The 2014 NCAA Tournament is set to officially begin on Tuesday with two first-round matchups. This year is no different, with some controversy surrounding the selection committee’s decisions.
The field of 68 consists of 36 at-large teams, in addition to the 32 conference championship winners. Most of the deserving teams made their way to the Big Dance, but there was at least one glaring omission.
Heading into championship week, SMU ranked No.25 in the AP top 25 poll. After losing their first game in the AAC Tournament, though, the Mustangs were left out of the field on Sunday. The team went 23-9 on the season, with marquee wins against Connecticut, Memphis and Cincinnati.
According to selection committee chairman Ron Wellman, SMU was left out of the tournament because of their weak schedule. Ranking 302nd, the Mustangs’ non-conference schedule was one of the worst in the nation. However, the team still fared well in conference play, going 12-6 and getting four wins against tournament teams.
A case could’ve been made for Minnesota’s run to continue in March Madness. The Golden Gophers played one of the toughest schedules in college basketball, with 10 games against ranked opponents. They have victories over Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
Louisville, who won the AAC, wasn’t snubbed from the tournament, but they were controversially named a No.4 seed. The Cardinals are a top five team, according to the AP Poll, but could be forced to face No.1 seed Wichita State in the Sweet Sixteen.
The top 25 poll hasn’t seen many changes after the conference championships. Four of the top five teams remain in the same spot, while Baylor and UCLA have replaced Memphis and SMU.
Below are the updated AP rankings, as well as a list of all the conference champions.
AAC: Louisville ACC: Virginia America East: Albany
Atlantic 10: St. Joseph’s Atlantic Sun: Mercer Big 12: Iowa State
Big East: Providence Big Sky: Weber State Big South: Coastal Carolina
Big Ten: Michigan State Big West: Cal Poly CAA: Delaware
Conference USA: Tulsa Horizon: Milwaukee Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Manhattan MAC: Western Michigan MEAC: North Carolina Central
MVC: Wichita State Mountain West: New Mexico NEC: Mount St. Mary’s
OVC: Eastern Kentucky Pac-12: UCLA Patriot: American
SEC: Florida Southern: Wofford Southland: Stephen F. Austin
SWAC: Texas Southern Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette Summit: North Dakota State
WAC: New Mexico State WCC: Gonzaga
9) Iowa State
11) Michigan State
13) San Diego State
17) New Mexico
19) North Carolina
22) Ohio State
25) Saint Louis