Archive for Monday, March 13, 2006

Michigan, Cincy among non-dancers

March 13, 2006


— Michigan shut the TV cameras and reporters out of the room while it watched the NCAA Tournament selection show.

Good idea.

"We've let a lot of people down - I've let a lot of people down," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said after the Wolverines were left out Sunday for the eighth year in a row.

Michigan (18-10) took the bad news in private, but its bracket misery had company.

Other notable teams left out of the field of 65 included Cincinnati (19-12), Florida State (19-9), Maryland (19-12), Hofstra (24-6), Missouri State (20-8) and Creighton (19-9).

"It's a disappointing, an unfit ending for these kids," Cincinnati coach Andy Kennedy said. "It's hard for me to understand, so its certainly hard for me to articulate to our kids what just happened."

Perhaps what made it tougher to take was the teams that wound up with the lower seeds: Air Force (24-6) and Bradley (20-10) - both 13 seeds - led the group of last-in teams along with 12 seeds Utah State (23-8) and Texas A&M; (21-8) and 11th-seeded George Mason (23-7).

The Wolverines started the season with legitimate hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. They had a great chance with a 16-3 record until collapsing with seven losses in their last nine games, including their last three.

"We didn't do what we should have," Michigan guard Daniel Horton said. "We put our future in the hands of someone else."

Creighton also struggled down the stretch, losing four of its last six games, including a first-round defeat to Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

"There will be no whining or complaining from us," Bluejays coach Dana Altman said.

While Michigan and Creighton and had only themselves to blame, Hofstra was left trying to figure out what it did wrong.

Notable left-outs

Notable teams that did not make the NCAA Tournament field: ¢ Michigan (18-10) ¢ Cincinnati (19-12) ¢ Florida State (19-9) ¢ Maryland (19-12) ¢ Hofstra (24-6) ¢ Missouri State (20-8) ¢ Creighton (19-9)

The Pride won 14 of their last 16 and beat NCAA Tournament team George Mason twice, including in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals.

"I need someone to explain this process to me," Hofstra coach Tom Pecora said. "I thought we did enough to get our RPI to the right level, we reached the conference championship game. Obviously, how you finish the season is not that important."

Terrapins coach Gary Williams was miffed to see Wisconsin (19-11) and Arizona (19-12) make it.

"Interesting. What makes them better than us? I don't know," Williams said. "For whatever reason, our 19-12 wasn't as good as Arizona's record or Wisconsin's record."

As it turned out, the Wolverines hurt their cause with a lackluster nonconference schedule.

They played only one ranked team, losing to UCLA, and their top nonconference victory was over Miami in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

"If there's a message, the larger schools, the larger conferences, really do have a choice on who they play in nonconference," said selection committee chairman Craig Littlepage, the athletic director at Virginia.


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