Thursday, December 2

Georgetown’s miracle run adds to committee madness by seeding Field of 68



What Georgetown accomplished by claiming the Big East Tournament championship not only ruined Creighton Saturday night and caused a heartburn outbreak from Syracuse to Boise. The Hoyas also did even more challenging work for members of the NCAA men’s basketball committee.

Known colloquially as the “selection committee,” they must now grapple with how to seed a field full of elite middle-big teams, successful major conference teams, and this year’s powerhouses – a Georgetown team that won four games in four days and he still only managed to climb into position one game above the .500 mark.

For the Hoyas, having the opportunity to play in the NCAA for the first time since 2015 “means everything,” as coach Patrick Ewing told Fox Sports on Saturday night. “We started at the bottom; now we are number one in the Great East.”

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Automatic Bid List

The Hoyas were chosen to finish last in the league’s official preseason poll, and they came close, placing eighth in the 11-team league with a 7-9 record. Their four wins this week at Madison Square Garden raised their overall record for the season to 13-12.

But they did win four games in four days, two of them against teams heading to the NCAA and one against a Seton Hall team struggling to earn a spot overall, but likely floundering with a semi-final loss to the Hoyas. That is why placing them in the NCAA group is a nightmare.

Placing Georgetown on the No. 12 line would elevate the Hoyas, who would have had no chance of being included in the NCAA field without winning the Big East Tournament, with teams like Drake and Syracuse. They likely earned their spots on the field over the course of the entire season and may be required to play an additional game, in the First Four, to earn the right to face the fifth seed in a first-round game.

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Placing the Hoyas too deep in the pool, say as the 14th seed, would force a team that excelled all season and won a No. 3 seed to deal with a team that just ended up crushing Creighton 73-48. Hoyas’ best known player, center Qudus Wahab, averages 12.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Guard Jahvon Blair averaged 15.7 points. Freshman guard Dante Harris was the rising star of the Big East championship, scoring 18 points against Villanova, 15 against Seton Hall and 10 in Creighton’s win, nearly doubling his double-digit scoring game total for the year.

The NCAA hasn’t addressed this issue in over a decade. The automatic qualifiers for the major conferences of 2019, the last time we had March Madness, averaged 28-8. In conferences used to producing multiple tournament participants, generally someone who would qualify as an overall team claims the AQ spot.

Interestingly, the last time something like this happened was the last time a large conference tournament was completed in a relatively empty gym.

In 2008, the Southeastern Conference was hosting its championship tournament at the Georgia Dome. As the state of Mississippi and Alabama contested overtime in their quarterfinal game late Friday night, a tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta and damaged the building. Teams were able to complete that game, but the damage was significant enough for the league to move the remainder of the event to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum at Georgia Tech.

Because most ticket holders could not be accommodated, the SEC decided to allow only bands, cheer squads and family members to attend. Out of all that, a Georgia Bulldogs team that had entered the SEC championship at 13-16 won four straight games, three of them over NCAA Tournament opponents, and claimed the automatic offer.

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The Bulldogs got into the bracket with a 14 seed. That certainly wasn’t a great team, but it was led by future NBA point guard Sundiata Gaines and two more players who became 1,000-point scorers in a legitimate major league. . Coaches for Xavier, whose team posted a No. 3 seed with a 27-6 regular season, weren’t happy to have to deal with that degree of talent in a first-round game. The Musketeers won the game and went on to Elite Eight. But they would have preferred to face a champion from the middle of a major conference.

Someone at the top of this year’s NCAA pool will face a first-round opponent like few others: a major conference champion assigned a double-digit seed.

Based on how the Hoyas performed during the Big East Tournament in a similar circumstance, it could be the draw they hope to see.




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