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Conference record overblown when it comes to tournament profiles

Mar 7, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

Maurice Sutton, Tony Chennault, JayVaughn Pinkston

Late in Villanova’s win over No. 5 Georgetown on Wednesday night, Mike Patrick and LaPhonso Ellis got into a fairly lengthy discussion about how this win will affect the Wildcat’s NCAA tournament status.

They said that Villanova, despite losing to Seton Hall, getting swept by Providence and dropping an 18 point decision to Columbia at home, should probably feel pretty comfortable with themselves heading into the Big East tournament next week.

That’s correct. They have beaten the top four teams in the Big East, which is an easy way to overlook their ugly losses thanks to the dregs that currently reside on the bubble.

But where Patrick and Ellis were wrong was that they emphasized the fact that beating Georgetown moved Villanova to 10-8 in the Big East, and that a 10-8 record in the Big East should be enough to get them into the Big Dance.

That plays absolutely no role in the NCAA tournament selection committee’s decision-making process. None. At all. Conference record and conference standings aren’t just unmentioned, their league record is no where to be found in the profiles that are used by the committee to compare teams. It is 100% irrelevant, because the only thing they care about is who you beat and where you beat them.

You want proof of this fact?

Take Cincinnati. The Bearcats are 8-9 in the Big East after losing by 16 at Louisville on Monday night. But they’re in the tournament as of today, and they may even be more comfortable on Selection Sunday that Villanova despite the fact that they are currently sitting a game and a half behind the Wildcats in the Big East standings.

You want another example?

Look at Colorado. The Buffaloes are 9-7 in the Pac-12, but thanks to some strong non-conference scheduling and some timely wins in league play, they could end up getting the same seed as Oregon, who is 12-4 in the Pac-12 right now, especially if Oregon loses at Colorado on Thursday night.

I attended the mock selection committee exercise three weeks ago. The example used there was Illinois and Ohio State. We had the Illini seeded higher than Ohio State despite the fact that the Buckeyes were 8-4 in the Big Ten at the time and Illinois was 5-7.

Having a good league record is helpful, because the better teams generally finish higher in the league standings.

But league record is kind of like a ranking in the national polls — it doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to putting together a bracket on Selection Sunday.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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