Two teams that were smarting after the NCAA selection committee did its voodoo yesterday were Virginia Tech and Arizona State.
The Hokies' situation is particularly interesting in these parts because it shows that the aura of the ACC doesn't always carry as much weight as ACC fans think it might. Despite being the highest rated conference in the country RPI-wise -- a point that TV analyst Billy Packer brought up with committee chairman Tom O'Connor -- the ACC got just four teams in the Dance. The Big East got eight teams in the tournament.
The snub, if you want to call it that, that got the most conversation was Virginia Tech, which finished with a regular-season conference record of 9-7 and beat Miami -- a tournament team (No. 7 seed) -- in the ACC tourney. And in its last two losses of the season, Virginia Tech lost to Clemson, a tournament team (No. 5 seed), by one point and to North Carolina, the No. 1 team in the country, by two points in the conference tourney. But on the other side of the scale, the Hokies' best win was that one over Miami and the quality losses just didn't cut it with the selection committee.
The other exclusion that got the attention of a lot of folks was Arizona State, which finished 19-12, 9-9 and lost to USC in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament on a bad call. Particularly galling was that Arizona State beat Arizona twice and Arizona State had the better regular-season record both overall and in the conference and yet Arizona got an invitation and Arizona State is going to the NIT.