What should be an annual rite for U.C.L.A. Basketball fans will take place today without us. What's even worse is that it's happening for the second time in 3 years. The selection of the 64 teams and 4 also-rans to fill out the NCAA Tournament will be televised today. The coverage will be on CBS at 6pm EDT. Everyone moved the clocks ahead last night, right?
And while bubble teams like Colorado State (should get in), Arizona (should not get in), N.C. St (should get in), and Washington (ha ha ha) will sit on the edge of their seats to see if they get an invite, U.C.L.A. fans don't even need to turn on the television. Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Ben.
Nevertheless, for those of us who are such hopeless college basketball fans that we just can't stay away, there is still some interest in the proceedings today. Even with Kentucky's slip-up today, they will be the #1 seed overall, giving coach Calipari a good look at a third vacated Final Four appearance. Syracuse went out even earlier, but likely did enough all year to get a #1 seed. Duke and Kansas also disappeared early in their tournaments, leaving UNC and Missouri clear paths to #1 seeds. Mizzou finished, UNC blew it. Meanwhile, if Mich St handles tOSU today, Tom Izzo and the Spartans may have a claim to a #1 seed themselves. By the way, remember when we beat Mich St in the first round last year? Note to Guerrero and Howland: This is how a team rebounds from a down year - by playing for a conference title and a protected seed.
While the race for #1 seeds is tight, I'll be interested to see where California and Colorado end up. Big congrats to the Buffs for floating to the top of the wreckage of Pac-12 conference. Lots of my local friends here in CO are thrilled and I'm happy for them. They took advantage of a weak field and seized their opportunity, something that our basketball program failed to do. Cal is the only Pac-12 team that would have made it in as an at-large bid, but they still look to be a 10 seed or higher. That shows just how weak the Pac-12 was this year, and how much weaker U.C.L.A. was not to get out of it with an NCAA berth. Unacceptable.
While some allegedly storied programs seem just fine with the Not Invited Tournament, I admit I'm mixed. I don't want to be so arrogant, especially with the way our program has deteriorated the last 4 years, to say no to anything. At the same time, I think we simply have to demand higher standards for our program. That means that U.C.L.A. should be relevant throughout the season. We should be competing for the conference title. We should be looking at a high seed on Selection Sunday. We should have an Athletic Director and Basketball Coach who expect and achieve the same.
Sadly for us, we have none of those right now. And so the Tourney goes on without us. Again. I'll watch, but it won't feel right. March Madness? Meh. More like March Sadness (HT to UCLA2020 for that one).
And it should never ever be that way in Westwood.
This is our open thread to chime in on todays final game, the selections for the Big Dance, and your thoughts on the brackets.