Angry Georgia Tech refuses NIT bid


College basketball's dominant conference was slighted yesterday when the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed.

The 64-team field includes only four from the Atlantic Coast Conference, a 12-year low for a league that has produced more Final Four teams (10) and won more NCAA Tournament games (114) since 1985 than any other conference.

Meanwhile, the Metro Atlantic received its first-ever at-large bid in the form of 25-4 Manhattan, which played only three teams from the field of 64: Colgate, Florida International and St. Peter's, lowly seeds all.

Georgia Tech was the odd ACC team out. The Yellow Jackets (18-12) beat Wake Forest, Maryland and Oklahoma, all among the tournament's top 16 seeds, but lost six of their last nine games.

Kansas athletics director Bob Frederick, chairman of the tournament selection committee, said Georgia Tech was 10-12 against teams ranked in the top 150 by the NCAA's computer. Manhattan, he said, was 9-3.

"I thought the idea was to pick the best at-large teams," Virginia coach Jeff Jones said. "Are you telling me the committee thinks Manhattan is better than Georgia Tech?"

The Yellow Jackets were so angry that they promptly voted to reject a bid to the NIT.

"We have exams coming up this week and we have decided to go ahead and take our exams," said coach Bobby Cremins.

The ACC's scant representation, its worst since 1983, occurs in the first year since the field was expanded in 1985 that no ACC official sits on the nine-member selection committee.

Although four ACC teams -- Wake Forest, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia -- all are among the top 16 seeds, four conferences received more bids. Six Big Ten teams are in the field and five each from the Southeastern, Big Eight and Pacific-10.

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