Newspaper article International New York Times

Who Got in? Those with Big Road Wins ; N.C.A.A. Field Left out Many Teams with Flashy Records, like S.M.U

Newspaper article International New York Times

Who Got in? Those with Big Road Wins ; N.C.A.A. Field Left out Many Teams with Flashy Records, like S.M.U

Article excerpt

The tournament field has plenty of teams from long-established conferences, but it is light on squads from midmajor schools.

The Florida Gators, who barely held off Kentucky to win the Southeastern Conference tournament championship and extend their winning streak to 26 games, landed the No. 1 overall seed when the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament pairings were announced less than an hour after the SEC final.

Arizona (30-4), Wichita State (34-0) and the Atlantic Coast Conference champion, Virginia (28-6), joined the Gators (32-2) as top seeds in a draw heavy on legacy conference teams and light on those from the midmajors. The Big 12 placed seven teams in the tournament, with the A.C.C., the Pacific-12, the Big Ten and the Atlantic 10 each qualifying six.

The challenge of wedging unexpected conference champions with automatic bids into the field -- like Providence from the Big East - - kept out bubble teams like Southern Methodist, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Florida State and Georgetown. In the 31 conference tournaments this season, only 11 No. 1 seeds claimed league titles.

"Green Bay was the one team that I thought had the profile of being worthy," the television basketball analyst Clark Kellogg said, noting that Wisconsin-Green Bay (24-6) lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Horizon League semifinals after winning the regular-season title.

"Factoring the number of No. 1 seeds that didn't win, that may have created some issues for a team like Green Bay because it squeezed the bubble a touch," Kellogg said.

Green Bay ranks 56th in the Rating Percentage Index but 155th in strength of schedule, with three of its victories over Division II teams.

Tennessee, Iowa, Xavier and North Carolina State were the last four teams into the 68-team field, according to Ron Wellman, the chairman of the N.C.A.A. Division I men's basketball selection committee. North Carolina State's three victories on the road against top-50 teams -- at Pittsburgh and Tennessee, and over Syracuse in the A.C.C. tournament -- swayed the committee to include the Wolfpack, Wellman said.

"Road wins against top-50 teams are really, really impressive to the committee," Wellman said during a conference call Sunday night. …

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