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NCAA Basketball News and Notes: March 19, 2019

It’s Tourney Time

After months of a grueling regular season, conference tournaments, and Selection Sunday, the NCAA tournament is finally upon us. As is the case every year, there are teams that are ecstatic with the fact that they made the tournament or that they got a good seed while others sit disgruntled as they are either turned away to the NIT tournament or sit with a seed or region that will prove challenging. Let’s take a look at some of the major stories coming out of Selection Sunday:

ACC Is Happy– Why are they happy? Well, of the four number one seeds, three of them come from the ACC. Duke, North Carolina and Virginia all sit as number one seeds in the field of 64 (more if you count the play-in games). The only number one seed that is not from the ACC is Gonzaga.

The Big Ten As A Conference Is Happy– On the one hand, the Big Ten can’t be too upset as they got more teams in than any other conference in the nation. In total, the Big Ten had 8 teams selected, followed by the ACC and SEC with 7, the Big 12 with 6, the American and Big East with 4, Pac-12 with 3, and the Mountain West, West Coast, Ohio Valley and Atlantic 10 with 2. So for that reason, the Big Ten is ecstatic.

A Couple Teams From The Big Ten Are Not So Happy– Most notably, Michigan State feels like it was robbed. After tying for a share of the regular season conference championship and then winning the Big Ten conference tournament, there were a lot of people that felt that Michigan State had made a compelling case to be a number one seed. At worst, they thought they should have been ranked as the best number two seed. Instead, they get put in the same region as the top overall team in the tournament, the Duke Blue Devils. It just makes an already challenging task that much tougher to try to make it to the championship game. Also upset is Indiana. Yes, their record was only 17-15, but their N.E.T. Rank with 54thand that Michigan State team that argues it should have been number one, yeah, Indiana beat them twice. Other solid wins included Wisconsin, Louisville, and Marquette.

Snubs Never Happy– Aside from Indiana, there were some other snubs that were disappointed on Sunday. TCU (best wins over Iowa State twice, Florida, Baylor, and Texas twice), North Carolina State (best wins over Auburn, Syracuse, and Clemson twice) and Texas (wins over North Carolina, Purdue, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State) are just a few examples of teams who feel snubbed.

Snubs Find Themselves With Number One Seeds

Speaking of those who were snubbed in the selection committee process, a handful of them now find themselves at the top of another tournament, the NIT tournament. While the NCAA tournament is the prestigious one, there are 32 teams locked and loaded and ready to compete for the NIT title. The four number one seeds in that tournaments, all feeling snubbed from the big dance, are UNC Greensboro (who faces Campbell), Indiana (who faces St. Francis), Alabama (who faces Norfolk State) and TCU (who faces Sam Houston State).

Fred Hoiberg Could Be Next In Nebraska

Nebraska is preparing to play in the NIT, but when they are done with that tournament, so will the reign of Tim Miles as head coach. It appears that there might already be a frontrunner for the next coach as former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls’ coach Fred Hoiberg’s name has emerged. While at Iowa State, Hoiberg led the Cyclones to the NCAA tournament four times, two Big 12 tournament championships, a 115-56 record and had significantly more success at the collegiate level than at the professional level. It is not like he is unfamiliar with the program, either. Hoiberg’s grandfather actually coached Nebraska, and he has had a niece that has worked in the athletics department. He was also born in Lincoln, Nebraska so a union could certainly work.

Bill Self Denies Interest In Hoiberg’s Old Job

Since we mentioned Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls, it is worth noting another rumor that has been circulating that Kansas’ head coach, Bill Self, has interest in the Chicago Bulls position. For Kansas’ fans, though, they can breath a little easier. Self told the Kansas City Star on Monday that, “The Bulls thing is as far-fetched…. I don’t know where they came from. I’ve never talked to anybody from the Bulls about any employment opportunities. They have a coach, and I’m not a candidate for that position and will not be.” While things can change at any moment, it appears for the time being that Self is strictly focused on preparing his Kansas team for the tournament.

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