Last week, we used the term "lock" in our post about the CU Buffs' Big Dance chances after beating Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament, -- and we weren't the only ones certain that was true. But no: Marcus Relphorde and the rest of the squad were snubbed by the selection committee in an injustice so blatant that ESPN's Dick Vitale nearly had an aneurysm live on the air.
His conniption was compounded by the quality, or lack of same, exhibited by the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Virginia Commonwealth University, both of which crept in ahead of Colorado and Virginia Tech, another notable on the outside looking in this morning.
Granted, not every expert believed the Buffs deserved a ticket to March Madness. Prior to the selection announcements, ESPN commentators (and former coaches) Dan Dakich and Mark Gottfried both shrugged off CU's victories over ranked opponents such as Missouri, Texas and Kansas State (three times!), referring instead to their weak non-conference schedule. But neither of them sang the praises of UAB and VCU, and for a very good reason: There was virtually no praise worthy of voicing.
Afterward, Vitale, sputtering like a lawn mower with spark plug problems, noted that his wife knows nothing about basketball, but even she would realize that in a beauty contest, Colorado was Scarlett Johansson and UAB was Roseanne Barr. Equally agog were anchor Rece Davis and commentators Hubert Davis, Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas, with the latter doubting that the selection committee could even tell that a basketball is round. He subsequently said, "You talk about the eye test? This one doesn't make it through the laugh test."
Of course, Buffs Nation didn't find the situation funny, even though some positives flow from it. CU was a major topic of conversation throughout the day, and will leap back to the lips of b-ball observers after UAB and VCU get bounced -- in the first round, probably. (In contrast, another ESPN yakker, Fran Fraschilla, suggested that CU would have had a chance to win two games in the tourney.) More pub will flow from the Buffs' choice as a top seed in the National Invitational Tournament and their likely strong performance among other also-rans, all of which should help recruiting as the university moves into the Pac-10 next season.
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I know, I know: It's small consolation. But better for the exclusion to prompt cries of rage than a shrug of indifference.
Below, take a look at some of Vitale's fulminating.
More from our Sports archive: "CU Buffs basketball team best since Chauncey Billups glory days after defeating Kansas State."