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- Had Loyola-Chicago been upset in its conference tournament, they likely would have missed the NCAA Tournament entirely.
- Over the past few years, the number of mid-major teams getting at-large NCAA tournament bids has declined.
- The makeup of the NCAA selection committee is skewed against mid-majors.
- Scheduling also tends to work against mid-majors since power-conference teams have little incentive to go on the road to play smaller schools.
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports has a good write-up about how an NCAA Tournament selection process that may be biased towards teams from power conferences nearly robbed NCAA Tournament darlings Loyola-Chicago of a tournament bid.
As Forde notes, nobody projected Loyola to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament had they been upset in their conference championship tournament. They were the regular-season champions of the Missouri Valley Conference but faced a surprisingly tough fight from Northern Iowa in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
And as Forde reports it, one primary reason for this is the makeup of the NCAA selection committee. The ten-member committee features six members from schools in the 10 FBS leagues and only four members from schools in the 21 non-FBS leagues. In other words, over half of the selection committee comes from just a third of all the college basketball conferences. With such skewed numbers, bias in the selection process is inevitable.
Another hurdle that mid-major teams face is scheduling, and that high-profile teams seldom are rarely willing to go on the road to play mid-major teams, and the current tournament selection process doesn’t do enough to incentivize teams from power conferences to do so.
And so, every March, more and more mid-major teams are in the position where their entire season mostly comes down to a few conference tournament games played over the course of a single weekend.
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