks to perpetuate his renegade image.
In a recent Cincinnati Post article, Huggins defended himself against those naysayers who don't like to credit the coach who has built two top-10 teams during his six-year tenure at the school. …