"Key criteria for the committee is what is has been for some time," Bobinski said during a Wednesday conference call with reporters. "What quality teams were they able to beat? Were they able to beat on the road quality opponents? Were they at full health and strength when they played? How they played against other teams in the field?"
The Cavaliers (21-11) may well be
Virginia defeated certain
"As I sit here, this is just me as a single committee member with no more voting weight than anybody else, I would tell you that the ability to beat good teams is … probably a clear indication of your deservedness to be in the tournament," Bobinski said. "If you can beat teams that are generally accepted and evaluated to be among the best in the country, that says something about who you are.
"Losing to good teams or bad teams is part of it. But I think for me, one of the real hallmarks is, have you shown that you can play, play successfully, at a very high level? That to me weighs a little bit heavier than the loss side of it."
Virginia's non-conference strength-of-schedule, No. 303 among 347 Division I teams, is another potential deal-breaker.
“We as a committee have been on record now for some time encouraging people to play stronger non-conference strength of schedules,” said Bobinski, the athletic director at
"(But) it shrinks your margin for error. If you don't challenge yourself significantly in the non-conference portion of the schedule, what you have to do is show us during the January and February period of the year you are clearly a team that deserves selection to the field or deserves to be seeded in a favorable spot. You've given us less evidence, less opportunities to evaluate you."
For the third consecutive year, the NCAA field includes 31 automatic qualifiers and 37 at-large selections. At least three teams from Virginia will make the bracket:
Miami, Duke, Louisville,
Duke dropped its ACC tournament opener, to
As usual, most of the 37 at-large selections are apparent. But teams such as Virginia,
"At the end of the at¿large field, it always gets sticky," Bobinski said. "There is always a next team or a few next teams that are going to go to get a lot of consideration and conversation."
Might the rash of hideous new uniforms damage some teams' chances?
"If you're asking me," Bobinski said with a laugh, "the answer is yes."
More than 5,000 games have been contested, and less than 10 remain before the
This has long been an annual exercise, and only once, in 2002, did I correctly forecast every at-large selection. But in each of the last three seasons, I’ve missed just one. Last year’s surprise was Iona instead of
Virginia was the hardest case, but the Cavaliers' close was too tepid for inclusion. But I wouldn't be shocked to see the committee disagree.
The field, by seeds:
1: Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, Duke.
2: Gonzaga, Georgetown, Miami, Michigan State.
3: Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio State.
6: Arizona, VCU, UNLV, Butler.
7: North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Creighton.
8: Missouri, Memphis, Oregon,
9: Minnesota, San Diego State, Illinois, Oklahoma.
11: Wichita State, Saint Mary's, California, Boise State.
12: Belmont, Bucknell, LaSalle-Mississippi play-in winner,
13: Davidson, Valparaiso, Northwestern State, Akron.
14: Harvard, Florida Gulf Coast, South Dakota State, New Mexico State.
15: Iona, Albany, Montana, Pacific.
16: North Carolina A&T-Liberty play-in winner,
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