So says the ever-delightful Billikens coach Rick Majerus, sort of. From the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Phil Sheridan.
The real heart of Majerus’ argument was that these tournaments also carry too much weight in basketball terms. His Billikens, with their 18-13 record, will play No. 1 seed Xavier (24-6) today at noon.
“I tell you what would be a real shame,” Majerus said, “if we were to beat Xavier, and for Xavier not to go to the tournament. They’re probably going anyway. They should go anyway. . . . I really believe that the regular season is everything. We could win this, put on a hat and shirt – we aren’t going to win this – and say, ‘Oh, we’re the champs.’ What a phony thing that would be. We were the champs of that four-game tournament.”
He’s right, but you could just as easily apply that logic to the big dance – by all long-term measures, Georgetown and Wisconsin were both better teams with better seasons last year than Davidson, but Davidson is the team that made it to the regional final (perhaps they even printed t-shirts). A tournament is a tournament, and when you win a tournament, that is all you’ve won, whether it’s the Atlantic 10, the FA Cup, Olympic Hockey or March Madness. Going back to the days of automatic bids for the regular season champions and abolishing the conference tournaments would be fine by me, but, it almost goes without saying, it’s all about TV and revenue, with bubble-buster teams like Cleveland State (or hey, perhaps St. Louis) becoming as much a part of the hype as Cinderellas.