I don't want this to sound like a rant, because I know no one wants to read that, but I'm pretty pissed off about the system right now. I go to UC Irvine, far from a basketball superpower, so much so that they have never been to the NCAA tournament, not even once. This year they had their best team in years, even beat Washington by 14, although the Huskies had a down year. They were 22-10 on overall and won the Big West conference outright. There was no doubt that they would've been the best team to represent the conference in the tournament, especially with the buzz that the 7'6 Mamadou N'Diaye would have attracted.
Unfortunately, they lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament to a hot Cal Poly team, who was 13-19 on the year and the 7th seed in the conference. Now, I understand that UCI still should have won the game if they are supposedly the "best" team, but still. It just doesn't seem fair that the conference winner, after having such a great year, has to win the conference tournament in order to get a bid, and a 7th seed with a losing record just has to get hot for a few games and they're in. It makes for great TV when a team like Cal Poly makes it, but the truth of the matter is, they will be a 16 seed who has to win a play-in game and then will get destroyed by 40 points in the first round if they make it. UCI would have been something around a 14 seed. It just sucks that a conference that has no respect to begin with will be represented by a team with an RPI in the 200's, and I feel bad for the UCI players who fought so hard and come away with nothing but an NIT appearance. I know this sort of situation happens around the country in mid major conferences every year and I don't think it's fair.