Conference Corruption

“So you’re saying there’s a chance?” Not only is this a classic quote from Dumb and Dumber, but also the NCAA’s favorite saying come March.

By the time you read this, Selection Sunday will have come and gone and for many teams, their chances went from being one-in-a- million, to zero.

You know every year you will see the names like Kansas, Kentucky, and UCLA punching their one-way ticket on to every bracket across the country. But what about those teams that pull off the big upsets, like Valparaiso, Butler, Kent and Hampton? These teams must win their conference and get an automatic bid because at-large berths for mid-majors such as these are about as hard to come by as getting Dick Vitale to be silent for five minutes straight.

What happens if a mid-major school has a great year, but fails to win their conference championships? Butler is a good example of this, after going 25-4 in the regular season before bowing out in the first round of their conference championship to Wisconsin Green-Bay (9-21).

The system that is in place now basically takes the regular season and throws it out the window. In the day and age of conference championships and teams receiving an automatic bid by winning them, it is possible that teams with losing records could be representing their conference entering the tournament. Now I ask, are conference tournaments even worthwhile?

Yes, they give every team, even the worst teams in the country a chance, but more harm may come out of them then good. Teams like Butler, Southern Illinois and even our very own Catamounts, rolled through the regular season posting great records, including the most in their respective leagues, yet all three could be left having to settle for the consolation prize of spring break instead of March Madness.

Not only are the smaller schools effected by conference championships, but also those in the top 25 who are preparing for post season play. To win most conference championships you must win at least three if not four straight to be crowned conference champ. To some teams this could be a springboard into the tourney, but to others it could take an unneeded toll and cause for an early exit There is not one right answer, but is the system that is in place right now the best way to represent those that are most deserving in college hoops? I think not.

Ben Dickie is a weekly columnist for the Cynic and can be reached at [email protected]