The entire Temple campus is still stinging from the latest proof that college basketball is now as corrupt as college football.
The old terms used to be RPI, strength of schedule, injuries, how teams play down the stretch. Now the only thing that’s meaningful is the vague “eye test” which means, if you are not a Power 5 team, we cannot see you.
The best way for Temple to become a Power 5 team is to win in football. No longer will 6-6 be acceptable. No longer will losses to Penn State be acceptable. A win over Notre Dame would hasten the call, as will filling the stadium for the other games. None of this is easy, but nothing worthwhile is.
By all NCAA criteria, Temple’s resume was superior to that of both UCLA and Indiana in every respect except the one that should not have mattered at all: Its athletic program was not a member of the Power 5, which has taken over the NCAA and remade it into its own playpen.
The NCAA’s No. 1 criteria is RPI, and Temple’s RPI of 34 was better than the RPI of Georgia, Ohio State, Texas, Iowa, UCLA and Oklahoma State, along with six other teams in the tournament. Another factor the NCAA says weighs heavily is how the team plays down the stretch, and Temple won 10 of its final 12 games, a superior run to most of the schools in the 68-team field, let alone the Power 5 schools.
Temple has a 25-point win over a No. 2 seed, Kansas, and none of the other bubble teams had a win like that on their resume. Only Kentucky has beaten Kansas by a bigger margin.
UCLA getting in over Temple was particularly galling. Temple’s record was 23-10, while UCLA’s was 20-13. Temple’s RPI was 34, while UCLA’s was 47; Temple’s record against the RPI top 100 was 8-8, while UCLA’s was 5-10. Temple’s best win against the RPI top 100 was Kansas (No. 2), while UCLA’s was against Utah (No. 20). Temple’s conference record was 13-5, while UCLA’s conference record was 11-7.
Most bracketologists dismissed Steve Alford’s team from the field altogether, but UCLA comfortably made the field of 68 while also avoiding a First Four game in Dayton. Most of those same bracketologists had Temple comfortably in the field.
Those experts assumed that the selection committee would follow its own guidelines, but failed to consider the fact that the Power 5 gets what it wants. That’s the reason why Sunday was a sad day not only for fans of Temple, but for all fair-minded sports fans.